Mark and I have returned from a wonderful week of camping with all of our friends in Tofte, Minnesota. This was our second year camping at Bill & Colleen’s place, and it has become our favorite week of the year. The beauty of the mountainous Northwoods, overlooking sparkling Lake Superior make the busyness of city life melt away, and Bill & Colleen’s incredible hospitality make for a very relaxing vacation.
A week offline in the woods with friends felt both like a much longer break than a week, and as if it went by in a heartbeat. For me, visiting with Bill & Colleen is an amazing respite, as they really understand how to cook safely for me, and go out of their way to ensure that all of the meals they cook are gluten-free, which is an incredible gift. Bill also has some severe food allergies, so they really “get” how to prepare meals without contaminating them for either of us.
One of our group’s favorite dishes by Bill is his potato salad. I was lucky enough to be hanging around the screen house when Bill was making his signature potato salad this year, so I watched his technique closely so that I could replicate the salad when I got home. One of Bill’s secrets is the simple cooking of the potatoes – he uses red, waxy potatoes, and boils them whole for 10 minutes, then lets them rest in the hot water for 30 minutes to finish cooking. This technique produced perfectly cooked, firm potatoes, with no water-logging. The dressing is pretty traditional and studded with liberal amounts of celery seed to really bring out the celery flavor. Bill & Colleen also serve the salad with a jar of celery seed at the table to sprinkle on more seeds if desired. I deviated from Bill’s recipe just a bit by omitting the pickle relish (didn’t have any), and spiking the dressing with some finely minced garlic and lemon juice.
serves 6-8 as a side dish
2lbs red potatoes
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 T celery seed
1/2 cup mayo
juice of half a lemon
2 T brown mustard (I like Gulden’s)
1 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
salt & lots of pepper to taste
- Scrub the potatoes, leaving the skins on. Place the potatoes in a big pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the potatoes sit in the hot water, covered for 30 minutes. Then, pour the potatoes into a colander to cool. Once cool, rub the skins off with a towel and dice the potatoes into bite-size chunks.
- Making the dressing:
Combine the mayo, celery seed, lemon juice, worchestershire, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust flavorings as needed.
- Place the cubed taters and diced celery in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing overtop, and gently mix to coat the veg in the dressing. Stash the finished salad in the fridge for few hours before serving so the flavors can meld. Add more celery seed before serving.