My mom had five brothers, one of them her twin, and six sisters, my aunties Ruth, Caroline, Betty, Dorothy, Edna, and Vera. Many childhood Fourth of July’s were spent celebrating with a throng of relatives, my sun-bathing aunties, horseshoe-playing uncles, a gaggle of sparkler-crazed cousins, and the most delicious food, the same stuff every year including the potato salad. The aunties were of one mind about how to make it. My mom says that her older sister, Ruth, started it and the younger sisters followed. Didn’t matter which aunt made it, their potato salad was the fireworks on my plate. Fried chicken, homemade ice cream, green beans, baked beans, iced tea, strawberries, whatever . . . potato salad had my heart.
I now hold the fresh green beans, strawberries, barbecue in high regard. They epitomize my family’s Fourth of July feast, any summer picnic for that matter. Green beans in my garden are far from ready but if I can find them at the Farmer’s Market they’ll be on the table, along with some barbecue, grilled asparagus, strawberries, maybe angel food cake and definitely the aunties’ potato salad. Whatever your culinary fireworks this 4th of July, may it explode on your plate, in a good way. Happy Independence Day.
The Aunties’ Potato Salad Recipe
Enough for 6 – 8, give or take.
Ingredients: These quantities are loose, more or less of each is fine. 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes/ 10 – 12 hard-boiled eggs/ 4 green onions, 5 or 6 radishes, 2 stalks celery, 2/3 C sweet pickle, all finely chopped. The dressing – and plenty of eggs – is key.
Directions: Halve or quarter peeled or unpeeled potatoes and cook in salted water until just barely tender. Try not to overcook. Cool and dice./ Same with the eggs, try not to overcook. When done plunge into ice water for a few minutes. Peel and chop/ Dice cooled potatoes and add to salad bowl along with other ingredients./ Gently toss with plenty of dressing.
Tarragon/Dill potato salad, from a previous post, is 180º in another direction. Especially good with fish. The Other Potato Salad.
Rosemary Grilled Chicken Recipe
Jerry Traunfeld’s marinade from The Herbfarm Cookbook. We mixed up a double batch and marinated a couple of chickens. We thought it delicious.
Ingredients, enough for one chicken or about 8 pieces. Combine the following: 2 T stone-ground, whole grain or Dijon mustard/ 1/4 C coarsely chopped fresh rosemary/ 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice/ 1 T brown sugar/ 3 T olive oil/ 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped/ 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t pepper.
Mix together, toss with chicken pieces and marinate for a couple of hours. For serious rosemary infusion, toss branches of rosemary directly onto coals just before placing chicken on the grill.
Grilled Asparagus Recipe
Directions: Toss trimmed asparagus spears with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals for two or three minutes, turn, remove when they’re done to your liking. Probably 5 – 8 minutes total.