Making Peace With Potato Salad

Potato Salad Makeover

Dear Potato Salad,

If I’m honest, I’ve spent the last 25 years responding to even the mention of your name with hateful thoughts. I’m sorry! I’m sorry…

but you’re just so cold. And high-maintenance – I can’t even leave you out on the picnic table for more than 30 minutes!

I try to take you to parties and you’re always difficult and unsociable; I mean, you just look like a hot mess after 10 minutes. It’s embarrassing.

And for all of these reasons, I think some changes are in order. I’ve gathered together this crack team of makeover professionals:  a wardrobe stylist, personal grooming specialist, and makeup artist who has clearly got her work cut out for her.

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Vegan Bean & Potato Picadillo

Vegan Picadillo

Beans really are a kind of magical fruit, aren’t they?

Yes, magical in that way, silly goose! But since most of us aren’t 10 year old boys, we’re going to talk about the other ways that beans are magical today.

Like how they’re filling!
Like how they’re fibrous!
Like how they’re dee-licious!

And how they make a wonderful substitute for meat!

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Meatless Mushroom Ancho Chili

Mushroom, Ancho & Black Bean Chili

So I tried phoning Spring yesterday, just to remind it that it had, in fact, sprung. My call was sent direct to voicemail. I will try texting later today, but I’m frankly feeling a little ignored.

Email?
Telegrams?
Smoke signals?

Don’t make me bust out the string and tin cans, Spring!

Between you and me, this lovely chili is a bit of a stink eye aimed in the general direction of Spring. As in “Fine, you won’t play nice and show yourself? Then I’m going to keep eating foods of the wintertime until you do.”

Perfectly reasonable, right?

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My Family’s Favorite Green Beans

I’ve been doing a fair amount of nervous-anxious-comfort eating lately. Here’s what that looks like:

Gee, that doughnut sure looks good. And so does that cupcake. Hey! You got your doughnut on my cupcake! And you got your cupcake on my doughnut! Nothing left to do but eat the whole dang mess…

It’s fifty shades of ugly. For sure.

Things came to a head the other night when I sat down next to A. on the couch with my Dignity Droppin’ Dessert du jour and he looked over and actually started laughing. Out loud.

I, of course, responded in the only way possible – with preemptive aggression: “What?!?!”

He, of course, responded in the only way possible – with a life-saving change of subject: “Uh, I just read something funny online. Have you heard this joke about the fiscal cliff?”

Well played, my friend. Well played.

So, you know, it occurred to me that it may be time to start getting some more veggies into my diet. And then I discovered this recipe.

Let’s just say that when you can get a chicken nugget-shoving, cupcake-pounding, queso fundido-funneling girl to look forward to eating fresh green beans, you’re doing something right.

The idea is to char the whole beans in a screaming hot skillet, then toss them with a light and lovely Harissa sauce. It is such a wonderful alternative to the heavy, cream of mushroom soup-laden green beans that we’re all expected to eat this time of year. You might want to considering switching things up at the Thanksgiving table, green bean-wise.

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Roasted Chile Avocado Cream Dip

First thing’s first:  Shelly, please check your email, because you’re the winner of my Cookie Dough Lover’s Giveaway! I just loved reading all of your entries about cookie dough – you guys are really, REALLY into some serious cookie dough action. I don’t have any plans to come between you and your dough anytime soon.

And because I think you’re all totally rad, I’m hosting another giveaway for another awesome book! You can enter to win here.

But wait! There’s even more! I’ve got some condiment love coming your way, just in case you needed a little cool dip to round out your Wednesday. It’s fresh. It’s creamy. And you’re going to want to spread it on everything from your sandwiches to your tacos to your cookie dough. Uh, maybe not. We’ll see about that last one…  but tacos and tortas for sure.

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Roasting Tomatoes

We roast a lot of tomatoes in our kitchen. When the springtime crop of tomatoes is on and popping, I frankly don’t know why everyone isn’t roasting tomatoes. Don’t get me wrong, fresh tomatoes have a very special place in the culinary pantheon. But roasting really brings the sweet flavor of the fruit home by intensifying it to an almost mind-blowing level.

That said, when it comes to roasting, each kitchen seems to have its own individual style. So today, let’s get scientific and break down the art and science of roasting tomatoes.

Come on! We’ve got some tomatoes to roast!

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A.’s Best Hot Sauce

Condiments are serious business in my kitchen. Very, very serious.

I appreciated sauces and salsas and the like before I met A., but things got a little crazy once we joined forces:  together we are a condiment consumption machine.

Oh look! I have more condiments in my fridge than actual food! I’m forced to consider how that will work out…  seasoning my ketchup with a little mustard? Brunching on Tabasco with a side of Sriracha?

That’s just gross. Even to a condiment lover like me.

But I think we have room for just one more sauce! Our favorite sauce! Hot sauce! And we are most definitely making our own today.

The problem with store-bought hot sauces is that they are basically just a blend of vinegar, salt and some sort of heat in differing proportions. I like something with just a little more flavor and just a little less salt. Making your own is a quick and easy way to take control of your hot sauce situation.

So we’re starting with some crushed tomatoes – they’re a good base for this sauce.

Our heat is going to come from a handful of chipotles in adobo sauce. Don’t worry – we’re going to strain the seeds out so the heat will be manageable.

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Vegetarian Texas Frito Pie

An Open Letter To The Makers Of Fritos

Dear M/M Frito,

Please stop making Frito chips so addictive. Please. I’m asking you nicely.

You’ve clearly put some time into making and marketing your product. And that’s just fine. But now I’m in need of some assistance and support, and you’re in a position to help.

Allow me to hit you with some knowledge.

Imagine sitting down with a bag of Fritos to a reality TV marathon (I’m seeking assistance elsewhere for my new X Factor addiction). Innocent enough.

You’ll just have a few of those chips, right?

You would never supplement that first bag of Fritos with a second bag of Fritos. No sir. No way.

So why are you waking up from your sweet dreams of Simon & Paula banter with a Frito mustache? And why is your head delicately cushioned by a pillow fashioned from Frito bags?

Why?

Shame spiral.

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It’s A Summer Pickling Party!

I love crunchy foods. I love salty foods. I love spicy foods. I love foods that come in jars.

Oh hey there, Mr. Pickle – I think you’re just up my alley!

Right.

That’s how I spell parté when I’m in the mood for a parté. It just fuels the festiveness.

Pickles really are the thing during the summer, don’t you think? They’re absolutely perfect on sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and salads, or when it’s 2:16 a.m. and you’re standing in front of your open fridge trying to figure out that dream you just had about riding a pink pony up to an oasis where the cast of Jersey Shore is serving Tang out of coconuts and Transformers 3 is playing on a drive-in movie screen that only allows you to drive in on a -wait for it- pink pony.

Huh? Whatever. Good luck with that one, Freud.

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