Posts Tagged 'Picnic'

Basic Potato Salad

I had one of my most glorious summer nights ever at the end of June.  Some dear friends and I packed ourselves (and our picnics) into a car.  Our destination? Venetucci Farm in Colorado Springs to see Gregory Alan Isakov (one of our local favorites) play al fresco.  It was an evening of great friends (including one I hadn’t seen in nine years!), perfect weather, wonderful music, and (of course) tasty food.

Since my friend handled the concert tickets and the wine, I volunteered to take care of the picnic.  I settled on Pampered Chef’s Italian Muffuletta (I need to make it again because it must be blogged), Martha Stewart’s Basic Potato Salad, grapes, and Coconut-Apricot Macaroons.  Everything was so delicious and so able to be made ahead (a picnic must).  Here’s the recipe for the potato salad:

Basic Potato Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients:
3 pounds waxy potatoes (such as Yukon gold or new), scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
4 scallions, white part minced, green part thinly sliced
Coarse salt
Ground pepper
3/4 cup light mayonnaise

Method:
Set a steamer basket in a Dutch oven (or large pot with a lid), and add enough salted water to come just below the basket; bring to a boil.

Place potatoes in basket, cover pot, and reduce heat to a gentle simmer.  Steam potatoes, gently tossing occasionally, until tender, 15 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine vinegar, scallion whites, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Add hot potatoes to vinegar mixture; toss to combine.  Cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour.

Add mayonnaise and scallion greens to cooled potatoes; mix gently to combine. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Source: Everyday Food, June 2007

Basic Potato Salad

Now I am all for eating complicated potato salads with long lists of ingredients (particularly if that list includes bacon and/or sour cream), but making them can be a pain.  This salad is super simple with minimal hands-on time, but it’s seriously tasty (though liking vinegar is a must).  It’s tangy and creamy, with the slightest bite from the scallions.  YUM.  I’m going to make this one again when my parents come to visit next month.

TIPS: Next time, I’ll be sure put my scallion whites and greens in separate little bowls while I make this.  I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to the recipe, and I put my whites and greens in the vinegar with the hot potatoes.  The result? Sad, wilted, washed-out-looking scallion greens.  I solved the problem by snipping some of my CSA chives over the top, but next time, I’ll just do it right the first time.

Recipe link: Basic Potato Salad

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BLT Bites

Hey there, strangers!  Between a trip to the Kentucky Derby, a milestone birthday, two sets of house guests, and a trip back home, May has been a crazy busy month. As much as I love the adventure and the company, I’m hoping to bring in June with some semblance of a routine (and lots of cooking, of course!).

I made today’s recipe – BLT Bites – for last month’s gourmet club meeting.  We each made recipes from our respective Junior League cookbooks: Louisville, Denver, and Omaha (mine!).  Of the three appetizers I made, this one was definitely my favorite…  Each piece was a little taste of heaven.

BLT Bites

Creamy mayo, smoky bacon, juicy tomatoes - heaven!

There are some awfully similar recipes floating around online, but I couldn’t find the exact recipe I used anywhere else.  Here it is:

BLT Bites
Makes about 14 appetizers

Ingredients:
14 large cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Method:
Cut an 1/8-inch slice from the bottom of each tomato with a serrated knife.  Gently scoop out pulp and seeds from the cut end with a melon baller cutter or a grapefruit spoon; discard.  Sprinkle tomato shells with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and invert on paper towels to drain.  In a small bowl, combine bacon, lettuce, green onions, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture evenly into tomato shells and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Source: Toast to Omaha

Notes:

  • I could not for the life of me figure out why the recipe wanted me to scoop out the pulp and seeds from the bottom of the tomatoes.  I ended up cutting a thin sliver from the bottom of the tomatoes to help keep them upright, then I sliced off the tops and scooped out the pulp and seeds from there.
  • I had five slices of bacon and couldn’t see throwing one lonely slice back into the refrigerator, so I used it all.  How can more bacon be a bad thing?
  • I used light mayonnaise, coarse salt, and plain dried breadcrumbs.  (I bet homemade breadcrumbs would be especially fabulous.)
  • Despite having two other appetizers on the table, I don’t think the 14 pieces this recipe made were enough for six people.  We were calling dibs and wanting more.

Make these!  You’ll love ’em.  They’ve definitely earned a permanent spot in my summer buffet rotation.

White Bean-and-Tomato Salad

This all started with the second batch of slow cooker pork I’ve made in one week’s time.

See, I’m trying to come up with some solid taco meat that I can make ahead in the slow cooker for my fiesta next month.  Last week, I made Everyday Food‘s Spicy Pulled Pork, which is good enough that I’ll probably write it up soon.  It was way too saucy to be taco meat, though.  Yesterday, I made a batch of carnitas in my slow cooker using a recipe from AllRecipes.com.  The meat was really tender and moist, but it didn’t taste like much (despite a spice rub and a chicken broth bath). Needless to say, Dr. O and I have been eating massive quantities of Mexican-style pork, and it’s getting a bit old.

So tonight I’m deviating from the menu plan – rebel, rebel! – and spicing up the leftovers.  With a little barbecue sauce and a skillet, the carnitas will become pulled pork sandwiches.  I wanted some kind of barbecue-style salad to go on the side to round things out, and I just happened to have everything for Everyday Food‘s White Bean-and-Tomato Salad.  I hate to do too much work on leftovers night, so thankfully, the salad only took 5 minutes to throw together.

In a large bowl, I combined 1 (19-ounce) can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), 1 pint of quartered cherry tomatoes, 4 scallions (thinly sliced), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  The recipe says to season with salt and pepper but doesn’t specify quantities; I used about 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.  I tossed everything together and stashed it in the refrigerator until dinnertime.  (The salad can be made up to 1 day ahead.)  That’s it!

White Bean-and-Tomato Salad

Despite the use of canned beans, this salad tastes really fresh.  The acid from the tomatoes and the lemon juice really brightens things up, and the scallions add a bit of zip.  I love the texture play between the beans and the fresh tomatoes as well. This salad would be right at home on any barbecue buffet or in any picnic basket; I anticipate using this recipe over and over again this summer.

TIPS:  This is definitely one of those recipes that will be horribly bland if you don’t season it correctly.  Start with my recommended seasonings (or a bit less); you can always add more.  Always, always, always taste food and adjust seasonings to your liking before serving!  🙂

Update 4/18/10: I’ve found that seasonings typically fade a bit when I refrigerate salads, and this one was no exception.  After tasting it, I stirred in another pinch of salt before it hit the dinner table.

Recipe link: White Bean-and-Tomato Salad




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