Red Creamer Potato Salad

The right time of year for really small red creamer potatoes is longer than it used to be since most of the farmers’ markets that carry them get them from our local farms in the area. This is great for me because I love these tiny potatoes. When you roast them they almost become candy-like. And I mean that in the best possible way.

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Roasted Creamer Potato Salad

To me potato salad is an elusive thing. That makes it sound exotic, like an Indian tiger, but that is not really what I mean. But it is elusive. It is one of those things you have in your head, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to execute.

Again, this is a no-recipe, recipe. If that makes any sense at all – likely not. But sometimes you really do just have to wing it in the kitchen. Trust your gut and your taste buds.

So I love these potatoes roasted and as soon as they came out of the oven, I doused them with rice wine vinegar. I think it is important to do when they are hot – they just soak it up. I did not want a traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad. I had tried that the week before and loved it, but wanted to go in a different direction. So vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard and Italian parsley. I really liked it. It is not your traditional Southern potato salad, but it was really good. Again, just trust your palate. And remember that when you taste hot potatoes, they are going to be different when they are cold. Err on the side of more vinegar while the potatoes are hot. I kid you not. It really works.

Baked Beans – not a recipe at all.

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My cobbled together baked bean

This is not a recipe. Consider it a guide line of sorts because that’s really all it is. This is a comforting food to me. It reminds me of many things all at once. This started largely on my mom’s recipe, but modified into more of my former mother-in-law’s recipe. Loura used to serve it as part of Thanksgiving in her special bean pot. The bean pot was kind of a robin’s egg blue – really pretty. I had never knew anyone who made baked beans for Thanksgiving, but it totally works. I mean it. Really.

These beans are tangy, sweet, mustardy, oniony, and smokey with bacon. But for many years I did a vegetarian version and still do when I don’t happen to have bacon in the fridge. I buy Bush’s vegetarian baked beans to start because they are blank canvas-ish (they were on sale this week, buy one get one – yeah!) and then doctor it up with the favors I like best.

So here are the ingredients:
28 ozs can Bush’s vegetarian baked beans (a pantry staple)
Small to medium yellow onion, minced – I happen to like lots of onion in my baked beans
Worcestershire sauce – required – well, pretty much everything here is required. It is.
Brown sugar
Mustard, yellow or Dijon – I prefer Dijon now, but either will do.
Bacon – not necessary, but really good.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Bake the mac n cheese first. Oh yeah these two things go together well. Anyway. That’s another recipe for another time. Another family recipe.

In a baking dish – I use a blue ceramic baking dish from Portugal that’s about 10″ by 7″ that I purchased in a Stein Mart in Durham, NC, and one can of beans works perfectly. I just mix everything else in there, but not the bacon – that’s for the top – again not a recipe. Here’s the thing though – you really have to taste it after mixing the beans, Worcestershire, brown sugar, onion, and mustard together and decide if you like the flavor  – is it well balanced? If you don’t like it then – well, you won’t like it any better when it’s become more intense after baking. So taste and adjust. It’s pretty important.

I wish I could give you an exact recipe, but sometimes you just can’t and that means you’re just making food you love. Is there anything wrong with that? I think not.  Thanks to Becky and Loura. Great inspirations.

Currant – Glazed Chicken

Currant Glazed Chicken with Rice and White Corn

I’m not quite sure how to describe this dish. It’s pretty simple, but the flavors – Dijon mustard, lemon, and currant – work well together. Do love shoepeg corn. Slightly less sweet than yellow corn, but my favorite with rice, some salt, and a good bit of butter. Another childhood favorite – rice and corn w/butter.  I really am simple I think when it comes to flavors, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
12 oz jar of currant jelly

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Pound each chicken breast between two sheet of waxed paper until 1/2 inch thick. Heat one Tbs of butter and 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet and brown each chicken piece on both sides, working in batches and adding other Tbs of butter and olive oil as needed.
Remove to prepared baking dish. Leave butter oil mixture in skillet and deglaze with lemon juice. Add mustard and currant jelly. Heat and stir until melted. Pour currant sauce over chicken. Cover baking dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more (or so – here’s where it can get tricky..

Modified from Southern on Occasion, p. 192

Southern on Occasion is an entirely different story – a very wonderful cookbook. And more recipes to come from it. Including one from our wedding pre-party.

I do mark down dates that I make things – it’s kind of telling what’s good and what stands the test of time and why my memory can be so terrible. This was a Chapel Hill dinner and I can’t believe I had forgotten it  – memory problem anyone? Now on the roster again. Pretty damn simple really.  Next time I think with roasted potatoes. Although I do love rice and corn together.

June 2002
13 September 2002
18 October 2002
7 April 2015