I developed this salad because I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise-based potato salad. This is really the simplest thing: just potatoes in a regular vinaigrette. You can add all kinds of extras to it to make it more festive, but people always rave about the salad as is. The secret is that potatoes actually have really nice flavor— all you have to do is season them properly. Let potatoes be potatoes, no need to hide ’em!
If you have leftover roasted potatoes or other root vegetables, the same idea works great. Just skip the cooking part and go straight to the dressing.
My friend Raffaella comes from a huge family and fondly recalls making dumplings with her sisters growing up. (Her brothers just ate them.) Dumplings are a great way to use up veggies that don’t look fresh anymore. Minced inside a dumpling, they come back to life! I’ve provided a couple of ideas here, but as with so many recipes, the filling is up to you. If you mess up and it comes out bland, just dip the dumpling in soy sauce or chile sauce and you’ll still be happy. Or if you’ve made peanut sauce or spice oil lately dip in those.
If budget allows and you want to save time, see whether your grocery store has pre-made dumpling wrappers, usually in the freezer section or Asian aisle. They come round or square and might be called gyoza or wonton wrappers, but any will work.
On a hot day, this is all I want to eat. Or a cold day honestly. When I use the spice oil or peanut sauce it really warms me up. This is my kind of lunchtime comfort food. Cold but spicy food is refreshing and delicious in the summer. If you have some spice oil on hand, be sure to add it. It’s like a simple and cheaty version of Dan Dan noodles that way.
Poutine isn’t an everyday meal, but it’s a favorite. Since I don’t like deep-frying at home, I bake the fries; they still get crispy without the fuss of frying. Montreal-style poutine is made with vegetable gravy, as in this recipe, but you can also make your favorite beef or turkey gravy. Of course, proper poutine uses cheese curds, and if you can find them do use those, but fresh mozzarella works for me. It has the same spongy quality, just maybe with a little less squeak. This recipe does come out a little more expensive than you would think because of the fresh mozzarella. If you use less or skip the cheese entirely, you can cut the price in half.