Calling to Chit Chat & Allergy-Friendly Potato Salad with Arugula

Just after graduating college, I had the privilege to move to New York City for a job with a brand new health and fitness startup. It was my dream job and my dream city. But it wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds: I took the train from Boston to NYC with two giant suitcases and moved into an illegal AirBnB apartment near Union Square with my new boss and another dude who was working with us (neither of whom I had ever met). The three of us worked out of that apartment with about five other 20-somethings for a whole summer before moving on to a “real” office (and separate living quarters). We spent all of our time together. Most days, we ate ate all of our meals together, worked out together, explored the city together. At one point, my parents were actually worried I was part of a cult rather than just working really hard.

It was one of the most transformative periods of my life. I became a more confident person, a more independent woman, and way more sure of myself. But probably the best thing about that time was the women I worked with and the friendships we were able to build. They’re not the people I talk to every week or even every month, but I know that even if a year goes by I could reach out to them to check in without it being awkward.

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Kelli (second from right) and me with our coworkers, Fall 2011

One of those awesome women is Kelli. Kelli is from Wisconsin and was brand new to NYC when we met, just like I was. When she walked into our apartment-slash-office on her first day, I knew pretty quickly we would be friends. She is kind, genuine, sarcastic, and has one of my top-five favorite laughs ever.

A lot has changed since those days, but one thing that definitely hasn’t is how much we both think about food. (And wine. Duh.) In fact, Kelli just started a new blog called Calling to Chit Chat with the whole purpose of getting to talk to people about food. So, naturally, when she asked me to chat for her most recent post about life with food allergies/restrictions, I was more than happy to oblige.

And that brings us to potato salad. Kelli asked me to share some easy ideas for feeding an allergen-conscious crowd, and I immediately thought of this potato salad. I’ve made countless versions of this salad to bring as a side dish to barbecues and dinner parties, and it’s a hit every time. Plus, the recipe is easy, you can make it ahead of time, and the leftovers will keep for a few days.

Allergen-Friendly Warm Potato Salad with Arugula

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula

What you’ll need:

1 lb baby yellow potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1/2 container baby arugula
2-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon dijoin mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry herbs of choice (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs) — tarragon, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano would all work!
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper (2-4 turns of a pepper grinder)

What to do:

  1. Start by boiling the potatoes in super salty water. Cook until you can insert a knife into the center of the largest potato and remove it without resistance.
  2. While the potatoes cook, make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, mustard, vinegar or lemon juice, herbs, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk until combined.
  3. When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them in a colander and immediately dump the hot potatoes into the large bowl with the dressing. Use a large spoon to toss the potatoes in the dressing until they are evenly coated.
  4. Taste a potato and adjust seasoning with salt/pepper to your liking.
  5. If you’re serving it immediately, add the arugula, toss to combine, and serve.

    Note: To make ahead, stop at step 4 and store potatoes in a covered dish. Just before serving, add arugula and toss to coat. You may also want to add a bit more dressing, which you can make easily with a quick swirl of olive oil and a sprinkle of vinegar or lemon juice.

Zucchini Noodles with Sausage, Tomatoes, Basil, and Balsamic Glaze

This one one of my most favorite easy weeknight dinners ever. It totally tastes restaurant-quality, uses only one pan, and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. The recipe is super simple with only about six ingredients, and it packs in about two servings of veggies per person. If you want to add even more veg, sliced asparagus or broccolini would make great additions! (Oh, and a nice warm piece of bread on the side is never a bad thing either.)

Zucchini Noodle and Italian Sausage by Kate MorinServes 2

1 medium zucchini, spiralized using the blade that creates thin, wide noodles
2 Italian sausages (sweet or hot, your choice), removed from casings
4 tablespoons chiffonaded basil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups whole grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.

Once the pan is hot, add sausage and sauté until fully cooked, about 8-10 minutes or until you can’t see any more pink. Once cooked, add the shallots, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the tomatoes have started to shrivel and release their juices, about 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of your tomatoes).

Add the balsamic and cook uncovered until the liquid has reduced and the vinegary smell is gone, about another 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini noodles on top of everything else, and cover again. Cook until the noodles have started to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, add the basil, and toss until everything is combined and the noodles are coated in the balsamic-y sauce. Top with parmesan (or dairy-free parmesan!) if desired and serve immediately.