Late spring potato salad with lovage

Last weekend Dan, half-moon and I ventured up to the square to go to our first farmer’s market of the season. I really had an ulterior motive, which was to go to Field Table for doughnuts and iced coffees. I was never much of a huge doughnut lover, but when visiting my cousin in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, I kind of fell in love.

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The doughnuts at Field Table were crazy good. We got one of each- Raspberry, Miso Butterscotch and Maple Bacon (that was just Dan’s.) And then one more Raspberry. I can’t stop thinking about that frosting.

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After a quick stop for cheese curds from Bleu Mont Dairy (the best, in my opinion) we ducked in and out of the crowds to grab some spinach and organic potatoes from Driftless. Later that day we were headed to a get-together and I wanted to make potato salad. So this is the potato salad I started to write about the other day, when half-moon decided to bang some club soda against the floor and then I told you about rhubarb shrub.

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While I didn’t clearly state this in my last post, but  may have seemed obvious, I love vinegar. I prefer it to mayo in salads any old day. I also had some lovage that I wanted to use; it was the lovage that my mom gave me after she had waved it around in half-moon’s face while the two were sitting in her yard. Waving leafy green things (dandelions, chives, etc.) in his face is one of her favorite activities and he likes it, too.I also threw in some capers for good measure. I could have cooked the potatoes for two more minutes, but it was a hit, and it was a lovely afternoon in our friends’ backyard. Half-moon ate cheese curds for the first time, had his first apple juice box (straws are tricky!) and we lingered into the evening. Welcome, summer.

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Late Spring Potato Salad with Lovage and Capers

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds organic potatoes (I used a combination of fingerling and yellow)
One handful of lovage and garlic greens (the shoots that come up before the scrapes), chopped (I think chives would be good here, too)
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons capers
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Wash and cook the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with water in a stock pot (I don’t peel them) and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart (I guess if they are falling apart, it’s too late… I don’t claim to be a recipe writer.) Drain the potatoes and allow to cool. If you are in a hurry, run cold water over them and let them sit in some cold water.
Mix the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a large bowl. Adjust the amounts of vinegar, olive oil,mustard and capers to your liking.
When the potatoes have cooled, cut them into bite-sized chunks and toss them into the dressing. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper, if you like. Take it to a party, or eat it all yourself.

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Happy long weekend.

Keep me on my toes

This post started as one thing and now has turned into something else entirely, but that’s how things go sometimes, isn’t it? I was going to write about potato salad, but fate intervened in the form of a mobile half-moon, and now I am going to tell you about rhubarb shrub (the drinking vinegar, not a bush.)

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Half-moon has been cruising around for a little while now, but he’s really gotten interested in everything lately and has a certain hankering for the cat food bowl, beer bottles, kitchen cabinets, the contents of the blender, dresser drawers and dirt. Now for a montage.

So this morning when I had my back turned, half-moon happened upon a bottle of fancy club soda and by the time I got to him, he had somehow managed to partially open it. Not wanting it to go to waste, my mind worked quickly (not something that happens much lately)… I have rhubarb!* I have vinegar! There is ice in the freezer!

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And that’s how I ended up typing one-handed, listening to this much-needed spring rain, and sipping a delicious and refreshing rhubarb shrub and club soda. If I didn’t have yoga later, you can bet there would be some booze in it.

*All credit goes to my friend Allison, whose wonderful neighbor, Tom, gave me the rhubarb last weekend and Allison for suggesting I make a shrub out of it.

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Rhubarb Shrub

Ingredients:

5 or 6 large rhubarb stalks, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (organic) sugar

Directions:

Place rhubarb, vinegar and sugar in a medium-sized sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring a bit, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the liquid into a bowl and allow to sit for about 30 minutes to make sure you get all the liquid. (I plan on saving the rhubarb mixture to mix into yogurt. Editor’s note: Don’t do this- super vinegar-y rhubarb mush does not taste good in yogurt.) Mix the liquid (the shrub!) with club soda, or club soda with a splash of gin or vodka. Serve over ice and enjoy! Keep the leftover shrub in the fridge for up to a week or so.
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I hope something is keeping you on your toes these days… you never know what unexpected good things might come from it.