Archive for July, 2007

Taco Seasoning

There’s no need to buy taco seasoning at the grocery store when you can make your own. Mine is cumin based because I like cumin a lot. If you don’t like it as much, use less cumin and more paprika. I’ll try to post a recipe later this week where I use this spice mix.


  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ground black pepper
  • tiny dash of chipotle chile powder (careful with this–not only is it spicy, but it can be bitter as well)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl before adding to beans, lentils or meat.


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“French” Potato Salad

This recipe is a combination of two others, one from my friend, Erica, the other from this summer’s Cook’s Illustrated Grilling issue. I followed the basic design of the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but changed out some of the ingredients for ones that my friend uses. The result was delicious. The potatoes taste almost buttery, even though there isn’t any butter in them at all. However, I have no idea what makes a potato salad French, so I’m not sure if this one still qualifies.

Note that this recipe is intended to be served slightly warm to room temperature, not cold (though bites stolen from the leftovers in my fridge were certainly delicious). While the flavors benefit from not being chilled, your health may not. Most food poisoning from potato salad comes not from mayo or eggs in it, but from the potatoes themselves (they can carry salmonella, like most produce). The potatoes are boiled, so any bacteria on them would be killed initially, but I wouldn’t leave this out for more than an hour or two.

This recipe makes quite a bit more food than what I usually post because potato salad is good thing to bring to a potluck or picnic to share with friends. (I doubled the recipe below for a birthday party I went to. There were about a dozen people there, and I had a few servings to take home.) Perhaps you can enjoy it at your 4th of July festivities.


potato salad

Servings: 6-8

Cooking time: just under an hour


  • 2 lbs red potatoes
  • 1 heaping tbsp salt
  • 1 medium-large garlic clove
  • scant 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp+ freshly ground black pepper
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 large stalk of green onions/scallions (2-3 tbsp when chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh dill leaves
  1. Place a large pot (6-8 qt) filled with water on the stove, add the salt and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes. Then slice them into 1/4 inch thick pieces. If you have any rather large potatoes, you might want to cut the potato in half and then make your slices. When the water is boiling, slip in the potato slices. Return the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook the potatoes until tender, about ten minutes.
  2. When the water with the potatoes in it is boiling (when you turn down the heat), add the peeled garlic clove to the water. Blanch for one minute and then remove with a spoon and set aside. (The garlic floats, so this is not as hard as it sounds.)
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and peppers. Once the garlic has cooled slightly, mince it and whisk it with the dressing.
  4. When the potatoes are done cooking, remove a little more than 1/4 cup of the starchy water from the pot. (You can use a ladle, or sturdy glass measuring cup like Pyrex.) Then drain the potatoes. Spread the drained potatoes into a large baking pan with sides (such as a jelly roll or lasagna pan).
  5. Whisk the starchy water into the dressing. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the potatoes and let stand at least ten minutes, or as long as step 6 takes, which ever is longer.
  6. Rinse the green onions and herbs. Chop the onions thinly and mince the herbs. Toss together.
  7. In a large serving bowl, spoon in some of the potatoes and dressing. Sprinkle on some of the herb mixture. Repeat until all the potatoes and herbs are in the bowl. Then gently mix the potatoes and herbs, trying not to break the slices (the layering should mean you don’t have to mix much). You may want to add a few spoonfuls of the dressing from the pan to the salad, as well as an additional sprinkling of pepper on top. Enjoy!

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