Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recipe Review: The Potato Salad

Potatoes!  Oh how I love potatoes!  Fry 'em, mash 'em, bake 'em, you name it...I am ON BOARD!  Maybe it's that red-blooded American in me but I just love me some potatoes.  I have been trying to eat less of them in recent years because all that starch just adds up to extra calories (and extra you-know-what as well).  But how can I resist sharing this love with the rest of you when I couldn't resist the whole idea of making the potato salad in the first place!

First of all, I must admit that there was no "aha" recipe for me this time when making my potato salad.  If I were making this for guests or strangers, I would have put a lot more thought into it.  However, this was mostly for me and for Sameh if he so chooses.  As it was, I was trying to make something different with the potatoes I cooked up the other day to go with the roast beef.  Sameh is not much of a potato person so I have to make them in small quantities for myself or otherwise they go bad (or the other scenario is that I STILL eat them all and you know where that will leave me).

My first pet-peeve when it comes to potato salad is when the potatoes are too hard.  You know what I'm talking about, the store-bought potato salad you bought to go with the fried chicken and the potatoes are so hard you think they might still be raw.  So I like my potatoes well-cooked, which means you have to be very careful with them when you're cutting them and mixing in other ingredients because they can fall apart and then you have potato mush and not potato salad. 

I am sure you all have that favorite potato salad in mind that you are always striving to find again.  For me, that potato salad will always be Momma's.  Years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes and so she gradually stopped making all that good southern-style (aka "to die for") food that we all knew and loved.  And unfortunately I never had the foresight to write down any of her recipes, one being her potato salad.

But there are certain things I know.  You never use just mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip or whatever your choice of white goo is).  You always add mustard.  Potato salad requires a little crunch so add in your onion (as finely chopped as possible in my case), your celery (unfortunately I did NOT have any on-hand as this is not a regular vegetable item we find in the stores here), and your pickles.  Everybody has a favorite pickle as well, whether dill or sweet or bread-n-butter (what IS that anyways).  Mine happens to be dill so in it went.  I actually chopped a bunch of pickles up into itty bitty pieces and then when tasting, I realized that it needed some bigger pieces in all their crispy glory to add that bit of *crunch* that I was missing (no celery, mind you). 

Oh, and never EVER forget the hard-boiled eggs.  For me, a potato salad is never complete without the hard-boiled eggs.  You can layer them on top with some paprika sprinkled over for color or just chop them up and *gently* fold them in - either way delicious things happen!

I have to be honest and tell you that I DID have my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook out for reference and to remind me of the basic ingredients.  There IS a great potato salad recipe in there that I have made on occasion.  My version didn't make much, though, so I wasn't too stressed out about the exact measurements of everything.

That's it for now.  I hope you enjoyed my potato salad comments.  As always, take my advice with a grain of salt because I am NOT a professional! =)

Happy cooking!

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