Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing Petite Red Skin Potatoes, Grilled Okra, Celery
Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion Herbs and Edible Flowers
Complex and assertive, Vinagre de Jerez turns up the music on ordinary potato salad. Chef José Andrés says, “…you add just a touch of (sherry) vinegar and you have this wonderful flavor that sparkles.” Vinagre de Jerez is one of just three vinegars in the EU from a designated appellation. Spain’s classification system, Denominación de Origen, regulates the quality and geographical origin of the product.
Okra is excellent grilled. (Use a grill pan so it doesn’t fall through the grates). The mucilaginous properties that make people say they “hate” okra are mitigated by quickly cooking over a hot fire. Combine grilled okra and petite red-skinned potatoes with lively peperoncini, peppery radish, crunchy celery and cool cucumber. Toss with a vivacious dressing and an array of complementary flowers and herbs for a show-stopping summer salad.
Vinagre de Jerez Dressing
1/4 c. good quality mayonnaise
1/4 c. yogurt
1 T. vinagre de jerez
1 t. dijon mustard
2 T. fruity olive oil
salt and pepper
Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Thin with warm water so the dressing will make a smooth elegant coating for the vegetables (as opposed to a thick, gloppy mayo).
Franciscan Earthenware was a wedding gift to my father and his first wife. My mother “inherited” this china when she married him. We’ve enjoyed her home-cooked meals on these dishes for well over a half century.
We still have most of the pieces, a few are chipped, but overall a fine collection in great condition. This china has proven to be very durable. Back in 2008 Ma graciously lent me several pieces from her collection. As you may have read earlier, I am addicted to dinnerware. Now, with her passing, I am the keeper of the entire collection. And I will cherish it forever.
Franciscan Apple is one of the most popular raised-relief hand-painted patterns from Gladding, McBean & Co., which began production of Franciscan dinnerware in 1934 at their plant in Glendale, California. This pattern first appeared in 1940.
The name Franciscan is an allusion to Franciscan Friars and reflected the simple, informal style of Mexican folk pottery. The Franciscan Apple pattern has become a darling of collectors with its branches, beautiful green leaves and red harvest apples painted on cream-colored porcelain reminiscent of days gone by.
American production of Franciscan Ware ceased in 1984, following the announcement to relocate all Franciscan production to England. Franciscan Apple pattern is still made today under the Wedgwood Group. It is slightly different now and many pieces are larger than the originals, but still charming as ever.
April showers brought May flowers. And with the upcoming opening of our “ristorante alfresco virtuale” Ciao Fiore! I’ve got edible flowers on my mind. Marigold and Johnny Jump-Up, Nasturtium, Pansy, and Borage too. I spotted the fiddlehead fern fronds at Whole Foods Market, in season right now just shipped down from Portland, Oregon. Flowers and ferns seemed like a pretty pairing, and thus this delightful Month-of-May salad was born.
Edible Flowers in the Salad:
marigold – bright orange petals, some with red tips
I woke before dawn to the sounds of police helicopters. Remembering it was 9/11, I jumped out of bed and ran to my deck overlooking the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Harbor. All was calm. Thank God. The day before, my friend Rachel, an LAPD officer, told me about the heightened security all over LA, especially where I live, near the Port. Like many other officers, she was on-call should any problems arise. The helicopters continued to fly over the port all day and into the night, ever vigilant.
As we honor the memory, admire the bravery, and mourn the loss of so many fellow citizens from a decade ago, I wish to express my gratitude to Rachel, to all the men and women in uniform, the heroes of today who continue to inspire us with their courage and work diligently to keep evil at bay.