Mediterranean Potato Salad

Med Potato Salad

 

I found the original recipe for this at Simply Recipes while searching for a mayo-free potato salad. When it’s a million degrees here I want something that can handle the heat and stay safe longer than mayo-based salads. This has become a staple in my house! It’s good cold or at room temperature, and the simplified version I make comes together crazy quick.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut
  • 1 16-ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they’re easily pierced with a fork; scoop them out but don’t drain the water
  2. Boil the green beans in the same water until they’re also tender, or as tender as you like if you’re one of those “tender-crisp” people
  3. Cut the peppers into strips or dice, whatever your little heart desires
  4. Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper, then add in all the vegetables; taste, and add more salt if needed (potatoes need a lot, I find)

Variations: you can change out the lemon juice for any kind of vinegar: champaign, red wine, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar are all good. You can add some Tony Chachere’s or similar in place of some of the salt if you like a kick to it.

Once it’s been chilled in the fridge, I like it to sit out about 30 minutes or so till the chill is knocked off a bit; then it’s perfect for me.

What other variations should we try?

Trail’s End cornbread

This cornbread would give my grandmother the vapors. It is sweet (which I love — don’t tell her), which makes it Yankee Cornbread. I actually cut the sugar some, and it’s still fabulously sweet without being, you know, a cake. I also cut the recipe in half which made a great size (an 8 inch skillet) for us.

The recipe is originally from Disney’s Trail’s End, but I found it linked here.

Trail’s End cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter or bacon grease

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven AND SKILLET to 375F
  2. Mix together cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour with a fork
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add in milk and egg; beat egg with fork, then stir to combine all ingredients
  4. Remove hot skillet from oven and add butter or bacon grease (carefully! It will sizzle) to skillet, swirling around till it melts and coats the pan
  5. Pour excess butter/bacon grease into cornbread mixture, stir quickly to combine, then pour back into hot skillet and slide it into the oven
  6. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes

Sweet, savory carrots

I am not the world’s best vegetable eater. I know this about myself, but I also know they’re, you know, vegetables; I need to find ways to make them taste good to me.

And friends? I have found the way with carrots. I am in LOVE with these. I’ve eaten them with lunch every day this week. This is HUGE.

I started with bacon, because so many good things start with bacon. I fried it up in a pan, then added some carrots (I used baby carrots because I had them; any kind will do). I poured in some chicken broth I had in the freezer and let them simmer a long time, because I’m Southern and I like my vegetables cooked a long time. I salted them and they were really good, but could maybe use something else, so I was digging around the fridge looking for inspiration and I found it: apricot preserves. Seriously, one tablespoon simmered in with the chicken broth and they were heaven on a plate. Please try it and let me know what you think!

Sweet, savory carrots

Ingredients

  • two slices bacon
  • half pound carrots, cut however you like them
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. apricot preserves

Instructions

  1. In a shallow pan, fry the bacon till crispy, then add in carrots, chicken broth, and salt; simmer, covered, till the carrots are as soft as you like them
  2. Add in apricot preserves and simmer with the lid off, stirring periodically, till preserves are all melted in and sauce is slightly thickened
  3. Serve with a little sauce spooned over the top (these are awesome served over rice so the rice can soak up a little sauce as well)

Sweet potato bake

Kiddo is not really a huge fan of sweet potatoes (or many other vegetables),  but he LOVES this. He calls it “the sweet potatoes with the eggs” and is almost guaranteed to eat it. Peanut loves it too, and this cooks up thick enough that I can cut it and give her little finger-food sized pieces. Honestly, I love it as well! I’ve yet to meet a sweet potato I didn’t like, but these are especially good.

Sweet potato bake

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • extra cinnamon sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes (or microwave!) till completely soft; discard the skin
  2. Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes, then mix together with sugar, beaten eggs, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla
  3. Dot the top of the mixture with butter, and sprinkle with extra cinnamon sugar if so desired
  4. Spoon into a buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned

Notes

After baking, I slice this like a pie and freeze the pieces individually; they warm up beautifully in the microwave and are a great way to add easy veggies to lunch!

Of course sweet potatoes make me think: what is your stance on the mini marshmallows on sweet potatoes? Yay or nay?

Broccoli bites

My little Peanut, as you may have heard, is NUTS for broccoli. Like, a crazy woman. I actually thought I didn’t like broccoli for years and years — it was roasted broccoli that won me over, and now I just love it in general. Since Peanut loves broccoli all the time any time, I was looking for some new ways to prepare it to give her a little variety. These turned out to be so good that we both ate them! I dipped mine in a little ranch dressing; quite tasty!

Broccoli bites

Yield: about a dozen

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chopped broccoli, drained well
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then scoop out with a cookie scoop, gently shaping into patties on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes; flip them over and bake for another 10

Since Peanut is ALL ABOUT THE BROCCOLI I would love to hear more broccoli ideas! How do y’all use it?

Flour tortillas

These. Are. Amazing. I can say that without bragging because it’s not my recipe; I just made ’em.

This is a Mark Bittman recipe that I scribbled down on a piece of paper without much documentation; I’ll assume it’s either from one of his NYT articles or from How to Cook Everything. These top every single homemade tortilla I’ve ever made or eaten, and they’re quick and easy to boot. NO BRAINER.

Flour tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 oz) AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. lard (yes, lard, people — don’t be afraid)
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Instructions

  1. Dust off your food processor and dump in the flour, salt and lard; pulse about ten times to cut in the fat
  2. With the machine running, add the water till the dough kind of all the sudden comes together in a ball
  3. Dump it on the counter and knead by hand for about one minute, then wrap in plastic wrap to rest for at least 15 minutes, but up to all day at room temperature
  4. Cut the dough into six pieces and heat a large (cast iron if you have it) skillet for 4-5 minutes on medium; roll out or press the tortillas till they’re quite thin, then cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, till little browned spots appear. Eat immediately (duh), or keep warm by wrapping in a towel, or cool then keep in the fridge in a large zip top bag.

I used these to make quesadillas with some leftover steak and cheese, but they’re also heavenly for veggie wraps, or slathered in butter and cinnamon sugar and rolled up for breakfast. Enjoy!

 

Caesar dressing

We had one glorious almost-70-degree day here in Nashville and it made me SO READY for spring rightnowthisinstant. This, of course, made me want a good salad! I found this dressing recipe in Rick & Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures, which I love. The recipe is insanely quick, easy and good, which I also love.

Caesar dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Instructions

  1. Crush peeled garlic (putting it in the microwave for about 5 seconds first will make this easier) into a 2-cup glass jar with a lid
  2. Add all remaining ingredients into the jar, cover tightly and shake
  3. Store in jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Enjoy, y’all. Spring is coming!