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Subject: Alternate ways of cooking potatoes for potato salad?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Diane Feder 
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 20:30:32 -0400
--------
I'm sure this has been covered; everything has, but I must not have been
paying attention.

My recipe is pretty close to Damsel's Dilled Potato Salad, but without the
eggs and with sour cream and mayo.  Is there another way to cook the
potatoes?  Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush.  Not so bad
when I use red potatoes, which I prefer.  And by the time I'm done handling
those hot potatoes, I want to use the mayo on my hands instead of on the
potatoes.

Has anyone tried microwaving them?  Steaming them?  (I steam in the
microwave.)  I thought it might be easier to control the doneness.  If so,
should I peel and dice them first or afterwards?

I just went through a whole summer without making potato salad.  Don't want
that to happen again.

Thanks,
Diane

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From: Jack Schidt 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 01:35:20 GMT
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You could cook the potatoes until done, toss em in ice water to stop the
cooking (only for a minute) and then use them, or put them in the
refrigerator.  Next day, dice em up and add your stuff.  You especially want
to use cold (or cooled) potatoes if you're using mayo, in the interests of
food safety.

Jack Tuber (pronounced "tuber" unless you're in Maine; then it sounds like
the musical instrument)

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From: blakem[at]ix.netcom.com (blake murphy)
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 14:52:22 GMT
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Jack Schidt wrote:
>You could cook the potatoes until done, toss em in ice water to stop the
>cooking (only for a minute) and then use them, or put them in the
>refrigerator.  Next day, dice em up and add your stuff.  You especially want
>to use cold (or cooled) potatoes if you're using mayo, in the interests of
>food safety.

when i make it, the tater cubes are still hot when mixed with oil and
vinegar, other stuff, and mayonnaise last.

============================

From: sue at interport dot net (Curly Sue)
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 01:44:02 GMT
--------
Diane Feder wrote:
>I'm sure this has been covered; everything has, but I must not have been
>paying attention.
>
>My recipe is pretty close to Damsel's Dilled Potato Salad, but without the
>eggs and with sour cream and mayo.  Is there another way to cook the
>potatoes? 

I peel them first, cut up any really big ones into the size of
medium/small potatoes.  The important thing is that  the chunks should
be of approximately uniform size so they all finish at the same time.
Boil *only* until they crack when you pierce the center  with a fork.
Drain and let cool to room temperature.  Then when you cut them they
won't be mush.  If you cut them up when they are hot they will be too
soft.  Plus they will burn your hands :>  No offense to Mom but
peeling and dicing potatoes when they are hot seems nuts!

============================

From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 16 Sep 2002 02:05:03 GMT
--------
Diane Feder writes:
>Has anyone tried microwaving them?  Steaming them?  (I steam in the
>microwave.)  I thought it might be easier to control the doneness.  If so,
>should I peel and dice them first or afterwards?

There are many different types of potato salad.  I don't care much for the
typical mayo-laden deli style.  I use new potatoes and pick them so they're all
the same size.  I boil them in their skins until just barely tender and quickly
cool them under running water to prevent their over cooking and to help loosen
their skins.  Upon cooling, the potato flesh will contract more than the skins
will so it's not that dificult to remove most of the skin; scrape gently with
the *back* of a paring knife, not the cutting edge.  Then slice/dice as you
will.  I prefer cutting potatoes for salad into small wedges (wedges won't jam
together like slices do and a bit of remaining skin adds visual interest, not
to mention nutrition).  Oh, and always begin boiled potatoes in cold water.

Here's one without all the empty mayo calories...

POTATO SALAD WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE   

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 1 hr 
4 lb fingerling or small boiling potatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard (not whole-grain) 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 2 inches in a 5- to 6-quart pot and
simmer, uncovered, until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain in a colander and
cool slightly.

While potatoes are simmering, whisk together sugar and 3 tablespoons vinegar in
a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. 

When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and cut diagonally into
1/2-inch-thick slices, adding to vinegar mixture as sliced and tossing gently
to combine. 

Whisk together shallot, mustard, and remaining tablespoon vinegar in a small
bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Add dressing to
potatoes, then season with salt and pepper and stir gently with a rubber
spatula. 

============================

From: Ruth 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 12:11:25 +1000
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Diane Feder wrote:

>   Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
>and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
>doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
>start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush.  Not so bad
>when I use red potatoes, which I prefer.  And by the time I'm done handling
>those hot potatoes, I want to use the mayo on my hands instead of on the
>potatoes.

Actually your Mom was probably quite correct Diane, the golden rule is
make a cold potato salad hot!!

>Has anyone tried microwaving them?  Steaming them?  (I steam in the
>microwave.)  I thought it might be easier to control the doneness.  If so,
>should I peel and dice them first or afterwards?

I buy (in Australia anyway) the Desiree (reddish colour skin potato)
and microwave them.  Peel when they have cooled down sufficiently to
do so, slice and cube.  I already have placed a small amount of
chopped onion and parsley into the bowl, I then add the potatoes and
pour in a very small amount of home-made French dressing to moisten.

I finally add (after salt and a bit of ground pepper) Heinz (English)
mayonnaise (I'm not intending to advertise here), it really makes a
difference.  Sprinkle a dash of Paprika over the top before serving
cold.

Good cooking, Ruth.

============================

From: KimC 
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 20:18:48 -0700
--------
> Has anyone tried microwaving them?  Steaming them?  (I steam in the
> microwave.)  I thought it might be easier to control the doneness.  If so,
> should I peel and dice them first or afterwards?

The weirdest thing I've done with them is baked them. Bake them till they
are soft, but not overdone, cool them off in cold water, then peel the skin
off (real easy) then chop up and use as normal.

I've also put in some maple flavored bacon and chopped up onion in it for
flavoring. For such a simple thing, I've gotten alot of requests for the
recipe. Gotta love it 

============================

From: Thierry Gerbault 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 03:24:14 GMT
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Diane Feder wrote:
> Has anyone tried microwaving them?  Steaming them?  (I steam in the
> microwave.)  I thought it might be easier to control the doneness.  If
> so, should I peel and dice them first or afterwards?

Well, Diane, there are no real "rules" for cooking potatoes for salad, 
but there are a lot of opinions.  Many hold that cooking the potatoes 
whole and with the skin on retains more nutrients, yet the same people 
will peel and dice or cube potatoes that are to be cooked for mashing.  
Go figure!  

I use small red potatoes peeled and cut to the size I want them for 
salad.  Cook in simmering salted water until a cake tester easily pierces 
one of the cubes.  Strain well and place in large bowl, then sprinkle 
with either cider vinegar or pickle juice.  Let stand until completely 
cool.  At that point you can proceed to any number of potato salad 
preparations.

HTH

============================

From: C. L. Gifford 
Date: 16 Sep 2002 07:10:44 GMT
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Thierry Gerbault wrote:
> I use small red potatoes peeled and cut to the size I want them for
> salad.  Cook in simmering salted water until a cake tester easily pierces
> one of the cubes.  Strain well and place in large bowl, then sprinkle
> with either cider vinegar or pickle juice.  Let stand until completely
> cool.  At that point you can proceed to any number of potato salad
> preparations.

I am so glad you posted this! I was beginning to think I was
the only one who did it this way. Yep. That's what I do.

Charlie

============================

From: Thierry Gerbault 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 07:28:05 GMT
--------
C. L. Gifford wrote:
> I am so glad you posted this! I was beginning to think I was
> the only one who did it this way. Yep. That's what I do.

You're welcome, Charlie.  Ya know, I got to thinking about this years ago 
and came to the conclusions I wrote about in the previous post.  When I 
realized that nobody I ever heard of cooked potatoes whole with the skins 
on when they were going to mash them, then the old adage didn't make 
sense any more.

I think some people are afraid to peel and cube the potatoes before 
cooking because of the possibility of overcooking.  I just test 
frequently, as I'm sure you do.  What I like best about this is that 
every cube is consistently cooked.  With cooked whole potatoes they're 
usually too soft on the outside by the time the inside is tender.  Then 
there's the peeling while hot, etc. .......  Who wants to do that?!?

Hey, what's your favorite potato salad?

============================

From: C. L. Gifford 
Date: 17 Sep 2002 08:12:45 GMT
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Thierry Gerbault wrote:
> Hey, what's your favorite potato salad?

I like lots of different kinds. But you asked for my favorite.
It is the very simple one on the Best Foods Mayonnaise jar. It
is comforting to me. 

Charlie

ORIGINAL POTATO SALAD

Recipe by: Best Foods Mayonnaise label

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs vinegar
1.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups cubed, cooked potatoes (about 5 to 6 medium)
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Combine first 5 ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients
Cover and chill.

============================

From: Thierry Gerbault 
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 08:19:24 GMT
--------
C. L. Gifford wrote:
> I like lots of different kinds. But you asked for my favorite.
> It is the very simple one on the Best Foods Mayonnaise jar.

I like a variety of them too.  But this one looks as though it might 
taste like what my mom used to make.  I've never made it, but now I'll 
have to try it.  Thanks!

============================

From: aec 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 12:15:12 +0200
--------
C. L. Gifford wrote:
> I am so glad you posted this! I was beginning to think I was
> the only one who did it this way. Yep. That's what I do.

And then there are people like me who sometimes (often...) leave the skins
on even for mashed.  I love the skins and love the flavor they add to mashed
potatoes...different strokes, eh?

============================

From: Thierry Gerbault 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 13:46:56 GMT
--------
aec wrote:
> And then there are people like me who sometimes (often...) leave the
> skins on even for mashed.  I love the skins and love the flavor they
> add to mashed potatoes...different strokes, eh?

Absolutely, Anne.  I like them that way, too, if they are young potatoes 
and the skins are thin and tender.  However, I consider this a variation 
on the "norm".  

============================

From: C. L. Gifford 
Date: 17 Sep 2002 08:09:17 GMT
--------
aec wrote:
> And then there are people like me who sometimes (often...) leave the skins
> on even for mashed.  I love the skins and love the flavor they add to mashed
> potatoes...different strokes, eh?

I left the skins on when I made potato salad about 3 weeks
ago. They were small reds and very nice indeed.

Charlie

============================

From: Peter Aitken 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 13:45:41 GMT
--------
Diane Feder wrote:
>   Is there another way to cook the
> potatoes?  Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
> and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
> doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
> start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush. 

Try use same-size spuds - then you will not have the problem with some being
overdone. Remove from water when they are not quite done. Also, as to
peeling when hot - wait until they are warm and can be handled without
frying your fingers. You are right to use the red potatoes - they seem to
give the best texture for salads.

============================

From: PanOhco 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 10:59:41 -0500
--------
Diane Feder wrote:
>   Is there another way to cook the
> potatoes?  Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
> and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
> doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
> start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush. 

I usually cut my red potatoes to bite size portions, then cook,
leaving the skins on.A little sprinkle of vinegar when they come
out.let cool and then add your veggies of choice and your dressing.

If you can get creamer size potatoes all the better.

============================

From: Rusty 
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 12:47:48 -0400
--------
Diane Feder wrote:
>   Is there another way to cook the
> potatoes?  Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
> and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
> doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
> start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush. 

Diane,  I use new potatoes or red potatoes and cube them before cooking.  
I leave the skins on and start them in cold water. When they come to the 
boil, I simmer them for about 10 minutes or less.  Drain well, place in 
a large bowl and pour a small amount of Italian or Greek dressing on them 
or a mixture of oil and vinegar, while they are still hot. It absorbs into
the potatoes. 
For 'French Potato Salad al la Jacques Pepin, 
add 1/2 cup chopped scallions, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 
3 chopped garlic cloves , 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 
2 tbsp chopped basil, salt and pepper.

For American Potato Salad (with mayo)
 
               Potato Salad 101 - Cooking Light 

   2      pounds        small white or red potatoes
   3      tablespoons   white vinegar
   1      tablespoon    canola oil
     1/2  cup           chopped celery
     1/2  cup           finely chopped red onion
   2      tablespoons   sweet pickle relish -- drained
   3                    hard-cooked large eggs -- chopped
     3/4  cup           low-fat mayonnaise
   2      tablespoons   prepared mustard
     1/2  teaspoon      salt
     1/4  teaspoon      freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Cool and peel. 
Cut potatoes into 1/2" cubes. Place potatoes in a large bowl; sprinkle 
with vinegar and oil. Add celery, onion, pickle relish, and eggs; toss 
gently. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. Spoon mayonnaise 
mixture over potato mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill 1 to 
24 hours. 
Note - I use Italian or Greek dressing in place of vinegar and oil.

I get lots of compliment on both salads.  Enjoy.  Rusty

============================

From: baranick[at]f-tech.net ()
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 17:49:09 GMT
--------
Diane Feder wrote:
>   Is there another way to cook the
> potatoes?  Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
> and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
> doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
> start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush. 

I always peel 'em and dice 'em, then cook them.
Never had a problem.

In fact, if you think of it, they should cook more evenly that way.
If you cook them whole, by the time the middle's done,
the outside would be mush.

I don't know why Mom cooked them unpeeled/whole.....

============================

From: thirty3d[at]yahoo.com (J. Helman)
Date: 17 Sep 2002 08:19:21 -0700
--------
Diane Feder wrote:
>   Is there another way to cook the
> potatoes?  Mom always said to cook them whole, peel and dice them when hot,
> and get vinegar (and/or pickle juice) onto them while still hot.  I HATE
> doing it this way.  I never gauge the doneness correctly, even though I
> start testing with the smallest ones, and end up with much mush. 

I usually steam potatoes for salad.  If they're not all more or less
the same size, I leave the smaller potatoes whole and cut the larger
ones in half to ensure that none are over or undercooked.  I would
recommend steaming the old-fashioned way, in a pan on the stove,
because in my experience, microwaving doesn't always cook things
evenly.  I don't peel the potatoes at all; I prefer my potato salad
with the peel on.

Sometimes in the summer, I smoke roast potatoes for salad on the
grill.  This is best done in a hot grill with wood chunks added, not
in a slow smoker.  This adds a whole new flavor to potato salad. 
Don't put the potatoes directly over the coals, stack the hot coals on
two sides of the grill, put the potatoes in the middle, cover, and
roast.  When they look done (should look like a nice baked potato),
stick a knife in one; if it goes through nice and easy, they're done.


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