Friday, May 26, 2006

"Confetti" Potato Salad:
Recipe for Colorful, No Mayonnaise Potato & Sweet Potato Salad

A colorful, no-mayonnaise potato salad made with half potatoes and half sweet potatoes plus plenty of other vegetables for good color and good crunch. The recipe is a crowd-pleaser taste-wise and looks-wise.

Confetti Potato Salad

A food snob is bad enough. But a knife snob? When one takes charge of your kitchen, look out.

Inspection starts with a cursory look-see, disdain barely feigned at an all-too familiar brand and a stick tang versus, y’know, a full tang. Sigh.

Then comes the test grip, checking heft and balance, followed by a telltale tilt to gauge the edge’s sharpness in the light, and finally the palm press, checking for, and finding, well, dullness. Big sigh.

I shouldda brought my knives, you hear. Then, You gotta sharpener?

Swoosh, swoosh, the blade scrapes against the sharpening steel, shards landing in the soup, you think. A palm press, another few swipe-swipe- swipes. There, that’s better.

Last year, faced with twelve pounds of potatoes, a larder of onions, peppers and celery, and hungry family at a rehearsal dinner the next day, I felt like a real knife snob.

There on my cousin’s counter was a revolving stand, black plastic and straight from a gas station maybe 20 years ago. There were nine (nine?) steak knives but no chef’s knife, not even a utility knife. Drawers? Nothing. Dishwasher? Nothing.

What’s a cook to do? Head for the supermarket for a knife, seven bucks Canadian, and yes, an improvement. What a snob.

I've made big batches of this salad for two weddings -- and single batches for numerous family potlucks. It's always a real hit. And I'm happy to report that this column prompted my cousin Lynda to replace her gas-station knives.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite summer salad recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


A crowd-pleaser for large gatherings
Hands-on time: 45 minutes
Refrigeration time: 4 hours
Makes 8 cups
  • 1-1/2 pounds potatoes (see ALANNA's TIPS), skins on
  • 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, chopped finely
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh tarragon, optional

POTATOES Place a steamer basket in a large pot or Dutch oven. Fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer, bring it to a boil.

Cut the potatoes, then the sweet potatoes, in about half-inch cubes. Arrange evenly in the steamer basket, potatoes on the bottom, sweet potatoes on top. Cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

VEGETABLES Chop the onion, peppers and celery and set aside.

DRESSING Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.

COMBINE Gently turn the chopped vegetables, cooked potatoes and fresh tarragon into the dressing. Season to taste, then refrigerate several hours before serving.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per 1/2 Cup made with 1T/4T olive oil: 44/66 Calories; 1/3g Tot Fat; 8g Carb; 1g Fiber; 367mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 1g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 1/1.5, PointsPlus 1/2 This recipe is 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat and portion size and increases in low-calorie flavorings and nutrient-rich vegetables.
Adapted from the much-missed Gourmet magazine, July 1991

With no mayonnaise, this is a great contribution to outdoor meals and buffets when food will sit out awhile.
Use Yukon golds or yellow Finns for the potatoes.
While I like the somewhat dryer texture that results when the potatoes and sweet potatoes are steamed, cooking them in salted water also works just fine, just be sure to drain well.
It seemed like such a small change but whoa, what a difference. I once substituted dill relish for the sweet pickle relish. The dill relish was so salty, the salad itself was way way too salty. It would have been easy enough to adjust the added salt, but I didn't know until too late. But you do!
These days I drop the oil down to just one tablespoon, there's no missing it in the dressing!
Combine the salad while the potatoes are still slightly warm. That way, they'll soak up some of the dressing.

More Favorite Salad Recipes

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Power Food Broccoli Salad Wild Rice Salad Bloody Mary Salad
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Friday, May 19, 2006

Strawberry Salads

Two recipes for strawberry salads, great ways to show off spring strawberries. Strawberry Pepper Salad is better with tender home-grown strawberries but no worry, Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing works beautifully with supermarket strawberries. Both use candied almonds, gorgeous orbs of nutty sweetness.

Strawberry Pepper Salad with Candied Almonds

"Holy moly ... may be the world's best use of strawberries." ~Jo Beth
"Strawberries with almonds and parmesan and pepper.... mmm!" ~Anonymous

Each year, as the last days of May slip into the first hours of June, the local strawberries are fat and juicy and perfect.

The season seems to last a whole ten seconds, a couple of weeks at most – but only in a good year, for reality depends on sun and rain and temperature, the unpredictability a reminder of who’s really in charge.

But each year I wait in anticipation, hoarding special ways to use nature’s perfect ruby gems. A few out of the hand; small bowls swimming in fresh cream; shortcake. These top the list but then curiosity sets in.

Last year I hosted a strawberry feast, four courses starring local berries. The favorite among kids and grown-ups alike was a surprise, a simple Strawberry Pepper Salad, just berries macerated in a touch of sugar and balsamic vinegar spiked with pepper, the juices topping buttery lettuce. The combination of sweet and heat, sweet and sour, it’s magical, worthy of real berries.

But when supermarket berries are what’s available, try a STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD with a homemade POPPY SEED DRESSING. Whisk together 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss with fresh baby spinach, then top with sliced strawberries, candied almonds and feta cheese crumbles.

ALANNA's TIPS Make a double batch of candied almonds to have enough for both salads. Slivered almonds work too but they have more surface area, you'll need to double the butter and brown sugar to coat the small batons. Use a carrot peeler to peel off delicate ribbons of Parmesan cheese.


Worthy of the best of berries
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 pint ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 – 3 three grinds of black pepper (yes, pepper!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • Salad greens, preferably leafy green or red leafy lettuce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese (see TIPS)

MACERATE BERRIES Combine berries, vinegar, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

MAKE CANDIED ALMONDS Melt butter and brown sugar in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often and adjusting heat to avoid burning, until almonds are brown and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool.

MAKE SALADS Arrange fresh salad greens on plates. Spoon a tablespoon of berry-vinegar juice over greens, then arrange strawberry slices and candied nuts on top. Top with freshly ground pepper and strips of fresh Parmesan.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per serving: 173 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 4mg Cholesterol; 33mg Sodium; 17g Carb; 4g Fiber; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4 & WW Points Plus 5.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
with Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

This salad does just beautifully with supermarket strawberries. Save the precious home-grown strawberries for Strawberry Pepper Salad!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe for strawberries that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Gorging on Strawberries

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