Sunday, May 22, 2011

Picnic Season

Thought I'd get a jump on things this week and start my blog a little early since I see "busy, busy, busy..." in my very near future. This coming Saturday is Strawberry Fest here in Guerneville and I'll be making two items that will require a little pre-testing. One is a peanut butter cupcake recipe that I'm trying out today or tomorrow. (My favorite peanut butter cake recipe just didn't translate well into cupcakes.) The other is my Strawberry Cassata recipe which I came up with last year when a friend, who loves strawberries, had a birthday.

I was originally going to make him a Traditional Sicilian Cassata encased in Pasta Reale (marzipan) until I realized I didn't have time to make any homemade and wasn't about to spend $15 for pre-made. Having already purchased the ricotta and made the Pan di Spagna (sponge cake), I decided to buy the strawberries and whipping cream and make a few changes. It turned out well but I've had a few more ideas that I'll be using this week one of which is making my ricotta instead of buying it. (It's no more expensive and I much prefer the taste.)

On tomorrow's show, I'll be having Mom on as a special guest. She'll be giving her recipe for short cut Baked Beans based on a recipe for a brand that she buys in Michigan.

I, on the other hand, will be giving her recipe for Potato Salad. I hope I do it justice!

Speaking of potato salad, I'm thinking in the very near future that I want to do a segment on potato salad since there are so many recipes out there from all over the world. (It's amazing what people over the globe have done with this tuber from the new world.)

Since Mom's going to be giving the first recipe of the day, I'll give it right here, right now.

Mom's Baked Beans

1- 15-oz can great northern beans

1- 15-oz can pinto beans

1- 15-oz can white kidney (cannellini) beans

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2-3/4 cup ketchup

1 tsp dry mustard


In a large bowl, mix un-drained beans with all the ingredients except the bacon and mix completely.

Pour into a casserole and cover top with bacon.

Bake in 350F degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours.

On to the potato salad. Just a note here, I've used both floury and waxy potatoes to make potato salad and I prefer the former. But this is completely up to your taste. One more thing: if you find that there is not enough dressing, add a little more mayo, vinegar and a tad more sugar to get that sweet and sour balance.

Potato Salad

5 potatoes

3 scallions, sliced

2 ribs of celery, diced

4 radishes, sliced thin

4 hard boiled eggs, sliced

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 or 3 tablespoons sugar (enough to balance out the sweet and sour)

salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until al dente. (You don't want them too soft or you'll end up with mashed potatoes.) Then return them to the pot they were boiled in to dry and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 2-to3-inch pieces.

Add the other vegetables gently toss to combine well.

Make a dressing of the rest of the ingredients except the eggs and pour over the salad mixing well. Gently stir in the eggs, cover and refrigerate overnight.

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