Rooney’s Potato and Egg Salad

 

This is an old-fashioned Iowa potato salad; I don’t know where my mother got the recipe but it was a staple every Memorial Day and 4th of July.  I never knew that most people do not put eggs in their potato salad until I left home and made this for my friends.  In my foolish youth I thought I would try to modernize my mother’s recipe by reducing the number of eggs, salt, and using Dijon mustard – I was always sorry I tinkered.  But it can bear a few substitutions – scallions or shallots are fine for the red onion and red or yellow pepper can stand in for the green (but the green has more bite and is really the best).  And only Hellman’s mayo will do!

  • 2 pounds small red or Yukon Gold potatoes (any waxy potato will do)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ diced green pepper
  • 6-8 hard-boiled eggs, diced (not too small)

Dressing

  • 1 ½ c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons plain yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender with skins intact.  Cool until they are slightly warm or to room temperature.  Assemble the onion, green pepper and eggs in a large bowl and slice the potatoes into it.

When making the dressing, in a medium bowl, add the mustard and vinegar to the mayonnaise gradually until it has some zip but neither flavor dominates.  Then add the salt and adjust the flavors again.  Then add three quarters of the dressing to the potato mixture and check for texture and consistency – sometimes the potatoes absorb the dressing more than others, so you need take care not to overdress it.

Chill before serving.

Note:  It is best to make the salad on the same day that you have boiled the eggs and potatoes, but you can assemble it a day ahead and refrigerate overnight and it’s great.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

This recipe is adapted from one I found by Thomas Keller, and it is nature’s version of a Jolly Rancher – sweet and tangy and tart and fantastic.  It’s versatile and can be used to as a topping for breakfast or a summer dessert. Our favorites are: french vanilla ice cream, Liberte Plain or Lemon Yogurt, Lemon pound cake (that recipe will be posted soon), and Mascarpone Cheesecake

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 1 pound trimmed rhubarb
  • 1 whole  lemon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

Cut the strawberries into equal sized pieces either by halving or quartering them and place them in a medium saucepan.

Remove the stringy outer layer of the rhubarb by using a paring knife to peel if off the stalk – like peeling celery.  Cut the stalks into into 1 inch pieces and add to the strawberries in the saucepan.

Zest the lemon with a microplane and add to the pan (1-2 teaspoons).  Squeeze half of the lemon into the mixture as well (about 1 Tablespoon).

Add the sugar and stir to coat.

Cook over medium high heat stirring to help dissolve the sugar.  Bring to a gentle boil and let it boil for about five minute to reduce the liquid in the pan, then simmer for five minutes more.  All of the fruit will fall apart but it will still have a nice pink color.  Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature.  Once cool, refrigerate.

It will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

This recipe doubles nicely.