Monday, May 19, 2008

German Potato Salad

Another trip down memory lane, just in case anyone cares. When I was living in the middle country, during Muffin: The College Years, I had this huge back porch/back yard (ok, huge for large apple standards so I guess that's not saying much) that was made for grilling. And so my cohorts and I would have these backyard, grilled-meat extravaganzas as soon as the usually nasty weather became slightly less so. A bunch of tasty little numbers (referring both to the dishes and their owners) would appear each time. Anyway, one time a friend brought by this amazing concoction...resembling a potato salad but with...BACON...(and no mayo....blach). This is when I was introduced to German Potato Salad. It's the same as that gloppy mess that normally appears at your average grill session, well, only if say you think the big mac is the same as a Royale burger (who's with me?). It can be served warm, room temp, or cold, garnished with scallions and/or chives, what's not to love. So I went on a mission to find the perfect recipe, and believe it or not, the Joy made it happen. So behold, German Potato Salad (adapted from the Joy of Cooking, I made a few changes)

I haven't made this since I discovered a better way to make bacon, so you can use whatever method you like best, just as long as it gets super crunchy.

6-8 large baking potatoes
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
1/4 c chicken stock
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dry mustard
4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or chives if available)

Boil the potatoes until tender, remove from water and peel (it's usually possible to just remove the skins with your fingers). Chop into bite-size chunks and add to a large bowl.
Cook the bacon (stove-top or in the oven), but make sure it's in a pan that will save the drippings. Crumble and add to potatoes.
Add the celery and onion to the reserved bacon fat and saute. Add chicken stock, vinegar, paprika, dry mustard and salt and bring to the boiling point. Add this mixture to the bowl and stir to thoroughly coat the potatoes. Sprinkle the scallions and parsley over the top before serving.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

by request - even more taters!

Well, I bet you didn't know this, but I take requests...or at least I do now. I recently got a request from a dear member of the muffin fam for the following recipe. This is a super-easy one I throw together whenever I need a quick starch dish. You know, all of a sudden you go to get out that loaf of bread you just bought and it's sporting a small green civilization on it's crust....mmmm, mold. So what's next? Well, potatoes. It's rare that I don't have a few lying around, considering they last longer than anything else I keep in the fridge. So here's a quick and super tasty tater dish.

Note: The smaller and fresher the taters the better. My favs are the spring new potatoes, red or white skinned. If you use larger ones, just use less, though I would advise against anything with a thick skin (like a baking potato) because you'll probably end up peeling them and that's just no fun at all.

5 or 6 small potatoes
6 or 7 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 stick butter

Boil potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain. Add the chopped scallions, butter and salt to the pot and cook over med-low heat for a few minutes, until the scallions soften. Meanwhile, roughly chop the potatoes into bite-size pieces. Add them back into the pot and stir to coat with the scallion mixture.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pasta With Broccoli, Roasted Garlic and Pine Nuts

I always like a challenge (ok, so that's not really true)....I occasionally like a challenge. Now, normally when I have veggie guests over, I keep the sides veggie and then create some sort of alternative for the entree. The other day however, this here rabid carnivore created not only an entire vegetarian meal, but an entire vegan anything is possible, right? The centerpiece of this extravaganza is the following pasta tastiness.

I've recently discovered the awesomeness that is roasted garlic. Now we all know how much I love garlic, so it's strange that I didn't run into the warm olive oil-y arms of roasted garlic a long time ago. But now that I know how easy it is, and how num num nummy, the possibilities are endless. And so to begin:

1 head garlic, separated into cloves
1/3 c olive oil
1/8 c pine nuts
salt & pepper
1 1/2 lb broccoli, cut into florets
1 lb pasta

Preheat over to 350. Toss the garlic with the oil and roast in a covered ovenproof dish for approximately 30 minutes. Toast the pine nuts alongside the garlic for 15 minutes.
When the garlic is cool, squeeze the cloves from their peels and mash them with the oil. Add salt and pepper.
Boil the broccoli until tender. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Reserve 1/2 c of the pasta water when draining the pasta.
Toss the pasta, broccoli, pine nuts, and garlic mixture. Add some of the pasta water if the mixture is too dry.