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We all have potato salad recipes that we know and love, but for me this one is a show stopper! Creamy potatoes enriched with the bite of the blue cheese and the crispy bits of bacon, this one if perfect for all of the summer’s picnics and barbecues. It will keep well in the fridge for several days and taste even better the day after it’s made.

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  • 1 1/4 lb baby red skinned potatoes
  • 1 1/4 lb fingerling potatoes
  • 3” sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 6 oz. bacon slices cut into ½” pieces
  • 6 oz. blue cheese crumbled
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut the potatoes in ½’s and toss in the olive oil. Remove the needles from the rosemary and toss with potatoes and salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes out on baking sheets in a single layer making sure that the potatoes are not touching each other.

Roast the potatoes for 20 – 25 minutes or until they are slightly golden and soft when pierced with a paring knife.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crispy: drain on paper towels.

In a medium bowl whisk together the mustard, honey and vinegar then gradually whisk in the olive oil.

In a large bowl toss the vinaigrette on the potatoes and add the bacon, blue cheese, and chives: toss gently. Serve at room temperature.

When summer comes around I love to throw everything on the grill – desserts and appies included! There’s just something about that smoky flavour that takes everything on the plate to a new height. The other day we were looking for something to nibble on so I threw this platter together with some gorgeous fresh and creamy burratta, my favourite Avocado and Sweet Pea Hummous, and some crostini – toasted up on the grill of course! If you want to make the toasts a little smaller and pre-assemble the bites, you can make this as an hors d’oeuvre for a formal affair as well, but it’s also really great as a rustic, snack – just don’t expect left overs, this one goes really quickly whenever it hits our counter.

A hint here – as always, the better the olive oil, the better the whole dish will taste. It’s a good rule to follow at all times.

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  • 1 baguette
  • good quality olive oil
  • 500g burratta
  • 6 large basil leaves cut in fine julienne just before serving
  • 1 recipe see recipe Avocado Sweet Pea Hummus

Preheat barbeque or broiler. Slice the baguette into 3 doz angled cuts and grill on the bbq for 1 min per side just to add grill mark or toast under the broiler until golden on each side. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil.

Spread a couple of teaspoons of guacamole onto the top of each grilled slice of baguette. Top with a small slice of burratta and a few pieces of julienned basil.

Beets are such glorious wonders, aren’t they? I love the innumerable variation in colours and the amazing sweetness that summer beets have: for my tastes, they can give even the ripest of fruits a run for their money. I think that’s why I love this salad so much – the combination of plump summer cherries and sweet ruby red beets creates not only an amazing flavour combination, but it adds an explosion of colour so welcome to our tables. (warning: this recipe WILL stain everything around you red including your hands, so kitchen gloves are a good idea).

Be sure to leave the beets and cherries to sit in the dressing for at least 20 minutes before serving as this will add a very slight pickle to both increasing the juiciness. You can choose your favourite blue cheese: the robustness of the salad stands up well with Stilton or even Roquefort, but any good solid blue will do. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese you can easily replace it with a fresh Chèvre like David Wood’s Salt Spring Island or other.

blog.ackenstudios.comServes 6-8

  • 1 cup cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 medium beets, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese (French, Danish or Stilton) crumbled
  • arugula
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste 

Toast walnuts in 375 oven for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and then chop half of the walnuts into small chunks: keep remaining halves aside for garnish.

Place cherry halves and minced shallot in a bowl with the lemon juice. Slice beets into matchsticks and add to cherries and shallots. Toss in balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, chopped walnut pieces and extra virgin olive oil. Let stand 20 minutes.

Serve the salad on a bed of arugula and top with remaining toasted walnut halves and crumbled blue cheese.

Katie Urey - January 20, 2015 - 8:23 pm

Great for a potluck, especially if the cheese and nuts are on-the-side. Dried cranberries and thin kimquat slices replaced the cherries. (it’s winter here)

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