Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cooking for One

Okay...this post includes a recipe, but that isn't really what I want to talk about. It's more of a side note.

Adam and I went to a barbeque at a friend's yesterday and I decided, in trying to break away from that Taco Dip rut, I would try something new - Potato Salad. I had seen a pretty tasty looking one on Pioneer Woman last week so I thought I would adapt that one. The particular recipe involved ricing the potatoes rather than using chunks. This seemed odd to me so I just chopped up the potatoes*. I also decided to add some apples and corn, and lemon to lighten up the flavour a tad, but not too much so as to take away from the base recipe and that fact that this WAS supposed to be potato salad, after all.

So I made this salad. And it was good - but not great. It definitely wasn't the best thing I've ever made. But, and this is the lesson here - there were so many things about it that were great, and it turned out that those things were the additions that I was hesitant to add too much of in the first place.

First off, the apples. This may sound disgusting, but when I was younger my mom would serve apple chunks slathered in mayo as a "salad". My dad loved it, and to be honest I did too. And though I may no longer eat this "salad" I thought it was perfectly acceptable to add apples to this one, and it was delicious!

And...the corn. Oh God the CORN. Just as a bit of background information, corn in general is one of my favourite foods. I love it in pretty much any form - out of the can, frozen, fresh corn on the cob. I'll add it to pretty much anything - salads, quesadillas, turkey sandwiches, or eat it mixed with mashed potatoes. It's even good on pizza, or omelettes. Anyway, I digress. Even with my lifelong love of corn, I've never, for some reason, cut corn off the. cob for other uses before. Maybe the frozen and canned versions were just too convenient, or cutting corn off the cob seemed too difficult. Either way, I had a couple of fresh corn cobs lying around so I figured I would try it (I won't lie - this was motivating. The directions in here are very helpful as well, so if you're going to try this at home follow these instructions!). And it's actually sad how happy it made me. The corn tasted SO MUCH BETTER than the other stuff. And cutting corn off the cob was so much easier than I expected, even possibly FUN (okay, I realized I sound like the world's biggest dork now, but whatever).

So anyway...I think that what I'm trying to say, is that sometimes it's okay to adapt a recipe to the point that it's a brand new dish. In this case, the next time I make this, it won't really be a "potato salad" as it will have quite a bit more of the apples and corn. I'm not really sure what it will be, per se. But that's okay. It will be delicious because there are delicious things in it, and it will be something totally new. And maybe no one else will want to eat it because I've overloaded on my favourite things and no one else's, but that's okay too - all the more for me.

*Although I've never made potato salad using riced/mashed potatoes before, I can see the appeal of it. This salad in particular seemed a bit bland, and I think largely because the potato chunks themselves had no flavour. I'm not sure if this could be improved by adding more salt to the water while the potatoes are boiling, but I do think that this is partly the reason for the ricing. The small pieces of potato you have, the more room there is to impart seasonings and flavour, and for the dressing to seep into every crevice. Regardless, I do like some chunks so I'll probably try ricing half the potatoes and using chunks for the other half next time.

Potato Salad
3 medium russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
2 small macintosh apples, washed, peeled and cubed
3 stalks green onion
3 eggs
1 cob corn
1 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsbp yellow mustard
fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

1. Hard boil eggs - put eggs in a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and chill in ice water bath until cool.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil - add potatoes and corn.

3. After 3 minutes, remove corn and chill in ice water bath to stop the cooking. Once corn is cool, hull corn off the cob using a sharp knife. Use the dull edge of the knife to rub off the rest of the corn nubs as well. You can use Ree's step-by-step instructions from this recipe here.

4. While potatoes are cooking, cut up green onion and apples and chop up dill.

5. Peel and roughly chop hard boiled eggs

6. Mix mayo and mustard together

7. Once potatoes are fork-tender, drain and add to a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, green onion, apples, corn and dill. Add in mayo-mustard mixture and squeeze in juice of half a lemon. Add salt and pepper and mix to combine. Season to taste as needed.

No comments:

Post a Comment