Thursday, March 29, 2012

Making Do

A couple of weeks ago, we had the season's last round of shearing at the farm. When we originally scheduled the mid-March arrival of the shearing crew, I anticipated cool temperatures, perhaps even winter weather. A big pot of turkey and wild rice soup sounded good to me. Mother Nature had other ideas. The forecast for the day of backbreaking work was 80 degrees and sunny. That isn't rich and creamy soup weather; my menu needed an overhaul.

I decided to pull a pork loin from the freezer and roast it. Sliced thinly and served on sandwich buns with sliced onions, homemade pickles, mustard, and barbeque sauce, the pork sandwiches would be a better match for the early summer-like temperatures. Side dishes of coleslaw, potato salad, and baked beans would round out the meal, and only those with an aversion to cream cheese (I didn't know such people were in existence until recently.) would pass up a big slice of Spiced Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert. That seemed like a simple menu I could make in my sleep and would still be nourishing and satisfying for the hardworking crew. *jinx* I should never say something is going to be simple. Never.

It was the evening before shearing day. I had my menu written out with lists of to-dos. I had been to the grocery store, and thought I was ready to prep for feeding my starving army. Then, I realized that I was out of mustard. Mustard. A staple. Something that I sometimes crave and often have 4 or 5 types on hand. I did not have enough plain yellow mustard to make my "standard" potato salad.

Now, most of you probably just send your Hubs to the store to grab any last minute items you might have forgotten. I have often done that, too. However, it isn't always that easy for us. Our little town no longer has a grocery store. The gas station/convenience store carries a few staples, but for real groceries, we have to travel to one of the neighboring towns, and those grocery stores close at 9pm (or sometimes, earlier). The only 24-hour shopping in my neck of the woods takes place online, and while I love cruising Zappos for a pair of shoes at midnight, that doesn't help much when I need mustard at 10pm.

Hubs offered to drive out to the farm and snag that partial bottle from the fridge. I thought about calling neighbors and begging for their yellow bottles of what seemed at the moment to be gold. But then, I remembered a recipe from an old church cookbook. There was no need for midnight raids for mustard. I could "make do" without it.

This potato salad marinates the boiled potatoes in a tart vinegar and sugar mixture overnight. The next day, the spuds are drained and tossed with boiled eggs, celery, onion, and mayo. A little celery seed, salt, and pepper seasons the dish, and there you have a tangy potato salad that doesn't need mustard. It's a great salad, and unless you tell them, nobody will know that you were just "making do."

10 pounds potatoes (I use small red-skinned potatoes and don't peel.)
2 cups water 
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
1 bunch green onions, sliced 
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs, diced 
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon celery seeds
2 cups mayonnaise 

Cube potatoes into bite-sized portions and place in a large pot.
Add water to cover and bring to a boil.

Cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.
Drain and allow to cool.
In a saucepan combine water, vinegar and sugar.
Bring to a boil and cook for one minute.
Remove from heat and pour over potatoes (be sure to use a non-reactive bowl for marinating).
Cover and chill for at least 12 hours.
Drain excess marinade.

Add onions, eggs, salt, pepper, celery seed and mayonnaise.
Mix gently, but thoroughly to combine ingredients and coat salad with dressing.
Serve chilled. (Serves 20)

1 comment:

  1. This is going to be soo delicious!! I cannot wait to make it!!


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