Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mustardy Potato Salad

Perfect potatoes
While I have tried several potato salads I have not liked, generally I am a huge fan of potato salad. I prefer vinegar and mustard-based potato salads not the creamy ones. I make two different potato salads- one I use for the base of a nicose salad and a mustard and vinegar based potato salad. Does that mean that my potato salad always tastes the same? Oh my goodness no! I vary the mustards and vinegars I use. I have a great love of vinegars and mustards and it is almost like I collect them. I love Cajun mustard, coarse German mustard, and coarse mustard with horseradish in this potato salad. Often I use rice wine vinegar (I love rice wine vinegar).  I have also been know to use a white wine vinegar or an infused vinegar. The possibilities are endless.
The potatoes are key. There are so many choices of potatoes. I like to use Yukon or new potatoes. Thankfully I get new potatoes from our CSA. I used a mix of Yukon and new potatoes and it was awesome. I peeled the Yukon potatoes and left the skins on the red potatoes.
For the bacon I use slab bacon. I am very picky about my bacon and I try to get local bacon. If I have to get bacon at the grocery store or a butcher, I get a good quality slab bacon. You can also substitute ham for the bacon.
As a final touch,  you can also throw some diced herbs on top when serving or mix in some boiled egg.

Mustard Potato Salad

About 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg) of Potatoes, Diced
4 oz (115 g) of Bacon, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup (120 g) of Onion, Diced
1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Mustard
1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Vinegar
2 Boiled Eggs, Diced (Optional)
Handful of Chopped Herbs (Optional)

Boil the potatoes in water until fork tender (about 15 minutes). Drain the potatoes. While the potatoes  are boiling, fry the bacon until slightly crispy (about 5 minutes) and add the onions.
Frying bacon
Sauté until the onions are starting to brown. Take the skillet off of the heat and add the mustard and vinegar.
Mustard bacon mixture
Toss the bacon mixture with the potatoes. Add boiled egg or diced herbs. Serve warm or cold.
The finished potato salad
The bottom line: Will I make this again? Of course I will. It is amazing that only a few ingredients can create something so good. I hope to make this salad with my own home grown potatoes (maybe even the potatoes growing in the compost pile).

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quinoa and Couscous Mediterranean Salad

Quinoa and Couscous Salad
I have a new love-- quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). Quinoa is a grain-like crop; it is also referred to as a pseudocereal. It is grown for its seeds which have a nutty taste to them. It is delicious and nutritious. It is a complete protein (meaning it has all eight amino acids). It is easy and quick to prepare. My favorite way to make quinoa is to mix it with pearl or Israeli couscous. I mix two parts quinoa (make sure you don't have to presoak it) and one part couscous. When I can find it I use Bob's Red Mill multicolored pearl couscous and red quinoa (because it is so pretty). The same directions apply if you use just couscous or quinoa.

1 3/4 Cups (420 ml) of Water or Broth (I like using vegetable broth)
1 Tsp of Olive Oil
1 1/4 Cups (200g) of Quinoa/Couscous Mixture
Quinoa and pearl couscous
In a medium sized pan bring the broth to a boil and add the olive oil.

Cooked quinoa and couscous

Quinoa and Couscous Salad

2 Cups of Cooked and Cooled Quinoa and Couscous
1/2 Cup (30 g) of Chopped Parsley
2 Tbsp of Chopped Mint
2 Tbsp of Chopped Basil
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup (60 ml) of Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Olive Oil
Fresh herbs

Combine all of the ingredients and let set for at least one hour.

Optional ingredients to add a handful of sliced kalamata olives, feta cheese, diced shrimp, or diced veggies (I really like tomatoes and cucumbers). Also the herbs can be changed depending on what you feel like. You can switch lime juice for the lemon. I really like the idea of sun dried tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella.

The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes- I love easy flexible dishes. This one went as fast as I made it. It didn't get enough time for the flavors to mingle. Oh, well maybe next time. [Note- I have made this two more times since I typed up the blog post- yum!].

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blueberry Sorbet

Blueberry and strawberry sorbet
It's blueberry season!  I am not as crazy about blueberries as the rest of my family and that it a huge understatement.  I am crazy about blueberry sorbet. It is delicious.  It is fresh and full of flavor. It is more blueberry than blueberries.
I love this time of year. I am busy making all kinds of fruit sorbets. My all time favorite is watermelon sorbet but it is way too early for watermelon. I planted a watermelon plant this year hoping for fresh watermelon for sorbet. Meanwhile it is blueberry season and I believe in making the most of what's in season. This is definitely making the most of the blueberry season.

Blueberry Sorbet
5 Cups (700 g) of Blueberries
1/4 Cup (50 g) of Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Honey
3 Tbsp of Lemon Juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Blueberries, honey, sugar, and lemon
Puree the mixture.
Pureeing the blueberry mixture
Strain the puree- you will have to use a spatula or spoon to get all of the puree through the strainer.Be patient it takes a while.
 Process the sorbet according to your ice cream maker's directions.

That's it! The result amazing concentrated blueberry sorbet. The bottom line: will I make this again? Yes- it is incredible.