June 29, 2022

A la Carte: Summer Means Picnics; Picnics Mean Cole Slaw & Potato Salad! Lee Shares Favorite Recipes for Both

Lee White

I have a friend who lives in Noank and she asked me some time ago why she should keep her large Cuisinart. I literally blanched. 

There are two reasons to keep your kitchen counter appliances. One, of course, is because you use them fairly often enough that you want them close to you. The second is perhaps you adore them, as I love mine, and consider them — if not as pets — but as best friends in the kitchen. 

On the other hand, if you have a terrific yet very small kitchen, sometime things have to go.

I have just a galley kitchen, but it has a bay window a shelf below it. That shelf was utilitarian but incredibly ugly, covered with the same humble tiles on the floor.

I asked woodworker Josh Friedman in New London to make maple board the exact size as the shelf. Now the shelf holds large and small Cuisinarts, a 6-quart KitchenAid mixer, an Instant Pot, a Slow Cooker, a Ninja Pro blender and two tiny grinder (one for spices, one for coffee).

I use all of them the gadgets constantly. I keep them shinier than my desk. They are my own pieces of art.

This weekend I was asked to make cole slaw and potato salad for an indeterminate number of friends. Using my big Cuisinart thin slicing disk for the cabbage and the grater disk for the carrots. I used my Instant Pot for the potato salad. Both dishes were ready for the refrigerator within half an hour.

With summer coming, my counter appliances will keep my kitchen cool. 

Zimny’s Cole Slaw
Yield: serves 10 to 15. 

Photo by Jacques Bopp on Unsplash.

1 cup good store-bought mayonnaise
5 ½ (one-half) tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice (or celery spice, if you don’t have five-spice)
One-half teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly white pepper to taste
About 6 to 8 cups green and red (Savoy) cabbage, shredded in a food processor
2 carrots, shredded in food a processor*

Using whisk, blend mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, five-spice, salt and pepper.

Combine cabbage and carrots. Pour dressing over vegetables and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours. It is even better on the second or third day. 

Lee’s Favorite Potato Salad
Yield: Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds of potatoes (I love The Little Potato Company’s tiny potatoes; no need to peel them)
1 small onion, thinly diced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
About 3 to 4 tablespoons bottled Italian salad dressing (I love Wish Bone brand, full fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
About 4 tablespoons Hellman’s mayonnaise (full fat) 

In a large pot of water, bring potatoes to a boil and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain water and, in the same pot, toss potatoes with onions and celery and stir. Wait a few minutes before you add the Italian dressing and mayonnaise and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool on the counter at room temperature before covering and refrigerating.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at leeawhite@aol.com.


  1. Thomas D. Gotowka says

    I am looking for a good vinegar-based coleslaw recipe.