Tina’s Potato Salad

Two weeks ago, I shared my attempt at improving a family favorite potato salad. I also shared with you my utter failure. You see, this particular potato salad, which was created by my late mother-in law, contains fresh cucumbers. It is a delightfully different take on a classic dish, but because of the cucumbers, it doesn’t hold for very long. I attempted to remedy that situation by salting the cucumbers to release the excess water, but in the end completely lost the balance of flavors. So, I’m back to share how to make the original version, and this time, I have decided that the potato salad is perfect just as it is meant to be.

When making potato salad, I frequently boil my potatoes whole and unpeeled, but for today’s version, I decided that dicing and peeling the potatoes before boiling would be the better route. It is best to use a waxy potato. I usually use a red or white potato, but I think a Yukon gold would also work. As for the cucumber, I did remove the seeds, which is a great source of the excess moisture that I was trying to avoid in my last post. You can use an English cucumber, but my husband Tom insists that a plain cucumber is best to use when replicating his mother’s recipe.

Tina’s Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds of white or red potatoes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and dice potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a pot covered with an inch of salted water. Bring water to a boil, then gently boil the potatoes until fork tender (about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes.

Peel and seed cucumber. Cut into 1 inch dice. Peel and small dice hard boiled eggs.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate and serve on the same day.

Tina’s Potato Salad

So, there it is. With the fresh cucumber and celery seed, it is quite a unique and refreshing version of a perpetual favorite. In this case, I’ve learned not to fix what wasn’t broken. Have a happy 4th!

Tortellini Salad

Another Mother’s Day has come to pass – I hope it was a great one for everyone! Last year I wrote about the new Mother’s Day tradition in our home. For the first few years after my son was born, we would take my wife out to brunch for Mother’s Day. When the pandemic hit and everything was shut down, we worked to recreate the brunch in our own home. Even though things are open again, we grew to love the new tradition of brunch at home.

We let my wife sleep in and have the morning to herself while my son and I go to work preparing everything. We usually start the brunch between 10:30 and 11:00. For the first two years we really focused more on the “br” and less on the “unch” side of the event – with that being the first meal of the day, we all tend to go more for the breakfast foods first.

This year I decided I would make something that would also touch on the lunch side a bit and I put together the idea for the tortellini salad with orange vinaigrette dressing that I am sharing today. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Tortellini Salad

  • 1 12 ounce package of dried cheese or cheese and spinach tortellini
  • 1 stick of pepperoni, about 6 ounces, cut into quarter inch pieces
  • 1 8 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces pearl sized fresh mozzarella
  • 15 to 20 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Prepare the tortellini according to the directions on the package. Drain and return to the pan and toss them with the olive oil – this will keep the tortellini from sticking together. Chill the tortellini for at least 30 minutes.

Orange Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. You could also place all of the ingredients in a shaker bottle and shake vigorously to combine.

Pour the cooked tortellini onto a platter. Evenly distribute the pepperoni, roasted red peppers, mozzarella pearls and basil on top of the tortellini. You can drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and serve the rest on the side, but I prefer to leave the dressing off altogether and allow each person to pour as much or little as they like on their portion.

The layers of ingredients made a nice presentation on the platter and the combination of classic flavors came together to make a delicious salad.

As is our usual habit, I wasn’t surprised that we all went for the breakfast foods first during the brunch. Even though it wasn’t eaten that morning, the beauty of having a more lunch like item on the menu this year was that it translated into a nice dinner. We put a lot of time and effort into cooking the brunch early in the day and having a quick and ready to eat dinner that evening was a welcome addition.

Mother’s Day brunch year 3 was a success – my wife enjoyed the day and her brunch, and we loved making it for her. It’s a bit early to think about it, but I’m already wondering what changes we’ll make next year. We like to mix some new things in with some of the old favorites, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

Until next time, I hope you all have a great weekend.