Traditional Potato Salad


potato salad

When summertime is almost upon us I always think back to the dinners my mom would put on the table when I was a child.  We ate out of the garden almost every night .  Sliced tomatoes or green fried, stuffed peppers, zucchini, squash, green onions, corn-on-the cob, cucumber-onion salad and my mom’s wonderful potato salad. There were always boiled potatoes cooling on the counter and along side were a couple of hard boiled eggs.  My mom didn’t have a recipe for her potato salad. She would make a mixture of the yokes, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and a touch of sugar. She would stir in her diced potatoes, chopped onion and celery. Whola!! Potato Salad.  I came up with this recipe in hopes it would be similar. I think it’s a close second!  
This salad is a favorite with my families-on-the-go. Fried chicken, potato salad, cucumber onion salad and brownies for dessert! 

Serve this at you next picnic, gathering or better yet, just a regular weekday dinner! It does have mayonnaise, so be sure to keep it cool. I think it always tastes better the next day. 
Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking,
Vonnie

 

IINGREDIENTS:

 

2 pounds potatoes (I use redskin potatoes)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP. yellow mustard
1/2-1 tsp. salt (I like a little more salt so I use closer to 1 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet pickles, finely chopped plus about 1 TBSP. of the pickle juice ( Use Famous Dave’s Signature Spicy Pickle Chips if you can find them) or 1/2 cup sweet or dill pickle relish
1-2 hard boiled eggs, yokes set aside and whites finely chopped ( I only use 1 hard boiled egg but my mom always used 2)

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium pan place the potatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 large eggs. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer and cover loosely with pan lid for 20- 25 minutes or until potaotes are fork tender. Remove eggs first and then drain potatoes. (You can run a little cool water on the potatoes and eggs if you want. Set eggs and potatoes on countertop and let cool.(Just like Nancy!) When everything is cool and you are ready to assemble the salad, use a large bowl and combine, egg yoke/s, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in celery, onion, pickle, pickle juice, and egg white/s. Add diced potatoes and toss gently. Cover and chill for at least a few hours before serving.

Pittsburgh Steak Salad


Pittsburgh Steak Salad
In honor of today being the first day of Summer I wanted to post my favorite summertime salad. Growing up very close to Pittsburgh this salad was on most restaurant menus. Every time we would head east to Pittsburgh we would eat at Primanti Bros. Restaurant and I would order this salad! I love to serve this with Poppy Seed or Sweet and Sour dressing, but you can use our favorite.

Ingredients:
5 rib eye steaks

1 large bag of steak fries deep-fried or baked

½ lb. mild cheddar shredded

1 head lettuce rough chop

1 large stalk celery diced small

2 carrot peeled and julienned

3 large tomatoes wedged

½ large seedless cucumber sliced thin

1 red pepper, julienned

bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 Bottle favorite dressing (I use Poppy Seed or Sweet and Sour)

In a large bowl mix together lettuce, carrots, red pepper and celery. Then in 5 separate salad bowls add you salad mixture. Then arrange your tomatoes and cucumbers around the salad and put them in the refrigerator until ready for use. Season steaks and grill. While steaks are cooking deep fry you French fries.  Add French fries and bacon to top of salads.  Cut steaks into 1 inch strips place on top of fries. Top the hot steak with cheddar cheese. Serve with favorite dressing.
Yield: serves 5

Summer Time Strawberry and Nut Salad with a Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette


This morning I woke up realizing “Today is the first day of my summer break! I am home… Well, that isn’t going to stop me.”  I got my chores done early, I made myself a glass of sweet tea, I suited up in my beach attire, and grabbed my sandchair….”WAIT…. no beach or ocean?….No worries”. I grabbed my Ipad, set up my sandchair in the middle of my patio, sweet tea in hand, chicklit beach book in the other and I was off to the “beach”!

 

 

“Except I don’t smell fresh ocean air. I smell the remnants of my dogs morning feeding that didn’t get picked up(if you know what I mean), and I don’t hear seagulls or waves crashing….WAIT!….I have Ambiance on my Ipad!… I hear waves and seagulls!! I have a sweet tea, a sandchair and a smutty book… Still no sand, but the bricks are hot and it’s a sunny day with a breeze…..EXCEPT… The neighbor kids are riding their bikes and ringing their bike bells yelling, “Shut up, I’m telling!”…NO!!…I am at the “beach”! I hear the waves and seagulls, I smell my suntan lotion, and I feel the heat of the sun…BEEP, BEEP, BEEP… What is that? Is that a delivery truck? ….DING, DING, DING….SHUT UP!!….I’M TELLING!!…MOM!!!……. What’s that odor? Oh yea….Stupid Dogs! …. OMG!!!…. Was that a frog that just hoped by my feet?…. MOM… I’M TELLING…. DING, DING, DING!!!

AWWWWWW……

OK….

I am not at the beach….I am on my patio, hearing sounds and smelling odors that do not resonate from the beach….BUT I am thinking of summer time recipes and most importantly recipes that are easy to put together, but really pack a punch of different flavors and “challenge” me to try different ingredients together!” 

This salad is your canvas. Add your own colors and make it your own!  It’s the delectable match. If you want, add some grilled chicken, steak or a fresh crab cake. It’s perfect!

PS….this dressing is to die for!!

Enjoy and Happy cooking,

Vonnie

Salad:

5-6 cups Mixed Greens of your liking

1 Pound strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced

1/2 cup nuts( almonds or macadamia nut work best) chopped  

1 handful of white chocolate shavings

Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. unsalted butter

2 1/2 oz. brown sugar

2 oz. honey

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 oz. olive oil

Directions:

In a large serving bowl, place washed and spin-dried greens. Toss in sliced strawberries and chopped nuts. Meanwhile in a saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat and stir in brown sugar and honey. Split vanilla bean in half and core (use the pulp only). Transfer butter mixture and vanilla pulp to a blender. Add vanilla extract and pulse for 2 minutes. Slowly add olive oil, pulsing to incorporate. Return to saucepan and keep over low heat until ready to use.

  Dress salad with vinaigrette and top with white chocolate shavings and choice of meat if desired. 

Panzanella Bread Salad


Oh the joys of summer! On the top of the list is fresh, ripe tomatoes, garden cucumbers, and basil that the more you cut, the more it grows. And the tomatoes… Beefsteak, early girls, heirlooms,roma, plum, not to mention the all the varieties of cherry and grape!  Finally the heat is upon us and the garden has finally started to be promising.  This classic Tuscan bread salad is a perfect thing to make with the bounty.  Panzanella at its core is really a way to use up crusty bread that has gotten hard and to celebrate perfect summer tomatoes. It is a cooling summertime salad that relies on the bread as the “filler” to soak up the juices of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as the olive oil you pour over everything.

Once a poor man’s dish, it has become rather trendy. Once you make it, you’ll see why. It’s a great way to show off wonderful, fresh, summer produce and with so few ingredients you will be amazed at how good it is.  I am serving my with my leftover Herb and Dijon Mustard Glazed Turkey Breasts I had for dinner last night! You can serve the salad with any of your favorite grilled meats or it will stand alone for a great Meatless Meal. 
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,

Vonnie                                                                                                                                                              

Ingredients:
4 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups day old (somewhat dry and hard) crusty bread (Italian or French loaf), cut into chunks the same size as the tomatoes*
1 cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into large chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, torn into little pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
* If you don’t have hard old bread sitting around, you can take fresh crusty bread, cut it into big cubes, lay the cubes out on a baking sheet, and put in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until the outer edges have dried out a bit (not toasted, just dried). If you use fresh bread without doing this, the bread may disintegrate into mush in the salad.

Directions:
Mix everything together and let marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours. Do not refrigerate or you will destroy the texture of the tomatoes.

Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6-8.