New Potato Salad with Green Beans and Pesto

Dilemma: what does one make when asked to attend a potluck picnic for two dozen or so local food bloggers, all of whom will presumably go home to their computers to document the eats of the day? Rather than debate what might be most easily transportable, crowd-pleasing, visually stunning or dinner-party impressive (baked Alaska? too melty. Crêpes Suzette? too French) I figured I’d use some of the dandy purple, pink and white thin-skinned spuds I’m starting to have more of than I can use, and the pale green and yellow beans that came in our CSA box this week. Of course I’m still hopelessly hooked on that garlic scape pesto. And I wanted everyone at said picnic to have garlic breath as distinct (emphasis on stinct) as I.

The potato salad was easy – I won’t complicate things by writing out a recipe. (Also? I’m lazy.) I boiled (I usually roast, but wanted the potatoes to suck up all that garlicky pesto) thin-skinned white and purple potatoes, tossing in a big handful of green beans (stems trimmed but not the curly ends – who would want to get rid of that?) for the last few minutes of cooking time. Drained the lot and tossed it with the last of the garlic scape pesto. (You could use any bottled pesto, but the garlickiness of this one was quite stellar here.) I made it on Saturday night (having plans Sunday morning immediately before the picnic) and put the bowl into the fridge, uncovered, to cool down. We sat on the front step and visited with neighbours. They grew in numbers and we wound up with a small party. Which meant waking up Sunday morning and realizing that my beautiful bowl of potato salad was a sort of pale grey shade. Which was a great excuse to mask it a little with mayo I made in approximately two minutes – I smell another post coming on – and the way the mayo made the oily pesto a little creamy was divine. I chopped in a few green onions, too. Eggs would have been good. I forgot.

It was a stunning potluck. (Have I expressed how enamored I am with the concept of potlucks? Love them. And who cares if you wind up with 20 potato salads? Guaranteed they’ll all be different.

In attendance on Sunday afternoon: Vincci (who organized the whole thing) from Ceci n’est Pas un Food Blog, Chelsey from The Crazy Kitchen, Pierre from Kitchenscraps, Lauren from Celiac Teen, Jennifer from Chocolate & Ginger and Wendy from Clearly the Place to Eat.

We had skewers of golden watermelon and cubes of feta wrapped in a strip of basil.

And gluten-free plum cake baked by a teenage genius (I would never have known it was gluten-free!)

And marinated chicken thighs cooked over an open fire!

Fresh peaches and berries marinated in champagne, honey and lemon zest. This was before they were topped with thick whipped cream. Peaches and berries and cream – oh my!

And there were phenomenal lemon squares that I seem to have missed because it’s quite difficult to photograph something whilst shoving it into your mouth.

It turned out to be perfect timing, as we were headed to Mike’s mom’s house for dinner afterward. She’s very sweet. But to sum up her culinary mind: she’s been cutting the fat off her pork chops and saving them in a plastic bag in the freezer for me. She knows I like to cook, and thought I might be able to do something with them. Any suggestions?


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22 comments on “New Potato Salad with Green Beans and Pesto

  1. Carrie
    August 23, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    All I have to say is: Oh. Wow. (Once upon a time I thought *I* was a culinary genius, and started saving all of my veggie scraps in the freezer to make stock with. All I had after many, many hours of trying vainly to make it edible was an icky gray, bitter-tasting broth, and a renewed appreciation for non-frozen carrots and onions and chicken bones for soup bases.)

  2. sharon
    August 23, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Just stuff them in there until November. You can’t imagine how much the woodpeckers and chickadees will love it rendered down with black sunflower seeds and solidified in globs in those what-am-I-gonna-do-with-these? red mesh onion bags.

  3. Alison @ Hospitality Haven
    August 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    That all looks so fabulous!! The melon-feta-basil skewers are a fun idea. As to the fat from the pork chops…uhh…I think I’d just let my trash can enjoy them. 😉

  4. Cheryl
    August 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I am so sad we had to miss the picnic. So sad. (Insert tear here.)

    As for the pork fat… some sort of new style lard? Or could you at least add it to your next batch of lard? Or politely say thanks and do the freezer equivalent of surreptitiously spitting them into your napkin?

  5. colesangel
    August 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Julie? when you have more spuds than you know what to do with, let me know, please! i will HAPPILY help you with that problem!
    i have actually been at a potluck that ended up being about 15 kinds of potatoe salad and it was a great party! my only complaint was that i wasn’t wearing my stretchy pants.

  6. Dan
    August 24, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Sad I ended up missing too. Unexpectedly had to head into work. Sometimes it sucks being the boss. Things always seems to break down on my weekends off…All the food looks tasty! Next time!

  7. bellini valli
    August 24, 2010 at 3:23 am

    What fun to get together with local foodies…and the pork fat…I just don’t know what would appeal to me:D

  8. Jan (Family Bites)
    August 24, 2010 at 5:17 am

    The salad looks so yummy and the pork fat….hilarious! I understand though…my Dad “trims” the fat from steak before cooking it and believes the best Christmas Day dinner comes from a turkey that goes into a 350 degree oven on Christmas Eve.

  9. JulieVR
    August 24, 2010 at 6:48 am

    You guys are hilarious! Methinks the trimmed pork chop fat will wind up as Lou treats…

  10. JenF
    August 24, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Julie, has the pork fat been cooked or not? If it’s still raw, here’s an idea:

    My husband is from Quebec, and makes traditional feves au lard using pork fat and maple syrup. Soak white beans overnight, put them in a casserole dish, stir in the pork fat & syrup, cover and bake in the oven at low temperature (maybe 250?)for about 12 hours. The beans keep their texture (unlike the canned ones) and taste terrific.

    If the fat’s been cooked, I don’t think that it would work, it needs to melt down into the beans.

  11. Rambles with Reese
    August 24, 2010 at 9:06 am

    It all looks so delicious! What a feast! And I never knew about the garlic bulbs. I’ve never seen them before.

  12. JulieVR
    August 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Jen-great idea, but yes, she trims the fat off the chops at the dinner table…

  13. Vivian
    August 24, 2010 at 10:17 am

    A vet’s head will probably explode at this idea for the cooked bits of pork fat but…if you are inclined to make doggie cookies for Lou, you could dice the fat finely and mix it into the cookie dough and bake.

  14. One of Ottawa's Real Foodies
    August 24, 2010 at 10:20 am


    We had a food bloggers potluck on Sunday too here in Ottawa! Great to be together and get to know each other better. Oh, yes, and the food was great too. Check it out! Love your blog!



  15. Lauren
    August 24, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Gosh, you’re too good to me. That salad though, it was heaven. I could eat it every day. The potluck was so fun, and it’s always great to see you :). And yes, let’s bake one day. Sometime soon :).

  16. jen
    August 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    the potluck was amazing, i was thoroughly stuffed by the end. Julie your potato salad was amazing, I LOOVE garlic scapes, I’ve been addicted to them lately, putting them in everything (have a whole freezer bag full of cubes of garlic scape pesto).

    as for the pork fat i came across this link: http://www.deliciousdays.com/archives/2007/06/14/down-the-memory-lane-with-pork-fat/

  17. Barb
    August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I would feed it to the birds. too. Just put it in a mesh bag or wire basket and let them peck away.

  18. sharon
    August 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    That’s a guy with the skewers right? Oh my. That’s about the sexist food shot I’ve ever seen. Gaa. If it’s not a guy don’t spoil my fun.

  19. Chelsey
    August 25, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Does she really save the pork fat?! And look you got plenty of ideas to turn that pork fat ‘presto’ into something else…who would have thought. Was great meeting you and sharing amazing food with everyone. Can’t wait to try a rainbow of soups for the next get together.

  20. Beverley M
    August 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    “it’s quite difficult to photograph something whilst shoving it into your mouth.” This made me laugh out loud 🙂

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