“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize” ~ Julia Child
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This past weekend we hosted our eighth Spaghetti Saturday
“I'm stopping at the grocery for burgers and kabobs; anything you'd like me to pick up?”
“Nope, I'm good. Baked beans are in the crock-pot, dessert is chilling in the freezer, and the potato salad is ready to go in the fridge.
Oh wait, I haven't made the salad. I'll need pineapple.”
A habitual glance toward the kitchen cabinet's door, to which our checklist is usually taped, replaced this month instead with a few scribbles on the yellow notepad beside the stove.
Maybe we'd gotten a bit full of ourselves, after hosting several larger dinner parties, surely we had a repeatable process, one we knew by heart
So without a worry in the world, we blissfully went about this beautiful Saturday. With an hour and a half, until our first guests would arrive, we thought it time to start pulling it all together.
“Ice. I didn't get ice. Did you happen to get ice?”
“I'll be right back.”
“Candles, huh, I thought we had candles. We don't have candles.”
“I'll be right back.”
“I think we're going to need another table and a few more chairs.”
“I'll bring them up from the basement.”
“Shoot, I still need to make the salad, now where did he put the pineapple?”
She came bearing a lemon custard pie with a stunningly beautiful(!) meringue.
A recipe she'd been trying to replicate after a co-worker was revealed to be a non-recipe sharer. Turns out, the pie had lovingly been in process over the past few days.
Unfortunately, meringue and Iowa humidity don't make for a marriage made in heaven
“Everybody's here. Grilling? How's the grilling going?”
“I completely forgot to prep the meat.”
“I'll prep if you'd be willing to cut the pineapple?”
“I'll be right back.”
Of course, some days you have it, some days you don't. The things we worry about never come to fruition, and everything falls into place, somehow, some way.
As we sat down for dinner, no one noticed the imperfect place settings, mismatched silverware that we'd forgotten to set out ahead of time, or the black pug sitting on the chair beside them
If they noticed, they didn't say that the burgers were on this side of burnt. Most salads were unadorned because the poppy-seed dressing was on the counter opposite the salad it was meant to accent.
Nor were they any the wiser, there was a missing potato salad made to feed twenty-five, just on the other side of the refrigerator door, that I'd completely forgotten to put out. A discovery made during clean-up, after everyone had left
“Now, where did he put the pineapple?”
Instead of focusing on food mishaps that evening, we told funny stories, shared some homemade wine(!) and provided honest feedback (as requested!), on said lemon dessert.
All of us commenting on how nice it was to get together once a month
As I stared dumbfounded at the potato salad in the refrigerator, 10 p.m., I couldn't help but smile and think of Julia Child.
“I don't believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make. Usually, one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, as my ersatz eggs Florentine surely were, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile and learn from her mistakes.”
A few of my Julia favorites?
Demonstrating the art of hamburger making with David Letterman.
“This is some of the best meat; it came over from Good Morning America.”
When the burner wouldn't work, what did she do? Beef Tartar of course! Pulling out a blow torch to, melt the cheese
“Have you ever cooked something that turned out absolutely awful? What do you do then?”
“I give it to my husband.”
Then there's the Potato Pancake incident made famous in the movie “Julie and Julia.”
In an attempt to flip a potato pancake, Julia spills it all over the stove-top.
“When you're flipping something, you must have the courage of your convictions.”
She didn't apologize, instead, confessing to the audience that she'd spilled the pancake because
“I didn't have the courage to do it the way I should have.”
Then she pressed the cake back together in the pan
“We'll pretend this is supposed to be a baked potato dish. We'll add some cheese, cream, and bake it in the oven
Of course, we don't want to worry about calories.”
In Julia's later years, when asked for a piece of advice, she would always offer
“Learn to cook. Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun.”
I can't think of anything more fitting for the spirit of Spaghetti Saturdays
“.. and above all .. have fun.”
Thank you to all of the people in our lives that we love, who take time out of your busy weekends to come, even when you aren't sure you're going to know anyone but us
Thank you for your kindness, love, laughter, generosity, delicious recipes, funny stories, words of encouragement, and most of all, your
We've been eating this potato salad at every meal since Saturday and will be for a few more days to come.
Potato salad isn't generally a very salad-like salad. It rarely contains more than a couple of vegetables, and as far as healthy eating points go, it goes downhill once one adds all of the traditional creaminess
But there are few dishes the truly signal summer than this staple. Where would barbecues and picnics be without some sort of chilled, dressed potato salad?
Leave it to Heidi Swanson in Super Natural Every Day, to brilliantly solve the salad-like potato salad dilemma. Dressed with a french mustardy dressing, this recipe scales back on the potatoes and adds all sorts of green veggies.
Soft skinned potatoes and crisp blanched green beans are tossed with crunchy cucumber and celery and mixed with sweetly caramelized leeks and dill for a salad that's equal parts potato salad and salad-salad
ps: Faced with a meringue/humidity dilemma? Or would simply like a few tips for how you can make yours a little better? Some great advice can be found here .. here .. here
ps: More fun recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays
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~ Adapted from Williams and Sonoma
Tangy Mustard Potato Salad
- 1 lb small pink or red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
- big handful of green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1-2" inch pieces (~ 4-5 oz)
- 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ - 1 tsp minced garlic
- olive oil
- 1 tsp natural sugar
- fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ cup fresh dill sprigs, finely chopped
- 1 small leek, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
- 6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into tiny cubes
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Salt generously, add the potatoes, and cook until tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
- Thirty seconds before the potatoes are done cooking, add the green beans to the pot.
- Drain the potatoes and beans and set aside.
- In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking together the mustard, vinegar, garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil, the sugar, and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl. (Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a mason jar and shake until blended)
- Taste and adjust if needed.
- In a large skillet, sauté the dill in a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add a couple of pinches of salt, stir in the leek, and sauté until golden and slightly crispy (~ 4 to 5 minutes)
- In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes and green beans, celery, cucumber, chives, and half of the leek with most of the dressing.
- Taste, and add a sprinkling of salt, if needed.
- Turn out onto a platter and finish with a final drizzle of dressing and the remaining leek.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Oh, so trying this – perfect for a hot summer’s day!
Sometimes things don’t go to plan and that’s okay. When they don’t we simply improvise and make the most of what we have. I am glad that you had a good time regardless and I have to say a tangy mustard salad sounds perfect right about now x
I love potato salad! It’s my carb heaven lol. I’ve never had one that’s tangy though. I’m definitely going to have to try this one out.
I think its good in a way that it never went to plan but yet everyone still had a good time. That’s what gatherings gatherings are all about.
I love potato salad, but it never crossed my mind that I can combine it with mustard though. I have to try this salad!
A potato salad would make anyone feel better. We cannot always have what we want, but we are always blessed with what we need.
Oh wow! I want to tyr this. It looks so delicious. The only potato salad I’ve made is the one with mayo as dressing.
Not a big fan of potato but my hubby loves anything and everything that has a potato in it! Bookmarking this simple and easy Potato salad recipe to delight his taste buds!
You had me at tangy mustard! I adore mustard and who doesn’t love potato salad this looks so good!! I love ALL your recipes, and your writing!
This looks really delicious, will definitely have to try it out this summer. I think my Other Half would love it.
I don’t really go near potato salad to be honest. Tend to find it too heavy for me. That being said this sounds awesome
I do as Julia did and give it the not so great meals to my husband, too. Luckily I can make my way around a kitchen, but once in awhile – YIKES LOL! This potato salad looks divine. So different than the normal take. A bit of a bite and refreshing at the same time. Will definitely try this one, especially now that we’re getting into summer. Looks like a perfect side dish!
WOW! This Potatoe Salad looks amazing. I am not a huge fan of Green Beans but I will substitute that with something else. This would be perfect to take to a family get-together or Pot Luck. Thank you for this great idea.
This is perfect for our next BBQ, although it looks so good that I might just make it this weekend as a side dish for dinner. We are having an office potluck and this also sound like a recipe I can easily make the night before to take to the office. I know everyone would love it.
This looks lovely. Ideal to have with a summer salad. I will be adding this to my list 🙂 x
The potato salad looks really yummy, perfect for the summertime x
The tangy potato salad sounds lovely! My mummy often focuses on food mishaps and things not being perfect too and needs to just relax. Things have a way of falling into place!
Oh no it’s always the way isn’t it that you forget something you have worked hard to prepare.
I do love the sound of your potato salad, I really must try making it myself.
I think that Julia is right, we need to learn from our mistakes and have fun when we cook. That is the philosophy that I live by anyway! x
Looks delicious and healthy! I would love to try this recipe, Glad you share this with us.
This looks so nice! This time of year when the new potatoes are at their best and I love using the in different recipes or just on their own with a salad seasoned. Love this recipe. x
I d love using whole grain mustard in potato salads this is different from the one I make and sounds delicious, I must try it.
I loved reading this and I must say the potato salad looks super delicious, I love the addition of the cucumber, beans and all the other ingredients. It looks really tasty.Going to book mark to try at the weekend.
Julia’s approach to cooking is one that should be adopted in this day and age. I love her quotes and the quite nonchalant way she went about making any kitchen disaster work. Great recipe! x
This looks and sounds delicious and would be perfect for any Summer garden parties! xo
Ohh wouldn’t it be fantastic for a garden party, I’m so dreaming of some nice weather 🙂
I love mustard potato salad for summer but my husband is not a mustard fan so we never have it. I think I am going to make this on Memorial Day weekend just for me! I love all mustard but especially tangy and spicy! YUM! Great recipe!
We love potato salad especially to accompany a BBQ- this sounds great and I adore Julia Childs!! The movie is one of my favourites!
I’m a big fan of potato salad so I’ll have to give this a go x
I also like putting mustard with a squeeze of lime over a potato salad – it gives such a nice kick 🙂
oh wow this sounds and looks even more amazingly tasty i need to give this a try x
Mmm this sounds so yummy!
I love Julia’s quotes too 🙂
What a great recipe for potato salad. I usually find potato salad too plain, but this one has wonderful additions of green beans. Plus, the tangy mustard sounds like it would give this particular potato salad a special taste! A good recipe for the summer BBQs!
How nice that you get together like that for a nice meal. I had group of friends who we used to have “dinner club” with, but then we all had kids and those dinners sadly fell by the wayside.
I’m the world’s worst when it comes to opening the fridge after my guests have departed and finding I had missed a side dish. I’ve learned to take it all in stride. It is what it is.
My youngest daughter recently learned how to make a meringue and she’s learning all about the effects of humidity.
I used to watch Julia Child when I was really really small and I adored listening to her voice on TV. She made me laugh every time she picked up a spoon to taste test recipes and then use the SAME spoon to keep stirring the concoction. I remember thinking “Those people are going to eat all her germs.”
Yes, I was a weird kid.
Such a lovely post about gatherings – and yes, one person always upstages the other with some dish or the other but whatever. That’s the beauty of gatherings….you get what no one touches…the leftovers 🙂
PS. I’m 100% intimidated by meringue and therefore have never attempted! So kudos to those who even try!
I love potato Salad and find it interesting including it with red wine vinegar and cucumber. There a difference between my version and this one. Ohh, I was caught by the name of the author in the recipe. “Sexy Veggie”.
Sometimes preparing or hosting an event really entails a lot of effort. We may opt to prepare so much but still missed some of it. Most important is that your guests enjoyed the night and the party. And oh, I will save the recipe for my weekend project. Hopefully I won’t miss any.
I would love to learn to make a good meringue because lemon meringue pie is my favorite. Guess it is probably out in this Ohio weather. My mom makes the best potato salad in the world (in my opinion) 🙂 She’d forget side dishes too if I didn’t open the frig at their house.
Julia Child is just the best. She had such spirit and I love how she came to cooking later in life. There’s still hope for me!
My husband is an absolute potato salad FIEND! He’s tried so many variations, but I’ve never made anything quite like this. Definitely trying!
Now tangy mustard on a potato salad seems like just the thing. Coupled with a great story and Julia Child thrown in? This is my kind of recipe!
I always loved Julia Child. Her recipes and shows were always fun to watch. I would love to try a tangy potato salad just to mix it up.
I am a huge fan of Julia Child and my favorite saying of hers is – everything in moderation, including moderation. This potato salad certainly seems tasty and I appreciate the mayo free recipe.
I like the idea of a group of family or friends getting together once a month. I’m not sure if I’d be a thrilled if I didn’t know anyone though.
I have forgotten to serve a huge dish of food at a holiday gathering. I was taken aback when I opened the fridge and saw it still in there!
I have never tried putting green beans or cucumbers in my potato salad! I will have to give this a try.
Your blog is so calming. I want to sit and drink tea while reading. I just started blogging and a friend said, “Look at Veggies By Candlelight, it’s fabulous.” So, I did, now there are eight million recipes I must try. Thanks for a great example of what a blog can be.
Looks like a great recipe, can’t wait to make it! And I couldn’t help but laugh at Julia on Letterman – the Beef Tartar. I’ve watched the video a few times now and it’s too funny
I love those words of Julia Child. It really resonates with me. Even if I am so tired with work, I always try to find humor in it and have fun! Oh, and BTW, thank you for the recipe. This potato salad would go great with any grilled dish.
I made this salad for a birthday dinner and it was a huge hit! Also made your huge peanut butter cup. I found your blog a month ago and am pretty sure I’ve gained five pounds. Your recipes are amazing and always inspire me. So far I have made your whole wheat chocolate chip cookies(twice), the olive oil and rosemary cake (twice) and this salad. Thanks for your creativity, great cooking skills, and most of all your great stories! xo
I’ve had my eye on this recipe since you posted it and finally made it this evening. The potato salad waw by far the best part of our dinner. Your blog is so inspiring and beautiful. I started a food blog not too long ago. I hope maybe one day you will read it. Best wishes Ali, and thank you for the inspiration. ~ Cynthia
We enjoy making all kinds of different food and having people over. Will have to try out your recipe. I don’t have a blow torch for the kitchen.
Haha, I love that Julia Child quote. My mom watched her show religiously and I have so many great memories of watching her cook! Will have to try out your recipe, too! Sounds delicious.
I’ve done it so many times – found a side dish resting in the fridge while cleaning up. When I was younger, I’d get so upset, but it’s not such a big deal any longer. Lately, I’ve been writing notes to myself so I don’t forget.
I like the concept on learning from your mistakes and trying new recipes. The Tangy Mustard Potato Salad looks loaded with taste, flavor and ingredients.
I can think of a few occasions where a blowtorch would have been helpful while cooking LOL. Hubby likes the zip that adding some mustard to the potato salad provides.
I’m glad you had a lovely get together. Nothing has to be perfect! I think perfection is boring so the mismatched silverware shows character in my eyes.
This sounds like a fabulous potato salad. I tend to love mine with mustard!
This is such a lovely post, an honest one too. There will always be those days and it’s going to be alright. I love all the Julia Child quotes! She always knew how to make any moment lighter. Thank you for the potato salad recipe! Much appreciated!
You always have such good recipes! I would love to try this potato salad. I do like how Julia child says you need to have the confidence or it won’t work. It’s a good reminder to all of us to have the confidence to do whatever it is we do even if we’re probably going to fail.
Summer’s coming and this will be soooo popular at Babushka’s casa! Enjoyed all the JC antecdotes; brings back happy memories of my mama watching her on PBS and trying to cook along. Gracias for the recipe. BB2U
I love how you always have the perfect story before introducing a new recipe. Sphagetti Saturday is like my Friday Club. It’s a potluck dinner where we all bring a little piece of our heart. That’s how I see it because whether or not the dish comes out perfectly, it’s the love you put into making each dish. Plus, I enjoy being together with friends over a good meal. The potato salad recipe looks great. I’m sure having it for a few days in succession was not bad!
I have to admit I love a good potato salad, and yours sounds extra delicious. Tangy mustard yes, please!
I have got to make this sometime. This is the best way to have potato salad.
That looks so good! I have got to try that. I love these recipes.
A potato salad is one of my favorite dishes from my childhood. Mustard is the best addition to a pasta salad. I love that this one is tangy – can’t wait to make this recipe.
I am saving this for later. I love mustard and I think it would be such a lovely bold flavor in a salad.
Ha, I actually made coconut macaroons today… or attempted to, and they came out melted and burned. Yay! (I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible). But lesson learned, I gotta lessen the amount of condensed milk I add to my mixture.
Ya. So my brunch for this Sunday is sorted:) We all love salads. Need to add this to the table as well! Healthy too!
I put tangy type mustard on almost all my food. It’s like my secret ingredient to almost all my cooking haha. THis looks delicious! I’ll have to recreate it one of these days as a side dish!
Ha ha so somethings such things happen, that we have less time when the first guest appears and yet we need to make something. But this potato tangy salad came out to be lovely. I was thinking a day back to add some more variants in my salad regime, thanks that I found something new to add up!
I think this potato salad recipe sounds AMAZE!! I will def need to try it sometime soon!!
I am not good in entertaining so hat’s off to you. Cooking for other people is stressful to me and always think of the worse but you’re inspiring.
I guess every mishaps leads to something good. Just look at the brighter side of what is happening to us. Though, I am not sure how to react when it happens to. Atleast now, I can copy the idea/
Julia Child’s is a character I always love reading anything about her. The Mustard Potato Salad sounds pretty good, might need to try it.
I love potato salad! I’ve never tried making it from scratch, but this recipe makes it seem so do-able. 🙂
Yeah, I totally fall into the “savory and sour” category. Mustard in potato salad is right up my alley! Especially during the summertime. Like… I go to a monthly barbeque starting around May. Gonna steal this and make it my own. Mmmmmmmmm 🙂
I love this potato salad, I make smething similar and its a firm favorite amongst my family. In fact we make it most weekends in the summer when we eat al fresco. I love your recipe too so will try and use it next time.
So I baked 15 huge potatoes last night for book club and then ended up not being able to go! Now they are all sitting in my fridge and I need something to make with them! This sounds perfect!
Mustard + Potato sounds delicious! I have never tried this combination even though we eat potatoes every other day. I have been through so many kitchen disasters but I have learned a lot from them…I completely agree with Julia Child’s quote. 🙂
Ali, I simply adore your writing and your posts. You have this extraordinary gift of making me (and I’m sure all your readers) feel as if we know you, as if we’re friends and tomorrow we will walk into your kitchen to share some food and conversation. And I adore your recipes as well. My favorite being the delicious Drip Beef with thyme and onions. Love love love. Thank you for doing what you do and making me smile and especially for inspiring me to meld my two loves: writing and food.
I am a big fan of potato salad and this looks like a real treat. Don’t worry though Alison, when things don’t go to plan, at the end of it, could become something glorious like this dish.