Why Mayonnaise Matters | + Potato Salad Recipes Featuring Duke’s Mayonnaise

I was never picky about mayonnaise. Why would I be? It’s just oil and egg yolks, right?

Mayonnaise was mayonnaise – I didn’t waste brain power over it.

Then I started a salad dressing company.  I soon came to realize I’d have to begin caring about mayonnaise, a lot. And quick.

Soon after my parents settled in Lexington, Virginia, I heard my mom mention buying Duke’s Mayonnaise when she goes to the grocery store – a new pantry staple she adores. She told me it was a southern thing. Well, hey now – I love southern food.

I tasted it. I loved it. I was all in.

Compared to other mayonnaises, you can always count on a bigger tang, heftier flavor, and a gorgeous yolk-yellow hue that we can attribute to the larger quantity of yolks Duke’s has been using in their recipe for over 80 years. Tradition – sticking to your guns, and not changing who you are – are just a few other reasons I’m a big fan of that company.

Although Pennsylvania is above the Mason-Dixon line, I had been told and seen for myself that it maintains some small but noticeable southern food roots to it.

Things like pimento cheese and hush puppie-esque fry-bites are written on chalkboard signs in the small towns across Happy Valley. The region has, over time, melded together a congregation of southern, Amish and German influence into their food. Potato salad, I like to think, really encapsulates what eating, home cooking and living in Amish country is all about.

I’d written previously about the magic of potato salad in my recipe for Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Salad. I hit on this there, but there’s something uncannily familiar, homey and simple about potato salad that makes it such a ubiquitously-loved American staple. That, and it’s outrageously delicious.

As our inaugural post for Hankerings Dressings release, I thought it would be fitting to publish four generations’ worth of potato salad recipes – from my great-grandmother down to me. All will feature Duke’s Mayonnaise, of course.

Thank you, to my grandmother, aunt and mother – not just your help gathering recipes. I’m grateful to be a part of this process as you recount the smallest memories of my great-grandmother’s love for food, and want to thank you for always emanating more love and care than I know what to do with. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am.

Now onto the potato salad lineup – with three variations to choose from; you won’t run out of potato salad recipes for barbecues this summer. Let us know which is your favorite!

What are your favorite passed down family recipes for potato salad? Share them here!

Mattie’s (Mammie’s) Potato Salad

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. white boiling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1 / 2 or 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cream
  • 2 cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • Celery seed, for finishing

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with the celery seed.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Marcy’s (Grandmom’s) Potato Salad

*Note that my Marcy’s potato salad recipe has one small tweak from Mattie’s – she adds hard boiled eggs, pimentos, and dill pickle relish & juice!

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. white boiling potatoes, quartered
  • 1 1 / 2 or 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pimentos, minced
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons cream
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons dill pickle relish, plus 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice, reserving extra dill pickle relish for garnish
  • Celery seed, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with the dill pickle relish.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Liz’s (Mom’s) Potato Salad

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 / 2 medium red onion, small diced, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 small jar pimentos, drained
  • 1 Claussen pickle, minced, plus 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1 1 / 2 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • Heavy pinch of salt
  • Heavy pinch of pepper
  • Paprika, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl to create the dressing. Add the potatoes, and stir until incorporated. Garnish with paprika.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Christine’s Spicy Dill Pickle Potato Salad

Recipe here!

Hot Ring Bologna with Chow Chow

One of the most beloved foods my mom ate during her trips to visit her grandmother in Salona, Pennsylvania was hot ring bologna.

Every nook and cranny in this world has its version of a salty, cured and freaky-good processed meat product. This one, pictured below, is what you’ll find in gas stations, butcher shops, and mom and pop shops across Western Pennsylvania. Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’d be a clown not to try it.

ringobologna.jpg

I’m a vocal fan of processed meats. Hot dogs, Spam, Slim Jims, really – any meat in a can or a forced into an unnatural round or square shape will do it for me.

Not that I don’t love real-deal proteins, like a just-arrived-from-New-Zealand, gore-y rack of lamb. That undeniably delicious – read: salty & fatty flavor – and my total ambivalence over what part of the animal I’m eating inevitably draws me to tubular shaped foods like ring bologna.

I asked her how she ate this – imagining a very specific cooking process, or maybe a go-to sandwich on a very specific bun with very specific toppings. It turns out, they just ate it. They’d cut it into pieces and eat it cold. It’s cooked & cured to hell and back, so there’s no need to complicate things.

bolgona

But I like to complicate things. I wanted to get it sizzly, and render some of that fat, and serve it family-style right out of the pan for swift ingestion. So that’s what I did. Topped with local Chow Chow, which is a spicy, pickled garden vegetable medley you’ll find in Centre County where my family hails from, I can’t think of a dish that sums up eating in that part of the country better. Serve it with a German-inspired whole grain mustard sauce with two ingredients – mustard & some sour cream, for an added Oktoberfest vibe.

sauces.jpg

Eat a whoopie pie afterward, and you’re really indulging like a Western Pennsylvania native.

Too bad for us because I’d, predictably, already eaten all the whoopie pies.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 – 3 as an appetizer.

          1 hot ring bologna, brand of your choosing

          4 – 6 tablespoons Chow Chow, brand of your choosing

          1 / 4 cup whole grain mustard

          1 / 4 cup sour cream

D I R E C T I O N S

1.       Combine the whole grain mustard and sour cream. Set aside.

2.       Cut the ring bologna into 1 / 2 inch slices, on the diagonal. Remove the outer casing.

3.       Heat a skillet on high, add the bologna, and render the fat in the skillet, cooking on medium-high for 8 minutes or so.

4.       Remove from the heat, top with the Chow Chow, and serve alongside the mustard sauce, or pour dollops on top of the bologna and Chow Chow. Serve hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Soup

We’ve made a few scrumptious spicy soups on this blog already – oh boy, have we.  Habanero Pepper Soup and Smoky Jalapeno Cheddar Soup are two crazy-good soups I crave on a regular basis.

This soup comes from a fresher angle; it’s essentially a soup of pureed roasted red peppers. Not a heavy cream base, or a cheese base. But I’m sort of lying. Because there is heavy cream in this, but not as much as I’d usually pour in. Unheard-of on this blog, I know.

And no bottled roasted peppers here. These are roasted in your oven, done the right way, because it’s super, super dummy-proof.

You know those recipes you cook over the course of the day that seem so effortless? Any crockpot recipe feels like this, and so does any bubbling braised beef short rib recipe with a bunch of leftover vegetables from the produce bowl on the counter, and even simple roast chicken.

There’s a reason to do this recipe while you’re in between laundry loads, cleaning out your junk drawer, or opening your Comcast bill. First, you’re going to get your oven nice and hot. Takes a while, at least for my hard-working apartment-grade oven. Then you’re roasting the peppers in the oven for 40 minutes or so, and letting them sit in a plastic Ziploc bag to steam, allowing for easier removal of the skins.

That’s another 15 minutes to do, well, god knows what. In my case, it’s probably something preposterous like organizing my bookshelf by color.

Finally, when you have 10 minutes to spare after you’ve responded to that month-old email you’ve been meaning to send, comes the cooking part, which takes hardly any time at all. By this point, your kitchen is smelling super aromatic. With the fire-roasted flavor of the peppers already achieved, there’s little need to keep the soup simmering for long to develop a richness of flavor.

You know what really sets a soup over the edge? Those final garnishes. But not just the garnishes that look good – it’s the ones that look good AND taste good that deserve that place at the top of your soup. For me, that’s usually something pourable – whether it’s a long squeeze of sriracha, a hefty drizzle of posh olive oil, a spoonful of sour cream that is almost cheese-like, or in this case, and thick pour of heavy cream and some minced, raw habanero.

Easy days at home should be just that – easy. We shouldn’t try to force effort when we’re not feeling it. Whether that’s in the kitchen, or when life’s endless to-do list beckons you away from deserved “me” time.

You can fit in delicious, gorgeous meals minimal effort – this recipe is proof of that!

Happy souping! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

(If you are sensitive to heat, I would recommend leaving out the habanero in the soup recipe altogether. I know that raw habanero can be too much for some folks, so tread lightly!)

Serves 1.

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 2 habaneros, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 /2 shallot, minced
  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Pinch of sugar

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*. Place the bell peppers in the oven on a sheet pan and roast for 40 minutes or so, until the peppers are charred in most places.
  2. Remove the peppers from the oven, and place them directly in a Ziploc bag. Allow to steam for 15 minutes or so.
  3. Remove the peppers from the bag, cut the tops off, remove the skins, and de-seed the peppers using the back of your knife. Cut the roasted peppers into large chunks, saving some of the pepper for garnish.
  4. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and shallots, and sauté for 4 – 5 minutes or so, stirring often, being sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Add the roasted red peppers, 1 pepper’s worth of the minced habanero, heavy cream, a heavy pinch of salt, a heavy pinch of pepper, and a small pinch of sugar.
  6. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and add the mixture to the food processor, processing batch by batch until all the soup is pureed, adding the pureed soup back into the pot as you go.
  7. Once all the soup has been pureed, bring the soup to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  8. Plate the soup, garnishing with a pour of heavy cream and a sprinkling of fresh habanero, if desired.

 

 

 

 

Steamed Shrimp Cocktail Dumplings

If I see shumai on the menu, I’m getting them. They remind me of our dinners out at our local Chinese spot, Jade Billows, where I ate as a kid. There’s something about that chewy, pillow-y texture of the wontons that’s super craveable and familiar.

I make a lot of shrimp cocktail. It has slowly evolved from what should be a special occasion appetizer, to something I make at least twice a week. I can make cocktail sauce with a blindfold on. We’ve upgraded our monthly ketchup supply to a 64 ounce bottle, and we probably eat more horseradish in a month than the average American eats in two years.

So combining these two shrimp-loving appetizers was a no-brainer. This is another serious Frankenstein recipe for the books. The cocktail sauce – you guessed it – is an Asian-flavored version of the cocktail sauce we all know and love.

This was my first times folding, and steaming, dumplings – so I enrolled the help of a Google search to find ways to steam the dumplings without the traditional bamboo steamer. Some genius thought up the idea of balling up aluminum foil and setting the plate a few inches above simmering water. It worked like a charm. Not only does it save me from attempting to create room for a cooking tool I literally do not have room for, it’s idiot-proof.

The best part? Now you can make steamed dumplings whenever you want. You can substitute equal portions ground pork in the recipe below, or minced sautéed mushrooms, water chestnuts and carrots to make veggie dumplings.

I think sheer volume is the biggest plus to making your own dumplings. When I order Chinese takeout, there’s never enough dumplings. What person is satiated with six shumai? They’re like oysters, I just can’t eat enough.

So go to town on these – make fifty of them if you’d like. Any leftovers will get eaten, just like your Chinese takeout always does. Trust me. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 1 / 2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined & minced
  • 1 package refrigerated wonton wrappers
  • 3 scallion stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, plus extra for steaming
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 / 4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg, whisked

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Make the cocktail sauce. Combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  2. Combine the shrimp, scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, mirin, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, chili oil, 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated.
  3. To make the dumplings, take 1 wonton wrapper, coat the edges with your finger with egg, put 1 tablespoon of the filling in a corner of the wonton, and slowly crimp the edges until the dumpling is in a half-moon shape. Replicate for the others until no more filling remains.
  4. Fill a pot large enough to fit a small dinner plate with 2 to 3 inches of water. Take 2 3-foot pieces of aluminum foil and ball them until they are about 6 inches in diameter. Flatten the tops slightly, and place in the pot, flattened side up. Place the dinner plate so it sits on top of the balls of foil.
  5. Coat the plate lightly with hot sesame oil, and place dumplings on the plate, giving each about 1 to 2 inches of space on either side so they have room to steam.
  6. Once the water is simmering, cover the pot with a lid, and steam each batch of dumplings for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the dumplings once cooked through, and continue until all batches are done.
  7. Plate the dumplings, serving hot or warm, along with the cocktail sauce.

Scotch Egg Ramen Noodle Bowl

Scotch eggs. Oh my word. Where to even start?

They’re a traditional British snack food, often considered a picnic-ready food – and although they’re pretty much born to be a breakfast food item considering it’s an egg enclosed in sausage, we couldn’t help but figure, eh, let’s just eat these all day long.

I can’t think of a more delicious concept – jammy egg, Worcestershire sauce-doused ground pork, and other savory elements, all deep fried until golden and sizzly. Here, I went with an Asian flair and added soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. I had a hankering for a bowl of piping hot ramen, and wanted the scotch egg to jive with the Asian flavors in the broth.

A local ramen joint – Jinya, is doing ALL the business. Over the past few months, my sister has been ordering from them four to five times a week – no exaggeration. One time, she had Jinya deliver across the city to her office. For lunch. If she’s any indication – those guys are doing ramen right.

I love the new topping options I’m seeing for ramen. An egg is the classic must have protein-booster, but now I’m seeing crunchy fried pork belly, roasted eggplant, slices of American cheese, and other super delicious topping ideas that go beyond just bean sprouts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bean sprouts.

This bowl features all my favorite umami flavors – or at least, what I consider umami flavors for my weird palate. Mushrooms, cheese, egg and pork from the scotch egg, toasted sesame seeds, grated onion, spicy chili garlic paste, and corn for a bit of sweetness.

How do you like your ramen to be topped? What’s a cool addition that’s a bit out of left field? I’d love to hear your favorites! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 / 3 lb. pork sausage, out of its casing
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1 dash fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus 1 dash
  • 1 / 4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 3 oz. package ramen noodles
  • 1 quart chicken or beef stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 yellow Kraft Singles American cheese slice
  • 1 / 4 lb. mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick
  • 1 / 4 cup corn
  • 1 / 4 white onion, grated
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Dynasty Hot Chili Oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Enough vegetable oil to reach two inches-high in a fry-safe pan

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Toast the sesame seeds. Add them to a dry, hot pan. Toast them on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing often, until the seeds are golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Combine the ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 dash sesame oil, along with a few grounds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover an egg with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, and remove from the heat. Place the egg in an ice bath, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. Coat a saute pan in olive oil, and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms shrink and become tender. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the scotch eggs. Combine the flour and the wasabi powder in a bowl. Set aside. Take the egg out of the ice bath and smash the egg on both sides, slowly rolling the egg until the shell slides off. Take the pork mixture and flatten it, putting the egg inside and carefully enclosing the egg in the ground pork, until it’s covered evenly on all sides. Place the egg in the flour mixture, then the beaten egg, then the panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a fry-safe pan – enough that the oil rises 2 inches high in the pan. To test the oil readiness, put a pinch of flour in the oil. If it begins to sizzle and brown, the oil is ready to use.
  7. Place the scotch egg in the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Turn the egg carefully throughout the cooking process, about 4 minutes total, until all sides are browned. Remove the egg from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a separate pot, and add the garlic. Saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes or so. Add the quart of stock, and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the stock has concentrated slightly. Add the ramen noodles, and cook according to package instructions, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the ramen in bowls, topping with the corn, Thai chilis, sauteed mushrooms, grated onion, chili oil, toasted sesame seeds, American cheese and the scotch egg, cut in half lengthwise. Serve hot.