The Lexingtonienne

August9th

2 Comments

It may be August, but Summer’s not over yet.

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The start of school looms on the humid horizon… but right now, the fruit is still in its peak season, the days are long and hot, and you have at least a few cook-outs ahead of you before Summer 2010 stamps its timecard.

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And with Hubba Bubba’s parents in town from Philadelphia, we decided to have everybody over for some grillin’.

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As usual, Mike and I split up the cooking duties, with him playing grill-master and me running point on side dishes and dessert. And we both pitched in for the appetizers.

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He’s so fancy, y’all. He made the most beautiful antipasto plate (I failed to get a photo. Something about hosting 14 people makes me forget to take pictures.) with melon, sweet red peppers that he roasted himself, parmigiano reggiano, proscuitto, and capicola (or “gah-bah-gool” as those Philadelphia Italians call it).

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And you know what else that stinker did? He made chicken liver crostini, just like what he ate in Florence. (That’s “he,” not “we.” I once ate a chicken liver on accident, thinking it was something else, and it was like a can of Fancy Feast had exploded into every corner of my mouth. No more.) Anyway, maybe HE should write the next “fancypants” blog post.

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You know what my appetizer was? Chips and salsa. No joke. Open bag. Open jar. Pour into serving dishes. “Here.”

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While Fancy Nancy went on to prepare his famous ribs, I made up two side dishes that are decidedly un-fancy and that require very little work: potato salad and brother-in-law Dan’s Ramen noodle slaw.

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The potato salad can and should be done in advance, which is perfect when you’re entertaining. You make it before your guests come over, stick it in the fridge, and then you have the time and mental bandwidth to calmly offer your guests a drink when they arrive, without feeling like a harried psycho as you hang sweatily over your hot stove. Win-win.

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The Ramen noodle slaw is great too. You can make up the dressing earlier in the day, leave it on your countertop (covered with plastic wrap), and then it takes you about 1 minute to assemble the salad and stir the dressing in when you are about to serve dinner.

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Also, both of these side dishes are cold, which is so nice on a hot August day. So if you are planning to entertain in August, or you have a potluck to attend, here are two winners. After all, you know I am not in the business of steering you wrong. 😉

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And if you want your summer party to be truly top-notch, I suggest you enlist some live entertainment. We were fortunate enough to book Uncle Josh and my nephew Liam, who broke it down for us on the acoustic guitar.

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Photo courtesy of Tim Duffy

DAN’S RAMEN NOODLE SLAW
1 bag multicolor cole slaw mix
1/2 C toasted almonds (I used slivered. You could also use cashews.)
1/3 C sunflower seeds
1 bundle green onion, finely chopped
1 package Ramen noodles (chicken flavor), broken up into small pieces

1/2 C vegetable or canola oil
1/3 C white vinegar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 Ramen noodle seasoning packet

Combine cole slaw, almonds, sunflower seeds, green onion, and Ramen noodles in a large bowl. (You can adjust the amounts however you want — the above amounts are estimates of what I did.) In a separate smaller bowl, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, and seasoning packet, whisking together. Microwave for about 20 seconds in order to melt the sugar a little. Whisk vigorously until the dressing becomes viscous and well emulsified. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the slaw mix and toss together until well combined. You may not need to use all the dressing, so do a little at a time according to your taste.

SOUR CREAM REDSKIN POTATO SALAD
2-3 pounds redskin potatoes
1 C mayonnaise
1 C sour cream
1 stalk celery, finely diced
about 1/5 of a green bell pepper, finely diced
1 bundle (or less) green onion, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover them. Salt your water, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Combine mayonnaise and sour cream in a small bowl. Add celery, bell pepper, and onion and mix well. Salt & pepper to taste, although you should be somewhat generous.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. I added salt here as well. Add your mayonnaise mixture, stirring in gradually (in case you decide you don’t want to use all of it), to the slightly warm potatoes. Transfer to your serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For you Lexingtonians and Lexingtoniennes, this was my attempt to imitate Stanley J’s potato salad, and I came really close. I used equal amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream, but next time I might try more sour cream than mayonnaise. Just FYI. :)

And of course for dessert there was red velvet cake.

Have a great week!
Hannah

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mary Beth!

2 Comments

  • Comment by Maggie — August 9, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

    Great party….delicious food…..wonderful company…..gracious hosts..what more could you ask. Thanks so much…love ‘ya both

  • Comment by Shelle Pennington — February 4, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    Just found your blog as I was looking for something close to Stanley J’s potato salad (which we miss dreadfully). We are having a ‘summer in February’ meal tonight with coleslaw, grilled brisket and now this potato salad.

    So glad I found your recipe.
    ~Shelle

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