I mentioned my potato salad obsession, and here is my favorite rendition. It's Ina's recipe, adapted slightly to whatever I happen to have on hand in my kitchen at the moment. This is an easy thing to whip up quickly and have as a side dish when you're grilling. When I'm making it for just the two of us, I usually cut it in half. It makes great leftovers, too! I made it for a party we had last month, and people were crazy about it.
Ina's Old Fashioned Potato Salad
3 pounds small white potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk (don't go out and buy buttermilk just for this - use half and half, or whole milk, or sour cream, or even some white wine)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.
I tend to go easy on the salt in Ina's recipes - I usually cut it in half and then add more if I need to. It's one fault I find with her - she uses way too much salt sometimes!
I continued my summer theme of Salads: Hold the Lettuce at my friend Allison's baby shower that I co-hosted with my friend Stasi. I was in charge of the food, and thankfully my mother (who came to help me) talked me out of my original idea, which was quiches. Getting 3 or 4 quiches baked and hot and ready all at once would have been a nightmare. So, I decided to do salads instead!
Ina's Chinese Chicken Salad, Classic Egg Salad from ATK, "Fancy Coleslaw" (Mom's recipe and handiwork), and pretzel buns from our local butcher shop.
It was a sweltering 94 degrees the day of the shower, so it turned out to be the perfect menu for such a hot summer day. I also made this Watermelon Lemonade from Smitten Kitchen, which is the perfect refreshing beverage for a 7 month preggos lady.
The chicken salad recipe is linked above. A few notes from me: it makes a LOT of dressing, so I found it's best to put about 3/4 of the dressing on the salad and leave 1/4 on the side and allow people to add dressing to their tastes. I'm also a huge fan of her method of roasting bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and then removing the meat and shredding it - it makes for moist, lovely chicken in your salad.
Classic Egg Salad
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 TBSP minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I substitute dill, because I love dill, but if you don't, parsley is fine)
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped coarse*
*Fool-proof method for hard boiling eggs: Put eggs in pot; cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare ice bath. When 10 minutes is up, submerge eggs in ice bath for 5 minutes. Peel.
**I was once eating a hard-boiled egg at work and a co-worker said "Oh that's a great snack idea", and I said "Definitely, I usually boil a half dozen at the beginning of the week to have on hand for snacks", and she said "Oh, I wish I had time to do that, but you know you can buy them pre-boiled in the supermarket", and I said "...it takes 15 minutes...". And then I shut up before I made an enemy. But I have thought about this conversation non-stop since and how it just about sums up everything that's wrong with our country...but I digress...
Mix the celery, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, mustard, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper together in a large bowl. Gently fold in the eggs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Will last for about 4 or 5 days in the fridge.
(This borderlines Semi-Homemadeness, but it's seriously so good that I don't care. Flavor packets, quel horreur! My mom is slowly but surely turning me into Sandra Lee...I kid, I kid! But she did suggest I get a powdered lemonade mix for the party, to which I replied...start juicing lemons crazy lady.)
1 lb pkg coleslaw cabbage
1 bunch green onion chopped
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. sunflower seeds
2 pkg ramen beef noodles - not cooked
(save powdered packets for sauce)
3/4 c. veg. oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
garlic to taste
2 season packets from noodles
break up noodles into very small pieces
add almonds and seeds.
1/2 hr before serving add coleslaw to the above and
dressing. mix thoroughly.