Lake Norman Magazine

Old (cooking) habits are hard to break

Preserving your family’s food culture sometimes can be a daunting task. A lot of our predecessors refuse to write recipes down, resorting to using measurements like a pinch or a handful. During a visit from my father I asked him if he would make his green bean potato salad. As we were shopping for the ingredients I began asking question about the amounts of some of the ingredients. After hearing “about,” “pinch” and “like,” I knew I would have to force him to measure these ingredients if I wanted to have his exact recipe.He scuffed and babbled a bit that he wouldn’t be able to do it right if he had to measure things out, as I was asking him to do. In the end he agreed, but only after I described my method of getting his accurate measurements.I explained that no matter how many bowls, measuring cups or measuring spoons I had to wash after we were done he would measure his ingredients as he normally did, by hand or whatever, and then before we added it to another ingredient we would measure it and write it down.The recipe took shape rather quickly despite the extra effort and now we both have a written copy of his recipe, although I doubt he ever uses his. The time we spent shopping and discussing this one recipe encouraged more talk about other recipes. Spending the time in the kitchen with my Dad was reward enough but documenting this one recipe meant that it would stay in our family forever.The measurements for the recipe below are just as we made that day together, however, I wanted to add my twist on it and create another version of his recipe using the grill.

Cold Green Bean & Potato Salad w/ Vinegar OnionsServes 4 as a side item

2 Pounds Green Beans-fresh, ends removed, blanched 4 min, cooled in ice bath

1 1/2 Pounds Russet Potatoes-peeled

1 Cup White Onion-halved, peeled, sliced into thin half moons

1 Clove Fresh Garlic-fine chopped

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil-plus extra to coat green beans for grilling

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dry Oregano

To Taste Kosher Salt-plus extra to season green beans before grilling

To Taste Black Pepper-plus extra to season green beans before grilling

Potatoes:Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes and cook until tender but not falling apart, about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle slides out easy. Drain and place on a baking sheet and put in the refrigerator until completely cooled, about 1 hour. Green Beans:Pre heat grill for direct heat grilling to high heat. Place blanched, cooled and drained green beans in a bowl. Lightly coat green beans with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a perforated grill pan directly over heat, get pan really hot before adding green beans. Grill green beans until they are slightly charred and just warmed through. Beans should still retain a firm texture. Remove from grill and cool quickly on a baking sheet in the refrigerator.Vinegar Onions:Place garlic, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl with a towel underneath it. Using a wire whisk mix ingredients to incorporate; begin adding the olive oil in a slow steady stream while continuing to mix. Do this until all the oil has been incorporated, and then add the onions and let marinade at least 20 minutes at room temperature.To Assemble the Dish: Remove potatoes and grilled green beans from the refrigerator and place in a large mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula pour the vinegar onions over potatoes and green beans and mix well to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.