Category Archives: Potatoes

Perfect Picnic Potato-Vegetable Salad

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Fresh, crunch veggies blanched to perfection.  Summer in a bowl.

Fresh, crunch veggies blanched to perfection. Summer in a bowl.

Here is one that is perfect for 4th of July parties.  It is a change on a recipe I got from The Splendid Table.  Lynne Rosetto Kasper, the host of the show, emails out recipes once a week for weekday cooking.  If you don’t subscribe, I highly recommend it.  In last week’s email was the following recipe for “Farmers’ Market Salad with Buttermilk Chive Dressing”.   It was fantastic, but I made a few changes to the salad part of it.  If you omit the eggs, you can bring this to a picnic or BBQ and only have to keep the dressing chilled/out of the sun/omitted to make it a safe salad.  The dressing is perfect as is, so I recommend clicking on the link above and making it. (And it is non-fat!)

Since this version doesn’t have lettuce in it, and you don’t dress the salad until it hits your plate, it is a good one for making after a trip to the farmers’ market or grocery store, you can prep it all and then keep it in the fridge for veggies all week.   It is super healthy and fresh tasting and you’ll be anxious to try up new veggies in it as the season progresses.

You will notice the amounts are not too precise.  It is a salad after all, so adjust things to fit your tastes and what looks good at the market.  I’m thinking as the season progresses, you can just keep adding more veggies to the mix.

1 bunch carrots, washed and cut into 1.5” pieces (I don’t peel little carrots, just wash them well, but do what you prefer)
1 lb sugar snap peas, shucked
1 bunch green beans, trimmed and snapped in half or thirds
½ – 1 pound potatoes, cut into smaller chuck rough the same size as the other veggies
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and cut into small chunks
1 red pepper, cut into smaller pieces
1 pt cherry tomatoes (leave whole)
4 large hard-boiled eggs*

Use scoopy things like this, or thongs, a sieve or anything else that will accomplish the same goal of veggies out of hot water.

Use scoopy things like this, or thongs, a sieve or anything else that will accomplish the same goal of veggies out of hot water.

*To boil eggs, put them in a small pan, cover with 1” cold water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and set aside for 15-17 min.  Remove the eggs from the pan and put into a bowl of ice water to cool them down so they are easier to peel.

Fill a large saucepan with water and a little salt.  Bring to a boil.  Make an ice bath – a bowl mostly full of ice and some water.  Put a clean kitchen towel down next to it.

Boil carrots for 3 min.  Scoop out the carrots with anything heat-safe that will drain the water out.  I have a couple of scoopy things that do this job well.  See picture.  Put the carrots into the ice bath, which stops the carrots from cooking any further so they’ll have a nice crunch still.  When the carrots are cool, take them out of the ice bath and put on the towel to dry.

Meanwhile, bring the water back to a boil.  Repeat this process with the peas (about 1-2 min) and green beans (2-3 min).  Keep adding more ice and cold water as needed and as the veggies are dried out a little, add them to a big salad bowl.

The potatoes should go into boiling water, but then turn down to a vigorous simmer (not a boil, not really a simmer) for 10-15 min, until they are cooked.  Drain them and then put in the ice bath.  I use a colander for the potatoes and then let them dry out a little bit in the colander.

Add in the radishes, peppers and tomatoes into the salad bowl.  Mix carefully.  Add in the potatoes and mix carefully.  Shell the eggs and slice length-wise and decorate the top of the salad.  Serve with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing.

Chaat/Fuchka

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Fuchka for 2! Our meal of fuchka, potato/veggie filling, chaat masala water, various chutneys and toppings and then samosa and polish sausage on the side

Fuchka for 2! Our meal of fuchka, potato/veggie filling, chaat masala water, various chutneys and toppings and then samosa and polish sausage on the side

I am putting out a teaser recipe to get the blog rolling.  This is an Indian street food that I think is almost hearty enough to make  a meal.  In our usual fusion sort of way, we enjoy this with Polish sausage or kielbasa.  For some reason, Arvind says that it wasn’t a common partner to this dish on the streets of Calcutta!

The dish is made of three parts: a crunchy “fuchka” which is a hollow, fried ball, mashed potatoes with veggies mixed in and a room-temperature broth.  You make a hole in the fuchka, fill it with the mashed potatoes, dip it all in the broth and eat.

This will require a trip to the Indian grocery store.  There are no 2 ways around it.  But to take the terror out of that process, I have taken pictures of all the things you need to buy.  You can even show the pictures from this blog on your phone to the shopkeeper if you don’t see them.  Since this is a really common dish, they’ll have it on hand.  I promise.

Fuchka come in clear packages or in a boxed set with some extra sauces and little crunchies. I prefer the box.

Fuchka come in clear packages or in a boxed set with some extra sauces and little crunchies. I prefer the box.

Fuchka/Pani Puri*
2 tsp (or more to taste) + 1 tsp per person chaat masala *(see picture)
3 medium potatoes
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1.5 c frozen mixed vegetables

Wash the potatoes and stab them with a fork.  Microwave them until they are soft.

Meanwhile sauté the onion in a little oil.  Once the onion starts to soften, clear a spot in the pan make sure there is little oil there.  Add in 1 tsp of chaat masala.  Let it sit for a few seconds until you can smell the spices heating up.  Once you start smelling them, mix it in with the onions.  Then add  in the frozen veggies.  If they are still frozen, cover and let them cook through.

Mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl.  Add in a little chaat masala and a little oil.  Keep mashing until almost the consistency of regular mashed potatoes.  Mix in the onion and veggies.  Taste it.  Does it need more chaat masala?  Add more if needed  Put in a serving bowl.

Chaat Masala is in the aisle with all the boxes that look like this

Chaat Masala is in the aisle with all the boxes that look like this

Fill a bowl for each person with water and add 1 tsp of chaat masala to the water and stir until mixed. If you got the kit with all the little sauces put those in little bowls.  Put the pani puri in a bowl as well.

To eat, take a pani puri.  Push with your thumb on one side.  One of side will give easily, the other will not.  Break a hole with your thumb.  Take some potato mixture and fill the pani puri.  If you have the extras, top the potato filling with those.  Give

the chaat masala water a little stir, then dip the whole thing in the water and eat immediately.  If you got the set set with the extra sauces and fried chickpeas, you can add those in different combos.  Warning – I’m not a fan of their “broth mix”, steer clear – spicy and odd tasting.

It makes for a fun, interactive dinner.  I would think if you could get it to the table without kids noticing they don’t recognize it, they would like it (or maybe make them some without the spices to be more palatable to them).  The fun of stuffing and dipping makes it a very happy meal!