Happy Independence Day.

It’s close to a hundred degrees outside.  Definitely grilling weather.

And salad weather.  I’ve been making salads the past few days in anticipation of today.  Fruit salad, farro salad, bean salad, and today, I made a salad from my youth – Herman’s Delicatessen Potato Salad.  Herman’s was on Geary Blvd in San Francisco around 7th Avenue.  Naturally, it is long gone – as are all of my favorite food haunts of my youth – but the recipe lives on…

Herman’s was right up the street from both Star of the Sea and French Hospital.  All the girls I knew went to Star.  My brother and one sister were born at French.  French is also where my sister-n-law worked as a pharmacist until it was acquired by Kaiser.

But I digress…

It was a busy neighborhood and the deli was busy.

Since I lived on the other side of the park, I really didn’t get over to Herman’s all that often, but every now and again there’d be a reason to stop.  Growing up, there was Edgewater Delicatessen right up the street from us at 46th & Taraval, and Herb’s at 32nd & Taraval.  (A Herby Burpy was made on a full loaf of sourdough french bread!)   Frank & Grace owned Edgewater and would give us salami ends to gnaw on when we were little tykes… Later, there was Dean’s on 46th & Noriega… and others, but these stick out, right now.

They all had their own style and specialties, but what sticks out most for me is the potato salad at Herman’s.  It was unique at the time because the potatoes were sliced – as for scalloped potatoes – instead of chunked or cubed like most other delis I remember.  And it was more of a sour cream base as opposed to mayonnaise.  And no eggs, pickles, or chopped celery.

**Update April 13, 2017 – I received this recipe from a friend quite a while ago. I originally thought it was the Herman’s recipe, but it appears to be an approximation that quite possibly came from another food blog – Canapes and Chocolate. When I emailed this to my friend, today, she said she thought she had gotten it from the newspaper, or someone had given it to her but she really wasn’t sure – she was only sure that it wasn’t her recipe!!. So… apologies to Claire at Canapes and Chocolate. No slight intended!

Herman’s Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds white potatoes
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 6 radishes, grated
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/8 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Peel potatoes, slice into 1/8″ thick or so rounds and place in a pot of cold salted water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until slightly firm but cooked through.

Drain potatoes and spread out on platter – let them cool for about 5 minutes.  While warm, drizzle the vinegar over the potatoes.   Let vinegar soak in for about 10 minutes and then refrigerate until cold.

Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and remaining ingredients. When potatoes are cold, gently mix in dressing, being careful not to break up potatoes.

Check for seasoning and add S&P as desired.

Really simple, yet really good.  The shredded radishes really give it a unique flavor and the slight drizzle of vinegar while the potatoes are warm  adds a great back-flavor.  I do have to admit that I still like mine better, but this is a really good deli-style potato salad and made a nice change.

Onto the baked beans…

These are the only baked beans I make, anymore.  They are the best.  My sister made them for their housewarming many moons ago and I’ve made them ever since.  At one point, chipotles in adobo were so difficult to find here in white-bread-suburbia, that I’d bring a half-dozen cans back with me every time we flew home.  Fortunately, they’re becoming less exotic and can now be found in several local supermarkets.

Phoebe’s Baked Beans

  • 1/2  cup minced shallots
  • 1  tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1  tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2  cup tomato puree (I use tomato paste – I never have puree in the house!)
  • 1  tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4  cup honey
  • 1/4  cup cider vinegar
  • 2  tablespoons molasses
  • 1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 2  chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
  • 2  (28-ounce) cans baked beans

Preheat oven to 300°.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots; sauté 4 minutes or until golden. Add cumin and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add tomato puree and oil, and cook for 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients (except beans.). Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine beans and shallot mixture in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until thick and bubbly.

And then we have the ribs…

These were seasoned with chipotle powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  I slow-baked them and then placed them on the grill with BBQ sauce.  Spicy-good!

And then we had the Farro Salad from last night…

The Bean Salad from the night before…

And a fruit salad that I didn’t photograph.  It was good, too.

We have lots of leftovers so there’s plenty of good eats and no more cooking while the weather continues to soar.

And to top it all off…  Victor made a banana cake and there’s not one, not two, not even three, but four different kinds of ice cream in the freezer!

It’s good to be prepared for heat waves…