Bacon, Blue Cheese and Baby Red Potato Salad

This is a recipe based on a product that I [should not have] discovered at the deli counter in our local Pick ‘n’ Save grocery store. After trying a sample and gleefully purchasing a one-pound container, I hauled-ass home and proceeded to eat most of it in one sitting — I then spent the remainder of the day in a self-induced food coma watching M.A.S.H. reruns on TV Land.

Yeah, it’s that good.

This recipe took three tries to get right. The time spent reverse-engineering it was definitely worth the hassle. Share with friends at your next outdoor BBQ. Enjoy!



2 pounds baby red potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese  – don’t skimp on quality here, folks
5 strips bacon, cooked crispy and then crumbled
3/4 cup mayo* (please, do this dish justice and don’t go with the low-fat version)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup peppercorn-ranch dressing, to taste*
1 tbs. white vinegar
1 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. sugar
Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
3 stalks scallion, finely sliced, including the greens
1/2 garden red bell pepper, finely chopped



Wash and scrub the baby red potatoes and set aside. Leave the skins on. Bring four quarts of water to boil in a stock pot. Add one teaspoon salt. Cook the potatoes for about 14-15 minutes, until fork-tender. Rinse with cold water and cut into eighths. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a separate mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Add the cooked potatoes and gently fold together until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for three hours before serving so the flavors have time to set up.

*You may compensate if the dressing is a bit dry by adding more mayo and peppercorn ranch.

Serves 4-6



Scalloped Potatoes

I modified this recipe after much experimentation, using several variations from Food Network, chef Robert Irvine and Emeril Lagasse. This recipe turns out best in a shallow covered casserole dish – it seems to set up better and cook more evenly.

It is great as a winter side dish to baked ham — the ultimate comfort food!


5 large potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/8″ thick slices
1/3 cup flour
4 tbs. butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground dry thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
1/4 tsp. white pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt, to taste
4 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
2 stalks chopped scallion, with greens, for garnish


Peel the potatoes and set aside in a pot of cold water. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Measure out other ingredients and set aside. When ready, slice the potatoes into 1/8″ planks using a mandoline.

In a heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to form a golden roux. Stir constantly, about 10 minutes. Add the dry spices and bacon, then the milk and heavy cream. Reduce heat and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Planning for three layers, arrange 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in a greased shallow casserole dish, covered with 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the shredded Colby cheese. Repeat twice and top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake covered for one hour, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Remove and let stand for 10 minutes. Top with chopped scallion for garnish and serve.

Serves 6

Tejas Potato Chips

This is a recipe I reverse-engineered after my stay at the University of Texas in Austin. These homestyle chips were served at the Carillon Bar and Grill in the AT&T campus hotel. A killer complement to smoked brisket and fine tequila.


4 large potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into thin planks
3 tbs. salt
2 quarts cold water


2 tbs. ground smoked paprika
2 tbs. ground ancho chili
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Lawry’s salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
(makes a little more than 1/3 cup)


Prepare dry spices and set aside.

Place two quarts of cold water in a large pot. Add three tbs. salt and mix well. Scrub the potatoes and leave the skins on. Slice in to thin planks with a mandolin and add to the salted water.
Leave in the water for at least 1/2 hour. Drain and rinse with cold water. Repeat.

Heat 1.25 quarts vegetable oil in a large cast-iron pot until temperature reaches 375° F.
Add the chips in two batches, stirring occasionally with a Chinese spider strainer, for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.
Add the chips to a shaker bag with about 2 tbs. of the dry spices and shake until well coated. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Mike’s Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes

Mike's Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a Sunday favorite in our house – if you have a large skillet, this recipe will feed at least six people with plenty of leftovers. There is no substitute for a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The flavor of this recipe really shines when prepared in cast-iron.


6 large Idaho cooking potatoes, washed and scrubbed with skins left on
2 ribs celery with greens, washed and fine sliced
1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp. ground dry thyme
1 tbs. dry parsley
1 tbs. dry chives
1 tbs. ground smoked Spanish paprika
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
3 tbs. butter
2 tbs XV olive oil


Prepare the potatoes and slice in planks, leaving the skins on, then quarter into matchsticks. Ensure they are sliced evenly. Preheat a large 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium low with a little cooking spray. Add 3 tbs. butter and the potatoes. Chop the onion and celery and add to the skillet. Level and let sit a bit to brown.

Prepare the spices and add to taste. Stir every ten minutes or so, until evenly crispy brown. My wife likes them somewhat burnt on the edges. I add the olive oil after the potatoes start to brown so it doesn’t scorch.

When possible use fresh parsley and garden chives. If going this route, add a bit later during cooking so they don’t burn.

Remove from heat and serve with bacon and eggs. Serve with ketchup and hot sauce on the side, or all by itself.

Serves: 4-6
Cooking Time: 1.25 hours

Mike's Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes | Culinary Compost Recipes

Mom’s American Potato Salad

Here is an American version of my Mom’s favorite potato salad. Add the Tastee® dressing and Miracle Whip® slowly until you get the proper balance.
Best left to sit in the fridge a few hours before serving.


Scrubbed boiled potatoes with skins on (approximately 2 per person)
1/4 cup Tastee dressing, or to taste
3/4 cup Miracle Whip dressing, or to taste
Chopped onion to taste
4-5 hard boiled eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped chives as garnish (optional)


Boil the potatoes with skins on. Drain in cold water, then peel and slice. Place in a covered serving bowl.
Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper and stir until just mixed.

Add the Tastee dressing and Miracle Whip and carefully fold until potatoes are well coated. Adjust according to your taste preference.

Top with sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Serves 4-6

Mom’s German Potato Salad

A summer classic recipe served at my parent’s house for the past thirty-five years.


3 pounds cooked, peeled and sliced potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 tbs. flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup white vinegar
chopped onion to taste
1/4 pound bacon
2 cups hot water
Salt and pepper to taste


Bring enough salted water to boil to cook the potatoes (with skins on) until done, but firm. Drain and run under cold water. Drain again, peel, slice and set aside in a covered dish.

Measure the sugar and flour together in a bowl and then stir in the eggs. Add the vinegar and onion and let stand.

Chop and fry the bacon. Remove the bacon and add 2 cups of hot water to the bacon drippings.

Bring to a boil and then slowly add the sugar, egg, flour, vinegar and onion. Cook slowly until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over potatoes. Add the bacon and fold in until mixed well.

Chill for at least three hours, but best served overnight. Before serving, warm slightly so the rendered bacon drippings have a chance to reincorporate.

Serves 6.

Country Skillet Baked Hash Browns

These baked hash browns are really easy to prepare. You can use frozen store-bought hash browns, but I think the fresh just taste better. Ensure that the edges get crispy – that’s the best part!


3 large potatoes, washed, scrubbed and shredded (leave the skins on!)
1 small white onion, minced
1 cup milk
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
Pinch of salt, to taste
2 tbs. butter, divided


Preheat your oven to 425° F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cheese, minced onion, potato. Stir well to incorporate.

In a separate mixing bowl, add the milk, beef stock, salt and pepper. Melt 1 tbs. butter and add to the liquid ingredients. Stir well and add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well to incorporate.

Heat a large, heavy 12″ cast-iron pan sprayed with no-stick cooking spray on the stove top over medium-high and add 1 tbs. butter. Render the butter until just lightly browned. Immediately spoon in the potato mixture and brown for about seven minutes until the cheese is just melted. Stir once during this time. Level it smooth with a spatula and place the skillet in the oven.

Cook uncovered for about 45-60 minutes until the top turns golden brown and the edges form a nice crust. Remove from the oven and let stand for five minutes before serving.
If your pan is well-seasoned, the potatoes will NOT stick.

Pair with bacon and eggs. Fantastic.

Serves 4-6