Let there be potato salad

Barbecue chicken and baked beans are lonely without potato salad.

Memorial Day.  4th of July. Labor Day.  Outdoor picnics.

For these occasions,  there will be potato salad on the table.

Potato salad is just not salad.

It’s a rite of summer passage, an American tradition, the obligatory side chick, and the expected accompaniment.

And to be honest, in some circles it’s just plain sacrilegious if it’s not on the summer picnic table.

Potato salad be free

When it comes to potatoes, there are many choices.

A lot of liberty can be taken in making potato salad.

I’ve had it hot, cold, made with bacon, bleu cheese, oven roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes,  dill pickles, olive oil vinaigrette, chunky, mashed and I can go on.

The bland tators – whether white, red, russet, sweet, gold, purple, sweet or Jersey – are the perfect blank canvas to express your potato proclivities.   And frankly, there really are “no rules” when making potato salad, no matter what your Nana or Uncle Bubba might say

My potato salad

What potato salad will be on my Labor Day table?

So glad you asked.

It’s absent of eggs and pickles, because they are not my fave, and it has my beloved fresh tarragon and a lovely, smoky light dressing.

So, without any addition fanfare or narrative, the recipe is below. Thanks to the folks at Goya Foods for providing some of the ingredients used in this recipe. Have a wonderful Labor Day!

Potato Salad CGC (Collard Greens and Style)

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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No eggs or pickles here, but add them if you must!


Ingredients

2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoon chopped Katamala olives
1 ½ cups garlic flavored mayonnaise (Best Foods or Hellmann’s)
1 heaping tablespoon mustard (Dijon, brown deli, spicy, Cajun or whatever you like)
3 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Goya Adobo All Purpose Light Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke flavor

Directions

  1. Place the peeled and cut potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot of water. Boil the potatoes in for 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes thoroughly, and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2.  In a small bowl make the dressing by whisking together the garlic mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, sesame seed oil, liquid smoke flavor, salt, celery seed and Goya Adobo All Purpose Light Seasoning.
  3.  Add the chopped bell pepper, red onion, chopped olives, tarragon and dill to potatoes in the mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise dressing and gently fold it in to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A close up to make you hungry.

Summer time, chickpeas and a homespun vegan burger

Chick Pea and Jersey Sweet Potato Burger served on an onion roll with Swiss cheese, mayo, salsa and spinach.

Hello summer!

It’s so nice to see ya.

We are so ready to get into your flow with all the barbecues, picnics and family gatherings that will abound.

There will be  so many opportunities to invite folks over or be invited over for food and fun during the summer season.

With the 4th of July holiday looming, so are the decisions about your holiday menu to celebrate the independence of our nation. If you don’t live in the states, summertime is seldom without visiting guests from the states and various parts of the world, and the question “what am I going to serve?” is always a quandary.

The question is much more complicated when your guests are vegetarians and more specifically vegans.

Classic barbecue ribs, chicken and burgers

When grilled chicken, ribs and burgers are the centerpiece of your menu, your non-meat eating guests are oftentimes relegated to eating salads and bread.

But no more. I got you –  or I got them – with this tasty, moist and somewhat savory Chickpea and Jersey Sweet Potato burger that is gluten and dairy free. It will enthrall your most discriminating vegan guest. Pile on fresh vegetables and toppings, serve it on an artisan roll or plate it alone with an Asian coleslaw or arugula salad and you have a vegetarian burger that is worthy of celebrating.

If you plan on grilling the burgers on the outside grill, make sure you cook them first before you cook your meat and seafood proteins. You can also cook them  inside on your stove top in a skillet or a grill pan, as featured in this recipe.

Thanks to the folks at Goya Foods for providing some of the ingredients used in making this tasty recipe.

Have a beautiful summer season. Cook fearlessly and eat well my foodie friends.

Chickpea and Jersey Sweet Potato Burger

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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This moist and savory burger is full of flavor.

Ingredients


1 15.5 ounce can Goya Chick Peas
1 medium baked Jersey (white) sweet potato to yield ½ cup
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
½ cup chopped white or yellow onion
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon oil (olive, canola or Grapeseed)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo Light All Purpose Seasoning
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup oatmeal
1 ear white corn, roasted with kernel removed

Directions

  1. Open and drain the can of chickpeas. Pour them into a large bowl and  smash with a potato smasher or folk. The texture should be chunky.
  2. Cook Jersey sweet potato in microwave oven for 4 to 6 minutes or until done. Remove and let cool. Once it has cooled, scoop out ½ cup of the inside and add to smashed chick peas.
  3. Place a skillet or grill pan on the stop and set heat at medium heat. Coat the surface of corn with oil and place in skillet. Cook the corn until medium browned, turning constantly. Remove when done. When cool, use a knife and cut corn kernels from the cob. Separate kernels and add to the mashed chick pea and Jersey sweet potato mixture.
  4. In a separate skillet set on medium heat, add 2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil and 1 teaspoon of oil. When the oils are heated, add ½ cup chopped onion and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add chopped garlic, fresh chopped thyme and ½ teaspoon of Goya Adobo Light All Purpose Seasoning and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce. Stir well for one minute. Remove from heat and add mixture to the bowl with the smashed chickpeas and Jersey sweet potato.
  6. Lastly, add ½ cup of oatmeal to the bowl, and the blend mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. (Add 3/4 cup of oatmeal for a more dense burger.)
  7. Form mixture into 4 patties. Place patties on lightly oiled skillet set on medium heat. Cook 3 minutes on one side, two minutes on the other. Remove from heat when done. Or if grilling outdoors, grill 3 minutes on one side, 4 to 6 minutes on the other side or until desired brownness is achieved.

Variation: Form mixture into 8 small patties for sliders. Reduce cooking/grilling times in half or until desired brownness is achieved.

Empty chick peas into a bowl and smash with potato smasher.

 

Microwave Jersey sweet potato and scoop out inside.

Grill corn on stove top and remove kernels.

Saute chopped onion, chopped garlic, fresh chopped thyme, and other seasonings.

Add sauteed mixture and mix thoroughly, form into patties and grill.

Remove from grill when done and serve.

Enjoy with you favorite toppings.

Your Taco Tuesday just got tuned up

My dear vegetarian friends, I heard ya!

This one is for you so please, keep reading.

Love me some Taco Tuesday’s!

Who doesn’t love a good Taco Tuesday?

It’s an after work indulgence.

It’s a social rite of passage.

It’s cheap eats, and who doesn’t like that?

It’s just fun, tasty and all of the above.

Taco Tuesday History

This history of Taco Tuesdays is a bit sketchy and two separate Mexican food establishments (from California and Wyoming) have laid claim to its creation. But the bottom line is it began as a low cost promotion to bring in customers on a night that typically had low attendance, while exposing patrons to the array of menu offerings and events the restaurants had to offer.

Most Taco Tuesday’s are often more than just tacos. Many feature a tapas or small bites menu. The mash ups, iterations and combinations range from predictable to delectable and wildly innovative.

A mash up not to be missed

As an homage to my love of all things Taco Tuesday’s and with an ear to the hue and cry of my vegetarian friends and followers, I created a wildly innovative mash up I hope will take your tapas to new heights.

It’s a tostada. Not just any tostada, but one that has soul, character and hint of sassiness.

My Sweet Potato and Ancho Chile  Tostada with  Black Bean Salsa is a bit of a departure from the expected, but it is unexpectedly good.

The mild heat and fruity flavor of the ancho chile paste perfectly complements the slightly sweet, earthy notes of the sweet potato. The addition of fresh thyme to the mixture gives it warmth and depth.  The flavor is delicate yet elevated and the mixture is a great alternative to classic refried beans. Oh and let’s not forget about that black bean salsa that tops this tasty tostada which is both savory and sassy.  One last thing, for this recipe, I used taqueria or mini size tortillas. This recipe serves four or even more so don’t dine alone.

Don’t go out for Taco Tuesday, dine in.  

Thank you Goya Foods for providing a lot of the ingredients and the inspiration for this recipe.  I hope you will be inspired to give it a try and turn up your Taco Tuesday or any day of the week.

Sweet Potato and Ancho Chile Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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A departure from the expected, yet is unexpectedly good.

Ingredients

For the Salsa:
1 can (15.5 oz.) GOYA® Low Sodium Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium seeded, sliced bell peppers (red and yellow) pan grilled then diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon GOYA® Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper
1 teaspoon GOYA® Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon GOYA® Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the filling:
2 Ancho Chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 tablespoon GOYA® Lemon Juice
2 tablespoon corn oil
1 teaspoon GOYA® Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper
½ teaspoon GOYA® ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced GOYA® garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped or ½ teaspoon   dried
Corn Oil, for frying
12 Corn Tortillas or 16 taqueria or mini size tortillas

Directions


1.  Cut and remove the top and bottom portion of the bell peppers. Remove seeds and slice into strips.   Heat about a tablespoon of corn oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, add bell pepper slices and cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Once cooled, cut into smaller piece. (Note: you can substitute 2 large tomatoes seeded and chopped instead of bell peppers.)

2.  In medium bowl, stir together bell peppers (or tomatoes), black beans, tomato, onions, cilantro, Adobo Light, lemon juice and olive oil until well combined; cover with plastic wrap and set salsa in refrigerator until ready to serve.

3.  Place chilies in medium bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit for about 15 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, pierce two medium sweet potatoes (total weight just over a pound) with a fork and place in microwave.  Bake about 15 minutes until soft. When done, remove skin and place flesh of sweet potato in a mixing box.

5.  After 15 minutes, remove stems and seeds from chilies and transfer them and 3 tablespoons soaking water to a blender. Add lemon juice, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, Adobo, cumin, garlic and thyme to a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

6.  Add ancho chile paste and sweet potatoes to a bowl and mix well. Place mixture into a ceramic dish, cover with foil and keep warm in oven.

7.  Heat about a tablespoon of corn oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, add two large corn tortillas or three taqueria or mini size tortillas to skillet. Fry, flipping once, until tortillas are golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute per side; transfer to paper towel-lined tray to drain. Add more oil as needed and repeat with remaining tortillas.

8.  To assemble tostadas, spread a heaping spoonful of the warmed sweet potato and ancho chile filling on each fried tortilla. Spoon black bean salsa on each tortilla and top with sour cream if you like, and your favorite grated cheese.

Note: You can also add sliced avocado, chopped rotisserie chicken or another other protein before you add the bean salsa for those who just have to have meat or seafood.

Left: bell peppers cut, seeded and sliced for grilling. Right: bell peppers cooking on stove top grill pan.

Top left: Cut bell pepper, chopped onions and cilantro. To right: chopped ingredients added to  mixing bowl with drained and rinsed black beans, Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Bottom: ingredient’s mixed and ready to be covered with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge.

Top left:  ancho chilies soaking in hot water, covered. Top right: chilies added to blender with hot soaking water, lemon juice, vegetable oil, Adobo Light All-Purpose Seasoning with Pepper, cumin, garlic and chopped fresh thyme. Bottom left: microwave baked sweet potatoes. Bottom right: blended ancho chile paste and baked sweet potato mixture.

Left: Taqueria size tortillas frying in a large skillet. Right: a heaping spoonful of the warmed sweet potato and ancho chile filling on  fried tortillas.

 

Up close and personal view of Sweet Potato and Ancho Chile Tostadas with Black Bean Salsa. ¡Delicioso!  

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