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Down Home for the Holidays

Atlanta chef Joe Truex offers healthy versions of the holiday dishes he grew up with.
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Hot Pepper Slaw continued...


            1          medium head green cabbage

            1          medium head red cabbage

            1          tsp sea salt

            3          large carrots

            ¼         cup minced scallions

            1          Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the dressing

            1⁄3       cup unseasoned rice vinegar

            1⁄3       cup hot pepper vinegar

            ¼         cup light brown sugar

            1½       Tbsp dark-roasted sesame oil


1.         Discard the outer leaves of cabbages. Cut heads in quarters, and remove and discard cores. Slice cabbage thinly or shred in a food processor. In a large bowl, layer cabbage with sea salt. Toss to distribute salt evenly, and let cabbage sit 1 hour to soften.

2.         Meanwhile, peel carrots and grate into thin shreds.

3.         Drain off any liquid produced by the cabbage, and rinse cabbage well in several changes of cold water to remove excess salt. Taste the cabbage; if it is still too salty, rinse again.

4.         Add carrots to cabbage, and mix well.

5.         For the dressing, whisk rice vinegar, hot pepper vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl.

6.         Pour dressing over cabbage and mix well. Chill. Garnish with minced scallions and toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Per serving: 120 calories, 3 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 6 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 360 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%

Turnip Gratin

Makes 8 servings

"What would the holidays be without a bubbly baked casserole in an earthenware dish? I love turnips, but even people who think they don't will enjoy this gratin," Truex says.


            olive oil for the baking dish

            1          garlic clove, cut in half

            2          pounds turnips, preferably small ones, peeled and sliced in thin rounds

            salt and freshly ground pepper

            4          ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup tightly packed)

            1          tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

            2½       cups low-fat (1%) milk 


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish, and rub the sides and bottom with the cut clove of garlic.

2. Place sliced turnips in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Add half the cheese and all the thyme and toss together, then transfer to the gratin dish and pour on milk. It should just cover the turnips.

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