Monday, June 14, 2010

'Tempest In A Teapot' Potato Salad

Ceiling Status: Still in pre-operative damage; repair as yet unscheduled.
Mental Status: In critical condition.
Marital Status: Stable, resting comfortably.
Hangover Status: Obliterated.

I'm not much of a drinker. My first serious experience with alcohol was not with a training drink like a wine cooler or a Bacardi Breezer. It was with about ten fingers of whisky poured into a pop bottle, with some coke thrown in for colour; a drink prepared specially for me by my friends on my 16th birthday. It ended in a comically awful fashion (see: vomiting on pool table while in use; falling down a flight of stairs and passing out; waking up in hospital with mother standing by bedside, a look of acute disappointment on her face.) The few other times I've drank with abandon have ended in migraines that debilitate me for a whole day. It's taken me a few years, but now I'm quite sure that uncontrolled drinking and I are incompatible bed mates and we tend to stay away from one another.

But yesterday I awoke, after a lovely night of food and (too much) wine with friends, feeling like a hangover storm had settled inside me. I'd come down with that unwinning combination of headache, stomach upset and moodiness. I tried to fight it; I drank some dark coffee, made a pile of buttered toast, pet my dog, but nothing would help. Added to this, our upstairs neighbour, affectionately nicknamed Clompy McClomp, on account of her rather heavy footfall, had her overseas boyfriend staying with her, a man whom we discerned, through their conversations falling from the hole in our ceiling,
to be abundant in boobery and lacking in smarts.

And so me and my storm got into a fight with Husband. It was a doozy. There were lots of hand gestures, some not polite. There was yelling and curse words. There was even an unfortunate bout of 'ugly crying' - mine, not his. Are you familiar with the ugly cry? Basically, it's the exact opposite of a television actress cry. Picture January Jones as Betty Draper, crying. Lovely, right? Tears glistening down milky white skin, a faint tremble of the chin. You want to go to her with a Kleenex box and stroke her back. With an ugly cry, your audience, no matter how angry they are at you, wants to look away. Perhaps out of mercy. Perhaps out of self-preservation. No one wants an ugly cry branded in their memory.

Dawson! What are you doing here?

But unlike the fights of our youth, where break-ups were threatened and it felt like the sky was caving in, we managed to sort it out and put things right; one of the innumerable perks of getting older and faintly wiser. We'd decided to salvage our Sunday by having dinner together and watching the original version of The Italian Job.

Oh, have you met our newest addition to the house? Another treasure, thanks to the wedding...

I'd decided to make a potato salad; Husband was in charge of christening the new barbeque with burgers. I still had some asparagus, green beans and green onions to finish, so I chopped them up:

And threw them together with some baby red and white potatoes:

And I added some oil and dried rosemary and basil, then roasted the bejeesus out of them.

We ate our dinner on the deck under a grey Toronto sky, exhausted and hungry. The new barbeque worked like a dream, and we wolfed down our burgers in relative silence. My potato salad was the most delicious, most hangover-curing thing I could have wished for. It wasn't too saucy, no one flavour overpowered the others. It was damn awesome. After the movie (Exciting! Action-packed!) was over, we crawled into bed and curled up together, survivors of the storm. And just like that, everything was right with the world again.

Tempest In A Teapot Potato Salad, by Monika:

A smallish bunch of asparagus, cut into two-inch pieces
3 green onions, cut into two-inch pieces
A large handful of green beans, cut into two-inch pieces
Approximately 10 each of baby red and baby white potatoes, cut into halves and thirds (depending on size)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
a healthy pinch of dried basil and dried rosemary
1 ripe avocado, chopped into smallish cubes
Several pickles or gherkins, cut into smallish pieces
A handful of fresh oregano, chopped finely
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard (mine had horseradish in it; highly recommended)
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white balsamic or white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss chopped asparagus, green beans and green onions in a large bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, dried basil and rosemary. Roast till potatoes are cooked; approx. 35-40 minutes. Place on fresh baking sheet and lay out to cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and vinegar and whisk till well blended. Place the now-cooled vegetables into serving bowl, add the pickles, fresh oregano and avocado and squeeze lemon juice over the top. (this will help keep the avocado from browning as well) Pour the dressing over it all and stir gently with wooden spoon till well coated. Serve and season with salt and pepper to your taste.


  1. eeeck did we give you a hangover? I felt a wee bit crusty also..thank goodness for potatoes
    I am so happy you finally got your bbq! Let's plan a bbq meal soon.
    xo M

  2. Did your husband really cry like Dawson? I am crying right now from laughing so hard thinking about that image. If it's not true, just let me go on believing it, okay?

    I want potato salad right now.

  3. Melissa: Don't worry, you didn't break me; I was just feeling a bit rough. Glad to hear I wasn't alone! BBQ ASAP! We'll discuss.

    Jess: Feel free to visualize Dawson/Husband weeping as long as you want; it's my gift to you.

  4. I laughed (and cringed) out loud - and then, you brought The Dawson. You are a talent and a beauty and your photos are getting prettier by the post! I love! And I love yoo too!

    xo mrsbs

  5. Thanks Noodle, I'm so happy you like what I'm doing here! And I'm happy in general that I have such a wonderful sister!!!