Bacon, Blue Cheese and Baby Red Potato Salad

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Baby Red Potato Salad | Culinary Compost Recipes

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 — and 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
3/4 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
Up to 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 at least three hours before serving so the flavors have time to set up. It’s best if left to sit overnight.

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

Serves 4-6

Garden Red Bell Pepper | Culinary Compost Recipes

2017 garden bell pepper – I’ve had the best luck growing these in five-gallon buckets placed on my back patio.

Browning Bacon in a Cast-Iron Skillet | Culinary Compost Recipes

Mmmmm….. BACON.


Tuna Avocado Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese

This is a Mexican/Mediterranean-inspired recipe based on one by Natasha’s Kitchen. The only addition I made is the feta cheese. This is a quick, healthy and refreshing side dish that’s perfect for your next outdoor BBQ.  Enjoy!



1 11-oz. foil package StarKist tuna
2 avocados, diced in 1/2″ chunks
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced in 1/4″ chunks
1 cup loosely-packed cilantro leaves
1/4 diced red onion
2 tbs. XV olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste



Remove the tuna from the package and place in a mixing bowl. Break apart into medium-sized chunks. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the avocado, and season to taste. Mix gently.

Gently fold in the avocado and let chill for one hour before serving.
(It’s best to add the avocado last, so it doesn’t fall apart.)

Serves 4

Mike’s Greek Pasta Salad

Mike's Greek Pasta Salad | Culinary Compost RecipesHere’s a great pasta salad that can be prepared in very little time. For this recipe, I cheated on the dressing; using a storebought vinaigrette instead of making it from scratch.

Over the years through experimentation, I’ve learned two secrets: First, adding just a bit of finely-grated hard parmesan to the dressing results in a richer base – it sets up better when chilled, and adds a depth of flavor and texture that’s lacking without it. Secondly, the brine from the Greek Kalamata olives adds a bit of “zing” that cannot be duplicated by just using salt. You’ll miss it if you don’t include it.

Exact proportions of the main ingredients can be adjusted to your preference — Enjoy!



12oz. bowtie pasta, cooked al dente in salted water
Fresh, small grape tomatoes – about 1.5 cups
1/2 pound pitted Greek Kalamata olives – with 3 tbs. brine reserved
1 diced sweet red bell pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced in fine rings and then quartered
7 brined pepperoncini peppers, or to taste
1/2 cup finely-grated hard Parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cup Kraft® Greek vinaigrette dressing, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 tbs. minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
Kosher or Lawrey’s® seasoned salt, to taste
Dash of garlic powder, to taste
Fresh garden oregano and basil, minced, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste



Boil the bowtie pasta in salted water (al dente) according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Ensure that it is drained thoroughly and then place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the Kalamata olives to the pasta and reserve 3 tbs. of the brine. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and red onion. Add the dry spices, Italian parsley, oregano and basil slowly while folding the contents to ensure even distribution. Next add the brine, fine-grated hard Parmesan and the dressing. Mix gently.

Add the pepperoncinis and fold gently to incorporate, taste and correct the seasoning if needed. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

Chill for at least three hours before serving, so the flavors have time to set up.

Serves 6-8

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.

Asian Scallion Salad

Asian Scallion Salad | Culinary CompostThis is a refreshing salad loosely based on the Korean Pa Muchim. It has a fair amount of kick due to the crushed chili. Kochukaru is the traditional Korean dried chili used for this dish. It is the same chili that makes kimchi so spicy.
You can substitute any crushed hot red chili for this recipe with great results.


3-4 medium scallions, washed and roots trimmed
2 tbs. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. white sugar
2 tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
2 tbs. fine-chopped cilantro leaf
1/2 tsp. Kochukaru red pepper flakes (or any hot chili flakes)
1 pinch coarse/kosher salt
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Cut scallions in thirds, then slice lengthwise into fine strips and submerge in ice water until curled – 30 minutes to one hour.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Drain the scallion well and place in a serving bowl with the dressing. Stir lightly to coat. Serve immediately either as a garnish, side dish or starter course to your favorite Asian dish.

Serves 2-4

Tomatoes Teruel

Spanish Tomatoes Teruel Recipe | Culinary Compost

Teruel is a city in the produce-rich region of Aragon in Spain. This salad is stunning on its own or as a side dish served with grilled fish or chicken. This is an end-of-summer favorite in our family.


3 very large ripe garden tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ thick slices (you can also use large cherry tomatoes, quartered)
1/3 cup XV olive oil
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or scallion
2 tbs. drained capers
2 tbs. minced fresh parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil, crumbled between your fingers
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Fresh parsley as a garnish (optional)


Arrange tomatoes in a single layer in a shallow dish. Combine oil and the next eight ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, whisking to blend well.

Spoon the dressing over the tomatoes. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least three hours. Divide tomatoes among four plates. Spoon dressing over each. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve immediately.