Tuesday, February 2, 2016

An Early Spring - Barbecue Potato Salad

Punxatawny Phil failed to see his shadow this morning.

"A groundhog and his shadow are a very famous pair
They forecast the weather together a trick that is rare
The one little thing that bothers me when out of doors I go
Now does my shadow mean springtime or 16 feet of snow
Never know which I just can't remember
Will it be warm or make like December
The whole thing just confuses me and that is why I sing
A groundhog's shadow just doesn't mean a thing"

Does anyone else have this song in their head? I always do on February 2, every year. It's from a Warners Brother cartoon I watched, over and over and over again, as a really young kid. I've tried to find it on Youtube - no luck - but did finally find it at another video site. Unfortunately, it doesn't work with Blogger (the platform we're on) so the best I can do is give you this link.

Grover Groundhog sings in "One Meat Brawl", 1947

Even when my memory was good, I could never remember, year to year, the meteorological meaning of the groundhog's shadow. But thanks to the Internet, I can check the news report without having to get out of bed, and the official word from Punxatawny, Pennsylvania is that there will be an early spring. For us folks in Florida, a groundhog's shadow really doesn't mean a thing - we always have an early spring. Yesterday's temperature was in the eighties.  For our northern family and friends, this is very good news indeed.  So happy Groundhog's Day - and if you hear Sonny and Cher singing "I Got You Babe", run for it.    

I intend on having an awesome day today, because I want to be well-rested and ready to enjoy Barry Manilow at Amway Center tonight. That involves staying off my feet and thinking happy thoughts. So I'm not going to watch the news or engage in political discussions (Ted Cruz, really?) and my fibro prevents me from doing the happy dance for Hillary (go ahead and shoot me - I really like her).

What I want to do is make potato salad, and I want something different. My favorite potato salad is a super-easy recipe that my cousin Sheryl gave me many years ago, and I'm thinking I will use that as my basis while bringing in some other flavors. We'll see. I can only handle cooking one recipe a day because the fibromyalgia just took another giant leap forward in screwing up my life. The pain is a constant, varying only in location, although it seems to me my back is always part of the equation.  But what has really worsened exponentially is the fatigue.  I never knew I could feel so unbearably tired from doing almost nothing.

I worked it out in my head, and this is what I came up with. I happened to have homemade pulled pork in the freezer, but there are ways other than smoking and pulling a whole pork shoulder to acquire the required 4 ounces - your favorite barbecue joint, or Publix deli counter come to mind. If you don't eat pork, use a smoked or barbecued chicken.

Barbecue Potato Salad

1-28 oz. bag of honey gold potatoes (or other 2-bite size new potatoes), quartered
2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Hellmann's)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's)
4 oz. pulled pork, cut or shredded if pieces are large
kosher salt
black pepper
cayenne pepper

Put the potatoes in a medium pot, and add enough water to just cover them; add a good tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring the water to boil over medium-high heat (that's 7.5 to you digital types) and then lower the heat to medium (5.0-6.0) so that the potatoes simmer for 8 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes into a metal colander, then sit the colander over the empty pot (off the heat) for15 minutes to dry them out a bit.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and turn the cooled potatoes out onto the sheet in one layer; put them into the refrigerator until they are completely cooled and getting chilled.

While the potatoes are chilling, prepare the dressing: combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, barbecue sauce, salt, pepper and cayenne. In a large bowl, place the potatoes, shallot, and pork; pour the dressing over the potato mixture and combine, using a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together.

Scoop the potato salad into a serving dish and dust with paprika and parsley, if you like. Cover the dish and chill for 2 hours before serving. Different, easy, and most importantly, really good.

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