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Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Perfect Potato Salad


This is a recipe where improvisation and artistic license are not encouraged. Because it's already perfect. I don't care if it looks bad (mayonnaise dressed potato salad probably shouldn't be photographed!). Just do what I tell you.

Perfect Potato Salad
(serves an army*)

4 lbs boiling potatoes
8 hard boiled eggs
8 large pickles
1 sweet onion
½ red bell pepper
2 tbs yellow mustard
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs sweet relish
1½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp celery salt
black pepper (to taste)

Peel your potatoes and put them in a large pot of cold water. When they're all peeled, cut them as necessary (halve some if you have to) so that they are roughly the same size for even cooking. Put the pot on high heat and boil the potatoes for ten to twenty minutes or until they are just tender enough to easily pierce through the center with a fork. Now strain the potatoes and let them cool.

While the potatoes are cooling, chop all your vegetables and your eggs. I like my pickles and eggs chopped large and my onions and peppers nearly minced. You must practice a particular method for cutting the pickles and eggs: quarter them lengthwise then chop them into quarter inch chunks. I will not abide any other method of pickle and egg preparation for my perfect potato salad. If I did, it wouldn't be perfect. Understand?

Your potatoes should now be cool enough to handle. Roughly chop them (they deserve the abuse) into one inch chunks. Gather all the chopped ingredients in a large bowl.

Now we prepare a kind of dressing for the salad (maybe I'll allow you a little leeway on the amount of mayonnaise). Stir the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined, then pour it over the potatoes, etc.  in the large bowl. Gently stir it all together until everything is nicely coated. Don't over do it; you'll break up all the eggs and mash the potatoes.



For best flavor allow the salad to sit in the fridge for an hour or so before digging in. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

*Not literally. I usually do about one large potato per person plus one or two more because I don't want to be short on the stuff and I never mind having leftovers.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Studies in Simplicity | Fire Cider


I know I am not alone saying that my life's greatest disappointment is never receiving a Hogwarts letter. Ages 10 and 11 were spent anticipating an invitation to a great and mysterious wizard school; ages 12 and 13 were spent wondering if J.K. Rowling had fudged the facts a bit.

Now, though I still hold out hope that there is a Hogwarts Graduate School, I have learned to seek mystics and magic in the natural world. While there is something to appreciating the alchemy of a beautiful sunset, there is something so satisfyingly witchy about brewing up homemade remedies.

Currently, my experience with herbs and natural healing has been limited to whipping up some tea and a tincture or two. I am planning to continue practicing, researching, and learning (and taking the blog along for the ride). This Fire Cider recipe has been on my to-do list for a long time, but a recent bout of the sniffles really inspired me to get going on it.


Fire Cider is a folk remedy that is often used to alleviate winter colds and flues. It is considered a whole foods medicine based on "powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers," according to the Mountain Rose Blog.

This recipe calls for onions, garlic, citrus, ginger, turmeric, and more "healing" foods in an apple cider vinegar base. Because I in no way created this recipe, I am going to offer the link here if you are interested in making your own. Those less adventurous can buy the stuff ready made on Etsy or here
powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers - See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/#sthash.TGhx7i9B.dpuf
powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers - See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/#sthash.TGhx7i9B.dpuf
powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers - See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/#sthash.TGhx7i9B.dpuf
powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers - See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/#sthash.TGhx7i9B.dpuf


I subbed cranberries for rose hips because I could not find rose hips and they surprisingly seemed to have similar properties (high vitamin C, anti-inflammatory, diuretic... they are even both used to treat and prevent UTIs). I also omitted horseradish simply because I couldn't find it.

When the Fire Cider is fully brewed, I will strain it and mix it with honey to take as a shot or heated in a mug. I admit to being somewhat apprehensive about the taste. When it's complete, I will be sure to report back from the front lines. 
powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers - See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/#sthash.TGhx7i9B.dpuf