Friday, July 9, 2010

Potato Salad & Pizzelles

Originally, we wanted to make grilled potatoes for our July 4 gathering, but we quickly realized that the meats and all the veggies would fill the grill, leaving no room for a foil packet of potatoes. Instead, we made potato salad.We decided to make a potato salad with a vinegar dressing. There were two reasons for that decision: 1) B&R were bringing macaroni salad, which has a mayo dressing, and we figured we didn't need 2 mayo dressed salads and 2) We figured we'd have leftovers and mayo based salads, after a day or two, bother my stomach.

We don't feel the need to follow a recipe for a dish like this. We bought a HUGE bag of red potatoes at Costco, planned to cook about 2 lbs Sunday morning but in reality I think it was more like 3 lbs. We hard boiled 4 eggs and then finely chopped them. I thinly sliced 2 stalks of celery. I chopped some onion. We peeled our potatoes and we cubed them (some people like sliced potatoes for potato salad; we like cubed). I also chopped a bunch of parsley from our parsley pot.

We flipped through several cookbooks in search of a good potato salad vinaigrette. The Joy of Cooking calls vinegar dressed potato salad "French Potato Salad" and while that dressing sounded good, it also had capers in it and I wasn't sure I wanted capers in my potato salad. I wanted something with a bit more... punch than our usual salad dressings/vinaigrettes, but not a German Potato Salad dressing (with bacon fat & sugar to sweeten it).

We settled on a salad vinaigrette from our beat up copy of Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. It used vegetable oil (no olive oil), white wine vinegar, paprika, mustard, and for herbs we chose to add the fresh thyme from the CSA.We both really enjoyed this potato salad; not sure about anyone else!

Pizzelles. It seemed like a good idea to make pizzelles for with the ice cream. I didn't try shaping the warm pizzelles into cones or bowls - previous attempts have not resulted in anything remotely acceptable. But pizzelles seemed like a good idea, plus, I've been thinking about pizzelles a lot and about how we haven't made any since last Christmas.

The below photo gives you an idea of my Pizzelle Adventure:Those were the first 2 pizzelles off the pizzelle maker. Way too dark and hard. I didn't think to oil the pizzelle maker, after all, I don't oil the waffle iron every time I use it. Big mistake. SP had departed for an emergency run for flour (that's right, we planned all sorts of baked goodies and we didn't realize we didn't have enough flour for cookies and a tart - oops) and I was home alone with the pizzelle batter and pizzelle maker.

These first two... well, when the light turned green, I unclasped the clasp and tried to lift the lid, but it was stuck. So I waited a bit, thinking I had my red/green light understanding all wrong and that the lid was stuck because the pizzelles weren't cooked enough. Ummm.... nope. Turns our they were burning. When I finally got the lid pried open, these 2 pizzelles were stuck. I managed to get them out, but they left behind dark crumbs stuck in the grooves.

Sigh. So I unplugged the pizzelle maker - which was no easy feat since it was plugged in behind the kitchen table and it was not an easy reach from the wheelchair. I let it cool a bit, and then used a toothpick to try to pick out all the crumbs stuck in the grooves. There were crumbs flying all around the kitchen. I was annoyed. The pizzelle maker was still hot enough that I was burning my hands. It was hot in general since it was 90 degrees on Saturday.

Finally it seemed like I had picked out enough crumbs. I oiled the maker, let it heat up again, for a good while, and lowered the setting from 4.5 to 3.5.Well 3.5 was too light - you can see the 2 light ones in the photo, centered under the dark ones. Eventually I got the light/dark setting set about right (of course it's up to individual taste, so I should say I managed to get it set to my personal preference), but it's been so long since I made pizzelles that I forgot how much batter to spoon into the molds. My pizzelles either overflowed or were mutants, cut off well before the edge of the mold. I got annoyed. Frustrated. Angry. Exasperated. I finally started to get my 'pizzelle groove' back for the last dozen or so, but...They tasted fine, especially after sitting overnight - pizzelles always taste better a day or two after making them. These just aren't my best looking pizzelles.Always, always oil the pizzelle maker.

1 comment:

  1. Easy solution to no room on the grill for grilled potatoes? Pick up some little new potatoes, toss them in a little bit of olive oil and salt, and stick them anywhere you can find space on the grill (directly on the grate). They take awhile to cook, but the end result is spectacular: crispy skin, perfectly tender flesh.