LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp written by Leonard Earl Johnson DRAFT of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana Subscribe@LEJ.org Archives: ww w.LEJ.org ~*~ ~*~
Kitchen Buzz: Cliffhangers from the Kitchen
There have been cooks, caterers, and chefs in my family for generations. I too became a sister of the skillet and a master of the range, and like most with a degree of culinary skills, I have a few favorites in my repertoire: one is pie.
Pie was my challenge, my nemesis. I worked at pie making, perfecting the technique, but it was never quite right or good enough. Then I happened on to an unusual recipe. Instead of using ice water as the liquid in piecrust it called for sour cream.
“What? Sour cream, you say?!" Of course, I tried it and was amazed. I tweaked the recipe and won a local pie-baking contest. I had a pie booth at a fall festival and baked 300 pies, tarts, and galettes—including lollipies—small, heart-shaped pies on a stick. I did much the same for the holiday festivals, year after year.
Writers write what they know. I hope you will download a copy of my free pie recipe book, Miss Euphrates’ Pies.Contact us if you would like to share your recipes.
In high school, looking good and dressing to fit in consumed my friends and me in ways we could only understand with the passage of time. Conformity, and being part of the right group was foolishly important to us. Along with that came beauty products: Dippity-do hair gel, fat hair curlers, bonnet-style hair dryers, along with teased and lacquer-sprayed do’s. I was obsessed with my hair—that, and finally getting an all-over bronze summertime tan.
My friends and I didn’t worry much about overexposure to the sun, although my mother was nearly obsessive about slathering suntan lotion on her four fair-skinned children during hot summer days. She coated our noses, foreheads, and arms. On lazy days at the lake, if she could have found a way to dip us in a vat of lotion, she would have. But, my mother’s lotion choices seemed to thwart my objective; I remained pasty white.
With my babysitting money I began buying my own tanning products—Bain de Soleil was my favorite, though expensive, it at least it helped redden my skin, which hopefully would become the tanned skin I desired.
The crowd I hung out with was into alternative solutions early on. We discovered, or so we thought, mayonnaise—emulsified egg yolk, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and salt. No, not for potato salad—but for both a tanning lotion, and a hair conditioner.
Imagine, if you can, all of us back then on the deck—teenagers lying about in bathing suits, our hair gilded in mayonnaise, and then wrapped in aluminum foil—our skin gobbed with more mayonnaise, smeared on our arms and legs, backs and chests. Our reward was eye-rolling from our parents and fighting off flies and ants that drove us inside for showers and clean clothes. We learned quickly that mayonnaise should be judiciously used.
The same rule applies to potato salad.
Best Potato Salad
|Preparation time:||45 minutes|
|Cooking time:||30 minutes|
|Total time:||1 hour 15 minutes|
- 5 Quart Dutch Oven
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Cutting Board
- Paring knife
- Large Spoon for Mixing
- Serving Bowl
Half fill the Dutch oven with water, adding a generous shake of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Scrub the potatoes well. Drain in colander. Slice each potato into quarters, leaving the skins on, and then chop into ⅜-inch slices. Add them to the boiling water. Allow the water to come back to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain in colander, reserving 3 cups of water and 2 cups of potatoes. Place the rest of the cooked potatoes in a large mixing bowl, and while they are still hot, add the vinegar and toss lightly.
Add the reserved potatoes and reserved cooking water and cook until the potatoes are mushy. Drain and add to the rest of the potatoes.
Wash the dill weed and chop. Mince the onion, wash and slice the radishes, and slice the hardboiled eggs, reserving some radish slices, egg slices and a couple pinches of dill weed to garnish the top. Add the sliced eggs, chopped onions, dill weed, and sliced radishes to the potatoes. Add salt and pepper, and ½ cup of mayonnaise. Mix, taste and adjust adding more seasoning and mayo as needed. Because this recipe uses some mushy potatoes, it needs less mayonnaise, allowing the other flavors to blossom.
Place in serving bowl. Garnish with egg slices, dill weed, radish slices and smoked paprika.Serving notes
Bring this potato salad to a party and wait for the rave reviews! All kinds of folks will say, “I love this potato salad because it doesn’t have too much mayonnaise!” At home, serve with grilled veggies, cucumber and red onion salad, and tangy grilled chicken or burgers. Enjoy!Current and past articles from the Kitchen Buzz: Cliffhangers from the Kitchen column:
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