POTATO SALAD

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Potato Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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DSC042351/2 bag potatoes ( 2 1/2 lbs.)
3 eggs
3 stalks celery, diced small
4 stalks scallions, diced small
Mayonnaise, 3 extra-large tablespoons
water
salt and pepper
paprika

1. Place potatoes in a large pot with skins on fill with cold water to cover potatoes. Add 3 eggs,  ( I put a pin hole in each egg before boiling, it makes it easier to peel later). Bring water to a boil. Time it for 10 minutes at a full boil. Your eggs should be done. Remove the eggs with a spoon from the pot to cool down. Run cold water over them or place them in a bowl of cold water. Peel the eggs and set aside to cool, then chop.
2. Continue to boil the potatoes for 10 to 20 minutes more on a full boil, keep checking for doneness by putting a fork in them. If the fork goes in hard, not done, goes in easy, done. Try not to overcook the potatoes if you can.
3. When potatoes are done, cool for a bit, but it is good to peel while they are warm, the skins come off easier. Dice the potatoes into small cubes.
4. Add potatoes, celery, eggs, scallions, salt and pepper into a large bowl. I add about 3 hefty scoops of mayonnaise to start, more if preferred. Secret is to add water, about 1 to 3 tablespoons depending on look and taste. The water will cream out the mayo.
5. Decorate with paprika on top if you want before serving. Serves 8.
6. ENJOY – Summer without potato salad is like summer without sunshine!

©  This recipe courtesy of Somebodys-Mom.com

During years of backyard barbeques, graduations, baby showers, and outings, a lot of potato salad has passed my lips; however, my mom’s potato salad is still the best I’ve had. Everybody loves it. I should know; I’ve been making it for years and hearing the satisfied sighs as my friends and family devour it by the forkful.

My mom, Helen, was a good cook and enjoyed cooking and entertaining. To know me is to know that I am my mother’s daughter. She taught me to always chop ingredients into small sizes, believing that it was more pleasing to the eye if the potatoes, celery, and scallions were cubed in small pieces. She did this to regular lettuce salad too. She’d cut up everything into small pieces, including the tomatoes and cucumbers. Mom was right! Smaller is better. Who wants a big chunk of potato or a huge leaf of lettuce when eating? Not me.

The only change I made to the original recipe that she gave me is that I add a bit of water. Many years ago my life-long friend, Joanne, made potato salad for a party, and I noticed that hers was creamier than mine. Her secret was adding water. At the time, I was adding a bit of milk to thin out the mayo in my potato salad. I’m convinced that water is better than milk and makes for a creamier potato salad.

Summer isn’t summer without Mom’s potato salad. When something is this good, you never get tired of making it. My family and friends will agree, because they never get tired of eating it!

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ORZO WITH TOMATOES AND GARLIC

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Orzo with Tomatoes and Garlic

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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1 lb box of Orzo or some other small pasta
3 – 4 large pulp tomatoes (egg shaped tomatoes), chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup scallions, chopped or 1/2 red onion, chopped
Basil and or parsley
olive oil

Good Seasons Italian Dressing

1. Cook orzo according to directions. Rinse under cold water to prevent sticking.
2. Chop tomatoes, garlic and scallions or red onion. Mix together with well drained pasta in an
attractive bowl for serving.
3. Make the Good Seasons Italian Dressing. My secret is this. I use less water than the
Directions call for first of all. I use half the water portion and substitute it with
vinegar. Where it says vinegar, I use half the portion with red wine vinegar and the
other half with balsamic vinegar.
4. After making the salad dressing according to your taste, pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing into the pasta salad and mix together. Let that sit for awhile. Refrigerate the pasta until nice and cold. Just before serving drizzle olive oil (about 2 to 3 tablespoons, I don’t measure, I just drizzle) and some more dressing if needed. Toss and taste.
5. ENJOY – Mama Mia what a pasta for me a.

Justine, my niece, recently texted me with a request for my Orzo with Tomatoes, her “favorite recipe”! As you can imagine, that was music to my ears. For someone who takes pride in their cooking, a request for one’s recipe is a compliment of the highest order.

I told Justine she could find it on my website, only to discover this family favorite wasn’t there. So, I quickly poured through my secret stash of recipes and added it to my site. Justine, this one’s for you! I hope you won’t mind sharing it 

Scarsdale was and still is a great place to live and work; however, eating on the cheap is not something this town offered. When I worked downtown years ago, I was too busy playing Supermom to have any time to make my own lunch to schlep to work, and how much pizza can one person eat in a given week? One of my favorite places was a gourmet chicken take-out store. I would typically order a small container of chicken salad or pasta with tomato and garlic to the tune of $6 … which was about $3 too much at the time.

I always feel challenged to make something at home just as tasty but cheaper, and this pasta was just the inspiration I needed. It has become a focal point and huge hit at all my barbeques, proving, once again, that a good recipe does not have to be expensive or complicated. I do feel compelled to let you know that I did not request their recipe out of respect. Back in the day, folks believed it to be fair business practice to pay for recipes, especially if they were purchasing a food business. Well, times have changed and many folks feel it’s a compliment to be asked for a recipe. I know as I have done this many times over the years, and I have never been turned away.

The next time you enjoy something from a restaurant, a store, or even a party, don’t be shy — ask for the recipe. Go home and give it your best shot; you’ll be amazed with the results. Make this dish for the next party in your life, and I am sure you too will be asked for your recipe!

Suzanne’s Cucumber Salad

(A loyal reader of Somebody’s Mom, Suzanne, is our guest recipe contributor today, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!)

– 3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded,
and cut into 1/4-inch slices
– 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
– 1/2 red onion, sliced paper-thin
– 1/3 cup minced cilantro

Dressing:
– 1/2 cup rice vinegar
– 2 tsp. honey
– 2 tsp. Reduced-sodium soy sauce
– 1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
– Pinch dried red pepper flakes

Preparation per 8 servings:
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Marinating time: 60 minutes

1. Combine the cucumbers, carrots, red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
2. Combine the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over cucumbers, cover, and refrigerate for 60 minutes. Salad may be eaten with a fork.

Nutritional Values per Meal: 1/2 cup
– Calories: 25
– Calories From Fat: 10

– Total Fat: 1 gram
– Saturated Fat: .1 grams
– Cholesterol: milligrams
– Sodium: 50 milligrams (without added salt)
– Total Carbohydrate: 5 grams
– Soluble fiber: 1 gram
– Sugars: 3 grams
– Protein: 1 grams

(* Footnote – I made this recipe for friends. I changed it around
a little bit. Instead of 1/2 cup rice vinegar, I used 1/3 cup.
Instead of 1/3 cup of Cilantro, I used 2 tablespoons.
Instead of 1/2 red onion, I used 1/4 red onion.)

It’s looks like it’s gonna be a long, hot summer! So, if you’re not yet as cool as a cucumber, I have a sure fire recipe to get you there. Known for their ability to cool down the body, “cukes” as they’re fondly referred to, have also been proven to help control jaundice, diarrhea, epilepsy, sore throat, conjunctivitis (redness of the eye) and swelling of extremities. Now, that’s one smart veggie!

Can’t digest those darn seeds? Well, simply cut them in half and use a spoon to eliminate the seeds. Too much work? Hey, this is America…..buy cucumbers that are already seeded.

Salads are so refreshing, and adding cucumbers along with sliced red onions, juicy, red tomatoes and your favorite all-natural, low-fat balsamic vinaigrette will do a body good!

If you suffer from diabetes as several of my friends and relatives do, you’ll be happy to hear about the special benefits cucumbers provide. Let me explain:

Beta cells within the pancreas produce the hormone insulin. Cucumber is found to have a hormone essential for beta cells in the insulin production. Moreover, the Glycemic Index of cucumbers is found to be zero. It’s a do-good food for diabetics.

Who am i ?:
Suzanne Ault contributes articles for the recipes for diabetics blog, her personal hobby blog related to cooking ideas to stop diabetes.

Her Complete Bio: http://www.diabeticdietrecipes.org/about
Her Photo: http://www.diabeticdietrecipes.org/suzanne.jpg

GREEK SALAD

2 1 / 2 heads of romaine lettuce
1 red onion
1 pepper
3 Kirby cucumbers
1 6-ounce can of black olives
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 8-ounce feta crumbled feta cheese

Dressing

3 / 4 cup olive oil
fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon (4 to 5 tablespoons)
1 / 4 red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper

1. Cut bottoms and a little bit from the tops of the romaine lettuce heads. Pull apart and rinse lettuce leaves. Dry on paper towels. Cut romaine into small pieces and place into a large bowl. Add washed cherry tomatoes, whole. Peel and rinse cucumbers. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and then slice. Toss into bowl.
2. Slice green pepper and red onion as thin as possible and toss into bowl.
3. Open black olives can and drain. Toss into bowl. Lastly, sprinkle feta cheese over the whole salad.
4. To prepare dressing, squeeze the juice from one lemon and add to a salad dressing bottle. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well by shaking. Do Not Serve the dressing on the salad. Serve the dressing on the side.
5. ENJOY! – Greek Salad isn’t Greek to me!

Salad has taken America by storm; it serves as lunch and/or dinner for so many of us. There’s nothing quite like a big, colorful salad! It’s quick, easy, and nutritious and the variety of these tender, leafy greens is amazing. In fact, most restaurant menus provide a separate section of salads to satisfy even the most finicky palate!

When I was growing up, salad was served with nearly every evening meal. It consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber. There was no salad dressing in my home….it was all about pure olive oil and red wine vinegar. We ate our salad at the end of the meal. There were no salad bowls; we just ate it right off the dinner plate. The first time I saw salad dressing and salad bowls was when I went to dinner at my friend’s home. To this day I always eat my salad after a meal. This is a tradition from my father’s family because they held fast to the belief that having salad last helped in digesting one’s meal. Even when I have salad at a restaurant I try to save some of it for after the meal. That little ritual doesn’t always work when the waiter wants to clean up the table quickly to serve the next customer.

Caesar salad, Greek salad, Cobb salad, and Spinach salad are some of the most popular salad choices. The olives and feta cheese make the Greek salad unique. Real Greek olives make it extra special if you want to really make an effort. Greek dishes that are popular are the gyro (lamb pieces in a pita bread), the souvlaki (lamb meatloaf with a yogurt sauce), baklava (nut pastry with honey), spinach pie (spinach with feta cheese in pastry) or a Greek salad. These are the standards that have been around New York many years.

Try a Greek salad; I think you’ll love it. Hey, while you’re at it, spring for a gyro and some baklava. However, don’t tempt fate and smash your plate, because that only happens in Greece!

MACARONI SALAD

DSC07365 1 16 ounce package elbow macaroni
¼ cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green Italian pepper, chopped
2 to 3 stalks of celery, chopped
¼ cup of cooked corn (optional)
¾ to 1 cup Hellmann’s real mayonnaise (not low fat)
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or water or milk
salt and pepper

1. Cook elbow macaronis until al dente (a little hard, not too soft) according to package. Immediately when finished cooking, drain macaroni in a colander under cold water to prevent it from becoming sticky.
2. Meanwhile in a large bowl add your chopped onion, celery, peppers and corn. When the macaroni is drained well and cool toss it in with the vegetables.
3. Add mayonnaise and salt and pepper. I sprinkle in water or milk or apple cider vinegar to make a creamy texture. Mix well. (Do not use all 3; just add 1 liquid to thin out the mayonnaise.)
4. Serve immediately or refrigerator for later. Lasts a couple of days in the refrigerator just add some addition mayonnaise if using at a later date.
5. ENJOY! – Macaroni Salad is really great, summer time or any date!

AMEN to winter! HALLELUJAH to spring and summer! The sun is shining and life is good. Let’s eat outside. As soon as the first glimmer of sunlight appears, the barbecues are smoking. Everyone is eating in parks, backyards and on their decks. They are eating the summer foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and macaroni salad.

Macaroni salad is similar yet different in every home and in every delicatessen across America. The personal tastes of individual cooks are added to each version of macaroni salad. I started making my own macaroni salad about 30 years ago. Mayonnaise and I are not good friends. When I first started making macaroni salad, I added vinegar to the mayonnaise, and it tasted good but sometimes curdled a little. Then I added milk to thin out the mayonnaise, making it smoother. That worked fine. Water works well also to thin out the mayonnaise. I learned these tricks by tasting other homemade macaroni salads and asking the cooks how they made them. The corn ingredient actually came from my Japanese friend. She invited me to lunch and served macaroni salad with corn. I had never seen it served with that way before. It was good.

I have been very fortunate to have grown up with a close family. My house was on a very busy street in Queens with three factories on the block and the Long Island Railroad two houses away from mine. The house was Victorian style and old with a gazebo covered in grapevines on the property. Inside the gazebo were benches and a table in a circle. During the summer the big treat was eating inside the shaded gazebo with my family and my mom’s sister’s family, who lived downstairs from us. Those were special times and we knew it. It was a lot of extra work to carry everything outside and wait for my dad to get home from work before we could eat, but it was worth it. Those were the lazy days of summer. Macaroni salad is only a side dish but to me, it represents summer and summer is a relaxing time of year. It is also a time for eating outside together with friends and family.

I don’t have a gazebo on my little piece of property but I do have a deck. My husband built it himself. It took two years to build and believe me, I nagged him about it because we couldn’t take vacations since the money was used to build the deck. He was right. He said I would love it and I do. We eat Sunday breakfast out there and read the papers. I entertain more in the summer because of the deck. I love that deck. We have had many happy memories on that deck already, and we are working on many more.

If you have a deck, yard or a patio, get out there and have some meals outdoors. If you don’t have any of those areas available to you, pack a picnic basket and head to the park. Before you know it, you will be building your own memory of summer foods and summer fun.

RED CABBAGE COLESLAW

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2 cups shredded red cabbage 

 

 
 

 

 

1 cup shredded carrots1 

1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin

1 / 2 green pepper, sliced thin
 
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of concentrated lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

salt and pepper

 

 

1. In large bowl mix together cabbage, carrots, onion and green pepper. Toss together.

2. In 2 cup or larger mixing cup, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. The water should thin out the mayonnaise somewhat and make for a smooth sauce.

3. Pour sauce over the cabbage mixture and toss and mix and toss and mix until it is blended altogether very well.

4. ENJOY! – The most colorful as well as delicious salad anywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red cabbage coleslaw is just another version of standard coleslaw.  Coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad are the usual condiments or side dishes of summer.  Almost all diners will include a small complimentary dish of any one of these three salads with an order.  Of course, all delicatessens will have their own secret recipes for these dishes, and when you become an owner of a deli, these recipes are part of the purchase.  The three salads can make or break a deli.   Coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad are as much a part of the American culture as apple pie.

So many different recipes are available for these three dishes.  Everyone has their own twist and flair for their particular dish.  In a German potato salad, there is no mayonnaise, just vinegar and oil.  An Italian macaroni salad may contain artichokes and mozzarella cheese with herb olive oil.  A Ukrainian friend of mine makes a potato salad that contains pickles.  My own mother’s potato salad contains scallions instead of onions.  Everyone has their own recipe for the same basic dish, and we all love our summer salads.  These cold salads are served all year long, but you will see them more in the summer. 

This red cabbage coleslaw is really quite good on a turkey sandwich.  I spoke to two experts on deli sandwiches. Gil from the Stage Deli in Manhattan and Sammy from Heathcote Deli in Scarsdale enabled me to get correct information.  The well-known sandwich of turkey with Russian dressing and coleslaw is referred to as “The Works”.  There are other popular sandwiches with names that are also appetizing.  “The Reuben” consists of Pastrami with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.  “The Balboa” is roast beef and Swiss cheese on a garlic roll.  These sandwiches are a long way from baloney and cheese on sliced white bread, which was the standard lunch bag sandwich brought from home and eaten in the school cafeteria.  My own children preferred just turkey and cheese on a roll with mayonnaise as their every day school lunch.  As they have grown older, their tastes for sandwiches have matured also.  My oldest daughter makes her own vegetable wraps to take to work but my son, of course, will eat anything.  (Men; some things never change.)  My personal sandwich favorite is fresh mozzarella with roasted red peppers and arugula on Italian bread with vinaigrette dressing. 

The next time you decide to order or make a sandwich, think about getting creative with your palette or just order a baloney and cheese.  After all it’s your sandwich; just enjoy it the way you like it!

GREEK PASTA SALAD

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1 pound bow tie pasta
1 / 2 red onion
1 / 2 red pepper
1 cucumber
1 11-ounce can of black olives
3 plum tomatoes
4 to 6 ounces feta crumbled feta cheese

Dressing

1 / 2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 / 3 to 1 / 2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1 / 2 teaspoon oregano
1 1 / 2 teaspoon basil
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

1. Cook bow tie pasta according to directions on box. After cooked run under
cold water and drain well. Place pasta into a large bowl. Wash and chop
tomatoes. Peel and rinse cucumbers. Cut cucumber into small cubes. Toss
into bowl.
2. Chop red pepper and red onion and toss into bowl.
3. Open black olives can and drain and slice. Toss into bowl. Lastly,
sprinkle feta cheese over the whole bowl. Toss everything to mix together.
4. To prepare dressing, squeeze the juice from a lemon to get 1 tablespoon and
add to a large measuring cup. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano,
basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk together well. Pour the dressing on
the salad. Toss until all dressing is absorbed.
5. ENJOY! – Zorba would be proud to serve this salad!

This recipe is from my daughter, Marisa.

Marisa is 26 years old. She lived with two friends in their own apartment, and she has lived outside of our house for a few years. She has her own life. I am happy that she is an independent, single woman. When I was 26 years old, I was the mother of two children and a wife of seven years already. We definitely have different lives.

Marisa’s friends go back to her nursery school days. I have known the mothers of her friends for just as long. I arrange get-togethers at my house a few times a year. Recently, I invited my daughter’s friends and their moms for a ladies night on my deck on a Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m., since I finish work at 5:00 p.m. All of the girls work, too. I decided to tell the “girls” (Marisa’s friends who are 26 and 27 years of age) to each bring a dish. I was serving only appetizers or desserts. These girls were a little traumatized. Even my daughter said to me, “You’re going to ask them to bring desserts and you aren’t going to bake?” Of course, I was going to bake and cook and clean, but I didn’t want her to know what I was doing. I said I needed help with the food.

Luckily for me, I trained my daughter never go to anyone’s home empty handed. Marisa usually always asks me if I want her to bring something over to our house or she just brings it. Of course not all the time, because I am her mom and this will always be her home. Most of the time she will bring some type of food with her. I really didn’t ask her to bring anything, but I expected her to do something. I also wanted these young women to grow up and pitch in by asking them to bring an edible item. I entertain them at my home all the time. When they come with their mommies, they don’t bring anything because their mommies contribute a dish, and they ride their coattails of manners. These are not ten year old girls; they are women who are a quarter of a century old. Besides, they travel more than I do, and they drive newer cars than I do. So, is it to much to ask them to bring some type of food when they come as a guest to my house?! I do want to add that not all of the girls need to be told. And it isn’t the cake I want, it is the thought. I think enough of them to have these get-togethers as many times as I can during the year.

If I sound proud to get a recipe from my daughter, it is because I am. I have been giving her my recipes for a few years. It’s nice she has her own to give back. Life is a circle and when you are lucky, you are the start and your kids are the end!