MRS. BROTHERS’ POTATO SALAD

MRS. BROTHERS’ POTATO SALAD

My wife and I recently spent an enjoyable afternoon with our friends KC and Steve Swallow. The food was fabulous. Steve smoked some pork, made a tangy sauce to go with it and KC made a potato salad that was the best I ever tasted.

What makes this potato salad so special is the dressing. It is cooked and applied to the potatoes when both the dressing and the spuds are still hot. It is sweet and tangy at the same time; a winning combination.

KC acquired the recipe for this potato salad over fifty years ago from a gracious Southern woman named Mrs. Brothers from Lexington, Virginia. Thank you Mrs. Brothers for sharing this unique recipe with KC and thank you KC for sharing it with Greg’s Garden Party.

Serves 8

Chopped celery to taste (we use two sticks)

2 1/2 lbs of potatoes (KC recommends Yukon Gold. We highly recommend AC Chaleur potatoes)

Chopped unions (Sweet onions work best. Vidalia, Walla Walla, or our new favorite “Red River”)

2-4 hard boiled eggs chopped (optional)

Cooked Salad Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Procedure:

Peel potatoes, cube and boil for 15 minutes While potatoes are cooking, make the dressing using a heavy sauce pan. Add the dressing ingredients in order listed except for the butter. Cook over low heat and stir constantly using a wire whisk until sauce thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Combine potatoes, celery, onion, hardboiled eggs and dressing in a large bowl. Stir gently until all ingredients are combined. Garnish with chives or parsley and freshly cracked pepper. Can be made the day before, and gets better with refrigeration.

AC CHALEUR POTATOES AND RED RIVER ONIONS USED BY US IN THIS RECIPE.

IN PRAISE OF AC CHALEUR POTATOES

IN PRAISE OF AC CHALEUR POTATOES

We love potatoes. Over the years, we have grown all manner of spuds; Yukon Gold, russet, fingerlings, red, white, blue, etc. This year, we tried a new early potato from Canada called “AC Chaleur.”

These potatoes are outstanding. They have a creamy quality about them that is very appealing. Given that it is Summer, we have been using them mostly to make potato salad; the best potato salad I have ever tasted. It is ironic that AC Chaleur was not my first choice for an early potato. I waited too long to order and my supplier had run out of “Butterfly” early potatoes. Sometimes, things work out better than you planned.

Needless to say, AC Chaleur is our new favorite early potato. If you like creamy potatoes, you will love these. We urge you to give them a try. Keep an eye out for our new favorite potato salad recipe coming soon.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

IN PRAISE OF “RED RIVER” ONIONS

IN PRAISE OF “RED RIVER” ONIONS

My wife and I have been looking for a mild red onion ever since the variety “Mars” disappeared from the seed market in 2006. This old favorite fell victim to acquisition by Monsanto and was dropped from their catalog.

I am happy to report that we have finally found a worthy replacement called “Red River”. “Mars” was exceptional in that it had a VERY mild taste; easy on the taste buds. All of the varieties that we have tried over the last thirteen years have just been too sharp tasting. “Red River” has that mild flavor we have been craving. Whether it is sliced and put in a sandwich, chopped up and used in fresh salsa or added to potato salad, “Red River” delivers great crunch and easy to live with flavor.

We bought our onion plants from Jung Seeds. However, “Red River” is available from a number of suppliers. “Red River” is our new go to red onion.

GEARING UP FOR THE GARDENING SEASON/SANITIZING TRAYS AND SEED STARTING EQUIPMENT

WASHED AND SANITIZED SEED TRAYS, SOIL BLOCK INSERTS AND CELL CONTAINERS

I just completed one of my least favorite gardening activities; washing and sanitizing seed trays and inserts. My wife Catherine hates it as well. I take over her kitchen on sanitizing day, for the whole day. I own the sink, the counter next to the sink, the island top and 24 square feet of floor space. I would love to have a full function potting shed with hot water, long waterproof counters, a half bath and a quality music playback system. OK. I don’t have that. I make due.

I lay down a contractor sized trash bag on the counter, lay a large towel on top of that and place a large tray (20″ x 30″ x 6″) on top of that. If fill the large tray with a water/bleach solution with a 9/1 water/bleach ratio.

I first wash each piece in soapy water, rinse and dry. Then, I soak each piece for ten minutes in the water/bleach solution. In order to save time, I soak both a tray and an insert at the same time. After drying off, my stuff is ready to rock.

Are you tired yet? I know that I am. Note to self: Research an easier way to do this.

I use a quart size measuring cup full of water to weigh down the trays and inserts

I try to look at this exercise philosophically. This is the test you have to pass every year to prove your resolve and passion for gardening. Weeding sucks just as bad as sanitizing trays. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” , right? Are you a gardener or not? It’s not all veggies, fruit and flowers.

Part of the process is the triage operation of repairing minor holes and cracks in the trays.  Shoe Goo for the holes and duct tape for the cracks works pretty well.  Trays in the worst condition get tossed.

ONE MORE THING:  I just found a cheap source for heavy duty 1020 seedling trays.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been disappointed with the quality of the 1020 trays that I purchase from my local garden center and Coop.  I will let you know what I think.  Until then,  get it going.  Gardening season is here, now.

All the best,

Greg Garnache

 

A GREEN HARVEST JUST IN TIME FOR SAINT PATRICK’S DAY

A GREEN HARVEST JUST IN TIME FOR SAINT PATRICK’S DAY

The last couple of weeks have been mostly wet and muddy. We have been fortunate the last few days to have dry conditions which made it possible to spend some time in the vegetable garden. There’s not much going on out there except for the mache patch that I have growing in a small low plastic tunnel.

THE LOW TUNNEL WHERE I GROW MY MACHE

I was able to harvest enough mache to add to our dinner of white pizza. We got the idea for this pizza from watching an episode of “Milk Street” on PBS. The pizza topping consists of equal parts whipped heavy cream, grated Parmigiano cheese and grated Fontina cheese. You put the topping on your favorite pizza dough, bake it and then top it with greens that have been dressed with a olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Mache was the perfect green to top our pizza with its nutty flavor and satisfying chew. My wife Catherine is a huge fan of this particular pizza as well as being a fan of “Milk Street”.

WHITE PIZZA WITH MACHE

The dough recipe that I used comes from a book called “The Elements of Pizza” by Ken Forkish. The style of dough is referred to as “Neopolitan” and produces a thin and chewy crust.

What a treat to have fresh greens from the garden. Thus begins the first season in our gardening year, “Mache Madness”.

All the best,

Greg Garnache