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German Potato Salad

July 13, 2014

Have I really posted nothing here at all in 3 months? Time flies when you’re having fun… or not having fun, in this case. Since the middle of April and up until 2 weeks ago, I’d been agonizing over a career decision and due to the stress/anxiety/depression involved, I’ve not been interested in much else besides passive activities like reading novels, watching movies, and taking walks. Still been cooking but I haven’t felt like I had anything interesting to say about what I was making.

What made my job decision so difficult (and I realize I sound exceptionally privileged to say this, given how many people are struggling to find a job at all) was trying to pick between two amazing things that I love, when I can’t do both. My current job is awesome: I love the people I work with and psychiatric pharmacy is a special interest area of mine. But when my employer posted two brand-new positions in pharmacy informatics, I knew I had to look into it because of my IT background. So I interviewed at the beginning of May just to get some more information to see if it was something I might want to seriously pursue. And then I was stuck, because initially I thought I’d never leave my current position, but then this new one sounded so perfect for me. Due to a lot of HR logistics, they didn’t actually come back to me with an offer until 8 weeks after my interview, and in those 8 weeks, I think I probably changed my mind about 50 times. So it’s been a really rough 3 months, on both me and my husband!

Ultimately, I decided to accept the new position, and I start next month. :) It was really difficult announcing to all my coworkers that I’ll be transferring, but I feel better now that everyone knows and I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore. And I’m getting excited about all the new things I’ll be learning and doing! The types of projects with the informatics job are exactly the types of problem solving that I like doing, so I think I made the right decision. And I’ll be right up the road from the clinic I work at now, so I can always stop in to help them with their computer issues, and I’m sure I’ll be assigned to help them with some of their upcoming projects too.

So enough about jobs, back to the food… last weekend my husband, parents, and I met my in-laws at their condo in Chautauqua to celebrate July 4th. My father-in-law is currently undergoing chemotherapy, so he can’t eat anything with uncooked veggies or fruits unless they have an outer peel that can be removed. When my mother-in-law asked me to make a macaroni or potato salad, I wasn’t sure what kind would work well since all my recipes have fresh celery, etc. in them, or a lot of herbs. I finally settled on German potato salad, since the only veggies in most recipes are onions, and it wouldn’t affect the flavor too much to leave out an herb like parsley.

My grandfather always made amazing German potato salad, but I couldn’t find his recipe, so I turned to the internet to find a really good traditional version. I found one that sounded very similar to his at A Feast for the Eyes, so I adapted it a bit to my own tastes (and for my father-in-law’s restrictions). Turned out AMAZING. I increased the amount of bacon to 12 ounces (although it was probably closer to 11 by the time I finished snacking, haha) and used at least 1/3 cup bacon grease rather than 2 tbsp + lots of vegetable oil. I also used a little more than 1 cup diced red onion since my onion was big. I think my grandpa used red potatoes, which hold their shape better than Yukons, but I actually like the soft-with-chunks texture of the Yukons. I’ll have to try it with reds sometime and see how it turns out.

And with that, I hope to be back to a more frequent posting schedule now! Thanks for your continued reading. :)

German potato salad

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 5  pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/2  pound bacon, cut into ¼-inch slices (or ¾ pound bacon if you feel like more)
  • 3/4  cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4  cup rice vinegar
  • 2  teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4  cup chicken stock
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until fork-tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool enough to be picked up.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet until crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve rendered bacon fat.
  3. Peel potatoes (if you hold them in a kitchen towel and squeeze gently, the skins should “pop”and easily slide off). Cut each potato in half, slice thinly, and place in a large bowl.
  4. Add red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper to potatoes and stir gently. Let stand about 5 minutes to allow vinegar to absorb.
  5. Add bacon, onion, reserved bacon fat, and chicken stock and gently stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, and if bacon fat wasn’t enough to just coat potatoes, add vegetable oil until desired consistency is reached. Stir in parsley if using. Serve at room temperature.

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