Mustard potato salad (a Southern-type recipe)

There are not so many variations in potato salad (that I’m aware of), but there are loyalist fanatics to the versions I’m aware of: the “classic” mayo base, the mustard base, the vinegar base, and of course, the German and Dutch variations. I’m sure there are plenty more out there, given the prevalence of potatoes in the world, but I’m not familiar with those versions. Then there are the nearly infinite variations on the old favorites: red potatoes, new potatoes, fresh dill, pickle relish, hard boiled eggs, homemade vs. store-bought… the list(s) go on and on.

I’m not too picky, but I have my preferences. I like my potato salad simple and colorful. If done “right,” I like a mayo base, but prefer mustard or vinegar, and I don’t want a lot of it covering up my potatoes. (If I wanted to eat condiments with potato in it, I’d glop some on some potato chips. And right now, people would expect it of me.) I like it good and cold, and I don’t really care for anything other than potato and seasoning in my salad – no pickle relish, egg, or other “texture,” please. I don’t mind a little paprika, and I love me some fresh dill, but don’t get crazy. I like colorful potatoes when I make my salad. Give me some skin-on red potatoes for best results, but I love the look of some Russian blues, purple Peruvians, or Yukon Golds for variety. What about a red, white, and blue potato salad with a vinegar or mayo base for the Fourth of July? Beats that Jello cake with blueberries and Cool Whip every time. In a pinch, I’ll buy a tub of it from Publix, but not often (I prefer their mayo base with dill and red potatoes).

After a request for potato salad and some debate over the best kind, I went on a search for a good basic mustard version. I couldn’t seem to find any that fit my needs or desires, and had started to get a little frustrated when I mentally thumped myself in the head. Why, if I know what I like and I know what the general outcome should be, am I searching for potato salad recipes? Internet dependency; I rue the day. I started mixing ingredients in a bowl and voila! A desirable potato salad is born. Keep in mind that most of this is to taste – I have yet to actually measure anything out, and am afraid that actually doing so would take all the taste out of the dish. So forgive my this and that, grab a bowl, and make you some of your own. Add relish if you want, or egg, or smoked paprika. Take some to that church potluck, or keep it all to yourself. I won’t tell.

Mustard Potato Salad
serves 4 generously

ingredients:
2 lbs. red potatoes, washed & quartered
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise (I use Duke’s, or homemade, if I have it)
2 heaping tablespoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons coarse-ground mustard
fresh dill, finely minced
salt & black pepper

directions:
Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with water; salt generously, and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until just tender. If serving immediately, prepare an ice bath and cool potatoes for 5-10 minutes, or until cool. Drain well.

In your serving bowl, combine potatoes, mayonnaise, mustards, dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently but thoroughly, until potatoes are evenly coated. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight. (If overnight, you may want to add the dill right before serving.)

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A revival, with a promise. (Recipe – Torta Española.)

Yes, my dears, I know it’s been a while. Almost three months, in fact. And I have no excuse for my absence – a lack of Internet (old news), but more relevant, a lack of motivation and inspiration. Even beyond that, a feeling of not quite right – maybe I shouldn’t blog, I don’t belong, my blog is useless and the name is all wrong and it doesn’t even match my URL. (that really does bother me more often than not, but it’s my fault.) so I’ve been thinking this thing over in my absence: to be or not to be? Despite the trials of keeping up, I didn’t take long to decide to be. Especially given that my last post was the 100th post on boonie foodie (huzzah!).

Being, of course, requires more organization and discipline and I have considered that as well. And I want to address other areas of my life besides just food, too – other areas that are related to food – or rather, food is related to those areas, like the garden I hope to grow in the backyard, the farmer’s market in town and the eggs I buy from a county local; or the quiet decision to live more sustainably and what that really means for me and mine. The real meaning of words and using them to their best. And of course, bettering my photography skills to something besides “i takez pix.” (Maybe I’ll even build that DIY lightbox that’s floated through almost all blogs, one day.) The point of this creation is not only to share myself with the rest of the world, but to better myself in the process – as it was, I was just writing and posting to post, following an arbitrary internal desire to follow a schedule that never really manifested.

My first desire is to set up a more dependable schedule – one day, food; one day, gardening and green, maybe two; and hopefully Menu Plan Monday. It depends on how much I can find to say. Hopefully my schedule is finally nailed down enough that I can schedule posts on Saturday for the following week. I’ll be working on a buffer in the next two weeks so I can actually get this in effect. In the meantime, I intend to clean up the blog overall: visual design, tags, language – all but the content and the photos. (The really poor posts I can use later for slow-thought days – remake and retry.)

In honor of this revival, here is the first recipe I’ve been inspired to put up in quite some time. It’s not new to many, and it’s not fancy; what it “is,” is filling, cheap and lovely in its own homely way. Many people have made it and loved it; I am now one of those fortunate folks. Torta Española or torta de patatas (or tortilla de papas, or a combination of these as your preference or region dictates) is nothing more than a layer of oh-so-thin potato and onion slices lightly browned, then covered with egg and cooked as an omelet. Simple to make and as versatile as you like it, my only recommendation is that you make it in batches that are manageable enough to flip, or beware that yours may end up as ugly as mine.

Oh, and add cheese.

Torta Española

serves 2-4

ingredients:
1 medium waxy potato, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper
5 eggs
2 tbsp water
2-3 oz cheese

directions:
Slice the potatoes and onions as thin as possible, using a mandoline if available. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; when the foam subsides, add the potatoes and onions and season generously with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir to coat, then let brown as a single layer for 2-4 minutes on each “side.”

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the water and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Shake the skillet to settle the potatoe-onion mixture into an even, flat layer. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and turn the pan to distribute the egg evenly. With one hand, stir the eggs in one direction while shaking the pan in the other. Do this until the eggs thicken a little, add cheese, then let cook until the eggs are browned on the bottom. Flip the omelet and let cook until the center is just set. Serve warm with ketchup.