I’ve Never Met a Potato I Didn’t Love – Blue Potatoes From the Farmers’ Market for a Blue Potato Salad!

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BLUE potatoes?!  Indeed!  I feel like this blue potato salad and I were meant to be.  A little backstory: I love food magazines and any magazine that has an emphasis on food.  I’ve been reading Homemakers’ magazine since I was 8 (and even subscribed to it when I was in high school), I’ve bought Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living on an on-and-off basis for the past few years, and I was in conniptions when Food Network magazine debuted on the magazine shelves a number of years ago.  Food magazines have always given me so much inspiration, not only for cooking, but also for my scrapbooking. 

Last Christmas, my best friend got me a subscription to Food & Wine and every month a delicious issue pops into my mailbox and into my eager hands.  A week or two ago, I began leafing through my August issue and came upon these amazing recipes inspired by Jere and Emilee Gettle and their heirloom seed empire.  I looked at the recipe for their two-tone potato salad (blue potatoes with Yukon golds) and thought, “this looks so damn pretty and delicious”.

I had no idea blue potatoes existed until I saw this recipe (even though they apparently sell them in some local supermarkets according to my mother.  Shows how much I’m aware of my surroundings!) and wondered if I’d be able to find them at a reasonable price.  Fast forward to my weekly farmers’ market trip this past week (blog post forthcoming).  I was browsing a table full of baby potatoes and BAM! blue baby potatoes stared right back at me.  What good fortune!  Giant pints of blue potatoes for only $3!!  With supermarket prices ringing in at $3 per POUND, I got myself a friggin’ steal.  It’s like the foodie gods were looking out for me 😀

So my mum and I, inspired by my Food & Wine magazine, recreated our own version of blue potato salad.  These potatoes are so beautiful and so cute and I would buy them again in a heartbeat.  We gave them a wash, let them dry, then boiled them for close to 20 minutes.  The potatoes were drained and after most of the steam had went away, I started cutting them into small wedges and I was so delighted with the colour!  The blue potatoes looked a bit like those blue corn chips on the outside with their blue-brown dusty exteriors but when I cut into them, I saw this gorgeous purple colour on the inside and I thought, “huh, it reminds me of taro without actually being taro!”  They’re so pretty and yes, very yummy.

We made a nice big bowl of blue potato salad with sugar snap peas, cucumber, some leftover breaded chicken, and some chilled shrimp with mayo dressing, black pepper, chopped green onions, and dried chives.  SO GOOD OH MY GOD.  The blue potatoes have this great earthy flavour to them that only intensifies as the potatoes cool after being cooked.  I absolutely adore leaving the skins on for potatoes.  It gives dishes a nice splash of colour and I really like the taste of potato skins.  I put my potato salad on a bed of alfalfa sprouts, added some fresh avocado on top, and went to town.  One of the best summer dinners ever.

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Garden Vegetables for a Garden Salad – Baby Zucchini Summer Salad

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Looking at these photos makes me feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy.  Going to a different farmers’ market every week has been so rewarding and it has truly given me a more genuine understanding of and appreciation for the concept of “farm-to-table”.  I see things differently now and I am so much more aware of my consumption patterns and how I eat and cook at home.  Over the years, our freezer has become more and more empty as we make more visits to the market and rely less and less on premade, prepackaged food.  We make a lot more of our food from scratch and our fruit and vegetable baskets and bins are happily overflowing with a bounty of freshness.  Just the other day, we finally got ourselves a little food processor and I am wiggling with happiness at the endless possibilities of food we can make.     

The markets have inspired me and they’ve also inspired the creative juices.  My mum and I have gotten into the habit of brainstorming ideas on how to incorporate whatever I bring home from the market into a meal for the family and it’s been a lot of fun.  I always go into every farmers’ market visit with an open mind.  No matter how big or small the market is, I make it a point to bring home something awesome, something we can use to make a great meal.  The baby eggplants I bought at the East York market were turned into roasted eggplant parmesan melts, the baby potatoes I bought at the Queens Quay market were used into a giant Canada Day picnic salad, and the baby zucchinis I bought last week were used to make this colurful summer salad!  We used romaine, arugula, radicchio, red leaf lettuce, and baby spinach along with grape tomatoes, and our zucchinis.  I loved the cute yellow ones so much and it was so satisfying making this salad because it got my brother to eat his vegetables – willingly 😀  As a boy who isn’t very fond of veggies, he did a complete 180 on us while he was eating this.  He was scarfing plates and plates of this and it made me feel so good when he said to me, between mouthfuls, “I like zucchini, this is good!”.  Score one for Deb 😉

Summer Love, Summer Salads

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I look forward to bean and pasta salads SO much when the warmer weather hits.  I enjoy eating them at any point in the year, but it’s so much more satisfying when the sun is out and you can feel the warm breeze waft through the windows.  Not to mention it’s just fun shopping at the fruit and vegetable markets around town.  It’s such an awesome feeling snagging fresh bunches of asparagus, tomatoes on the vine, and giant containers of juicy berries.  Last weekend my mom and I hit some of the fruit and vegetable markets in Korea Town down by Bloor St. W. between Bathurst and Christie St. and we picked up so much great stuff.  Blueberries, blackberries, avocados…we really lamented at not living closer because we would honestly go every day if we could.  A mix of beans, veggies, and pasta = meals I can eat every day for the rest of my life! 

Whenever my family and I want something simple and lighter to eat, these are our go-to meals and they’re so perfect for spring and summer and warmer patio weather.  I’ve always itched to get creative in the kitchen and it drove me crazy growing up when I wasn’t allowed to help and family would shoo me away and tell me to “go play”.  Now that I’m older, it’s been so great getting my hands busy in the kitchen and even though I’m still just a “helper” when it comes to preparing meals, it feels good to see a meal through from start to finish even if it’s something simple.  Healthy, crunchy, and juicy, summer salads are awesome because you can make a big batch and have yummy leftovers for the next day’s lunch.  Not to mention they’re filling and satisfying meals that don’t leave you filling gross and lethargic afterward.   

What I have for you is a smattering of summer salad photos with a bunch of different veggie, fruit, and pasta/noodle combinations.  Up top we have a crunchy salad of tomatoes, yellow and green bell pepper, white beans, chickpeas, and mixed kidney beans, and a fistfuls of chopped green scallions.  In the middle, a mixed bean and avocado salad with a sprinkling of cilantro and red pepper chili flakes atop udon noodles, and last, a pasta salad with Italian ditali pasta, roast chicken, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and fresh chunks of mango!  I think by the end of the summer I should have a veeery large collection of photos commemorating my salad love 😀