Sunday, October 07, 2012

Fall Break Stay-cation

(Photo credit: Dorothy Douglas)'s Fall Break (aka Colombus Day weekend to the culturally insensitive)! My roommate and I talked about a mini-tour of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but ultimately opted to stay home. And I think it was a very good decision. We have taken in movies, shopped, eaten out, toured local farm stands and orchards, pampered ourselves with mani-pedi's, and slept...A LOT! Not only has it been very relaxing and rejuvenating, but it's been just beautiful, as the North Country is experiencing the best autumnal color since I moved here in 2000.

Today, we headed out to Redford/Black Brook in the Adirondack Park to my friend Vicky's annual bonfire. It was a GLORIOUS drive, and it was nice to see friends and colleagues in such a casual, outdoor setting.

It was also fun to have lots of kids and dogs join the party. I took my wee Dollop to give her a little more socialization, and she had lots of fun, greeting the kiddos and the other pooches, and especially playing with her best boyfriend, Beauregard the mini poodle.

Once the sun had gone down and the fire was going like gangbusters, Vicky cooked her famous Coney dogs on the grill (you can see her dog, Sadie, patiently waiting for hers, lower left), and everyone else contributed something yummy to the potluck as well.

As for my own offering, I decided to make a big batch of potato salad. It occurs to me that I somehow made it through the whole summer without making any potato salad--and that's just wrong! I was chatting with a dear friend recently, and she was explaining how the potato salad she makes doesn't use a lot of mayo, but leans more toward a German potato salad--with a tangy vinaigrette and also lots of mustard, but not served warm. So that was my culinary experiment, to make a German-American hybrid potato salad for Vicky's gathering.

I found a recipe online from a woman with a German mother who owned a deli and made this amazing Bavarian kartoffelsalat every day for their customers. I took inspiration from those flavor combinations, some of her methodology, threw in a couple of things I like, and came up with what I think was a pretty tasty--but creamier--result. As I made five pounds of potatoes and brought home an empty container, I think the partygoers liked it, too!

German-American Potato Salad

5 lbs. red potatoes (or Yukon Golds)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I might cut this back to 1/4 cup next time)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 large onion, minced
3/4 cup Baconnaise (bacon-flavored mayo)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon ground celery
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling water until easily pierced through to the middle with the tip of a knife. Cut into chunks (or thick slices, if you prefer), then toss with the vinegars and a teaspoon of the salt. Refrigerate until completely cool.

Mix together the onion, Baconnaise, mustard, sugar, the other teaspoon of salt, and the rest of the seasonings. Pour over the cooled potatoes and gently combine. Sprinkle the fresh parsley in and toss one more time. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

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