Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Seasonal {Summer} Suppers

 Part One: Potato Salad with Green & White Beans

Lately it has been hot in central Pennsylvania, and when I say hot I mean HOT. There have been more than a few days with a heat advisory and stepping out of my slightly over-air-conditioned office building feels almost like hitting a heat wall. I try not to complain because one of the things that I really love about living in Pennsylvania is that you truly experience all four seasons. And what would summer be without a few days that feel like hell hath come?

While I certainly remember being hot during past summers, what I do not remember is the heat taking such a toll on my eating. Lately I will cook something because I feel like I should eat something, only to take a few bites, put everything away and eat a Popsicle.  What I am finding is that I am just not in the mood to eat anything that doesn’t taste fresh. And so in light of that, I thought I would share with you some quintessential summer meals in this small series called Seasonal {Summer} Suppers. Let’s begin with one of my favorites: Potato Salad with Green & White Beans.

The recipe for this salad comes from a cookbook that I am quite sure is in the ownership of every female in my family: Simple Suppers, put out by the Moosewood Restaurant. Here is what you will need:

-5 medium new potatoes (red or yellow) or a decent amount of teeny ones (~1 ½ pounds)
-1 pound green beans
-1/2 cup olive oil
-3-4 tbsp. cider vinegar (to your taste)
-2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
-1/3 cup thinly sliced or chopped red onion
-1 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed & drained
Optional: tomatoes, corn on the cob, chunk white tuna, eggs, olives

Here is how you will make it:

-Put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. If you plan on using hard boiled eggs, prepare these at this time as well.
-While the water is heating, slice/chop your potatoes until they are in even-ish chunks. When the water is boiling place them in the pot and allow them to boil for about 10-12 minutes or until fork tender.
-Snap the stem ends off of your green beans and chop in half.
-Make your dressing: Combine the olive oil, vinegar, basil and red onion. Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

-When the potatoes are done remove them with a strainer and place them directly into the dressing. Let the pot resume its boil, then add the green beans and corn to the water and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
                -Rinse and drain your white beans. Set aside.
-When the green beans and corn have had their 5 minutes, remove the corn with tongs and set aside. Remove the beans with your strainer and place directly into the dressing bowl with the potatoes. Add the white beans to the bowl. 
-Finally, cut the corn off the cob and add this to the dressing bowl. Toss everything together, add some salt and pepper and allow everything about five minutes to soak.

To serve this, place a generous portion of the salad on a plate. Top with fresh tomatoes, your peeled and sliced hard boiled eggs, and if you so fancy, tuna and olives.

I like to eat this just as you see it in the picture, but it would also be lovely as side dish to grilled chicken or steak. Enjoy!!

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