Steven’s Market Deli – Pace, Florida

I am a bit of a potato salad person. I will pretty much try everyone’s potato salad – it is just a thing for me. It is a measure of how well a restaurant can do something that is relatively simple. I love to make my own, but I also love to try any other version. Steven’s Market Deli caught my attention because they sold German Potato Salad – yes, I just did lots of capital letters there. But I had a real idea of where they procured that German potato salad (yes, I have now relaxed a bit, not so many capital letters), but it was so obvious it was from The Creamery – an excellent Gulf Breeze restaurant that sadly closed not too long after we moved here. I had the fading hope that after The Creamery closed that Steven’s might pick up the idea and make their own German potato salad. They did not, but that was a boon for me because it made me try their traditional potato salad. Damn skippy – that is some really good potato salad. D&D_1494

I used to work at a place very similar to Steven’s Market Deli. It was in Jacksonville and it was a cafe that also had ice cream. Hence, why I am so over ice cream. Serve it enough and you just do not care anymore. This place had a stupid name and though it thought itself a tearoom, it really was a small cute cafe that served croissant sandwiches, quiche, soup, and oddly enough a knockwurst plate with… wait for it … German potato salad. I will say this was my introduction to Twinings tea with my favorite being Earl Grey and that was a very good thing.

Well, once again, I have wondered far afield from where I started. Back to Steven’s Market Deli. Beyond getting potato salad to go, I have had their pork barbecue sandwich with cheddar and it is just amazing! – yes, it deserves the exclamation point. Chicken salad is also really good. And the stuffed grape leaves, sigh. I need to get them more often. I have not been to brunch there, but the menu looks pretty amazing – I just don’t quite get up early enough on the weekend for that. Yep – that is just me.

It seems when I go on the weekend to get potato salad (and next time stuffed grape leaves), there are always high school-aged kids. I think that is cool. And one thing that always impresses me is when I get my potato salad, these high school kids sprinkle the top of the potato salad with paprika and chives. It is just a little attention to detail that endears them to me. They do not have to do that, but they do – and to me that means a great deal. This is the kind of local establishment that I want to, and continue to, frequent. Love local restaurants.

Egg Usage – by month – May 2016

17 May 2016 – 3 eggs – Yukon Gold Potato Salad

21 May 2016 – 3 eggs – Chicken Salad

 

Well, this was not the month for eggs. I had a slight serious thing for toffee and shortbread this month and neither involve eggs. So this month, my egg supply was used on some pretty amazing savory things.

Summer always has me thinking of potato salad. I did the same thing last year. I really need to get to the local farmers’ markets to find some local red new potatoes. The By-Pass Market in Milton is one of my favorite places because they have excellent, local, new red potatoes – and lots of other amazing local produce. I am always tempted to roast new potatoes because they become sweet (like candy) and we just eat them right off the roasting pan. They are so addictive. So they never seem to make it into potato salad.  I know what my future holds – a trip to the By-Pass Market.   Ce weekend.

I am a huge fan of chicken salad. I poach chicken breasts in water which I then save and serve to a totally underserving puppy – chicken water is an excellent thing for a pup. I usually make this simple – celery – peeled of course, shallots, Duke’s mayonnaise, a little Dijon mustard, parsley, and, of course, a few boiled eggs. Simple, but so very good.

Will have to do better in June in both the butter usage and egg usage, but I am not thinking it is going to go well. I am still a little off my game, but I will make up for that.

Yes. Yes, I will. You just have to work through things and to me cooking and baking makes me happy.

Yukon Gold Potato Salad

Potato salad is really illusive. It really should not be so difficult. It is just potato salad, but it can be good or bad. And most of the time it is not good, just sort of meh.

I have a few pointers from one of my best friends. While the potatoes are still hot, just dump that pickle juice on them – they totally absorb it. That does make a really good potato salad – it does.D&D_1431

2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cleaned, peeled or not, and cubed
4 stalks celery, peeled (yes, peeled),  finely diced
4 scallions, finely diced
4 Tbs sweet relish, squeezed of most liquid
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely minced
6 Tbs Duke’s mayonnaise – it really must be Duke’s

Set a pot of water to boil and salt it heavily – like the ocean. Add those Yukon Gold potatoes and boil until the potatoes are tender – which in my head means you can pierce them with a paring knife. Meanwhile, peel that celery (not kidding – a serrated peeler works the best), and then mince it. Mince the scallions too. Add to that the squeezed out sweet relish (my favorite kind) and you can add the relish juice to the cooked potatoes because that is pretty much amazing. Guess I should have said that earlier while the potatoes were warm but I think I did. Now let everything cool a bit.

So after waiting, we do the following: Add those hard boiled eggs, and the parsley. Combine the Dijon, lemon juice and Duke’s and mixed until combined. Add to the potatoes, but don’t go crazy.  You don’t want to break up the potatoes too much.

I made this for Easter this year, along with Baked Beans. But this was one of those just wing-it-kind-of-recipes. And that is what I did. Looked at lots of recipes, bought 5 pounds of Yukon Golds and went for it. It seemed to be a hit for Easter, but I am also thinking about it again for this summer – you know, picnic time.

I never have been on a picnic and that seems a damn shame  – will remedy that, at least I hope I will.

 

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.

Recipes – making them my own

I like trying recipes and finding favorites that I make over and over again. And I almost always make some adjustments. I cannot help myself. I guess the only recipes I do not change too much are my mom’s recipes and a few other family recipes.

Some recipes I change so much that I claim them as mine. I think that is fair, in the grand scheme of thing.

I think now it is time to start making my own recipes. So I am going to start with a few things that I remember from childhood that I have not been able to quite get there. So research. Which was always my favorite part of my uni education. Research, at least to me, is fun. What do you expect from a historian? Research. Yep. I’m a total nerd that way, but it was always my favorite part, at least until I learned how to really write. A public school education, at least in my day, did not really teach you how to write. It was sad really. The one thing I learned working for my master’s degree was that I needed to learn how to write and understand the English language much better than a public school education had taught me. To bad it cost a crap-load of money to do that.

I am still a word nerd, but I do not think that is a bad thing. It is kind of funny, I think if I had to do it over again, I would be (a Secret Service agent – no … really!) or a linguist (much more likely).

So research it will be for the following things:

Peanut Butter Fudge – can not quite help myself.

My mom’s meatloaf – especially a meatloaf sandwich.

Chicken and Rice – really simple, but slightly amazing.

Cheese Crackers – did the Cracker Challenge a few years ago, but I feel like the only person that makes cheese crackers – is that possible?

Potato Salad – been struggling with this all summer – and not to my satisfaction.

Peach Cobbler – wow – this one is charged. I love my mom’s recipe, but I don’t really like the biscuits on top. How to fix that?

 

 

Yukon Gold Potato Salad

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Yukon Gold Potato Salad

We like to stop by Bailey’s Farmers’ Market to see what’s going on almost every weekend. It is right up the road from our house, and the hours are great (read: long). It is a fun experience and I have no plan when I go in – just buy what seems a good price – usually local – and then I get home and do the “what the hell am I going to do with this”  part of the equation.  But honestly, that is the fun part of the deal. I keep waiting for nectarine prices to drop (hello, cobbler), but a week ago the Yukon gold potatoes were excellent and beyond cheap (does that mean I’m cheap – probably), so I went for it and got a pound. That’s more than enough for me and the MotH since the Boy moved out. Sad, but inevitable – still make food for him though and that does ease it a bit for me.

1 pound yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Vinegar, the kind you like best

1/3 cup sweet relish

1 rib of celery, peeled and small diced

Duke’s mayo

yellow mustard

1 scallion, sliced

2 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, minced

This is a no-recipe recipe. There is some methodology to it, but really you just taste and adjust as you go along.

Boil the potatoes in very salted water until they are easily pierced by a paring knife and then drain. The most important part is dousing the hot potatoes with vinegar and perhaps some relish juice – they soak it up like crazy. Then let them cool.

I tried this idea with Dijon mustard, but you need something more substantial – plain old yellow (hot dog) mustard. I think it is the extra vinegar factor and vinegar is a must with this non-recipe recipe.

Then just mix everything else in. And add chives, if you have them. Maybe a shallot or even grated onion, but I did not. I do not think the scallion was enough. This was a perfect Southern potato salad – at least to me it was.

TBM (to be made) List

I read a lot of books – yep – I’m another kind of book nerd besides being a food nerd. Jane Austen, Colin Dexter, Agatha Christie, P.D. James. And cookbooks.

And I read other bloggers that like to read too. Apparently they all have a TBR pile – to be read. But I have figured out that I have a TBM list = To Be Made. It is an on going and ever changing list. No big surprise there. Lists are a thing with me which is kind of annoying. During the week, usually when I’m hungry, I write down things that sound good to make – it helps me make the grocery list – ugh yet another list – but then I get practical and start to cull the list of unrealistic things that I always seem to plan.

So right now, what are the things on my TBM list, you ask? – or not, as the case may be. Here’s the mental jumble that is my thoughts on being in the kitchen this upcoming week.

Roasted Potato Salad – with tiny new red potatoes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Sugared Lemon Cookies – made them this week, by the way -Post to follow
Salted Lemons
Chicken Francese
Hot Pepper Jelly
Blackberry Jelly – from blackberries from a friend. In the freezer until I’m ready.
Cheddar Pepper Jelly Thumbprint. These are so good.
Pecan or Walnut Tassies
Brown Sugar Pecan Scones
Off-to-bed Butter Cookies
Lemon Doughnut Muffins
Pecan Cream Cake
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Couscous Salad – unless the Boy drinks all the orange juice. Which I am pretty sure he will.

There it is. My list of lists.