Thursday, July 5, 2007

Grandma's Classic Potato Salad

This is my grandma. I miss her so much. When I was a kid, she lived right around the corner so I saw her all the time. Before moving out here, I lived about 5 minutes away from her house for seven years. Family is really important to her and even though it's a lot of work to have all of us over to her house for dinner, she does it all the time because she wants the family to stay close. I think it's so cool that she reads this blog to stay updated on her great grand-children. A lot of older people don't want to bother learning about computers, but not her. She is always using the computer and trying to learn more about it. She even wants to set up a blog. One time she told me she thinks she was born 50 years to early. She's so cute. I love you Grandma!

I called her yesterday for the 2nd Independence Day in a row to get detailed instructions on how to make her wonderful potato salad. I can't let this holiday go by without eating at least 3 helpings of this American classic. I've been to many a bbq where my Grandma has served this potato salad and homemade peach ice cream, along with all the regular bbq staples like burgers and baked beans.

She asked me to write down the amounts this time, though- probably so I'll quit bugging her and calling to ask for the SAME recipe! Just kidding, Grandma. I thought I'd share the recipe with you, but in her words.

Start with white rose potatoes. White rose potatoes make the best potato salad. All you can find is Yukon gold? That should be fine. Cook them whole until they are soft- you don't want to be chewing and get a crispy bite. Peel potatoes and cut them up into bite-sized pieces. Cut up green onions, as much as you like, white and green parts. Put potato and onion in a large bowl. Salt and pepper the potatoes and maybe add a little coarse ground black pepper. I think that would be good. You know, like the peppercorns? I've been really liking that since I saw it on the food show. [Giggle.] (By that I'm sure she meant Food Network.) Put the bowl in the refrigerator and leave it there a while so the flavors can get acquainted with each other. Now for the dressing, it is 3 parts mayo to 1 part sour cream. For a potato salad with 10 potatoes, you might make a dressing with 9 Tbs mayo, 3 Tbs sour cream, and 1 tsp french mustard. Hard-boil about 4 or 5 eggs* and dice them up and add them to the potatoes. Then mix in the dressing. Taste it to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.

That is everything I can remember based on my notes and our conversation. My potato salad turned out pretty good, but not as good as my Grandma's! Maybe it's because I can't get white rose potatoes, but I think it's more likely that her potato salad perfection comes from years and years of practice. Hopefully after 20 or so more Independence Days, I'll have potato salad down. Did I miss anything, Grandma? Feel free to tell us if I left anything out. I miss you and Grandpa so much!

I usually make a custard-style homemade ice cream, but that's not how my mom and my Grandma make it, and I was trying to recreate childhood memories, so I tried something else. It was exactly what I was hoping for. I didn't want it to be as creamy as custard- I wanted it to be the kind of ice cream that is really soft the first day, and the second day is so hard you have to leave it out for at least 30 minutes before you can scoop it out.

Here's how I made it:

4 eggs
2 1/4 c sugar
5 c milk
3 c whipping cream
1 c half and half
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups pureed fresh peaches
2 Tbs lemon juice

Beat eggs and sugar on high for about 5 minutes. Add other ingredients and mix well. Follow instructions for ice cream maker. Note: I have a 5 quart ice cream maker, and I had too much ice cream for my machine. Next time I would adjust these amounts.

*I have to add here a technique I once saw on Martha Stewart for hardboiling eggs. This is the best way that I've ever found to consistently get perfect hardboiled eggs without any green ring around the yolk. Bring a pot of water to boil and carefully drop your eggs in the boiling water. Turn the heat off, but leave the pot on the burner, and cover your pot with a lid. Leave the pot there for exactly sixteen minutes, then take your pot over to the sink and rinse eggs with cold water and peel.


Jodie said...

I love this post!! So fun!! And I thought the potato salad and the ice cream were soooooooooo yummy!! Thanks for sharing everything with us!!

Jill said...

Both were delicious, I must say though your ice cream was the BEST ice cream I have ever had. If you want to make some extra money I will buy some off of you... seriously!

Erin said...

I LOVED your Grandma's recipe in her own words! :) "Yukon Gold? That should be fine." :)
That potato salad was the BEST potato salad I have ever had. Did you mention the hardboiled eggs, or did I miss that?? I swear there were hardboiled eggs in it, too....

Katherine said...

You are so right, Erin! I completely forgot the hardboiled eggs. Thank you!

rebecca said...

Sounds like you have a wonderful grandma :) Thanks for the yummy recipes :) You're the best :)

Sheen said...

I love it. Your grandma sounds so great!

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