Friday, February 18, 2011

Winter Potato Salad

I have an image of my parents bringing home to eat random strangers they ran into who were in need of a home-cooked meal.  It probably actually happened only a few times--there was a monk with a travelling planetarium who might have even stayed with us for a while, and maybe a man who was biking accross the country--and I'm guessing the encounters and the indviduals weren't so random.  But whatever the real details, it left me with memories of unfamiliar and hungry faces opening into gentle smiles, then hearty laughs over thick, rich broth and home-made bread.  It made me wish that, at Passover dinner at Diana's house, someone would walk in off the street to sit at the place reserved for wanderers. 

This idea of sharing food got me into a few soup kitchens when I was younger, but the huge vats filled with a revolving lineup of soups and pastas, the inevitable culinary mishaps incurred when the eager and untrained try to cook inexpensive high volume meals, and the end understanding that this food was better than no food, lost the connection.  I didn't stay.

Then a few weeks ago I discovered Community Cooks.  Renee and I can join other home cooks in sharing with local folks in need what we are happy to have at our own tables.

For our first offering, we made a winter version of a potato salad we came up with (and posted) in the Spring.  :Local potatos, apple cider vinegar, and onions are available at the winter farmers' market!  We multiplied the recipe by ten.  In that volume, the onions didn't hold their shape well, and didn't quite caramelize, but they still added a deep sweetness to the dish.

Winter Potato Salad
serves 4

1 lb russett potatoes
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 bunch dill, chopped
2 slices bacon, sautee or baked lying flat on a cookie tray at 300 (no need to flip) 20-25 minutes.
Greens from 2 onions plus 4 green onions, whites and greens, chopped and sauteed in 2 tsp. bacon grease
1 onion, chopped and sauteed until caramelized in 1 T bacon greaste
salt and pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Cut potatoes into 1" chunks and put into a pot of water.  Water should just cover potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook until just tender.  Drain and put into a mixing bowl with vinegar and olive oil.  Add dill, bacon, onion greens, and salt and pepper and stir well.