If your life is like mine, whether it is last minute or planned a month ahead of time, it is always a crazy time when you plan to cook dinner for company. That is why I love cooking; it is an opportunity to bring everyone together.
This Memorial Day, there was an accidental cookout at my house.
One of those times when friends stop by unexpectedly, but you do not want them to leave because you're having such a great time. So, with a semi-bare refrigerator and cupboards Mother Hubbard would cringe opening, I put my kids (and my friends) to work on preparing what turned out to be a great dinner.
Basic menu of hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken leg quarters, and potato salad
While I formed and dry rubbed hamburgers and the chicken with seasoning for the grill, I put everybody else to work on the other food items.
This blog will be about how to have your kids help make the potato salad.
If your children are young or not very experienced in the kitchen, you might have to help them wash 6-8 medium sized potatoes and place them (skin on) in a pot with enough water to cover the tops.
To save time, I also add 4-6 eggs in the pot with the potatoes before cooking for 20-25 minutes. When done, immediately drain the hot water and run cold tap water in the pot several times to cool the potatoes and eggs. This will make it easy for young clean hands to peel or pull the skins off the potatoes and the shells from the eggs.
Once cleaned, have them crumble the potatoes and eggs in a large bowl. Make sure to explain that you don't want mashed potatoes, just chunks in the bowl. (Trust me, I made that mistake with my son once. Although the potato salad was still edible, I'm not a big fan of mashed potato salad!)
Let them chop a 1/2-cup each of pre-cooked smoked deli ham, red onion, chopped celery and red bell pepper and dump it all into the bowl with the potatoes and one cup of shredded cheddar cheese. In a separate bowl mix one-cup each of sour cream and mayonnaise, 4-5 tablespoons of honey mustard, 2-3 tablespoons of brown or yellow mustard, one tablespoon of fresh minced garlic and 1-2 teaspoons of fresh ground black peppercorns. If you want to thin the sauce, use a small amount of your favorite brand and flavor of balsamic vinegar.
Salt to taste and then pour over the potato mixture in the bowl, stirring until contents are completely covered. This can be served as is, but it is best when you let the potato salad rest in the refrigerator for an hour so the flavors can blend.
Remember, this recipe, as with all recipes you try, can change with your family's taste buds.
For instance, add a teaspoon or more of cayenne or red pepper flakes if you like a little zing, while cumin adds a smoky flavor. Change the ham for roast beef or pastrami, use a different flavor cheese or try horseradish mustard.
Your imagination and taste buds are the limit.