Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poe-Tay-Toe . . . . .Salad

There are just some dishes that your mother always can make better than you can. I can make potato salad, but somehow, Mom's always tastes better. Maybe it is because I get creative with mine and hardly ever make it the same twice?? I like to have fun with my food.

Potato salad is one of those things that people usually have one kind that is their favorite. For example: some people use sweet pickles, some people dill pickles. Some people use red potatoes, some Yukon Gold and some russets. Some people mash their potatoes and some chunk them. Some use a vinagrette dressing, some mayonnaise-based dressing.

I like to mix it up. I usually look and see what I have lurking in the fridge.

Here is a potato salad that I made recently that was quite good.

I turned this:

Into this:

Potato Salad
Serves 8

5 Large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch dice
5 Large Eggs, boiled, peeled and diced
2 Stalks of celery, washed and diced small
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced small

First of all, boil your potatoes. Then, when potatoes are done cooking, drain them and put them in your serving bowl. Then toss the onion over top of your hot potatoes. This takes a little of the bite out of the onions and it smells good, too.

Put your eggs on to boil. Now, this is way that I cook my hard boiled eggs and they peel easily and do not turn green. Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Put on the stove over medium-high heat. When the eggs begin to boil, set timer for 5 minutes. When timer goes off, turn off heat, but do not remove eggs from the stove. Let them stand for another 2 minutes. Then drain hot water off and cover with cold water. Let them stand for at least 10 minutes, drain that water off and cover them with cold water again. Let stand for another 10 minutes and then peel. Now we have a ceramic top stove, so I am not sure how this would work on a gas stove.

So, dice your eggs and toss with the potatoes and onions. Dice up your celery while your eggs are cooking and throw that in there too.

Now, for the dressing.

1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
3 Tablespoons prepared mustard - Dijon or yellow, does not matter
3/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 heaping tablespoon pimento, minced or roasted red peppers, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Now, these ingredients are approximate amounts, use more or less to your liking. I usually throw it in until I think it looks good. Stir it all up in a bowl.

I usually put my dressing on while the potatoes are still warm, I think it tastes better that way.

Stir it all up together. I garnished this with fresh chives and some black olives that were sitting in the fridge.

So that is my potato salad, and next time it will be different! I like to put sour cream in, cook the potatoes with crab boil in the water, use homemade dill pickles or our homemade jalapeno relish, put in some chopped green pepper, crumbled bacon, tiny chunks of cheddar cheese, green olives. My motto is be creative and if it works, write it down!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Springtime Treasures

Spring is here. Yes, it is still quite cold and has been very rainy, but it is spring nonetheless. Spring is probably my second favorite season, Autumn being first. Then Winter and summer last.


Mushrooms. They are one of Spring's greatest treasures. My dear brother brought us some nice morel mushrooms. They grow wild all over in Missouri, but you really have to look for them. I am kind of surprised that there were so many this year as it has been so cold. They are usually found under old trees, way back in the woods, so just gathering them is quite an adventure. Some people find them in their yards and a lot of times if you take the water they have been soaking in and throw it in the yard, they will come up next year. First you must soak them in salt water to get the critters out. Then in fresh water.

Then they are trimmed and cut in half or quarters if they are big enough!


Then they are drained on paper towels. Then pat them dry.


Mix up a couple of eggs with about 1/4 cup of milk. Put about 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a bowl and add a dash or two of garlic powder and onion powder, some fresh ground black pepper and a little seasoning salt. Then you dip the mushrooms in the eggs, and drag them through the breadcrumbs. This does work easier if you put the breadcrumbs in a large plastic bag.


Then deep-fry them in hot oil until crispy brown. Fry them in batches. Drain them on either paper towels or a plain brown paper bag. I think the Paper bag makes them stay crispier. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while you are frying each batch. Enjoy!!

Then there are lilacs and redbud trees.



I love lilacs. The smell of lilacs to me is what angels might smell like. The soft perfume, wafting through the air. . . .

Redbuds are a tree that is native to Missouri. They grow EVERYWHERE! While driving my son back to Uni the other day, it had been raining so everything had that fresh-washed, watercolor kind of look. The redbuds were so pretty, misty purple against the lime green of new leaves and the dark, rain-wet bark of the trees. Very pretty.

So what are some of your spring treasures???

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Mystery of a Brand New Blogger

Ok, I am just getting started on this. A brand new journey. So bear with my bad photography and mental meanderings, please.

I am a 30-something woman living in a tiny town in west central Missouri. I don't particularly care to live in the state of Missouri, but here I am.

I work from home as a medical transcriptionist. I don't particularly care for my job, but it pays the bills.

I do have quite a long list of things I do care for, and I will be sharing some of those with you as we go along.

I have one son who is in college (well, now he says he is taking a semester off). I live in an extended family situation with my parents and 4 cats.

As you can probably tell from the title of my blog, I love mysteries. Agatha Christie is a present favorite. Poirot is my man! Waiting for Elizabeth Peters new Amelia Peabody mystery. I also like PC Doherty.

There is something about the anticipation reading a book that, to me, is much better than film or television. A book is a friend. A book is not loud. A book does not have commercials. A book is portable. It is patient. It will wait while you go in the kitchen and fix a cup of tea and a scone or a BLT and a coke. You can take a book outside in the dappled sunlight under the shade tree in the back yard and swing on a lazy summer afternoon, with the bees buzzing around for company, investigating your lemonade. A book will also go on a walk with you on an autumn afternoon, with the brisk wind frisking the multicolored leaves past your feet. A book will likewise snuggle on the couch with you on a blustery winter afternoon, with the wind howling under the eaves and big, fat snow flakes chasing each other around outside, while inside it is nice and toasty warm. And a book will be good company on a rainy spring day with the daffodils and tulips nodding in the flowerbed.

I believe that our public libraries are one of our greatest resources. Think of all of the books that are there, just waiting to be read. Now, I like to buy books, usually on Amazon (and usually the cheap, used ones). But I definitely do not have enough money to buy all of the books I want to read. I do have some favorites that I like to read again and again. So, yes, those I buy. But for the others, off to the library I go. It is like a miniature shopping trip! Everyone needs a little retail therapy, right?

So now to cooking. I like cooking new things. I love being a country-type cook, but I like to get a little fancy-schmancy too.

Indian food is my new passion. Tastebud explosion! I will definitely share some of my experiements with you.

I will go for now, off to take some yummy pictures and maybe grab a book and share the author's dreams . . . .