Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Poor (Wo)man's Potato Salad

Some days, I wake up wildly craving something specific... today, it was potato salad.  Ever since I was little, my Aunt Kathy has made the BEST potato salad and would bring a vat of it to every family cookout and barbecue we ever had.  That potato salad tastes like summer to me; I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders when I'm eating it.  After a month and a half of almost non-stop snow in New York, I needed some summer - I NEEDED potato salad.  Of course, the ideal would be to have Aunt Kathy's potato salad miraculously apparate (yes, that's a Harry Potter term) into my fridge, but in the midst of an ice storm there was no chance of that happening.  I was officially on my own.

Now, I consider potato salad pretty low maintenance fare in the first place but after a birthday weekend vacation and two weird allergic reactions, even a low maintenance task like boiling potatoes was too much for me to handle this afternoon.  After exploring the contents of my refrigerator, I found my saving grace - left over roasted potatoes.  I proceeded to chop them up and throw them in a bowl... but they were cold and I think I speak for most of us when I say nine times out of ten cold potatoes are too dry to be delicious. I had to heat them up.  But how?  Oven - too time consuming.  Microwave would dry the potatoes out even more.  Stove it is.

Three slices of bacon later, I threw the potatoes in the pan with some onion powder and the bacon fat to warm them through.  While that was happening and the bacon was draining on paper towels, I chopped up some celery and a hard boiled egg and combined that with some mayo and some honey mustard (which was laying in my fridge calling to me to use it).  Potatoes went in next, got stirred up, and the crispy bacon was quickly crumbled over the top. 

Best. Potato Salad. Ever.  (Sorry Aunt Kat.  I still love you.)  Even my brother liked it and he is notoriously difficult to impress with food.  The best part?  I didn't have to venture out into the ice storm to spend money on a single, solitary ingredient AND I used up leftovers.  This recipe was ridiculously successful.  You can find all the approximate measurements and everything below.

I went back to take a picture after eating my bowl of potato salad (because it was extraordinarily good looking potato salad) and this is what I found:

I suppose that's the best critique of all.

[Just a note about my recipe writing - unless I'm baking, I am not very particular about measurements.  I think when cooking becomes about perfect measuring, the fun part just gets lost.  Nobody wants to stand there with a measuring cup and 8 measuring spoons when trying to make a quick meal, so I don't write my recipes that way.  When I'm following other people's recipes, I change them according to my own taste buds.  If I like a specific ingredient, I'll probably add more of it than the recipe calls for.  If I don't like something, I'll switch it out for something else.  If I absolutely hate an ingredient, I leave it out altogether.  Feel free to do the same with my recipes - after all, you're only going to use them if they taste good to you.]

Poor (Wo)man's Potato Salad Recipe

3 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy
4-6 cups leftover roasted potatoes, chopped (I should have used more, this was gone in a flash)
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise (depending on how much you like)
1/4 cup honey mustard
4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
Salt & pepper


Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy, then remove and drain on paper towels.  Add the chopped potatoes to the pan, add 1 teaspoon onion powder, and warm through.  Slice the celery and chop the hard boiled egg and place them both in a large bowl.  Add the warm potatoes, mayonnaise, and mustard, and stir.  Crumble in crispy bacon and stir to combine.  Serve immediately and pray that your family doesn't eat it all while you're not looking like mine did.

And a huge thanks to my boyfriend for the title of this post - he's so clever. :) 

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