Shapes & Colors Potato Salad

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Colors make me happy.  They represent abundance and variety to me, and conjure up feelings of awe and cheeriness.  I love bright and saturated hues, in textiles, ceramics, glass; in food, in clothing, in shoes.  Unpatterned though . . . I like solids and not patterns.  I favor a neutral palette with pops of wild color.

When I was a teenager I went through a stage where I stuck to a monochromatic wardrobe of black, much to my parents’ chagrin.  They didn’t make a big deal out of it, but I do remember my Dad mentioning it to me one time, so I knew they were paying attention.  It sounds silly to me now, but I think it was my way of living within the imagined confines of my clothing choices, as I was attending a pretty exclusive private all-girls school where I felt that I was the poorest kid on the block and could not compete with the fancy pants (literally) of my peers.  If I just wore black all the time I wouldn’t have to think about buying matching pants and shirts and shoes . . . and therefore wouldn’t be forever wanting to buy more clothes.  I sort of laugh at myself and then feel compassion for my parents, who God knows were not poor, but also were not movie stars or moguls, when I think back on these days. I had transferred to this school from public school in order to get a superior education, which I did, and I actually did love the school part, and am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to go there.  It was not cheap, that’s for sure, but my parents wanted me to have a good education and felt that if I wanted to and could get into the school, that they wanted to make the financial sacrifice.  I’ve always loved school, campuses, just the whole experience of being in an academic community.  But the friends and clothing part?  I was miserable!

These days I wear a lot more color.  Also, one of the kicks of cooking and shopping for food, for me, is seeing what looks vibrant, colorful and fresh.  I created this potato salad, which is very roughly based (at least the potato part) on a version of German Potato Salad my paternal grandmother used to make of potatoes dressed in a bacon/mustard/vinegar dressing and then tossed with bacon, to celebrate the diversity of color I recently spotted at our Saturday’s Farmer’s Market.  I used lemon basil, amaranth leaf, jicama and all kinds of other odds and ends!

 

Slice up about a pound of fingerling potatoes, boil for 5 minutes, drain and toss with 2 Tbsp cooked bacon drippings/grease and 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper

Slice up about a pound of fingerling potatoes, boil for 5 minutes, drain and toss with 2 Tbsp cooked bacon drippings/grease, 1 minced shallot, and 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper

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Cut up some a few pieces of jicama and a red beet. As you can see I was feeling playful with the shapes.  Boil the small pieces of beet for about 5 minutes.

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Grab a handful of edible flowers.  These were from the back yard.

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Toss everything together with a clove of smashed garlic (leave out the beets until the last minute) and add some capers.

Blister a few shishito peppers by tossing with olive oil and salt; broil for 5 minutes.

Blister a few shishito peppers by tossing with olive oil and salt; broil for 5 minutes.

Slice up 1 small (preferably japanese, seedless) cucumber

Slice up 1 small (preferably japanese, seedless) cucumber

Add some leafy greens -- this is amaranth, also known as chinese spinach

Add some leafy greens — this is amaranth, also known as chinese spinach

Add a handful of herbs; this is lemon basil.

Add a handful of herbs; this is lemon basil.

Add beets and a dressing made with 1 Tbsp. mustard, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbps greek yogurt (or you can use mayonnaise or sour cream if you like), toss together and serve!

I also added a chopped preserved lemon, but you can easily omit.  Add beets and a dressing made with 1 Tbsp. mustard, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, juice of half a lemon, 1 Tbps greek yogurt (or you can use mayonnaise or sour cream if you like), toss together and serve!

Tossed and ready to eat

Tossed and ready to eat

Do you have a favorite color that comes up in your food preparations again and again?  How important is presentation to you when you are entertaining, dining with family, or dining alone?  What do you do when you’re feeling playful in your cooking?  Let me know in your comments!

17 Comments on “Shapes & Colors Potato Salad

  1. I feel for young Sue in school. Glad that part is behind you and you’re back in color, like this salad! This is my kind of salad, lots of potatoes and bits of everything, crunchy and flavorful. (Haven’t used lemon basil but just used lemon mint for the first time.) Your presentation is great. I try to present my food and table nicely when I entertain but I rarely plan ahead enough to make it what I truly want it to look like. I always love to add a bit of red to my meals (peppers, pepper flakes, sriracha, etc.), but that could be because I like spicy foods more than the addition of color itself.

    • Thanks Ngan! I actually used to eat lunch by myself in a classroom with the door closed for the first month or so because the girls were such snots! Red: yes. Wondering how your Jerusalem dinner went this past weekend. What a book!

      • Oh boy it was good! I didn’t get to take too many photos (I was running behind and was still cooking when my guests arrived!), but have a few I will share in a week or so. We actually only made one recipe for this dinner, but it was a really good one! We’re planning more for another dinner soon….always cooking and eating, never enough time to post it all.

    • Thank you Seana; and you know, amaranth seed is I guess what is eaten as a grain sometimes. Hard to believe that such a wild leaf comes from such a tiny little yellow seed, right?

  2. I couldn’t agree more with you in regards to color – especially on my plate! A vibrant coleslaw, a rainbow salad…. so appealing! 🙂 Lovely salad you have here.

  3. School was hard for me, too. I was incredibly shy and one of the very few Asian students (up until middle school anyway) so I never felt like I fit in. It wasn’t until college that I finally became comfortable in my own skin. And then more so as I began teaching. Now I can’t get myself to shut up. I must be making up for lost time. 😉 Your produce looks so wonderful, Sue. Your paternal grandmother must have been a great cook! I love that you made the blistered shishito peppers, too. Now I’m craving them!

  4. What beautiful produce and a completely gorgeous looking salad! School can be so tough but as I say to my son, it’s a good training ground for work and learning to deal with all sorts of people that consist of colleagues, bosses and clients!

  5. These colors and the very fine sliced up diced up presentation of the vegetables, flowers and bowls was “bomb like” …thank you for your very colorful and clever work here Birgerbird! Keep it coming…you present beautiful images that bring joy!

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