Saturday, August 16, 2008

My First Potato Ho Down

Is there a bad way to fix a potato? I seriously doubt it.

For fun, Cathy and Krysta created a Potato Ho Down. Each month, viewers send in their potato recipes. Can you imagine? Within a few months we could have a virtual potato cookbook!

ETA: my Potato Ho name - "Gussie Gail"
Here's my entry: Rockin' Potato Salad

Now, I know, pretty much everyone makes potato salad and I've learned folks are finicky about their potatoes when you're talking salad. I've also learned a lot of those folks who make potato salad make it the way their mommas did, back when they was young. I guess I fall into that category only mine is way better. Sorry mom!

I don't usually like recipes that are shared instructing 'a pinch of this and a dash of that' but I've been making this so long I don't measure anything. I tried to pay more attention this time but it's still going to come out in dashes and pinches I'm afraid. I offer this photograph as help:

First you take your potatoes and throw them in a pot. Cover them with water and boil them till they're fork tender. I cooked mine for 18 minutes plus another 4 and then another 3. See how you gotta be careful not to over cook them? How long your potatoes take might be different based on how many you're cooking, their size, the type of stove you're using, alignment of the planets - hell, I don't know. Just don't over cook them. I don't peel mine till after - you might want to peel and even dice them beforehand. This recipe offers that sort of flexibility. Still with me?

Next, boil a few eggs. How many depends on how you like your egg to potato ratio. I like mine good and eggy so I used three eggs to five good-sized potatoes. And here's an egg tip for you: want perfectly hard-cooked eggs every time? Never green? Put your eggs in a pan and cover with water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook for two minutes, boiling good. Remove from heat, cover and set your timer for 18 minutes. Maybe your potatoes will be done by then too. When your timer goes off run cold water in the egg pan for a few minutes. Add some ice if you want to. No, it's not an egg cocktail, we're cooling down them eggs and stopping the cooking process. Perfect every time.

Dunk your potatoes the same way when they're done - cold water and an ice bath. When they're cooled, peel them and cut them up into bite-sized pieces. How big depends on the bite size you're dealing with. Your family got big mouths? You can get away with bigger pieces. You don't want them too small though, the potatoes will break apart while you're stirring everything together and you don't want to be left with nothing.

Now pile everything in a bowl - potatoes, eggs, onion, dill pickles (I use relish cause I'm lazy that way), salt, pepper and some spoonfuls of mayonnaise. Add a few squirts of mustard while you're at it. Here's where the picture comes in handy. You don't want too much mayo but too little is just as bad. It's a process. You may have to do it a few times before getting it right. I had to add one more spoonful of mayo after this shot was taken so I'd say that was about a cup and a half? Please don't quote me on that and please, for godsake don't use Miracle Whip.

Now this all sounds like a typical potato salad, right? Here comes the rockin' part, my little secret ingredient - Italian dressing seasoning. You know, like Good Seasons? I used to use liquid dressing but had an 'a ha!' moment when I thought of using just the seasoning packet. It gives the salad just the right kick without changing the consistency of the salad. Don't use a lot - for this five potato/three egg salad I used maybe two teaspoons. It's brilliant! Just you wait!

I always take potato salad anytime we're invited anywhere in the summer. It always gets rave reviews. Try it. And do come back and tell me how yours turned out.

Who's a ho? I'm a potato ho! You make this salad and you might qualify too!

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Annalea said...

Melly, you make potato salad the same way I do. Well, except for your secret ingredient, which I'm going to try next time.

Thanks so much for the great food post. I needed some inspiration. ;o)

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Man. You are DEFINITELY a HO. That secret ingredient is brilliant -- I need to remember that. Of course, after I tell you my dirty little secret, you'll be thinking nothing will help me ever.

I don't really get the difference between mayo and MW. There. I said it. I hope we can still be friends. Should I pay more attention? Perhaps my taste buds need cleansing? I see people dissing MW all the time, but I don't get it. I'm so unrefined.

Anonymous said...

Hey what's your Potato Ho name?

This potato salad id awesome, I'm sure it is fabulous! Thanks for playing this month!

lpnde said...

I'm glad you still use some of my recipes. I like your secret ingredient and will try it next time. Love your Zinnias. They are lovely. Mom

Anonymous said...

You get rave reviews in my book ANYDAY sweetie! The zinnia's are so colorful and happy - I have them in my yard but can't bear to cut them for a bouquet in my house - maybe one or two at a time. Have to go "up north" to the doc Thurs, lunch maybe?
ttfn, Robin

Anonymous said...

Have you met my dad? You have the same secret except he peels his taters hot (no feeling in his fingers i guess) and then puts good seasons italian dressing on the hot potatoes so it just gets sucked into the tater!

Crystal said...

I make mine almost the same way too. I don't like to pre-dice them because they get a grainy feel to me.

My 'secret' ingredient is bacon. yum 8)
I will have to try the seasoning next time.