Classic Potato Salad and an Ode to Summer

Potato Salad-2

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date. ~ William Shakespeare

I can’t believe that summer is almost over!  That seems to be the sentiment for many of us this year, particularly in our part of the country.  With so much rain in the South, it has been a rather dreary summer and somewhat depressing.  Rainy days give way to steamy evenings.  Those warm summer nights that we had envisioned sipping a glass of chilled rosé on the back deck have been spent fighting off mosquitos outdoors or ensconced in the comfort of our air-conditioned home.

There are no bugs on the back deck in the North Carolina mountains

There are no bugs on the back deck in the North Carolina mountains – too bad we can’t get there

It was also not the best year to start a garden project.  Our first attempt at a city garden has not yielded much other than a few Sun Gold Tomatoes (which, incidentally, are quite good) and a very bushy Thai Basil plant.  The slugs have taken a liking to our pepper plants, basil, parsley, and cilantro.  They have not given one pepper flower a chance to bear fruit.  Imagine my surprise when one day I had a healthy cilantro plant and the next it had literally vanished.  Sluggo at work.

My cilantro vanished at the hands of Sluggo

Where did the cilantro go?

At least we are still enjoying the Sun Gold tomatoes

At least we have enjoyed the Sun Gold Tomatoes

Then there was the compact Cherokee Purple tomato plant which gave us all of two tomatoes.  They weren’t kidding when they said “compact.”  The first one was eaten by bugs (being organic can be a challenge), so I never even had the chance to taste it.  The second tomato was a day away from being picked when some creature of the night beat us to it and ate half of the tomato.  Pesky varmints.  Probably a squirrel or bandit raccoon.  The following morning the rest of it had disappeared before I had the chance to pluck it from the vine and throw it away.  At least the critters didn’t waste it.  Did I mention the Rainbow Radishes that had so little sun and too much rain that they put all their energy into growing their leaves, but left us with just roots?  Oy.

My second tomato met a death by critters

My second tomato met a slow death by the nighttime critters

Of course, there was also the wet basement issue which we are still dealing with.  It has kept us in Atlanta for several weeks and prevented us from traveling to the cooler and more enjoyable, yet also wet, North Carolina mountains or to this year’s Lambstock in the rolling hills of (rainy) Virginia.  Oh well, fall is just around the corner and I say bring it on!

Beamer is missing the cooler mountain air, too

Beamer is missing the cooler mountain air, too

With a few weeks left of what is officially summer and Labor Day just around the corner, families and friends will be soon be gathering to celebrate the end of Summer 2013.  Many kiddos have already headed back to school and the early morning traffic has resumed.

As summer fades and you are once again searching for recipes to take advantage of the last opportunities to dine outdoors and fire up the barbecue grill, here’s the perfect potluck side dish, Classic Potato Salad.  After all, who doesn’t love a great potato salad?

This potato salad makes everything better

This potato salad makes everything better

There are countless variations of potato salad.  If you ask most people which is their favorite, the answer is usually the one that they grew up with; the one that their mother or grandmother used to make.  Here’s a recipe that many of us knew growing up that will bring back memories of home, mustard potato salad with hard boiled eggs.

Go forth and enjoy the rest of your summer.  Think positive thoughts and plan the last of the season’s Labor Day barbecue party outdoors.  Invite your family and friends.  Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed that the rains will subside.  Have Plan B in case that doesn’t happen and don’t forget the Potato Salad.  Or the bourbon. 😉

And if all else fails...have a bourbon!

And if all else fails…have a bourbon!

* Most of these photos were taken with my iPhone

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Classic Potato Salad

This potato salad is best made while the potatoes are still slightly warm as they absorb all of the flavors better. I like my potatoes cooked to where they are still a bit firm beacuse they hold up better in the salad. Be sure to allow at least several hours of refrigeration before serving.


3 to 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cubed (I like mine to still be a bit firm so they hold together nicely when mixed with the other ingredients)
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (or more, to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or more, to taste)
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellman's or Duke's)
1 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard


1. In a large bowl, gently combine the cooked potatoes, hard boiled, eggs, onion, and celery.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the pickle relish, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined. Add this dressing to the large bowl, tossing to combine all of the ingredients until well blended. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

3. Refrigerate for at least several hours before serving to allow the flavors to come together.

Recipe is from The Pillsbury Cookbook


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