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The man with the colorful knit hat picked up a guitar and began to strum a tune. Someone sitting across the redwood balcony over-looking the tall Colorado pines began thumping on an African Djembe drum. Ric picked up an acoustic guitar and began playing, our host joined in on a small bass and soon another friend was singing along.

This is how the evening went, a pot-luck gathering of musicians and friends, making music and enjoying each other’s company at a cabin tucked in the beauty of the Rockies. These are the kinds of get-togethers I love…simple and laid back, with easy-going food to match.

Potato Asparagus Salad

Potato salad collage

I made a large delicious and healthy potato and asparagus salad. It is a different take on my Spanish Potatoes dish. No mayo in this potato salad, only a great mix of veggies, fresh herbs and a savory vinaigrette spiked with some lemon zest to give it a little pop of unexpected citrus. This is a large recipe to serve at gatherings or parties. You can easily cut the recipe in half for a smaller group.

Summer Vinaigrette
Recipe type: Salad
  • ¾ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ¾ cup olive oil, vinegar, mustard and lemon zest.
  2. Bruise the garlic by gently hitting it with the flat side of a knife or mallet. Add the whole piece of garlic to the vinaigrette (doing this will impart the essence of the garlic to the dressing without being overwhelming).
  3. Set aside.

Potato asp salad
Potato Asparagus Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 12-16 servings
  • 3 pounds new potatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough lower stalk removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint tomatoes, rinsed and halved
  • 1 red onion, quartered and then sliced thin
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 red), roasted, cored, skins removed and julienned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs, chopped roughly (I used oregano, thyme and basil out of my garden)
  • Summer Salad Vinaigrette (recipe above)
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water and cook until just tender. The timing will depend on the size of the potatoes but it should take about 15- 25 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and run some cold water over them.
  3. Place them in a large bowl to cool.
  4. While the potatoes are boiling, sauté the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over low/medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until they are transparent and slightly caramelized.
  5. Just before removing the onions from from the heat, add the asparagus and toss.
  6. Cook the asparagus for just a minute or two until they are bright green and tender but crisp.
  7. Remove the onions and asparagus from the heat and add to the bowl with the potatoes.
  8. Add the peppers to the potato mixture.
  9. Remove the garlic from the vinaigrette and pour just enough dressing over the vegetables to coat them.
  10. Cover and chill.
  11. Right before serving, add the tomatoes, fresh herbs and additional dressing and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.


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