09 June 2009

A Tale of Two Salads

Summertime. Salad Time. We helped a friend move from one apartment to another last weekend, and I naturally wanted to know if lunch would be involved and "could I bring anything?" We discussed a simple menu over the phone. She would do BBQ ("sloppy joe") sandwiches and chips. Perfect opportunity for some salad-ing. "I'll cover the vegetables," I promised.

Of course, being from the South, I had to make some slaw to go on those sandwiches. And what kind of picnicky-type lunch is complete without potato salad? Never mind that my parents-in-law were down for the weekend too (and staying at our house). It seems like every time they come, I'm up late cooking/baking up something or other. It gives mom-in-law and me a chance to talk food.

After perusing some of my cookbooks for slaw recipes, I decided to wing-it (especially with Mom C's expert advice on hand). Finely cut cabbage (I don't have the patience to hand-grate it), grated carrots, minced onion, a little fresh parsley (from my own herb patch!), and a dressing with . . . well, I don't exactly remember what. Light mayo, a little mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper?

The potato salad went together with a little more consideration. I think I can actually assemble a recipe. I initially thought to call it BP Salad after the four main ingredients, but then it sounds like it came from a gas station . . . not really the feel I'm going for.

Anita's Potato Salad

4 medium-sized potatoes (I used red-skinned because they're pretty)
1/2 bell pepper
4 strips of bacon (I had turkey bacon on hand)
1/4 med. onion, minced (about 3 TBSP)
Fresh Basil, to taste

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 TBSP prepared mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
sugar, to taste (go tsp. by tsp.--I think I used 2-3)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. prepared horseradish (optional)

Dice potatoes (I leave on the skins), cover with water, and boil over medium heat until soft. Meanwhile prepare other ingredients: dice pepper, mince onion, chop basil, and fry and crumble bacon. Mix dressing ingredients until smooth. When potatoes are soft, drain and return to pan. Pour dressing over warm potatoes and stir to coat. Once potatoes are cool, stir in other ingredients. Yum!

Cook's Word: I wasn't too impressed with the slaw. I think some poppy-seed would have helped. It was improved by serving over a BBQ sandwich, though! The potato salad did not originally include basil, but my taste-tester and I agreed that it added a lot of flavor. I also noted that I used turkey bacon which was hard to taste. I think using regular pork bacon would increase the flavor (along with the fat content!).

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