Saturday, June 18, 2011
"What is it? I dunno, I dug it outta the dirt....let's eat it!"
If you start thinking about food, it has to make you wonder who first thought that some stuff might be a great thing to put on a plate and feed your family with. Snails, for instance....REALLY? Unless Pierre was lost in a vineyard with no compass, no baguette or stinky cheese and felt the need to stay alive long enough to don a beret and grow the moustache of a simp, and decided the only way to sustain himself was eating a couple slimy things he pried out of a shell he found climbing up a grapevine, I can't imagine anyone thinking "Hey, I bet those slugs crawling around in my bushes would taste delicious in some garlic butter". Same thing goes for moldy cheese....my guess is that Marie Curie had a big hunk of delicious cheese in her icebox, then she got busy radiating herself inventing, well, radium, and the next time she went on a midnight raid, found it was tainted with blue fur. So, being the entrepenur she obviously was, she told everyone it was her new invention, and it became famous and people ate it because they thought their friends would think they were cool. I just made that up, except the radium part, and she did discover penicillin, but probably not with cheese. And the radium killed her...or MAYBE it was the cheese....
So potatoes....Idaho russets look like a dirt clod, so it must have been a huge leap of faith to actually cut into one and eat it - good thing someone did though, because if not we might be eating turnip fries. Altho I am still not convinced that turnips are or should ever be considered a food..yuck. Stuff that requires more butter than a Holstein can produce milk for in a week to be edible aren't really considered food by me. There are also different kinds of potatoes - red, yellow, purple, sweet, yams, new....probably more, but those are what I know. And they are either waxy or russets....I think brown are the only ones that aren't considered waxy in the non-sweet variety - waxy have more water content, and in my opinion have more flavor and creamy texture than brown. But they all have good points, and a brown baked in the oven after washing, poking with a couple holes, coating with olive oil and liberally sprinkling with kosher salt is a carb in need of some serious fat that I can't say no to. Mealy, dry but moist, and smells SO good - I wish I could just eat it plain, but it begs, no DEMANDS to be fully loaded with butter, sour cream, green onion, bacon, salt and pepper. No wonder the cellulite in my thighs has eyes.
Anyhoo, the great debate on potato salad will never die as long as more than one person is left on earth. You know how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all one? I bet they each have their own pref....I"m going to guess that Jesus likes his with dill pickles, the Holy Spirit with sweet relish and Miracle Whip, and God likes his straight up with Best Foods. And I know they say God is perfect and all, but that whole Miracle Whip, if true, would shake my faith to the core. Does anyone really like that crap? It's like Mayo and Marshmallow cream went on a date and they were parking and watching submarine races and some weird glittery cloud engulfed their car and turned them into the hideous Miracle Whip. That's what you get for making out, you ridiculous condiments.
My mother-in-law Carol was famous far and wide for her potato salad, and after my mom's version (uh, my hatred of Miracle Whip came quite honestly), I found it to be light, refreshing and frikkin delicious. Then my sister-in law Pam introduced our family to HER mom's p-salad, and I became confused....Mary McGregor sang about it in "Torn Between Two Lovers" back in the olden days (I bet you didn't know that was about potato salad). BUT, her version required slight adjustments....celery and radishes, altho trendy and hip, were not gonna happen in my ps. Handsome Stranger suspects anything with crunch is filled with eggshells, and he is fearful of a goodly number of vegetables. The cool thing about my MIL, God rest her soul, was that she would CATER to her children and make separate salads for the whiners that don't eat eggs or onions...sorry Deb and Walt, you know who you are, and how much your mom loved you.
I still can't pick a winner - I always lean towards Pam's because I love red potatoes more, but Carol's is SO DAMN GOOD....makes me question the winner every time. And both very simple, not a pickle in sight - for cryin out loud, if you want a pickle, go get a deep fried one at the Iowa State Fair - just keep them outta my PS. So here are both recipes, even tho Pam's is more of a guide....never pinned down qty's, just throw it together every time. But it's ALWAYS good....and if by good, you think I mean blow your socks off, tickle your funnybone, curl your eyelashes good, you would be correct!
Carol's Potato Salad
10# bag of russet potatoes
1 dozen eggs
1 bunch green onion
1+ jars of Best Foods Mayo (you can use others if you like it crappy)
1/3 C. lemon juice, nothin' fancy, right outta the green bottle is fine
1/3 C. dried parsley (don't use fresh...it's like garden mulch in this)
Salt & FRESH GROUND Pepper to taste
Wash potatoes (just rinse them, you peel so who cares about dirt), cover in stockpot several inches with water, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer, cover and cook 20-30 minutes or until the biggest ones can be easily pierced with a sharp knife. And were you aware that undercooking potatoes for salad is against the little known 11th commandment, Thou Shalt Not Useth Hard Spuds? Drain and cool on cookie sheet. Put eggs in large saucepan, cover with cold water a couple inches above eggs, then bring to a boil, turn down to a low boil and set timer for exactly 10 minutes unless you like gray egg yolks. When the timer goes off, drain off most of the hot water, then put under running cold water until eggs and water are both cold. When cooled, peel potatoes and eggs.
Clean and slice green onion thinly, using white and green part. Quarter and slice cooled potatoes into thin slices, put in LARGE bowl. Add onion, then cut eggs in half and slice thinly; add to bowl with lemon juice, a full jar of mayo, the parsley and some salt and pepper. Stir until combined and taste - adjust salt and pepper to your preference. If it's too dry for your taste, crack the other jar and add a little at a time - you don't want to swim in it, but it should be creamy. And there you have it - light and lemony, with a mean eggy flavor....crap, I need another bite now.
Pam's Potato Salad
Red potatoes, let's say 5#
Eggs - how about a dozen? Yup...LOTS of eggs are key
Mayo - BFFBF - Best Friend Forever Best Foods
Salt & Pepper
OK, now do everything I said in the last recipe, just omit the lemon juice, parsley, and green onion. And I tell you honestly, you will wonder HOW the HELL 5 ingredients can make you want to spread this stuff on your waterbed mattress and wrestle in it (sorry Pam, didn't mean to let your secret out) - it's wicked good, especially on potato chips for dip. And if you like crunchy veggies in your p-salad, go ahead and add sliced celery and radishes - shoot, you can undercook the potatoes and use Nayonnaise if you want, just be ready to eat the entire bowl yourself because even the garbage man will take that mess out of the can and leave it on the lid for you to take back home. And happy upcoming 4th of July - and just say NO to pickles and Miracle Whip!