Tag Archives: cooking

Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

 

We’re going on a picnic! It’s hard to believe that Labor Day is just around the corner, and summer is coming to an end. Although, living in Southern California it seems as though summer never really ends, and that’s just fine with me.

However, this weekend we decided to pack the family up in the car (my parents that is, my kids are busy with their own lives) and head 15 minutes west to the beach for a picnic. My all-time favorite meal to pack for a beach picnic lunch is fried chicken and Homemade Potato Salad.

My husband taught me his Homemade Potato Salad recipe 30 years ago, and it’s been a family classic ever since. An ingredient he likes to add to his recipe is prepared horseradish, which I find very few other people use. I find it just gives the dish a little “kick”, and an added layer of flavor.

We’re gonna pack our cooler with potato salad in individual take-out containers accompanied by their own spiffy little fork…and lot’s of extra napkins for the fried chicken. This is also an awesome side dish to serve at your upcoming Labor Day barbecue.

Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad 

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Mama’s Tips:

Cooking times will vary, so start checking your potatoes at 6 minutes for doneness by pulling one cube out of the water, to see if you can easily pierce it with a fork. You definitely do not want to over cook the potatoes as it will result in a mushy potato salad.

The potato salad needs to chill for at least two hours for optimal taste. It’s actually better the next day as it’s thoroughly chilled and the flavors have melded together.

It’s very important that your potato cubes are diced the same size for uniform cooking.

Use only the freshest ingredients for effect Homemade Potato Salad

Use only the freshest ingredients for perfect Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

Homemade Potato Salad

Recipe: Easy

Cucumber and Dill Soup

Cucumber and Dill Soup

Cucumber and Dill Soup

It’s funny how everybody’s been talking about kale lately, like it’s a Kardashian or something. For the last year or so it’s been the new “it” veg. I know a lot of you out there will find this blasphemous, but I’m really not a fan.

Now a vegetable that I really love and gets very little press is the cucumber.  I’m sure many of you find it blandly simple, but I love them in salads, as part of an appetizer, or to give a sandwich some much needed crunch. But, what I really love on a hot summer’s night is this light and refreshing Cucumber and Dill Soup.

Oh, don’t give me that ho-hum look. This cold soup is like taking a bite out of a garden. Farm fresh cucumbers, fresh herbs, and some yogurt and sour cream make this soup the perfect addition to a family dinner. It’s also lovely as a soup-shot appetizer, for a brunch, lunch or for a summer’s night party.

Cucumber and Dill Soup

Cucumber and Dill Soup

Cucumber and Dill Soup

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Cucumber Soup Shots

Cucumber Soup Shots

Mama’s Tips:

I like to garnish my soup with a thinly sliced piece of cucumber, some fresh herbs, fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

To get uniform slices of cucumber, use a mandolin.  They’re sold reasonably priced in stores and on the internet. It just a great kitchen tool that every “chef” should have.

Cucumber and Dill Soup

Cucumber and Dill Soup

Recipe: Easy 

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Onion Crema

I seem to find inspiration in the strangest places.

I was asked by a friend of mine who is a caterer If I would help her cater a large 50th birthday party. We needed to come up with several deliciously good, one-bite appetizers. As I sat at my kitchen table munching a bag of sour cream and onion flavored potato chips that my son had left in the pantry , I had begun pulling out an array of cook books looking for some brilliant ideas for this party.

Half-way through this bag of terribly fattening chips it hit me what a great combination potatoes and sour cream and onion is.  I make these Rosemary Roasted Potatoes all the time, especially for our Thanksgiving dinner, but for this one-bite appetizer I decided to add a flavorful Roasted Onion Crema dipping sauce.

I have found that the Peewee Dutch Yellow Potatoes from Melissa’s Produce work best for this dish, but if you don’t have access to this product Yukon Gold’s are also a good choice.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Onion Crema 

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Sliced Onions for Roasted Onion Crema

Sliced Onions for Roasted Onion Crema

Mama’s Tips

You can use “spears” of rosemary to act as a toothpick for the potatoes.  Just pull off an inch or two of the rosemary leaves and push the branch part into the potato.

When roasting vegetables, make sure that they are all the same thickness and size to insure even roasting. Smaller pieces may burn, and large ones may not cook all the way through.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Onion Crema

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Onion Crema

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Onion Crema

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes with Roasted Onion Crema

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Recipe: Easy 

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

 

I’m sure many of you are faced with the same harrowing dilemma that plagues my family week after week. You go to the market and buy one of those four-foot long French baguettes for dinner, everybody has a piece, and now you’re left with three and a half feet of bread and no clue what to do with it.

My solution to this age-old problem is the Panzanella Salad.  Traditionally a Panzanella Salad is a rustic Italian salad made from tomatoes, onion, and stale bread. I personally like  to add crisp Romaine lettuce and cucumbers to mine. But the best part of the salad is the seasoned and toasted cubes of bread that soak of the dressing, and make this dish taste more like a fresh tomato sandwich, than a tomato salad.

Summer is really the time when tomatoes are at their peak, so I urge you to give this salad a try for your 4th of July barbecue, or for a quick summer’s night supper.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad 

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Brush bread with olive oil and toss with herbs

Brush bread with olive oil and toss with herbs

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Mama’s Tips: 

When toasting the bread cubes, don’t toast them too much so that they’re brown and more like croutons. You still want them to have a little bread-like softness to them.

To de-seed the cucumber: slice the cucumber in half length-wise and with the tip of a spoon run it down the length of the cucumber removing all the seeds.

Here’s a nice little tutorial for cutting a “chiffonade” of basil.

Mini Panzanella Salad

Mini Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Recipe: Easy