Friday, September 5, 2008

Potato Salad - Cooking for My Eating Pleasure

Growing up, my mom cooked all of our meals. She was, and still is, what many would consider a fabulous cook. She gets it from my maternal grandmother who is also a tremendous cook and took some lessons from my paternal grandmother, who also was a great cook from a different province in Korea. (one of the famous "culinary" provinces, Kaesong.) With this kind of background, meals at our house were always tremendous, tables overflowing with food, but ALWAYS Korean. Because that is what my father ate. He liked to come home from work, sit down and eat his Korean meal. And so all of our dinners were these fabulously cooked Korean meals.

EXCEPT on the nights when he was "on call" at the hospital, which meant he wasn't coming home. Then my mom would mix things up and make things that he didn't want to eat, but his three children were craving to eat. Things like tacos, hamburgers (boy were these good), Japanese style curry rice, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagne, and spare ribs. These dinners were only a few times a month but I remember coming home from school, asking my mom, "What's for dinner?" and when she would answer with one of our non Korean meals - I would be so excited.

I find that I'm doing something similar now. I generally cook for my husband and children and not for me. I want to cook something that I know they will enjoy and like. I do this, not because I care SO much about my family, but because I don't want to hear complaints of "I don't want to eat this" or "Mommy can I eat something else." I'd rather just avoid that scene altogether - so oftentimes what I REALLY want to eat, I don't make for myself.

I especially love potatoes - but this food item is husband's nemesis. He likes potato chips - but there his affinity for potatoes ends. Which means, I rarely, if ever, cook potatoes. I only cook them when I know husband will not be around for dinner - and then I get pretty excited. But I got news that he was not going to be home for dinner, so I rushed to the supermarket lugging my 9 month old to buy potatoes - because I wanted to make potato salad.

This is my version of the potato salad. I like the green peas in it for color and sweetness, the shallots and the celery both for bite and crunch and the eggs - for that extra richness. The boiled potatoes are dressed in vinegar, oil, salt and pepper while hot, so that they absorb the dressing well. Then I add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. This is great with burgers, sandwiches, steak, friend chicken. Sometimes, my kids just eat the potato salad. A very large bowl of it. And then I imagine them, also in the future, secretly craving those nights when Daddy isn't home so that they can have some forbidden food.

Joanne's "Forbidden" Potato Salad
(serves 10)

2 lbs New red potatoes
1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup frozen peas (no need to cook or defrost)
2 shallots chopped fine (can also use red onion if you prefer)
1/2 cup celery chopped fine
6 hard boiled eggs
1 cup of mayonnaise (for my dietary restrictions I use canola oil based mayo)

1. Wash potatoes. In a pot filled with cold water, add the potatoes and cook until tender but firm. (the time will depend on your size of potato.)

2. When potatoes are done, drain them, and cut them into bite sized pieces (they are hot! Watch out!) and put them in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the still-hot potatoes with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Take a taste here - the potatoes should have soaked up some of that vinegary goodness and taste like warm seasoning. YUM!

3. Add the shallots, celery and peas. Add mayonnaise. Mix to combine. Then finally add eggs and mix carefully. Chill in the refrigerator. May be made the day before.

Printable recipe
Forbidden like ice cream

2 comments:

Amy K. said...

i remember being excited by non-Korean meals. they were pretty experimental, and not always successful, but i looked forward to them. (my dad was a doc too!)

laurie said...

Same here, my dad was a doctor too! But my mom never liked to cook, so when he was on call it was frozen tv dinners -- Hungry Man Salisbury Steak was my favorite back then!

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