FOOD FOR THOUGHT BY RAMONA TEVIS
“Stop eating now!” This is the message communicated via text, email, or phone, usually accompanied by pictures of all the food to come, when a gathering is being planned by Rebekah Ensley and her extended family.
To fully enjoy the abundance of all that will be prepared and served, it really is necessary to build up an appetite days in advance.
And if Rebekah’s Potato Salad is on the menu, you want to be hungry! A refreshing departure from traditional potato salad, this version combines skin-on red potatoes in a buttermilk base, laced with course ground mustard and fresh dill. Fresh from the garden taste. Truly wonderful!
In further exploring Jeremiah’s call to the Israelites to seek peace and prosperity while still in exile, Senior Minister Ethan Magness shares a means of doing so today is by planting a garden.
Planting, tending, and waiting for the harvest.
When defined as a noun, a garden is simply a place, but when defined as a verb … "to cultivate or work" (google.com) … a garden comes to life. Rebekah and her family moved from a rural county to a neighborhood when she was in elementary school and her father tilled a garden in the backyard. Laughing, Rebekah shared this rocked the neighbor’s world as gardens were not a typical backyard addition in their new neighborhood. But plant a garden they did with green beans to can and strawberries for jam. Cultivating their new house into a home rather than letting it be just a place to live.
Rebekah and her 3 siblings grew up surrounded by hospitable people. Her father was a minister and after Sunday night church, Rebekah remembers her mother making pitcher after pitcher of sweet tea and bowls of popcorn for the house full of people who gathered.
To this day, popcorn and sweet tea is still Sunday night supper in the Ensley home and her mother still serves popcorn in the same large stainless bowl.
But the generations of recipes handed down go far beyond sweet tea and popcorn. Yes, recipes for magnificent food but also a love for the planning of menus, prepping the ingredients, the talking and laughing around the large island in the kitchen as the food comes together. Cultivating.
In trying to sum up her love of food, Rebekah shared she is “fed by the joy of watching others eat.”
The world’s greatest potato salad is most definitely Rebekah’s Potato Salad. And yes, her name is part of the title! So many of her family recipes are identified by the person creating or most often making the recipe. No one in her family made a truly awesome potato salad, so Rebekah took up the challenge. She was looking for something that was easy to follow and unique. Wow! She did it and you are going to love it! And please use fresh dill – totally worth it.
REBEKAH’S POTATO SALAD
FROM THE RECIPE BOX OF REBEKAH ENSLEY
3 lbs small red potatoes
½ c chopped celery
½ c diced green onion
1 c mayonnaise
¼ c buttermilk
4 TBS course ground mustard
1 t salt
¼ t pepper
¼ c sweet pickle relish
3 TBS fresh dill (or 1 TBS dried dill)
Cover whole potatoes with cool water and bring to a gentle boil. Cover pan and gently boil for 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, return to the pot (off the heat), cover with a towel, and allow to steam for 15 minutes. While potatoes cook, Combine mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard, salt, pepper, pickle relish, and dill. Fold in celery and green onions. Dice potatoes into bite-size pieces and fold into mixture. Top with additional chopped green onion for garnish if desired.
And if you want to make it extra, extra special, toss a handful of crumbled bacon on top. But totally not necessary!
Coming up next – Killer Guacamole.
What is your favorite summer food? I would love to hear from you!