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September 2013



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Starving Artists in the Kitchen--Faux "Potato Salad"!

Faux “Potato Salad”

Yes, it’s Cauliflower, AGAIN...

As noted earlier, we avoid empty carbs as much as we can (as well as nightshade family members like potatoes, which my arthritis isn't thrilled with!), and try to find ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of MORE COLE FAMILY veggies. Those antioxidants rock, and besides I love most of these.

Except brussels sprouts. Never did manage to get on that particular bus...(or so I thought till godchild Molly made them on Thanksgiving. Guess I’ll be sharing THAT recipe, too, soon...)

So I make my “potato salad” with steamed cauliflorets, instead, and it is DELICIOUS. Fresh-tasting and piquant, I think it’s even better than regular potato salad, and a few people I’ve served it to couldn’t tell the difference. (Of course I think they were heavy smokers...☺)

First off, let me say that multi-tasking is highly over-rated. If you put the cauliflower on to steam, don’t wander off and try to get some challenging work done on the computer or get involved with a particularly riveting book. You may end up with some interesting smoked cauliflower...

Fortunately, I only had to throw away the bottom third of the pan, and the burnt taste hadn’t permeated the rest...siiiigh...

Anyway. Cut up and steam 1 head of cauliflower (or less), drain thoroughly and cool. If you’re in a hurry, you can run cold water over it, in a strainer. (And if I hadn’t toasted the darn stuff, I would have saved the cooking water for soup stock. Oh well...)

This is about fine enough to chop the cauliflower...

½ sweet onion, chopped fine
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped fine (we use organic*, when we have it, and mostly the tender inner stalks)
2-3 good tablespoons sweet pickle relish
½ C. mayonnaise or a mix of half mayo and half plain yogurt. (You may need a tad more of this)
1 T. good mustard–maybe Gray Poupon, maybe the gritty German stuff. Interesting mustard, anyway.
½ teaspoon celery seed
Splash of vinegar (I used malt vinegar, but it would be good with apple cider, rice vinegar, organic balsamic, you name it...)
Sprinkle of fresh ground sea salt
A bit of fresh ground pepper–the mixture of several types of peppercorns is great! I love this type of peppermill--and sure enough that's the kind of pepper we like, a melange!

Taste this and adjust portions as you like...more mustard? Have at it. Like it more tart? A little more vinegar won’t hurt.

Put in the fridge to cool and marry the flavors, a half hour at least, then enjoy!

Yep, this IS one reason I get distracted...

An exceedingly elegant choice-- Acetaia Estense Balsacotto Creme di Balsamico Vinegar from Modena - 8.5 oz. but any balsamic vinegar is good!


Michael Pollan talks about what "organic" means--today and in the beginnings of the organic foods movement, in his
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals--one of my current reads. Organic is big business, now, with all the compromises that's had to entail.

The Starving Artists will delve into organic and what it means now in a later post--it's fascinating stuff. One of my favorite quotes from The Omnivore's Dilemma (on page 169) concerns an organic agriculture conference in California from a few years back, which included both traditional organic farmers and the Big Boys. A corporate grower suggested to a struggling small farmer that in order to survive in the now-highly-competitive market, perhaps he should try to develop a niche.

The farmer, attempting to hold his temper, answered “I believe I developed that niche 20 years ago. It’s called ‘organic.’ And now you, sir, are sitting on it!”

We listened to a broadcast interview with Pollan yesterday that you might find interesting...we did! I couldn’t tear myself away...it was about his newest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, which I've definitely added to my Amazon Wish List!

(The interview is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-t-7lTw6mA and it’s well worth the time it takes.  Thanks, Mara!)


And for you artists out there--the cauliflower was done with Kremer Pigments' crunch-style watercolors, with no prior drawing.  Just a nice, big round watercolor brush!  Fun...


Thank you for this recipe! My blood sugar has informed me that potatoes are a no for now... this should be a very interesting substitute!
It's really delicious! I'd crave it even if it weren't a substitute for something else!

sounds good I am going to try it.

I have lots of pots that I have walked away from. Even got a new kitchen one time, firemen and all.

Re: sounds good I am going to try it.

OMIGOSH! I've never head that much of a problem, but I did lose about a third of the parsnips the other night...

Re: sounds good I am going to try it.

I was making french fries had the grease on to get hot and I got distracted with a problem with the kids. When I came back in the grease was gone and the pan was on fire, so was the hood and the wall. I still put stuff on high and start to do something else, I need to learn to just stay with it and turn it down, but I am easly distracted. Guess at 61 I won't learn it might just get worse. I have to make signs that say don't leave. and wear them around my neck.

Re: sounds good I am going to try it.

YIPE!!!!! That would be VERY scary...and yes, I often realize I've done it again when I either smell smoke or the alarm goes off. I joke that that's how I tell something's done, when the smoke alarm starts screeching.

People with short attention spans really oughta stay in the vicinity!

Re: sounds good I am going to try it.

must be the artist in us, I get to day dreaming I call it sometimers, but some times I worry my self

Re: sounds good I am going to try it.

Nearly burning down the house would do that, yep!
Sounds yummy. I definitely need to try it w/ the cauliflower. My arthritis does not like the potatoes either. :(
I've made a version of German Potato Salad for about 30 yrs, w/ bacon and hardboiled eggs. Now I make it only a few times of yrs b/c of Mike's cholestoral and b/p since I saute the onions in the bacon grease and add it all in the mix. It's the bacon grease that gives it the distinctive flavor but it's not good for the heart!
I use less mayo and more vinegar - I use a salad vinegar - and a good brown mustard. I crush celery seeds w/ a mortar and pestle and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds wonderful! Yep, I don't use mayo at ALL in my German potato salad, but I'd miss the bacon, all right. I've discovered I can just use about a nice round teaspoon of bacon grease and the rest canola oil, though, and still have that lovely flavor...

Oooooh, the crushed celery seeds must give it a really fresh intense flavor!
Cathy, this sounds so delicious. I am going to make it when I get back to the USA in a few weeks. Amazing watercolor of the cauliflower.

I'm enjoying your Starving Artist blog.

Thank you, Jennifer! I'm loving your Bali posts, too--wondered how long you'd be there. Fascinating and colorful work...
Solga, how did I miss this! YES, I loved it, and thank you for sending it!