One of my fondest childhood memories is going to the chicken fries we used to have up at the Pine Tree Place. A chicken fry meant lots of cousins to play with and good food, especially the fried chicken. Uncle Rulon and Uncle Mel would man the big, oil laden half-barrels, heated up until the oil roiled, cooking piece after piece of chicken, to a golden, crispy brown.
My favorite part was of course getting to eat chicken drumsticks. I loved the sound it made when I bit into the crispy skin, and the flavor of the juicy meat underneath. Dutch oven potatoes, hot and cheesy, were served with the chicken. I always had a difficult time deciding what I liked best, the chicken or the potatoes. The aunts all brought salads — potato salad, macaroni salad, and tossed green salad. And of course there was always the melons: cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon which were chilled in the spring house in the icy-cold mountain spring water. I loved that we could have all the watermelon we could eat. (And several times I bested my cousins and brothers in the watermelon-seed-spitting contest, I could get mine all the way across the creek.)
Yes, I’m at it again! A salad. The beauty of salads is that they take no time at all to make and if I get it right, the kids even like them. I got a thumbs up for this one (o.k. someone did pick out all the tomatoes but I don’t mind that as long as they go along with my experiments). So here’s my recipe…
2 cups quinoa (about 200g)
1 spring onion
1 bell pepper
1 bunch of parsley
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
1 handful of chopped almonds
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
salt & pepper
Cook the quinoa seeds in double the amount of water for about 10 minutes and leave to cool. In the mean time chop up the ingredients and mix the dressing. When finish through it all together…
The name calls it “salad” but in my book it’s more of a dessert than a salad. I mean, when you think of salad it brings to mind green things, with other bits of more, crunchy, green things, and perhaps some random red things mixed together in a bowl, waiting to be drenched in a vinegar-based dressing. But cookie salad? Anything with cookies and whipped cream should be classified as a dessert, which is where you’ll find it in my blog. And it is yummy! I love the creaminess with the accompanying crunch. So without further ado, I give you Cookie Salad, a recipe from my friend Karina’s collection.
2 c. buttermilk
1 16 oz pkg Cool Whip topping
1 lg pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1 pkg fudge stripe cookies, break into quarters, reserve several for garnish
1 can mandarin oranges
1 can pineapple chunks or tidbits
2-3 bananas, sliced (add just before serving)
Mix Cool Whip, buttermilk, and pudding together with a wire whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (except bananas). Chill until ready to serve. Stir in sliced bananas just before serving.
My mom used to make a seven layer salad that everyone raved about when she took it to family gatherings or parties. I always enjoyed it, but never took time to learn how she made it. My father, who has a way of exaggerating things, always called it the Seventy-Layer Salad, mostly to tease my mom, because more is better, right? He’s such a tease, and I think that the more he loves you, the more he teases, so my mother is well-loved, by that standard! But the salad, was good. Recently, I was looking for some new salad ideas, and put the call out to my friends via Facebook, and one of them responded with this recipe, which is very similar to what I remember my mother making. So, the next time you want a hit salad at your next gathering, take this.
Layered Green Salad
Layer ingredients as given in a 9 X 13 (or similar) pan. Do NOT stir or mix.
1 large head of lettuce such as iceberg or romaine, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 – 2 cups crunchy vegetables chopped (celery, bell pepper, water chestnuts, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, jícama, etc.)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
1 package frozen peas (about 12 ounces) straight from the freezer do not thaw
1 1/2 cups of real mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of sugar sprinkled over the mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated cheese (parmesan, cheddar, colby/jack blend recommended)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt sprinkled over the top
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt sprinkled over the top
Cooked crumbled bacon to cover the top
Chill for at least 12 hours before serving. This is a great make ahead salad. It keeps for up to four days in the refrigerator.
Kelly used to do the grilling and I made the salads, because you can’t do burgers without a potato salad for a side dish. It was a great way to work together, and it makes my heart happy that his boys carry-on the grilling tradition, which Kelly’s father, and grandfather perfected before him. Grandpa Estus made the absolute best burgers, which we of course ate out on the patio. Good food and good times!
Oh, and here’s an interesting bit, my Jason’s middle name is Kelly, after my Kelly, whose middle name is Farrell, after his father, Farrell Estus, who was named after his father Estus Reid, who was named after his father, William Reid who was born in 1892. Kind of a cool legacy. Perhaps one day my son will have a son with the middle name, Jason.
A couple of my favorite pictures of my mom. When you visit her house, she always makes sure you have a comfortable place to sleep, and that you get enough food to eat. Additionally, she likes to make pretty food for parties and such. The bottom picture is when she helped out at girls camp. Now that’s some fancy watermelon!
Idaho is about potatoes, and I have eaten them about every way they can be eaten. One of my favorite ways to eat potatoes is in a potato salad. My mom used to make potato salad for picnics or to take to the family reunion or just to have on hand to go with summertime sandwiches at lunchtime. Homemade potato salad is sooooo much better than anything you get prepackaged in the deli. It is good freshly made, but I love it even more the second day, when the flavors have had time to meld together. The other thing I love is that it is versatile, you can make a small batch or a big one. This recipe, as written, will make a nice-sized salad for a family dinner or picnic. Adjust for the occasion by decreasing or increasing the number of potatoes/eggs a bit. Mmmm, it’s a good thing spring is here, I foresee fresh-grilled burgers and potato salad on the menu soon.
6 – 8 Idaho potatoes (They have to be from Idaho because it’s me writing this.) I usually use red potatoes, but it turns out fine with other varieties too.
3 -4 hard boiled eggs
Chopped Celery (2-3 stalks)
Chopped green onion (one bunch)
Chopped green/red bell peppers (optional)
Chopped black olives (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Dill Seed or fresh cut dill (optional)
Fresh rosemary (optional)
Salad dressing or mayonnaise (personal preference)
Peel potatoes, cube into about 1″ pieces. Place in pan, cover with water, add about a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer. Simmer for about twenty minutes. Check with fork at about 15 minutes. You don’t want them to get overcooked. (Potatoes are done when a fork pierces them easily.) Drain, and run cold water over potatoes to cool them down. (You can also prepare the potatoes ahead of time, add a tablespoon of light olive oil, cover and refrigerate until ready to make the salad.)
While potatoes are cooking chop celery, onions, and peppers, and set aside. Chop eggs, set aside one to slice lengthwise for the top of the salad. Put cooled potatoes in a bowl, add several dollops of mayo or salad dressing, and a squirt of mustard (I do about a 4 or 5:1 ratio of salad dressing to mustard). Gently mix until potatoes are coated. Add chopped eggs, celery, onions, peppers, rosemary, dill, and salt and pepper, mix just until coated. Add sliced eggs to the top of salad. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover salad and refrigerate until ready to serve. Salad will keep for several days.