Overheard on the subway yesterday morning;
â€œWhat are you doing this weekend?â€
â€œI was going to go to Ericâ€™s. But I didnâ€™t want to go because he lives in Queens and also, I kind of hate him, but if thereâ€™s a hurricane I wonâ€™t have to, so!â€
â€œI guess every cloud.â€
But since it looks as though hurricane Earl has skated on past Manhattan, Labor Day barbeques can continue as planned â€“ as long as nobody tells the landlord about the grill on the terrace. Here are a few low effort suggestions for side dishes â€“ itâ€™s Labor Day after all. Pretty much by definition a holiday from toiling in the kitchen.
Potato salad â€“ 2 ways (serves 6â€“8)
Boil a guestimate of 36 (about 4 cups) of fingerling potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes). Cut them in half as soon as theyâ€™re bearable heat-wise. (I cut them long ways, I think itâ€™s prettier). Add 1 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tbsp of olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 scallions (spring onions) cut into rings with scissors, 1 Â½ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Mix well. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Or boil a guestimate of 36 (about 4 cups) of fingerling potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes). Cut them in half as soon as theyâ€™re bearable heat-wise. (I cut them long ways, I think itâ€™s prettier). Now add the juice of 1 lemon, 6 tbsp good olive oil, 2 tbsp grain mustard 2 scallions cut with scissors into rings, 1 Â½ tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.
Red White and Blue salad (serves 6â€“8)
Use a couple of bags (a box and a half) of mixed greens. Add a couple of handfuls (about Â½ a cup) of dried cranberries, fresh blueberries and crumbled ricotta salata. Mix a dressing with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp raspberry vinegar, Â½ tbsp mustard, salt and pepper. Dress the salad (you may not need all of the dressing). Top with toasted flaked almonds.
Wild Rice salad with cranberries, blue cheese and pecans (serves 6â€“8)
Boil the wild rice mix according to the packet instructions â€“ youâ€™ll need 3 â€“ 4 cups dried. Heat up Â½ a jar of cranberry sauce (if you can find it) and add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp olive oil. Pour this over the rice while itâ€™s still warm. Toss in Â½ cup of dried cranberries, Â½ cup crumbled blue cheese, Â Â¼ cup roasted pecans and Â¼ cup mixed seeds â€“ something like trail mix is ideal.
Heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella (serves 6â€“8)
Chop 4 cups of tomatoes into wedges and tear 3 balls of mozzarella into chunks. Tumble the two together on a plate. Drizzle with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and Â½ tsp of salt and pepper. Scatter with torn basil leaves and torn fresh flat leaf parsley. Let the salad sit at room temperature for an hour before eating to let the flavors really come together.
Sweetcorn season does not last forever, and we need to make the most of it while we still can. I like to top burgers with this salad as a fresh relish, but it’s also delicious as a side dish, especially with grilled fish or chicken.