We’ve been invited to a pot-luck supper, and because there’s a sailing trip involved, I want everything prepared in advance, with no cooking on arrival. Just some last minute assembly, which I can organize in the cramped galley on the my sailboat. I’ve had compliments on my potato salad before at Harbour City Yacht Club events, so why mess with success? But I need another quite different salad as a companion. Hunting through my tattered and stained recipe card collection, I come across two recipes, one for a spinach salad and one for a beet salad. I’m torn between the two, so I decide to take a risk and incorporate the best of them both into one salad.
The key ingredients for salads will overnight in the fridge, allowing a good time for the miracle of marinading to work its magic. Then, with well secured lids, they will travel to the boat in cooler bags packed with ice, thence into the boat’s ice box until needed. Anything with eggs and mayo needs to be handled with extra care, and kept quite cool, or there’s a risk of spoiling.
The potatoes and beets are prepared and cooked first and then completely cooled before being incorporated in the recipes. The spinach is sorted and washed and re-bagged and taken separately. The mayo and sour cream sauce was made and integrated with the potatoes overnight, but the dressing for the beets and spinach was left until last minute. Hard boiled eggs, chopped spring onions, chopped candied walnuts and chopped goat feta were transported in separate containers and added at the last minute.
Since the outward bound journey threatened rain squalls, nothing was packed in glass. Smart salad bowls were left behind, in favour of a couple of 5 quart stainless steel bowls, which cool better and can withstand rough handling, possibly banging about in the icebox.
Pot-lucks are always a challenge for the organizer, as one never really knows what to expect, but club social director Lynne managed brilliantly. A waterfront gazebo had been set aside for our party, which in the end numbered more than 30 people travelling on 11 boats. A propane BBQ had been borrowed from The Oakville Club, kindly organized by their outstanding dockmaster Larry. Long tables were set with pristine white cloths and the food was brought ashore from the assembled fleet of boats. Fortunately there were no burgers to tempt us (we are off red meat at the moment) but plenty of delicious chicken. I counted chicken prepared four different ways, but there may have been more, all delicious. There were appetizers galore, plentiful salads, and cup cakes and butter tarts for dessert. Stuffed, and quite tired after an exhausting sail through the squalls, I hit my bunk unusually early, but the rest of the party went on until the small hours.
Preparation time 15 min
Cooking and chilling time 3 ½ hr
3 lb (about 15) unpeeled cooked red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp white vinegar
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 dill pickle, chopped
2 cups celery stalk, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 dash hot sauce
1 tbsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
black pepper to taste
Preparation and cooking
1. Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Do not overcook. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Cut into cubes.
2. Place the fresh eggs in cold water, salt well, and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 min. Cool the eggs and leave in their shells until ready to garnish.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, pickle, celery and hot sauce. Season with dill, garlic powder, onion salt, salt, and pepper. Pour over the potatoes, and gently toss to coat. Chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
4. Garnish with chopped eggs and chopped green onions.
Preparation time 10 min
Cooking and chilling time 45 min
8 medium cooked beets – scrubbed, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 (10 ounce) package mixed baby spinach leaves
1 cup (295 ml) frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces goat feta
Preparation and cooking
1. Place beets into a saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool, then cut in to cubes.
2. While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until warm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make the dressing. Add a little dressing to the completely cooled beets to allow them to marinade.
4. To assemble, put the spinach in a bowl, add the balance of the dressing and toss well to cover. Add the beets little by little and mix in well. Garnish with the goat feta and broken up candied walnuts.