Saturday, April 20, 2013

No Crunch Potato Salad

   When I was a kid my Mom, for the first time, made the standard potato salad with crunchy things in it like onions and relish. My siblings and I didn't like it one bit, too bad because we all love potatoes and boiled eggs, so she made it again with out the crunchy stuff, and we inhaled it! 
    Usually tastes change when you become an adult, like I now prefer mustard and relish on my hot dog instead of the standard kid favorite-ketchup.  But I still prefer the in unencumbered, simple, smooth texture of my Mom's Potato Salad.
    The following recipe is my version of this family favorite summer salad. 
  • 5 large Baking Potatoes-(I prefer baking potatoes because you only have to remove the skin of 5 instead of 10 small/medium potatoes).
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups Real Mayo like Best Food's or Hellmann's (no Miracle Whip).
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
  • Juice from half a Lemon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Salt
  • Paprika for garnish
  1. Clean potatoes to remove dirt and place in a large stock pot, cover with cold water and cook on high heat until it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium high and cook until very tender about 60 minutes. Drain cooked potatoes, put back in pot and run cold water over them to aid the cooling process but make sure that they are cooked enough because the cold water will stop the cooking process. Peel the skins from the potatoes and dice into small bite size pieces placing them in a large mixing bowl. If some of the potato flesh falls apart while cutting them up, even better, you want the combo of potato dice and an almost mashed potato quality that aids in the creamy texture of this no crunch salad. Season potatoes with kosher salt, about 2 generous pinches; gently stir potatoes.
  2. Place eggs in medium sauce pan and cover with cold water 1 inch from the top of the eggs, add a generous amount of kosher salt (1 Tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to the water, cook on high until it boils, then cover with lid, remove from heat and set timer to 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add cold water or ice to pot to stop the cooking process and cool the eggs slightly (keep the eggs in the water, do not take eggs out). Once cool enough to handle for peeling, tap the egg all around its side on a hard surface and set back into the water in pot. This helps the water/salt/oil get into the egg and aids in easier peeling. Peel all eggs while frequently dipping back into the water; and set aside in the fridge.
  3. Dressing: mix together mayo, mustard, milk, agave nectar and lemon juice, cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. Mix together in a small bowl the following seasonings: 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper (I use about 8 turns of my pepper grinder-less or more to your liking), Celery Salt and Onion Salt. Pour mixed seasonings over cut up potatoes and mix well.
  5. Reserve 2 eggs for garnish and chop up the remaining 6 eggs and add to the potatoes.
  6. Pour the prepared dressing over the potatoes and eggs; stir till combined, then pour into a serving bowl and flatten the top with the back of a large spoon. Slice the 2 reserved eggs into round discs, garnish the top of the salad and then dust the top with paprika.
  7. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours (the longer it chills and sits the better the flavor).
Serves 10-12  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Crockpot Tortellini Soup with Turkey Sausage and Spinach

  • 32 oz. box of chicken stock
  • 2-15 oz. cans of Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1-8oz. block of cream cheese; cut into small chunks.
  • 1/8 cup agave nectar (find in the sugar aisle)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes-omit if your using hot Italian sausage.
  • 1 parmesan cheese wedge with rind-need the wedge for two reasons- 1. Shred enough parmesan cheese for garnish. 2. Slice off the rind and reserve to add to the crockpot.
  • 1 & 1/4 lb. Ground Italian turkey sausage hot or regular
  • 9 oz. package of refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • a large handful of ready to eat baby spinach or chopped kale
  1. To a large crockpot add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, cream cheese chunks, agave nectar, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and cheese rind. Cook on low for 5 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, brown sausage with a little olive oil in a medium high skillet. With a slotted spoon remove sausage from skillet to a paper toweled plate, let cool and then keep in fridge until the soup base is done.
  3. After 5 hours, remove the cheese rind and discard. Add to the soup base the cooked sausage, tortellini and the handful (or as much as you want) of spinach or kale; stir and replace lid and cook for 30- 40 minutes more until the pasta is cooked.
Garnish the soup with parmesan shreds.