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My Grandma makes a mean potato salad.  It is her recipe we use as a go to one when we need a pot luck salad.  It is flavorful, easy and reminds me of how she says, Po-day-do.  Love that Quincy accent that reveals itself every now and then.

So, when I saw The Pioneer Woman’s Potato Salad recipe I was hesitant to let my true feelings express themselves.  They were dying to yell out, “I love you Grandma but this one sounds so yummy and interesting and I really really want to try it!”  So I took a deep breath and let them out, and then set to the task of making this potato salad for 17 people, which meant doubling it, which meant a lot of work, which meant with a mild cold all this cooking knocked me on my butt!  But it was worth it.  Cause, dang this was good!

Using a food mill isn’t easy, but it does produce some great results.  The potoatoes were fluffy and soft and the flavors mixed with them just exploded.  I loved the addition of eggs, I love me some hardboiled eggs.  I didn’t use pickles.  1. I don’t like sweet pickles.  2. I forgot to buy dill ones and with my Brother in Japan we didn’t have any in the house.  I could see pickles adding a lot.  Truth be told, this potato salad was packed with flavor as it was!  Lastly, I am with her on the dilemma of the skins- I wanted to fry them in a pan and eat them right up, it felt like a shame to waste them.  But I was tired, not hungry, and didn’t want to cook one more thing when all was said and done.

It was hard to double this recipe and not run out of bowl space.  I can’t remember if I resorted to mixing with my hands, I think I stuck with my spooon and got the job done- but I’m not confident that the mustards, mayos and eggs got everywhere they needed to go.  It was a lot of potatoes!  But it was a good thing I made that much, people were going back for 2nds and 3rds. Seriously, it is that good.

You know what the worst part of this recipe was?  Looking at the amount of mayo that is about to get mixed in.  That scared me.  But I did it.  And thank god I did, potatoes need dressings to be their tastiest selves.  Trust me.

Okay, now that I’m sitting here day dreaming about July 4th weekend again, read on for the recipe and then help me decide what to make for my last 2 July recipes!

Pioneer Woman’s (PDubs) Perfect Potato Salad

5 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium russets)
1 1/2 cups real mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
4 tablespoons prepared mustard (regular, Dijon, or a mixture of both) I used a mixture, YUM I love me some yellow mustard!
5 green onions, sliced up to the darkest green part
8 small sweet pickles (may use dill if that’s more up your alley) Again, didn’t use ’em- would next time.
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

Cut potatoes in halves or thirds, then boil until fork tender. Drain.
Mash potatoes or run them through a ricer or food mill to make them extra fluffy.
Fold potatoes together with mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and other seasonings you like. Fold in pickles and eggs, then taste for seasonings, adding more salt, mustard, or mayo as needed. You may also splash in juice from the pickle jar if salad needs a little moisture.


I knew I’d make up for my failing in January by cooking extra in February, and I did!  This is my 7th new recipe of the month, and it feels great!

We had some friends over for a post Bar Exam celebration on Wednesday night so I decided it would be a great time to open up the cookbook and choose a new recipe.  I pulled out my Whole Foods Cookbook since I knew I could shop there Wednesday afternoon.  First I wanted to try a Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, but there were two goat cheese lovers and two goat cheese haters (I’m a lover, I can’t get enough of the stuff) so that was nixed.  I turned the page and found this recipe and knew it would be easy and yummy.  Luckily Matt is a recent cilantro convert so we had all Lovers in the bunch.

Whole Foods had great looking shrimp so I picked it up fresh, otherwise I probably would have used frozen.  I’ll be honest, I could tell the difference from when I’ve had both.  This shrimp was very pure and fresh tasting.

Basically for this recipe you do minimal chopping, the green onions and halving the cilantro and let the blender do the work.  The paste came out perfectly.  I layered it over the shrimp and stuck it in the fridge.  While I marinated I threw some Trader Joe’s fingerling potatoes in the oven with EVOO, S&P.  It was great to have the time to let them just roast.

After an hour the shrimp went in the pan, I ended up turning up the heat to high because it wasn’t cooking fast enough on Med-High- I think all the paste slowed down the heating process.

I plattered it all with the avocado, tomatoes and cilantro on top.  They were a great compliment to the shrimp and tasted great all paired together.  The one thing lacking was heat.  Next time I would leave the jalapeno seeds in, and might even throw another one in to the blender.  I also left out the cumin since I’m not a fan and swapped in cayenne – I couldn’t even taste the cayenne.

This recipe was so easy, it will definitely be a staple going forward- especially when I can get to Whole Foods at lunch for their great fresh ingredients!

Serves 6 (I served 4 with 1.5 pounds of larger shrimp)


1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/3 cup sliced or whole almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
6 green onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and halved
2 pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 small avocado, thinly sliced
6 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


Set aside 6 sprigs of cilantro for garnish. Put remaining cilantro, almonds, 2 tablespoons of the oil, cumin, green onions, garlic, jalapeños, and 1/4 cup water in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute.

Arrange shrimp in a wide, shallow dish and spread cilantro paste over them. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and salt, and stir a few more times to scrape up any browned bits.

Transfer shrimp to a platter and garnish with reserved cilantro, avocados, and tomatoes.  (You really shouldn’t leave those out, they all pair really nicely together)


So tonight I tried something new that wasn’t from a cookbook, just my own imagination.  We had some potatoes in the fridge I wanted to cook, and some scallion we needed to cook.

I sliced the potatoes into about 1/4 inch thick slices- some thicker.  They went in a pan with two chopped scallions, oil and salt.  I put them in a 350 degree oven and let him cook for about an hour, maybe less.

They were delicious!  The first serving wasn’t quite crisp enough, when I went back for seconds they were much crisper and tasted like sour cream & onion potato chips.  Next time I’ll let them sit for a few minutes when they come out.

Verdict: YUM!

Last night we made this Martha Stewart Everday Recipe.  It was easy, yummy and got me off to a great start on my resolution to cook 6 different recipes a month.

A little about the meal,

Jen and I headed to the Hannaford down the street to pick up the potatoes, meat and salad.  We grabbed a bag of new red potatoes, and then headed to the meat counter.  They didn’t have any skirt steak, but they did have angus flank steak which is close enough.  We grabbed 1.75 lbs for 5 people.

Once home, we started with the potatoes first.  I realized we didn’ t have a lot of viable garlic, so I do think the potatoes could have been more garlicy.  I chopped the garlic and then sprinkled some salt on and like the recipe calls for pressed it into a mush with the side of my knife.  After mixing it with oil and thyme I kind of sprinkled it on the sliced potatoes, but there wasn’t enough to go around.  Then we reread the recipe and realized we were supposed to toss the potatoes, so we tossed them on the pan and it spread much more evenly, but I could tell there wasn’t enough garlic.

Those went in to the oven and we got started on the steak, which was so much more easy than I could have imagined!  Jen cut it in to five pieces and then sprinkled it with salt and pepper.  We got two cast iron pans hot with oil and let the steaks go.  In the meantime I whisked the vinaigrette which I could tell just from the smell would be perfect with the arugula we substituted for watercress.

The steaks took a couple minutes longer than we though, which meant they didn’t rest for that long before the potatoes were out of oven and the salad was tossed.  All in all the meal was delicious.  We paired it with a yummy Sonoma Zinfandel and everyone cleaned their plates.

I didn’t realize until we were done that this was a great start to my resolution!  Not only did we make a great meal, but I got to catch up with Jen.  A great way to start the year!




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