Whether the farmer grows them or you grow them, potatoes are GREAT!! And when they’re turned into potato salad they’re greater yet!!! Just check-out some of the recipes below, I have.
Growing up in a big family (yes, I’m one of 18 children – world’s bravest Dad and Mom superheroes!) I always enjoy going to family cookouts. Now that my siblings are married and my kids are grown and hosting parties along with their cousins, I can pretty much find a place for a great cookout every day!! The food is always amazing since each of us have our own personal favorites – whether grilled brats, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, chops, steak or ribs putting their own culinary twist on things! Add some corn on the cob, watermelon and one of my favorites – potato salad. As a kid, as I would be filling up my plate (actually plates!), I’d smother my hot dog in yellow mustard and ketchup (none of that green stuff for me), grab a couple buttery ears of sweet corn and gently balance my plate with a juicy slab of chilled watermelon, making sure I left enough space for the creamy delight. Often before I could reach out to grab the spoon to dig into that giant bowl, mom would give me the look that said, “Easy does it Stevie.” I had to control myself navigating that bowl of rich, mayo-drenched potato salad, as I made sure to fill the spaces leftover on my plate. After I got married, I moved into a whole new phase of food love – my wife Jackie’s cooking. This includes her magnificent potato salad (no Mom, not starting a battle here). How can I describe it – expertly cut potatoes, symmetric celery, onions, fluffy hard-boiled eggs, creamy mayonnaise, dash of mustard and of course her well-guarded spice combo. Unfortunately, I can’t be filling multiple plates with potato salad anymore, anyone who knows me understands why! Here’s some info and tips (thanks streetdirectory.com, NPR, NYTimes and of course Jackie) to help you get rolling.
– Potato salad has been around for many cookouts. It was first introduced to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. These early potato salads were made by boiling potatoes in wine or a mixture of vinegar and spices.
– The more American version of potato salad is rooted in German cuisine and came here with European settlers.
– Main ingredients included: potatoes (many different kinds to experiment with), hard boiled eggs, celery, sweet onion and depending on where you grew up – Hellman’s mayo or Miracle Whip? (we’re a Hellman’s House).
– Potato salad is a dish, usually an appetizer, made, obviously, from potatoes. However so, it still varies throughout different countries and regions of the world. Potato salads are more classified as side dishes than salads for they generally just precede or the follow the main course. As far as I am concerned, it could be the main dish!
– Many would claim on having made the best potato salad and would offer the truest and most authentic way of making it. But no matter what is said by many, the best potato salad, or any kind of salad at that matter, is purely of personal preference. Some like their potato salads mingled and just oozing with its dressing, some would prefer theirs to be really soft and tender, and others would want their potato salad to be crispy.
– Potato salads are definitely a popular menu choice of various chefs and cooks for preparing food for a large crowd, and since they can be made in large quantities with utter ease, they can also be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until it is their time to be served.
– You must never worry about emptying your wallet when going to the grocery store to buy whatever ingredients you need for you potato salad. The ingredients needed for potato salads are inexpensive and very much affordable. Thus, you do not have to worry about making one yourself because it is, in fact, quite easy.
– You would need two pounds, or approximately six large potatoes which are peeled and quartered. Of course, you have to cook the potatoes in boiling water for approximately fifteen minutes, or when the potatoes are already barely tender. You have to check every minute or so after the first ten minutes have gone by. Once you have confirmed of the cooked status of your potatoes, cut them into smaller pieces. After that, just leave them be so that they will cool down.
– Then, you should mix the other ingredients you have also prepared in a large bowl. Once you are confident that you mixed them finely, add your already cooled potatoes, and then mix them, altogether, well. When all these are done, chill your self-made potato salad, but just do not forget to stir it a couple of times during the chilling time you have allotted for it.
Jackie’s Tips for Making Great Potato Salad
– Use waxy rather than floury potatoes, such as Yukon gold, red bliss and fingerlings. They have a creamy texture yet keep their shape well when cooked. Although russet potatoes are exceptionally tender, they don’t hold their shape well when boiled and tend to get mushy.
– Cut potatoes into equal-sized pieces so they will cook evenly. Use the freshest ingredients you can find to mix in. Experiment with “crunchy” vegies – tiny carrots, cucumber, peppers, radishes – you pick ‘em!
– Don’t overcook potatoes. Take them off the heat while they’re still slightly firm. Drain and let cool before assembling the salad – hot potatoes will flake and get mushy.
– With or without skins? It’s a personal preference. If you leave the skins on, be sure to scrub them well before cooking. Peeled potatoes work especially well for absorbing sauces such as pesto and dressings.
– Season the potatoes while still warm to absorb the flavors more fully.
– Eat right away, or let flavors meld? I’m all for making and letting things blend – Steve on the other hand can hardly wait, but for sure loves it more days later!
– Chilled or warm – coin flip here. Warm potato salads taste best the day they are made; however, cold potato salads often taste better the next day. If you’re making potato salad ahead of time, hold off on adding raw onions or fresh herbs until just before serving. You’ll avoid unpleasant pungency and keep your herbs looking fresh.
Super Fun Recipes to Try:
Jackie’s Homemade German Potato Salad:
Recipe came from the Italian mother of one of Jackie’s Mom’s childhood friends! (WOW). Serves 6-8 – unless Steve gets there first!
½ lb bacon
6 large potatoes
1 small onion diced
2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp celery seed
¾ cup cool water
½ cup vinegar
Fry bacon until crisp. Reserve 1/3 cup bacon fat. Boil whole potatoes until fork tender. Drain then peel and slice while a bit hot. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, water and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixtures into reserved bacon fat and heat until it boils for 1 minute. Pour sauce over sliced hot potatoes and diced onions. Serve hot, topped with bacon pieces.
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