It’s the first chilly day in Birmingham, and while it’s cold by no means, the snap in the air this morning was the first one this year that gave me that little jolt of feeling at home; crisp New England, blustery New York. In living somewhere sub-tropical for the first time it’s been interesting to see how attuned I am to the seasons, how hard it is to feel like time is really passing without all four making an appearance.
But even if moving at a new speed, it is moving all the same.. And I’m turning a page on my second year here, finding new ways to mark the passage. The second year in a new place feels good, comfortable; the second holidays impending, the second celebration of birthdays for second-year friends, the second season of harvest and an understanding of the rhythms of a Southern growing season. The second season of harvest, but the first in a new place – three beds nestled on the top of a downtown office building, slowly easing their way from summer to fall.
(Stuart watering the beds; early summer)
Stuart and I filled these beds back in June, an old project that had been left to sit, still half-filled with soil and sprouting Thai basil. We hauled compost all the way up and learned quickly that green thumbs would have to be re-thought. Tall, fruiting plants are a different game ten stories up, but we rejoiced in our few tomatoes and our abundance of basil (until we got completely sick of it), and eagerly started seedlings on the porch. We filled the empty patches with flowers, and marigolds sprouted with stalks more like trunks, deep-rooted, willing to withstand whatever the roof would throw at them.
And now the seedlings have grown. Time is passing. Our kale and collards are growing in beautiful, muted greens and the radishes are rushing into autumn with impressive speed. It was time for the marigolds to go, to be made into beautiful bunches for jars in the house, and to be sprinkled on salads (and maybe cakes…. post impending!). Featured: favorite cooking partner, Haruki.
This recipe is a take on an old favorite from Shutterbean, but replacing Old Bay with Tony Chachere’s in celebration of a second Southern year. Be warned – do not salt in addition to the Chachere seasoning, it has plenty to begin with. Happy almost-fall!
Creole Potato Salad
Adapted from: Shutterbean
- 1 large red onion, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 C + 3 T Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 lb medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Tony Chachere’s Creole Original Seasoning
1. Toss the onions and 3 T of Apple Cider Vinegar in a small bowl. Cover with saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours. The onions will soften slightly in this time and should take on a pinkish tint.
2. Simmer the potatoes in slightly salted water for 20 minutes, or until tender.
3. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 C of Apple Cider Vinegar, the Olive Oil, and 2-3 teaspoons of Tony Chachere’s (taste along the way!).
4. Drain potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch chunks when cool enough to touch. Toss while still warm in the Oil/Cider dressing. Do not salt additionally! Tony Chachere’s is salty stuff! Top with herbs of choice (parsley, thyme and rosemary would all be delicious), or edible flowers if you’re pulling yours too.
Note: We ate this in accompaniment with a delicious cabbage salad from Faye Levy’s International Jewish Cookbook. Jewish or not this is a great collection of comfort foods ranging from Ashkenazi to Sephardic traditions and I would recommend it to anyone.