Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Homegrown Potato Salad

Summer, where does the time go? I went to out to pull weeds one day and three weeks passed. In that time the garden had developed early blight which sent me into a tizzy being that ¾ of what was planted is susceptible. I will never plant the garden without pretreating for this nasty fungus again. Think I may have stemmed the tide but the thought of losing everything is not a good one.

After the events of June, I had what I thought was a week off for some commando gardening to find out we were hosting a July 4th party for some 11 friends in a mere 2 days. No problem, that’s what caterers do, right? Well, as you all know, when it’s your own home and garden a tiny bit of panic sets in. My home has that “lived in” look and I grew up with a mother whose philosophy is that if you are coming to see what kind of housekeeper I am you can keep on going. Did I mention one of the party guests would be my mother, who would be staying a few days?

So as I am dealing with the onset of early blight in the vegetable garden I set out to prepare for my guests, gathering up those extra chairs and making sure they are clean, pulling the July 4th decorations out of hiding, getting the room Mom will be staying in squared away, filling bins with all the flotsam and jetsam of my daily life to be stowed till the revelers go, beverages in, ice procured and I have to make a menu. I am fortunate, there is no question, with what I do for a living, so I went to my own freezer and frig, took inventory and made the menu and food for about 20 without hitting the stores.

The point is, before making a menu, look to see what you already have; chances are good you are more than halfway there. Pull out that vegetable drawer (s) and take a complete inventory, tweak your recipes and menu to include what you have. Have you begun my habit of tucking away odds and ends into the freezer? If you are organized and keep a list, pull it out, if you just shove them into the freezer like some people I know (me), take a good look, there is a gold mine in there of work you have already done and beautiful ingredients ready to be showcased.

The Menu:

  • Grilled Garlic Chicken
  • House Smoked Pork Loin
  • Hot Dogs (can it be the 4th without them?)
  • Newly harvested homegrown Fingerling Potato & Pea Salad
  • Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Salad in an Orange Pecan Dressing
  • Black Bean and Corn Salad
  • Watermelon and Mint
  • Homemade Pickled Jalapenos
  • Homemade Fennel Pickles
  • Cream Corn Scones with softened Butter
  • Brownies, Blondies and Pecan Bars
  • Ice Cream Bars from the Ice Cream man as we watched the fireworks over the lake

 My Favorite Potato Salad

Yield: 4 quarts or anywhere from 12-20 guests

This recipe came out of Bon Appetite so many years ago I have lost the copy of it and being that I am growing my own potatoes now, well, it has only become more of a favorite.

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes


• Pot to boil potatoes in
• Small mixing bowl
• Whisk
• Rubbermaid Spatula


  • 3 -4 pounds Fingerling or Red Potatoes, scrubbed with skin on
  • ½ to 2/3 cup shelled Peas briefly cooked. (Frozen is perfectly acceptable)
  • Salt
  • 3/4 to 1  cup Hellmann’s Mayo
  • 1/3 cup good Dijon Mustard
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • ¼ cup or more of chopped chives. Scallions may be substituted.


1. Cook your peas and set aside or pull peas from freezer and run under lukewarm water.

2. Place potatoes in pot of cold water with enough salt to fill the cup you make with the palm of your hand about 2-3 Tablespoons.

NOTE: In harvesting my own potatoes, they came up in many sizes. Place the larger ones in first to cook a bit, then work your way down to the smallest ones to ensure you do not overcook the potatoes. The same size differential often happens with bags of potatoes purchased at the market. Cook according to size.

3. Stir occasionally to keep cooking even and with a skewer test for doneness. The potato should be easily pierced but still have a bit of resistance.

4. Drain and cut into ¾ to 1 inch chunks.

5. While potatoes are cooking whisk the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper together to make a creamy dressing.

a. When making dressing if you prefer more or less of a bite from the mustard, adjust amount of mustard. Same goes for mayo, some like it creamier than others.

6. Pour dressing over warm potatoes, correct seasoning.

If the salad is not to be eaten right away, cover everything and put in frig. Prior to serving, add peas and chives

No comments:

Post a Comment