Italian Potato Salad

Italian Potato Salad. Summer picnics and barbecues are upcoming. Everyone wants to enjoy the warmer summer weather. What to take? Guests will bring their favorite side dish while the host usually provides the meats. The usual pasta salads, deviled eggs, baked beans, and mayo-based potato salads will grace the buffet tables. My Italian Potato Salad with Sundried Tomato Dressing is a more unique version of the usual potato salad.

Chilled Italian Potato Salad served with Warm Italian Sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chilled Italian Potato Salad served with Warm Italian Sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Potato salad has its origins in Europe. German potato salad usually has a clear vinegar-based dressing. Potato salad made in other countries tends to have mayonnaise-based dressing.

My Italian Potato Salad is simple to make with a vinegar-based dressing. Just cook some potatoes in a pot filled with enough water to cover them.

Boil some potatoes in water in a pot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Boil some potatoes in water in a pot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Drain and cool the potatoes. Then peel and dice them.

Peel the potatoes when they are cool (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Peel the potatoes when they are cool (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Toss the diced potatoes in a bowl with some red wine vinegar.

Sprinkle red vinegar onto the potatoes and stir to mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle red vinegar onto the potatoes and stir to mix (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some diced red bell pepper, finely chopped shallot, and quartered black olives.

Add the red bell pepper, black olives and shallots (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the red bell pepper, black olives and shallots (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some chopped basil, chopped parsley, and chopped oregano.

Add the herbs (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the herbs (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Toss with my Sundried Tomato Dressing and shredded parmesan, let sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Add the sundried tomato dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the sundried tomato dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the ingredients together (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the ingredients together (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve!

Add a little more parmesan and a sprig of parsley (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add a little more parmesan and a sprig of parsley (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Serve my Italian Potato Salad with a grilled sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Serve my Italian Potato Salad with a grilled sausage (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Italian Potato Salad

Ingredients:

5 lbs red or yellow potatoes, unpeeled
1 T red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
20 pitted black olives, quartered lengthwise
1 T finely chopped fresh basil or 1 t dried basil
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 t dried parsley
1/2 T finely chopped fresh Italian oregano or 1/2 t dried oregano
1 c Sundried Tomato Dressing
1/4 c shredded Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

Parsley sprigs and additional shredded Parmesan cheese to garnish

Method:

1. Wash and scrub the potatoes and put them into a pot.
2. Fill the pot with water to cover the potatoes by an inch or more.
3. Add a pinch of salt.
4. Over high heat, bring the potatoes to a boil.
5. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender.
6. Drain the potatoes and cool them on a cutting board.
7. Carefully peel the potatoes and then dice them into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a non-metallic bowl.
8. Sprinkle the potatoes with the red wine vinegar and pinch of salt and stir to combine.
9. Add the chopped shallot, diced bell pepper, quartered black olives, basil, parsley, oregano, sundried tomato dressing, and parmesan. Stir to combine.
10. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
11. Garnish with parsley sprigs and additional shredded Parmesan cheese and serve!

Makes about 8 cups of potato salad. Serve as a side dish with some grilled Italian sausages or my Hearty Meatball Sandwich. This salad travels well for picnics.

Variations: Add some mini mozzarella balls. Serve this potato salad as a warm main course with hot sliced cooked Italian sausages mixed in. Serve over a bed of salad greens for a vegetarian main course. You could add some diced salami, pepperoni, or cooked bacon bits for a different flavor.

Take along this pretty potato salad serving bowl with lid and serving utensils from Amazon.com:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

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Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous

Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous. Living near the water-surrounded Delmarva Peninsula area, we have access to some wonderful Maryland rockfish. Also known as striped bass, the fresh local rockfish is very tasty and popular around here. One of my favorite ways to prepare rockfish is to slowly roast it in the oven and serve with a salad of apricot almond couscous. The couscous salad can be warm or cold. It’s delicious either way.

Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

You can prepare the couscous salad a day ahead and serve it cold, or you can prepare it while the rockfish is roasting and serve it warm. The couscous salad ingredients include cooked couscous, canned chickpeas, chopped dried apricots, toasted slivered almonds, sliced scallion, raisins and chopped cilantro with a lemon juice, olive oil, and cardamom dressing.

Organic Dried Apricots from Whole Foods Market (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic Dried Apricots from Whole Foods Market (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Just cook the couscous according to the package directions. Add the chickpeas and dried apricots and warm through. Stir in the almonds, scallion, raisins, and cilantro. Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and powdered cardamom and add to the couscous mixture. At this point, you can keep the couscous warm to serve with the fish, or you can chill it for a few hours or overnight and serve it cold with the warm roasted fish the next day.

Maryland Rockfish (Photo Credit: bowhuntingmaryland.com)

Maryland Rockfish (Photo Credit: bowhuntingmaryland.com)

Prepare two rockfish fillets by seasoning the flesh with salt and pepper. Then roast it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a parchment-lined baking pan for 10 – 15 minutes or until it is done to your liking. You can also sear the rockfish in a pan over medium heat with some butter, flesh side down first for 2 – 3 minutes and then flip over.

Serve the rockfish with the warm or chilled couscous salad. Garnish with lemon slices and a few lemon wedges for squeezing.

Maryland Rockfish served with savory Apricot Almond Couscous Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Maryland Rockfish served with savory Apricot Almond Couscous Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous

Ingredients:

2 fresh rockfish fillets, skin on, scales removed

2 c cooked couscous (follow package directions)
1 c canned or cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/4 c chopped dried apricots
2 T toasted slivered almonds (Trader Joe’s sells toasted slivered almonds)
1 whole scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 c raisins or currants
2 T chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
3 T lemon juice
1 T honey
1/4 c olive oil
2 t powdered cardamom
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon slices and wedges, for garnish

Method:

1. Season the rockfish fillets with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. In a pan, over low heat, mix together the cooked couscous with the chickpeas, dried apricots, almonds, scallion, raisins, and cilantro and heat through.
4. In a small non-metallic bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and cardamom.
5. Stir the cardamom dressing into the couscous mixture and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm or chill at this point.
6. Roast the rockfish for 10 – 15 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.
7. Plate each rockfish fillet with the couscous salad, garnish with lemon slices and a lemon wedge each for squeezing, and serve!

Serves 2 diners as a main course. Offer with my Simple Cucumber Salad as a starter and my Garlicky White Bean Dip as a spread for some pita bread.

Variations: Use your favorite fish instead of the rockfish. Salmon, halibut, and swordfish are all tasty with this couscous salad. Sear the fish in a pan with butter rather than roasting it. Omit the nuts if you have a nut allergy. Substitute cannellini beans for the chickpeas. Serve the couscous salad with chicken or pork or by itself.

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

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Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich

Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich. My neighbor grows oregano, parsley, and basil in her garden. Like me, she’ll have an abundance of herbs at the end of the growing season. We both use the herb surplus to make pesto. I’m always looking for new ways to use pesto and came up with this Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich.

Cheesy Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cheesy Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

You don’t have to wait until the end of the growing season to try my Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich. This sandwich is similar to my Hearty Meatball Sandwich except that pesto is used for the sauce. It doesn’t take much pesto to make a good sauce. I make a variety of pestos depending on my ingredients at the time. My easy Basil Arugula Pesto and Spring Mix Pesto are probably my favorites.

I like to make my own basil pesto (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I like to make my own basil pesto (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

For this recipe, I use my Easy Turkey Meatballs. You can use my meatball recipe, make your own, or buy premade meatballs.

Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Start by lighly toasting some sandwich rolls under the broiler and then set them aside. Heat some pre-cooked meatballs in a saute pan with some butter.

Easy Turkey Meatballs from my recipe elsewhere on this site! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Easy Turkey Meatballs from my recipe elsewhere on this site! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

When the meatballs are warmed through, stir in some pesto.

Stir the meatballs and the pesto (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the meatballs and the pesto (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a bit of extra heat. Assemble the sandwiches by placing an equal number of meatballs on each roll. Drizzle the remaining pesto sauce over the meatballs. Cover the meatballs with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil the sandwiches until the cheese melts, and serve!

Broil the sandwiches until the cheese melts (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Broil the sandwiches until the cheese melts (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This is such a gorgeous sandwich that you might not want to eat it. Just kidding.

Fresh from the oven and ready to eat: Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Fresh from the oven and ready to eat: Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 sandwich or sub rolls, split
2 T butter
8 – 12 pre-cooked Easy Turkey Meatballs
1/4 c homemade pesto or store-bought pesto
1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Method:

1. Lighly toast the sandwich rolls under the broiler and then set them aside.
2. Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat.
3. Add the pre-cooked meatballs and lightly saute in the butter.
4. When the meatballs are warmed through, stir in the pesto and the optional red pepper flakes.
5. Assemble the sandwiches by placing an equal number of meatballs on each roll.
6. Spoon the remaining sauce over the meatballs and spread onto the sandwich rolls.
7. Cover the meatballs with some shredded mozzarella cheese.
8. Broil the sandwiches in the oven until the cheese melts taking care not to burn the edges of the rolls.
9. Place each sandwich on a serving plate, cut in half to reveal that pesto, and serve!

Makes two tasty meatball sandwiches. Offer with a side salad such as my Insalata Caprese or a light Simple Cucumber Salad.

Variations: Use your favorite beef, veal, chicken, or other meatballs. Substitute olive oil for the butter. Omit the cheese if you are watching your dairy intake. Add some sliced fresh tomato and/or some sliced sauteed mushrooms to the sandwiches before you add the cheese.

Ooey Gooey Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Ooey Gooey Pesto Turkey Meatball Sandwich (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Buy a large supply of frozen turkey meatballs at Amazon.com:

And order some pesto to keep on hand if you don’t have time to make it yourself.

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

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Clifton Sunset Martini

Clifton Sunset Martini. Don’t you love a gorgeous sunset? When I was designing a name for this beautiful martini, it was obvious that Clifton, Virginia would be a part. Clifton is a tiny quaint town near our home. Our favorite Trummers on Main restaurant with fabulous martinis is located in Clifton, as well as our favorite sweet-treat Cupcaked Bakery. And I picked “sunset” since it’s the time that most people would enjoy a martini.

The Clifton Sunset Martini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The Clifton Sunset Martini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sometimes you are waiting for a “sunrise” and other times you are looking for a “sunset”. Usually a sunrise makes me energetic. For years, I’ve taken photos of sunrises and even would get up early on weekends to watch the sun come up. One of the best places to view the sunrise is on the beach in Bethany Beach, Delaware. When we can, my husband and I like to spend early mornings walking on the beach and watching the sun come up.

Sunrise at Bethany Beach, Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sunrise at Bethany Beach, Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sunsets can also be spectacular. Sunsets can symbolically mark the end of an event. It could be the end of a relationship when two people have grown apart. It could be a sudden or long expected death of a loved one or a pet. Or a sunset could just mark the happy ending to a particularly enjoyable day. I’m picking the latter to describe this refreshing new martini. Some of my favorite sunsets have occurred over the Indian River Inlet in Delaware.

Sunset with thunderclouds - Indian River Inlet, Delaware (Image courtesy indianriverinletcam.com)

Sunset with thunderclouds – Indian River Inlet, Delaware (Image courtesy indianriverinletcam.com)

Sunset at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sunset at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Gorgeous sunset over Indian River Inlet in Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Gorgeous sunset over Indian River Inlet in Delaware (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Since my husband and I remodeled our 1970s bar in our basement, we’ve enjoyed many evenings with friends while sitting at our fancy bar. My Pomegranate Pear Martini, my Blue Hawaiian Cocktail and my Christmas Cheer Cocktail have all graced our bar. It wasn’t until we had a particularly pleasant day with some dear friends that I created the Clifton Sunset Martini. I enjoyed a few Clifton Sunset Martinis at Delaware House prior to its sale last year.

The Clifton Sunset Martini at Delaware House marking the end of a busy day and also the future end of the fish mural  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The Clifton Sunset Martini at Delaware House marking the end of a busy day and also the future end of the fish mural (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Grapefruit vodka, regular vodka, Campari, cherry liqueur, orange juice, and simple syrup are shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker and strained into a martini glass over a Tillen Farms Bada Bing cherry. It’s a favorite martini to end the day. I hope you’ll try it.

Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries made without red dyes (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries made without red dyes (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Clifton Sunset Martini

Ingredients:

6 ice cubes
1 oz. Absolut Ruby Red grapefruit vodka
1/2 oz. plain vodka
1/2 oz. Campari liqueur
1/2 oz. Heering cherry liqueur or Grand Marnier Cherry Orange liqueur
2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz simple syrup (combine equal parts water and sugar, heat in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved, cool and store up to a week in the refrigerator)

Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherry, stem removed, to garnish

Method:

Place the cherry at the bottom of a martini glass. Put the ice into a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients to the cocktail shaker. Securely replace the top on the cocktail shaker. Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously, holding the shaker closed tightly, until you can hear the ice cubes breaking up. Strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into the martini glass and serve.

Makes one delicious martini.

Variations: Use a regular maraschino cherry to garnish. Swap out the grapefruit vodka for grapefruit juice. Substitute tart cherry juice for the Heering or Grand Marnier cherry liqueurs if you can’t find them.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY.

Order some Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries from Amazon.com:

And you’ll need some gorgeous martini glasses from Amazon.com:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

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Hubby’s Split Pea Soup

Hubby’s Split Pea Soup. I hated split pea soup until I met my husband. The canned Campbell’s soups that are prevalent in the grocery stores taste oversalted. And even prepared according to the directions on the can, the consistency is far too thick for my taste. It wasn’t until my husband started making his version of split pea soup with bits of Niman Ranch ham that I started to really like split pea soup — and request it often.

Hubby's Split Pea Soup with Niman Ranch Ham bits (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Hubby’s Split Pea Soup with Niman Ranch Ham bits (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My husband is like me — in that we don’t usually cook with “measurements.” I can easily tell you how much I’m using of an ingredient for a recipe. My husband doesn’t measure. So in order to document this recipe, I had to follow along with his preparation of this soup. Don’t worry, it’ll come out just fine for you as it did for me!

Hubby's Split Pea Soup accompanies a Shiitake Mushroom Havarti Cheese Panini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Hubby’s Split Pea Soup accompanies a Shiitake Mushroom Havarti Cheese Panini (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This is a really rich split pea soup. Carrots, onions, thyme, chicken stock, white wine and garlic compliment the split peas to make a very flavorful soup. Hubby likes to use a chunk from a Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Petite Ham. Niman Ranch products are all natural, humanely raised meats. He cooks the soup with a big ham chunk until the peas are soft. He removes the ham chunk and dices it. Then he purees the soup and stirs in the diced ham.

Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Petite Ham (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Petite Ham (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Hubby’s Split Pea Soup is one of my favorite soups. I serve it with some crusty baguette slices for dipping. One of our favorite weeknight meals is a bowl of split pea soup served with a grilled panini sandwich.

Swiss Cheese and Maple Ham Panini served with a bowl of Hubby's Split Pea Soup (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Swiss Cheese and Maple Ham Panini served with a bowl of Hubby’s Split Pea Soup (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

If you also hate(d) split pea soup, I hope that my husband’s rich and tasty split pea soup makes you a convert!

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Hubby’s Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t dried thyme
1/3 c dry white wine
1 c chicken broth/stock, more for thinning if necessary
1 c water
2 c split peas, picked over for pebbles or other debris
1 4-inch square chunk of ham (I like to use Niman Ranch ham)
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot.
2. Saute the finely diced carrot and onion until soft.
3. Add the garlic and the thyme and saute and stir for a few more minutes.
4. Add the white wine, chicken broth, water, split peas and the chunk of ham. Stir to combine.
5. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the peas are tender.
6. Remove the chunk of ham from the pot. Dice the ham into small pieces and set aside.
7. Use a hand blender or regular blender to puree the soup.
8. When the soup is pureed, return the pot back to the stove and stir in the diced ham. Thin to desired consistency with additional chicken broth.
9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10. Warm through and serve!

Serves 8 as a soup course, and 4 as a main course. Offer with a grilled ham and cheese panini or perhaps my Favorite Chicken Salad Sandwich. If you prefer a salad with your soup, serve it with a side Caesar salad or my tomato and cucumber salad with peppered goat cheese. This soup freezes well.

Variations: Use vegetable stock and omit the ham for a vegetarian version. Add some shredded cheddar cheese on top for extra decadence. Serve this soup hot or cold. It gets better if left a day or so in the refrigerator before reheating.

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2016)

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