Friday, July 17, 2009
Summer in the City-Golden Beet Potato Salad
Here's the apartment building-home sweet home
There are times, even in the furnished apartment, far from home, that you still have just got to have a burger and potato salad. It's summer, isn't it? I came "home" from rehearsing with a friend yesterday praying that while I was gone, a balcony avec gas grill had suddenly appeared. I didn't need geraniums hanging from it or cozy chairs, a table or a settee; I just wanted to be able to exit the apartment into somewhere outdoors. (The picinic is another blog.) While the apartment appeared the same as always (just in case, I ran up the three flights of stairs to no avail), I still had the taste for summer fare and began to look in the frig and freezer. The freezer was a bonus chest holding Laura's Lean Beef frozen hamburger patties and 4 whole wheat buns. The frig held some red pepper, red onion, zucchini, broccoli, sweet green-topped small carrots, 4 tiny golden beets, a jar of Klausen dill midgets, lots of eggs and an unusual bottle of Light Canola Mayo from Whole Foods. Now, if you've ever tried to buy mayo at Whole Foods, you know what I mean. I tasted it and promptly returned it to the shelf; perhaps it would improve with another month in the frig.
Surely something could develop out of all of that; I even had a small tomato on the counter leftover from the Farmer's Market. Down on the low shelf was mustard (Sunshine and Dijon) and, from Emily's stay, KETCHUP. Treasure and treasures. Under the sink were the rest of the potatoes I'd bought when we moved in. I got out the cutting board stolen from friend Sue and began chopping, hoping for inspiration to spring whole cloth from the knife.
When nutritionists encourage you to eat foods of many colors, they don't tell you just how stunningly beautiful those foods are. I could hardly keep from snacking on the veg as I chopped, and, why not? You can't get too much veg, can you?
Meantime, I set the potatoes and eggs each in their pots of cold water and then remembered I had no lids for the pots. One pot was so warped, it hardly sat on the uneven burner. Warped pan, uneven burner: insert bad words.
Here's what the inventive cook did:
One cookie sheet
One 9x13 pan cover
Hey, it worked, didn't it?
Meantime, what was the dressing going to
consist of? I opened cupboards and began rummaging. Nice olive oil (I never leave home without it; I have no American Express card), that would be the start. Hmm.. Toasted Sesame Oil: probably not.
Red wine vinegar: same answer. White wine vinegar: ok. Penzey's French Vinaigrette seasoning: well, I hadn't tried it, but today was looking like the day. Salt, Pepper....sounding better by the minute.
While the potatoes and yellow beets cooled, I put the eggs under cold water and peeled them. Chopping them on the board with the veg, I thought I had a good mix that would eat well. I grilled burgers on top of the stove (alas, alack) in the grill pan and toasted the buns (any bread from the freezer needs help), set the table (ok, counter) and mixed in the pot (there's no big bowl in this place!) all of the salad ingredients. Had to have Dave taste it to see if I needed to run to a store and buy Best Foods or Hellman's or whatever they call it here mayo. Dave pronounced it not only edible, but tasty. Here's as near as I can come to a recipe:
Golden Beet Potato Salad
6 medium red potatoes, cooked, cooled, and roughly chopped
3-5 small golden beets, topped and peeled and diced (cooked with potatoes)
3 boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and chopped finely
1/2 c sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 c red onion, minced
1/2 c zucchini, diced
1/4 c dill pickles, diced
1/2c carrots, diced
1/2 c broccoli, diced
1/2 t seasoning *see note
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 T white wine vinegar
1-2 T Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
After making sure potatoes and beets are cooled, add rest of ingredients up to olive oil. Stir gently and season a bit, tasting and re-seasoning. Drizzle salad with olive oil and sprinkle with wine vinegar, first using lower amounts, tasting and then adding more, if necessary. Use first 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, taste, and only add second tablespoon if necessary. Give entire salad an extra few grinds of pepper over the top for garnish.
*Seasoning: I used Penzey's Country French Vinaigrette dry seasoning (in the house), which includes lemon peel, thyme, garlic, tarragon, chives, etc. You could use most any fresh herb or just parsley would be fine. Dried thyme and/or rosemary would probably be tasty if you're careful with amounts.
Be inventive; use whatever veg is in your
frig. If you're unsure about adding something, remove a little salad to a small bowl, add the questionable ingredient and try it before adding to the entire salad. Make enough for two nights; grill some fish or chicken the next night.
Enjoy your summer weekend; I hope YOU have a grill in your backyard!
Just for fun---------here's what I'm reading, listening to, etc this week: (Please post what you're reading, listening to.....)
Piano: Mark Hayes vocal solos for friend Margo's upcoming solos
Organ: Walcha Chorale Preludes
Books: EVOKING SOUND by James Jordan; IONA ABBEY WORSHIP BOOK by The Iona community; PASSION ON THE VINE by
Sergio Esposito. I also continue to peruse FROM NOMADS TO PILGRIMS; STORIES FROM PRACTICING CONGREGATIONS by Diana Butler Bass and Joseph Stewart-Sicking.
Listening: Charpentier "Te Deum" and "Messe de Minuit pour Noel"
Exercise: Walking our
Sing a new song,