Pesto potato salad

pestopotato2

I love to look at pictures of famous people. People.com is my guilty pleasure, but I actually don’t bother with most of the crap on their website. I don’t care about reality stars or royals– I only care about the real famous people! Don’t show me pictures of the attention seekers; show me pictures of Jessica Chastain and Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence and people with actual talent. I don’t even know why I look at Star Tracks, which is the section that publishes pictures paparazzi take as stars are leaving the gym or Whole Foods. It takes forever to load each page, and the pictures of celebs in fancy dresses at awards shows is where the real entertainment is. Who can resist pictures of pretty dresses? Surely not me.

I was obviously bored in front of a computer too many hours when I worked in an office, because when I eat this pesto potato salad, I think it’s the sort of thing a celebrity would eat for lunch (since Jennifer Aniston ate a Cobb salad for lunch for 10 years while filming Friends). See, I really wish that I didn’t know these random facts, but I do, so I’m just gonna embrace it. Random useless facts are always fun to pull out at parties.

pestopotato3pestopasta4

Back to this salad though: If you have any basil plants outside and fear the cooler weather might get to them, make this before it does. If you have basil plants inside and they have suddenly overgrown (which mine had), this recipe is calling your name. If you like pesto, even just a little, you need to make this creamy pesto and use it for the salad.

The dressing is creamy from a little Greek yogurt and mayo, and it’s full of flavor– the basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are a tradition too good to change. A little parsley, vinegar and lemon juice brighten the flavors, and tender potatoes coated in the sauce placed atop spicy, lightly dressed arugula complement each other splendidly. The punch from arugula and burst from tomatoes create enough contrast that you feel like you’re eating a salad, not a just a potato salad, and that’s because it is a real salad. It’s a healthy, delicious and interesting combination that is perfect for the end of summer and good enough to eat several days in a row.

pestopotato4

——————————————————

 

Pesto potato salad
adapted from Cooking Light, July 2015
makes 4 main course servings
four-stars

 

Notes: Any kind of potato works. I used russet because that’s what I had, but  waxy potatoes such as new potatoes would be great for this.

If you only want one or two servings at a time, only dress enough potatoes for those servings, and refrigerate the dressing and potatoes separately. Additionally, reduce the amount of arugula and tomatoes for fewer servings at once as well.

 

1 ½ pounds potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1 inch square pieces
1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
1 ounce (about a 1 inch by 2 inch piece) grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
olive oil
arugula, roughly 4-6 cups
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

 

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Set on stove and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, strain put in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Put basil, parsley, Parmesan, yogurt, mayo, vinegar, pine nuts, the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt in the bowl of a mini-chopper or food processor. Pulse until blended– you may need to scrape down the bowl to ensure that everything is well blended.

3. In a serving bowl, stir together the juice from the other half of a lemon and a glug (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil. Toss in the arugula and cherry tomatoes. Add the creamy pesto to the bowl with the potatoes and toss to coat.

4. Serve the arugula on plates, and then top with potatoes. Bon appetit !

Simple salad (for winter)

simplesalad4

 To know me is to know that I love honey mustard. I really, really love it. I’ll put it on almost anything (that’s only a slight exaggeration), and honey mustard and salad just go together perfectly to me. Sometimes I want to mix it up with different dressings, but often not.

Therefore, I eat a lot of salad with honey mustard. In the summer, the salads tend to be full of vegetables, especially tomatoes, but in  winter, the produce that I most love is out of season. Tomatoes are mealy and hard, summer squash in winter just doesn’t make sense, and everything comes from the other side of the world. My salad standbys don’t work out when it’s cold.

I’ve recently been eating a winter-appropriate salad, though, and I’ve been having second thoughts for a while about my honey mustard love. Let’s face it–honey mustard is basically the unhealthiest dressing of them all. It’s loaded with sugar, and my particular favorite, Ken’s Steakhouse Honey Mustard, is really just flavored mayo. These are facts that I know and accept, but I feel a little guilty about them. “I should want to eat salad with better, healthier, even maybe sweetener-free dressings,” I tell myself. “I like balsamic and olive oil. It should be good enough!” Yet it never, ever is. Continue reading “Simple salad (for winter)”

Roasted garlic and Vidalia onion dressing

onion1

I’ve briefly talked about my job at the gourmet deli in high school. The best thing I learned there was a ton about food. I gained my love of food and cooking from my grandma, but I cultivated what I already knew and was exposed to more culinary knowledge than I ever imagined in that little store. Although I tend to cook pretty unpretentious food, I know a lot about it.

I also know how to make a pretty good sandwich. There was this great specialty sandwich at the store that I had to make every morning, and if there were any left at the end of the day, I could take them home. I’d usually take the leftover sandwich to school for lunch the next day, and everyone at my table would be jealous. It was a smoked turkey avocado sandwich on ciabatta with a sweet onion vinaigrette. It was, is and forever shall be absolutely delicious.

Continue reading “Roasted garlic and Vidalia onion dressing”