Tag Archives: salad

Celine’s Potato Salad

My mom is famous for her potato salad–the magic lies in the dressing.  When I was a kid, Mom made the dressing in a yellow Currier and Ives mug.  It was an old mug with crackled glaze that coffee had permeated, darkening the cracks.  Mom knew exactly how much of each ingredient to put in by how it looked in the mug, and knew she had the correct proportions when the color of the dressing matched the color of the mug. 

Then one day…..the mug broke.  Would the potato salad ever be the same?  Turns out, yes!  We had a flavor memory of it and knew when the dressing tasted right and called to mind that old mug by its color. 

This potato salad tastes like a Memorial Day or Labor Day picnic and is fairly simple to make:

  • 6 potatoes, peeled, boiled and sliced
  • 2 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red onion, diced  (adjust to how well you like onions)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise  (or Miracle Whip)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard 
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Boil until fork tender, drain.

Hard boil eggs, cool.   (I boil them for 5 minutes and then let them stand in the hot water for another 5 minutes.)

While potatoes and eggs are cooking, make the dressing.  Add mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to a 1 cup measuring cup.

Mix with a fork until blended.  Taste it.  If it tastes too “sharp,” add a bit of sugar.  If it tastes too sweet, add a bit of vinegar.  Adjust salt and pepper to your liking.  Here is the color for it to be truly “Celine’s Potato Salad.”  The color can be adjusted with mayo (to make it lighter) or mustard (to make it more yellow).

Cool potatoes just enough to handle them.  You want them to be a bit warm when you coat them in the dressing–they’ll soak up the flavors better.  Slice potatoes into a bowl.

Dice onion and add to the bowl.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes and onions, stir gently to coat.

Peel and slice the eggs.  Arrange them over the top of the potato salad.  Sprinkle with paprika, cover and cool completely in the refrigerator.

Serve along side your favorite picnic fare.  It’s the perfect cool and creamy accompaniment to grilled meats.  To obtain the classic flavor, don’t change anything in the recipe.  

This yummy potato salad takes me right back to my childhood and picnics at the house for summer holidays.  I can smell the charcoal and the burgers cooking.  The perfect drink pairing–lemonade.  The perfect end to the evening–catching fireflies.  Ahhhhhhh……

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Filed under Food memories, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Marinated Steak Salad

Looking for a perfect date-night meal?  Here it is!  Super easy, impressive presentation, and mmmm-mmmmm yummy!  My friend Carol was searching my blog for something to do with a sirloin steak a few weeks back and found nothing!  I rarely eat red meat, so I had neglected recipes containing it.  Well.  Carol inspired me, I found some nice little sirloin steaks at the grocery last week and voila!  A meal that made DH say yum!

Only a few things are needed:

 Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 2 small sirloin steaks (about 8 oz each)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula
  • parmesan cheese ribbons, cut using a vegetable peeler
  • dressing of your choice–a balsamic vinaigrette is perfect!
  • small handful chives, snipped into tiny pieces for garnish

You’ll also need a ziploc bag and a grill–indoor or out, grill pan or broiler.

Place an open ziploc bag in a bowl.  Add balsamic vinegar and dijon.  Whisk to combine.

Add steak, press out air and seal.  Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to overnight.  (The longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor and the more tender the meat.  Turn the bag over occasionally for even marination.  If you have a tender cut to begin with, no need for long marinating.)

Preheat your grill when you’re ready and place steaks.  Grill for 6-8 minutes per side for medium rare-medium doneness.  (If you’re grilling indoors, remember to turn your exaust fan on high!)

Remove from grill to a cutting board.  Tent with foil and let rest 3-5 minutes. 

Prepare a baby arugula salad by placing a handful of arugula on one side of a plate, adding as much chopped shallots as you like and make some big ribbons of parmesan using a vegetable peeler.

Slice the steak against the grain on a diagonal.  Use your knife to lift the steak onto the top of the arugula salad.  Top with salad dressing and chives.  Add a side dish, such as a twice-baked potato (recipe tomorrow!), and Voila!  It’s date night!

Ya gotta love it when something so pretty and so yummy is so easy!  I marinated for just 15 minutes–giving the steak just the slightest tang, but providing a coating that seared beautifully.  Yummy!

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Filed under dinner, recipe, salad

Dreaming of Warmer Days Salad

Today was my monthly “lunch with the retired ladies” and I was bringing the salad.  (By the way….we three retired ladies are former teachers.  We all taught together at one time in the same middle school before moving on to other schools and eventually retirement.)  Dreaming of warmer days ahead, I selected a salad my friend Louise made for DH and I when we were visiting.  It has all the flavors I associate with springtime in a fresh combination.  This salad is a great side dish, and could be a lunch all on its own.  Besides that, it’s really pretty!  : )

Here are the ingredients for the Dreaming of Warmer Days Spinach and Berries Salad: 

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 dry mustard

1/4 tsp onion powder

For the Salad:

1 cup slivered almonds

1 pound baby spinach leaves

1 pound other greens    (I used a head of leaf lettuce)

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill weed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and place almonds on a baking sheet.

Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, stirring half way through, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

While you wait for the almonds to toast, make the vinaigrette.  Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and onion powder in a bowl that you can whisk in without splashing.  I used a 4-cup measuring cup.  Keep whisking until the ingredients emulsify–come together as a dressing.  Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, spinach, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, green onions, dill and almonds.  Toss, attempting to keep the berries, almonds and onions mixed into the greens–they will try to sink to the bottom.

Wait to dress the salad until you’re ready to serve it–just enough to coat the greens, or pass the dressing and allow people to add their own dressing.  Enjoy!

I originally thought the dill was pretty, but was a bit unsure if I’d like it with the berries.  Dill and berries, with the vinaigrette is a super-yummy flavor combination!  Who knew?!  Trust me, try it with the dill, even if your inner-yummy meter is going, “Uh, I don’t know about that….”  Really.  The dill MAKES this salad. 

Berries are already on sale in the groceries.  Pick some up next time you’re there and treat yourself to an early (and yummy!) spring by making this salad.


Filed under lunch, recipe, salad

Celebrating California’s Crab Season

We’re just back from Dillon Beach, California.  Friends with a beach house there invited us out for crab season.  ( Lucky us!) They took us to Paisano Bros.in Bodega Bay for fresh dungeoness crabs; one for each of us for dinner that night and an extra for crab cakes the next.  We’re talking super yummy, super do-able by any cook, crab cakes.  If you live in a land-locked place like I do, use canned lump crab or shrimp.  Might be just the thing to make for your sweetie for Valentine’s….these crab cakes taste fresh and citrus-y, with a bit of heat on the finish.  Mmmmmmm!  You’ve got to give ’em a try!

The recipe comes from the Mediterranean Kitchen by Joyce Goldstein and is called:  Portuguese Crab Cakes with Mint and Cilantro.

First of all, assemble your ingredients.  Use fresh herbs for the freshest taste in your cakes: 

     1/4 cup unsalted butter

     2 onions, finely minced   (approx 1 1/4 cups)

     4 ribs of celery, finely chopped

     1 TBSP dry mustard

     1 tsp cayenne

2 pounds crabmeat, picked over to check for cartilege

1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise

2 large eggs

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 TBSP fresh grated lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup dry bread crumbs, such as panko

1 cup olive oil, or as needed for frying

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the dry mustard and cayenne, stir well and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Let cool completely.

   Add the remaining ingredients except the dry bread crumbs and oil to the onions and celery and combine well, taking care to leave lumps of crab whole.  


Shape into 16 patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick.  Coat each cake in dry bread crumbs.  ( At this point, cakes can be refrigerated on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper for up to 24 hours.)


Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add as many crab cakes as will fit without crowding, working in batches if necessary, and saute until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  (Use a spatula in each hand to assist in flipping the cakes)  Drain on paper towels.

Our friends served them over a lightly-dressed baby arugula salad.

We had a pound of crab to work with, so we cut the recipe in half.  2 crab cakes for each of us, served as an appetizer.  I could have eaten them all!  They were THAT yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, dinner, lunch, recipe