June 25, 2013

Old School Potato Salad - Perfect For Your Gluten-Free BBQ

Summer is officially here and BBQ season is upon us. At my cook-outs, there's always some type of glorious meat on the grill whether it's burgers, chicken, ribs, or steak. While the focus is usually on that main meat, the side dishes are just as important! Potato salad is a popular choice, and that store bought stuff just doesn't cut it. Homemade is where it's at, and my family's recipe is so loved that I still hear stories about it to this day.

My mom grew up on the south side of Chicago and had relatives that lived on the north side of the city. The exact north neighborhood is unknown since that family was lovely referred to as "the north sides". As the story goes, the north side aunt made THE. BEST. potato salad in the world. Like nothing you've ever had before. When I called Babs to tell her I was making THE potato salad and to confirm the recipe (I hadn't made it myself in a while), I could hear the praise in her voice when she told me, "Oh, that potato salad was so good. She made the best potato salad. It was pink!"

All the south side ladies in the family would try to replicate the recipe. As I'm told my Grandma made a fantastic version for which she would get oodles of compliments. She would add onions and celery and got it down just right. Growing up with five picky eater children, my mom dropped the onions and celery and just made a creamy potato goodness. Our family would fight over who got the last spoonful.

Like my mom's recipe, I've also omitted the onions and celery (I hate raw celery) and let the other ingredients shine. This recipe is very easy and versatile; you can add whichever veggies and herbs you want if you want to pump up the flavor.

Old School "North Side Inspired" Potato Salad
Serves 4-6

6 to 8 Red Potatoes unpeeled
3 to 4 Eggs, hard-boiled
¼ Cup Sour Cream
¼ Cup Mayo
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Dill (optional) to taste
Salt and Pepper (optional) to taste
Paprika for garnishing

  1. Wash your taters, put them in a large pot and fill with water, covering them about an inch or two. Do not peel or cut them. Boil the potatoes until they can be pierced easily with a fork and begin to fall apart. You'll see the skin on the potatoes starting to come off or looked cracked. This is good. If the potatoes fall apart, great, they're ready! Remove from water and let them cool.
  2. Once the potatoes are cool (or able to be handled without burning your fingers), use a fork or butter knife to peel off the skin. Cut or break them into small-ish pieces in a large bowl.
  3. Cut up hard-boiled eggs into pieces and mix together with potato pieces. *If you are adding onions, peppers, celery or other raw veggies, include them in this step*
  4. In a small bowl, mix together equal parts sour cream and mayo. You might need a little more than ¼ cup of each. (I usually eyeball this and dump in 2 heaping tablespoons of each)
  5. Stir in red wine vinegar, dill, salt and pepper to creamy mixture and pour mixture over potatoes and evening coat.
  6. Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the potatoes and chill until serving. If you can't wait, it's also pretty darn tasty warm.
I actually was so unprepared when I made this tonight. I didn't have red wine vinegar or dill and the couple of stores within walking distance (I'm looking at you Walgreens and Aldi) didn't carry either of them, so I improvised. I ended up using plain old white distilled vinegar and Herbs de Provence and the end result was really good, but I would recommend the red wine vinegar.

What's your favorite BBQ side?

June 24, 2013

Epic Move

The silence on Gluten Free Betsy hasn't been another bout of writer’s block. It’s been because something big happened. I moved. And trust me when I say it was big.

Let’s travel down memory lane for a bit of a back-story. I started my blog in 2009 right when I “moved back home”. I had been living in the Ukrainian Village/Wicker Park area of Chicago with my best friends and a random Craigslist dude (not recommended). 2008 was a crappy year. I lost my job (twice), relationships were being tested and were evolving, and I was broker than broke. That fall after both of my roommates lost their jobs and two of us were denied unemployment we had no choice but to break out lease and go about our separate ways. My only option was moving back home with my parents. It was a major adjustment for me. I hadn't lived “at home” for four years. I was used to the late night bars and hopping on the blue line whenever. My friends were my family, in that I saw them every day and ate dinner with them every night. I was used to my routine and moving across the city where none of my friends lived was super hard. The accessibility to people and places was more complicated, and while I tried my best to get into the city as often as I could, it was tiring and expensive (I was still broke, after all). I settled back into suburbia and started this blog to keep myself busy and creative.

My very first blog header. Shared that fancy font with Gluten Free Frenzy!

While it was only supposed to last for a few months and my plan was to be back in the city by that summer, things didn't work out that way. I ended up living with my family for a little over four years. While I love my fam to death and didn't necessarily want to leave, this spring I decided that it was time to be back on my own again. I found a super cute apartment that was spacious and close to transportation and friends.

Unpacking for the last month has been taking up my blogging time. When I initially moved home, I had an entire household that couldn't (and wouldn't) fit into my parents’ house. I rented a storage locker to hold everything until I could move out. Uncovering those treasures has been a mixture of joy and WTF?! Why did I save some of the things that I did? Why did I even own some of the things that I did? If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you saw some of the gems that I found. Luckily my sister-in-law’s family held a garage sale that I piggybacked on and sold a huge chunk of it. The rest of the vintage stuff will make its way to an etsy store I am in the works of setting up.

Packed to the gills.

The only downfall to my new place is that the kitchen is a food blogger’s worst nightmare. It’s small, lacking counter space, and needs a lot of updates. The small, falling in sink is not ideal. The stove is tricky. The knob for the oven temperature is worn out, so heating to a specified temperature is anyone’s guess. I did buy an oven thermometer, but that’s not working out too well either. My recent batch of Kyra’s Crave Bake Shop cupcakes turned out more like pound cake than cupcake, but that’s OK.

Snickerdoodle cupcake, literally!

Despite being back in the city near friends and fun times, I’m excited to continue blogging. I know my posts have slowed down over the past couple of years, but I’m hoping having my own (tiny) kitchen and cooking more meals (already miss Babs’s cooking) will generate more fun stories and recipes. I’m bringing book club back. I want to whip myself into shape again. And of course I want you all to eat out, so I will constantly be updating the Chicago restaurant list. There’s been a lot of change for me lately, but change is good. It’s time.