Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fourth of July Picnic Food

This part of summer is always a pleasure for me in spite of the 100+ temperatures we have been experiencing in Tulsa over the last 10 days...happily, we have a nice cold front that has settled in today so it will only be 90! Woohoo!! Well, it is summer in Oklahoma after all...what do you expect? Actually, with our weather, you must expect the unexpected so I am quite confident that it will be balmy in August instead of 110.
Anyway....back to the task at hand...I love this part of summer before we get into serious July because of the Fourth. We don't go to the lake anymore or to see the fireworks. Although, I love fireworks...I'm the only one in my family who does...even my girls think they're boring. I don't know...I just love the "oohs and aahs" of seeing burst after burst, one better than the next. And, then when there's kind of a hear the crowd's disappointment that it was not bigger and better than the one before it.
I love the food that is associated with the Fourth of, that's the fun part. Picnic food at its best! I won't inundate you with everything right now but I will continue to drop a recipe in here and there. One that I hold near and dear and I have to have on the Fourth is what I call "French Potato Salad". It is a very simple salad just potatoes and onions and I have no idea why I call it French...maybe because I put a little Dijon mustard in it but beyond reason! Maybe to differentiate it from my mother's wonderful Miracle Whip-based traditional potato salad with lots and lots of sweet pickles and hard boiled eggs. Of course, I could eat Miracle Whip with a spoon out of the jar but that's another story!
So here is my next favorite potato is good with grilled anything!

French Potato Salad
Serves 4
1 lb. small red potatoes, well scrubbed
1 small red onion, small dice
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise (you could make your own but it's not necessary)
2 -3 tbsp. yellow ballpark mustard
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 -3 tbsp. superfine sugar
2 -3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Whole milk
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together first five ingredients in a medium size bowl. You will want to adjust your seasonings to achieve a sweet to tart balance that is pleasing to you. There are no hard and fast rules on this one. If your onions are hot (you cried your eyes out when you diced them), you might want to have more sweet (sugar) and less tart (ballpark mustard and/or vinegar).
Add enough milk to reach a nice pouring a thin cake batter. Then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Boil potatoes whole with skins on. Always start potatoes in cold water so they cook evenly. And, make sure the water is well salted; it should taste like the ocean. This is the only opportunity you have to really flavor your potatoes. Boil until fork tender. Drain potatoes and allow to cool until you can handle them easily. Do not peel the potatoes! Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise. Toss potatoes with diced onions. Pour dressing over all and toss to combine. If you can leave your potatoes warm, they will absorb more of the flavor of the dressing.
Refrigerate until cold then serve and enjoy!!

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