Ina Inspired Memorial Day

Actually, every day is an Ina inspired day in my kitchen.  Whether it’s following one of her recipes to the tee or creating a delicacy of my own, Ina’s influence is ever present in guiding my way through the kitchen.  After being away for the past week (visiting my family in NY), I awoke today with my usual thought, “What’s for dinner?”  There’s something about Memorial Day and ribs, so they quickly became part of the plan.  Now onto side dishes.  Hmm…. what do I feel like?  Ina’s Greek Panzanella Salad, of course.  It’s a wonderfully fresh and incredibly tasty salad that’s always a crowd pleaser, even if the crowd is just Mike and me!  We love it.  After taking the pup to the beach, I made my weekly stop at Trader Joe’s and proceeded to find all that I needed to make dinner.  Along the way, however, the ingredients for guacamole and roasted red potato salad also snuck into my basket.  I wasn’t sure how we’d be eating all that today,  but I knew we’d be happy (food) campers throughout the week ahead!  I ended up making all that, and also used the leftover Roma tomatoes (for the guacamole) to make a roasted tomato caprese salad.  Okay, I also bought some fresh mozzarella as I could see that dish coming when I bought the package of 4 tomatoes!!

The guacamole recipe is mostly Ina, but I don’t pull the recipe out to follow it exactly.  If I did, though, I’m sure it would be very close.  I”ve made it so many times in the past, the list of ingredients is almost second nature.  Today I used 4 avocados, 1 chopped garlic clove, juice and zest of one lemon, half a tomato (small diced), a small handful of cilantro, salt, pepper, and tabasco!


The Greek Panzanella salad and Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad are straight from Ina’s recipe file.  I’ve made both selections countless times – with perfect results every time!  Give them a try for a big impact, and an even bigger taste!  (Both recipes are available online at

Greek Panzanella Salad

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

The Roasted Red Potato Salad is all mine, sort of.  Something similar was served to me at  San Diego Desserts last year, so I put my own recipe together and have to say, it’s good!  I start by roasting some cubed red potatoes in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence.  (A mix of dry herbs, but it’s not necessary.)   After the potatoes are roasted and ready, I mix up a dressing with 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 tsp celery seed.  Toss the potatoes in and add about half cup small diced red pepper and a small diced celery stalk.  I also added a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh basil leaves.  Make the recipe to your taste and to your liking!

Roasted Red Potato Salad

It was great to be back in my kitchen today – and I’m looking forward to finsihing up all these goodies during the week ahead.  With the addition of a few preparations here and there, lunch and dinner is ready to go for the week ahead.  Hope your week is filled with good food and happiness!

One Comment on “Ina Inspired Memorial Day”

  1. Lynne says:

    Welcome back Joe. I can’t wait to try the potato salad.

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