June 25, 2009: The Bountiful Table

I'm not cooking a "garden dinner" tonight. It certainly isn't because of a lack of fresh vegetables, it's more of an "easy on the cook" night. Sometimes Granny needs a break from the kitchen, so tonight it's hamburgers, baked beans from a can, potato salad (home made last night) and banana cream pie (homemade last night). The only garden ingredients are onions.

Today's garden produce; carrots, green & purple bush beans, cabbage, onions, shallots, strawberries & raspberries. All together I picked 6 pounds 2 ounces (weighed after being cleaned and trimmed of leaves/stalks).

Our children and grandchildren always gather at our house on July 4th. We live near the Columbia River, and have an excellent view of the fireworks from our front yard, so we'll have our usual get together for a dinner at dusk, followed by an evening of celebration. It will be very informal, with paper plates and napkins, plastic cups and silverware. We sometimes have a serve yourself taco bar and sometimes we have takeout fried chicken. This is the year for fried chicken. There will be a big pot of local sweet corn, chilled watermelon, and Mr. H's and the kids' favorite potato salad.......I prefer mine with sweet pickles ;-).

Baked Potato Salad for a Crowd
Serves 12

6 medium potatoes (2 pounds)
1-1/2 cups light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium stalks celery (1 cup), chopped
1 medium onion (1/2 cup), chopped
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1. Bake potatoes the day before preparing the salad, Chill overnight.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.

2. Place the eggs in the medium saucepan. Cover with at least 1 inch of cold water, and heat to boiling over high heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let stand covered 18 minutes. Immediately pour off the hot water from the eggs, then run cool water over them several seconds to prevent further cooking; drain.

3. Peel and chop the eggs. Chop the celery. Peel the onion, and chop enough of the onion to measure 1/4 cup. Wrap any remaining onion, and refrigerate for another use.

4. Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently stir in the potatoes, celery and onion. Stir in the chopped eggs.

5. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors and to chill. Cover and refrigerate any remaining salad.


  1. Granny - we had fresh green beans and yellow squash from the garden this evening, and they were pretty darn good! I hope you have your canning supplies already, because you're gonna need them!

  2. EG, I'll pick my first yellow crookneck squash tomorrow! I almost gave in and picked it today, but I knew it wouldn't be cooked until tomorrow so I decided to wait. I'll be up tonight getting all those green beans ready for the freezer. There was nearly 2#, plus I picked a bunch for my neighbor's dinner last night and didn't include the weight. If I had, I'd be over 70 pounds now!

  3. Beautiful harvest!

    So how do you preserve your garlic and shallots? Do you dry them? Or do they refrigerate for a long time?

  4. MommyAmy, I'm drying what I don't use fresh. I can't believe those shallots. My neighbor gave me about five or six small ones she bought at an oriental grocer, and I stuck them in the garden last fall. Then I decided to move them in October, and they had already formed about a dozen bulbs. Now the little bed is just solid with nice big multiple bulbs! I minced some the other night and sauteed it in butter with shrimp...oh, my it was good!

  5. Looks good Granny!

    I can't believe that July 4th is so close!

    I copied your baked potato salad into my recipe program. I had never thought of using baked potatoes!

  6. Toni, I "baked" my potatoes in the crockpot yesterday. They came out rather dark in color rather than nice and white, but the flavor was fine in the salad.

  7. Granny... you baked your potatoes in the crockpot??? I love it!

    You didn't have to heat up the house!

  8. Toni, I wasn't as impressed with crockpot baked potatoes as I was with the garlic. I sliced the top off the head of garlic, drizzled a bit of oil on it, wrapped it in foil and put it in the crockpot with the potatoes. It came out lovely and soft and squishy, and I just squeezed it out into the mashed potatoes. It was really good.

  9. Potato salad is my husbands absolute favorite dish. Was planning to make a big one for Fourth because it seems to be part of our traditional holiday meal for the day. Not sure what else will be on the menu yet - because I have not focussed in on the fact that it is approaching so fast. Holy smokes this year is zooming by fast!

  10. Tell me about it, KitsapFG! It seems like last week I was planting my spring garden, and today I emptied a 4'x4' and half of another, and got them ready to plant again! The season is speeding by. Before you know it, I'll be heading back to AZ...and I don't want to go!!!

  11. I really really really wish I grew potatoes this year :( Well it gives me a good goal for something new next year though :D Along with garlics and onions too!


  12. Cynthia, I've decided next year I'll grow more potatoes, beets, carrots, berries and lettuce and not so many peppers, basil, tomatoes. It seems as though I grow a lot of stuff that we get tired of fast (green beans) or that we just don't use much (basil). I WAY overdid the tomatoes & peppers this year.

  13. I'm with you Granny-I'm planting less peppers/squash and more of what we really use a LOT of-potatoes and onions. Heck, in a way I'm lucky, cuz with the cold(and very late) springs here, that's really what does best. But, I do wish for tomatoes!!

  14. I like to throw some little popcorn shrimp in my potato salad! Oh, and I'd up the vinegar, of course. :)

  15. I was thinking with all those green beans that you need to serve then at the July 4th dinner. It would be a good way to use them all up. But I guess a celebration isn't for something you are sick of already.

    How can you plant too many tomatoes? I've never heard of such a thing. You can imagine me with visions of tomato sauce and salsa dancing in my head. I never have too many, but then they don't really grow very well here usually.

  16. Wow Granny! You have to have the greenest hands EVER! (even more than EG hehehe) I am hoping to have some carrots soon, but I dont think they will have enough time to grow.

    On the potato salad, How do you keep the potatoes from crumbling when you cut them? The crock pot is genius! I will have to try that.

    I am jealous over your garlic but then again, I NEVER use garlic in anything. Just garlic powder.

    I thought you were in AZ now!?!

  17. Oh, Granny, I'd take your spare basil. Did you know that pesto freezes really well? Mmmmmmmmm.

    Your shallots remind me of my favorite tomato soup -- shallots sauteed in butter, with fresh tomatoes cooked until, well, soup, and then a swirl of pesto at the table.

    Sigh. My basil's bolting, my tomatoes aren't ripe yet. I'll just have to live vicariously.

  18. Sue, I'm ready for the tomatoes, too! Just maybe not (at last count) 24 plants! I see lots of chili sauce, canned tomatoes and maybe even ketchup in my future ;-) Squash I like, and I didn't go overboard with only one zucchini, one yellow crookneck and two butternut. I could probably have used another of each.

  19. Ribbit, you are a sour puss and I am a sweet puss and Mr. H is a blah puss. I like a sweeter/tangier salad dressing, he like "just mayonnaise, onions, eggs, potatoes and celery". Period. Oh, a little pepper and way too much salt. YUK!

  20. Daphne, that's actually a good idea. A three bean salad would go over well, and I should have three of the main ingredients by then...green beans, onions and peppers!

    Too many tomatoes = I used up so much space with 24 plants, there are things I'd rather have growing in some of the gardens...like more raspberries. Really, I could have planted 7 fewer tomatoes and still had more than enough (assuming they all bear), and it would have freed up an entire bed...for more raspberries! I only had four plants last year, and that was really plenty for the two of us.

  21. JenGC, HUSH YOUR MOUTH! Don't let EG hear you say that!!!! LOL

    I've never had a problem with the potatoes crumbling if they are chilled overnight. Especially if I use new potatoes, which I usually do. Another way is to dice the potatoes raw, and cook them in the microwave. That way they are already cut and don't crumble. I actually wouldn't mind if they did crumble a bit. Some people actually make mashed potato salad on purpose.

    I'm not a big user of garlic, but I do like it roasted. You really should try it that way for garlic bread or mashed potatoes. It isn't even close to tasting like powdered garlic.

    Good heavens no...I go to Arizona for 5-6 months through the winter. I come back home to Washington for the summer. It gets hot here, 100-110F isn't unusual for July-August, but down there it's 118-120+! And our nights cool off here. Down there it's just suffocating day and night.

  22. Poor Stefaneener. I wish I could send you my basil! I have it drying on the patio, so it will get used in spaghetti sauce and such. I made pesto once and really liked it, but Mr. H doesn't. With just the two of us, I tend to cook the things he likes.

    I had never eaten shallots! Can you believe that? I'll certainly be saving some to plant for next year! So far I've only tried them with the shrimp, but I'm going to add some to fresh green beans. Good to know about using them in tomato soup.

  23. Too late, granny! Apparently, i'm the person that has less of a green thumb than you! Hey, the truth hurts sometimes.....(until big things get mature in my new box) hee hee

  24. Hey, you little Poopy-head, I have TWO pumpkins on the vine now, and they're gonna be big ones! And you just wait until I start weighing all those tomatoes!

    I think I'll go plant something BIG in that empty box.

  25. wow, granny! you never cease to amaze me! your potato salad sounds so good...i made potato salad for the very first time last weekend for my pops on father's day. it was an animal-friendly version and it tasted just like the "real" thing. i was proud. =)

    next year i'd like to grow my own taters just like all you pros!

  26. Kelli, you are going to give me a swelled head ;-)

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