Yikes! Labor Day is here already! Every year I face this weekend with mixed emotions... I'm excited about the holiday of course, and looking forward to the romance of autumn in New York. But I simultaneously mourn the departure of carefree summer days.
To make the most of the last long weekend of the season, a BBQ or a picnic is inevitable. But nobody wants to spend their day off inside the kitchen, cooking a big meal. So this Patriotic Potato Salad is a quick and simple recipe to get you back outdoors asap. Likewise, I've included another simple recipe inspired by my recent time in Italy: a Red, white and green Pesto Ricotta dip that's deceptively easy and crazy delish.
As always, my recipes pack a nutritional punch. While many people steer clear of potatoes for their starchy reputation, the mini colored varieties are actually super healthful. Purple potatoes are steeped in antioxidants and flavanoids similar to other purple and blue foods like blueberries or pomegranate. Baby new potatoes are also especially high in fiber, and vitamin C - so your body has no problem breaking down any extra carbs. Just make sure not to peel them! As with most fruits and veggies, the skin is where you'll find most of the good stuff.
PATRIOTIC POTATO SALAD
1 bag of mixed red, white and blue baby potatoes, quartered
1 bunch of organic celery, rinsed and chopped
1 bunch of fresh organic chives, rinsed and minced
3 tbsp c Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp large grain brown mustard
(feel free to experiment with proportions depending on how "dressed" you like your potatoes)
1. Steam your potatoes until tender, but not mushy. About 10 minutes.
2. Allow potatoes to chill while you mix ACV, oil and mustard together in a cup.
3. Toss all ingredients together and serve! The longer it sits, the more the flavors will begin to blend, and this salad is delicious served either cold or room temperature.
PESTO PERFECTO RICOTTA SALATA
16 oz tub of fresh, ricotta salata
About 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, preferably on the vine
1 baguette, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces (or gluten free bread or cracker of your choice. I love Mary's Gone Crackers for just about every dip I make. If you choose a cracker, you may want to drizzle the beautiful balsamic straight onto the dip rather than the bread)
Extra Virgin Olive oil - just enough to lightly coat the bread
1. Heat a frying pan on the stovetop to medium low heat, and place cherry tomatoes in the pan covered with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep from sticking. Cook without moving for about 5 minutes, or until they start to blister and soften.
Note: You can also do this in the oven or a toaster oven - or skip this step all together. Warming them just brings out the flavor and boosts their nutritional value. I skipped this step for the photo, but the second time I discovered the cooked way and yummmmmm!
2. Drizzle olive oil on sliced bread and toast in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes - 20 minutes or until crisp, but not brown.
3. In a serving bowl, gently swirl ricotta and pesto together and top with tomatoes
4. Drizzle balsamic glaze on the toast, and pile onto a plate to serve along size the dip!