I’ve been having a ball in my home-away-from-home state of Vermont. I drove up last Friday with my sister Emily and her dog, Julius. I’ve swam almost every day in Lake Champlain or Goshen Dam, avoided stepping on zebra mussels, eaten sweet and drippy peaches, visited the Middlebury food co-op (3x), walked around the Middlebury College campus with Arianna and Rafa, read and napped in a hammock, eaten maple cremees, accompanied friends on a blueberry-wine tasting, and tonight might go to the drive-in. I love summer!


I’m usually in Vermont this week every year, and in this post and this post from last July 4th I blogged about living the good life in Vermont too. In fact, I think I’ll make that cashew spread again. Why am I returning to Brooklyn tomorrow?

Before arriving last week I told my stepmom Bonnie that I wanted to make a French potato and green bean salad, like the one David Tanis wrote about recently in the New York Times. Think of it like an improved upon summer potato salad, with a mustardy vinaigrette instead of mayo, tossed with green beans, olives, and lots of fresh herbs. I made it Vermont-style, meaning, whatever Bonnie had in the garden and local eggs. From the garden I picked chives, purple and green basil, thyme, and flat-leaf parsley. I wish I’d remembered to toss in the remaining scapes we had, but used garlic instead. This salad can be prepared ahead and served room temp or cold, perfect for a summer picnic or barbecue.

Vermont Potato and Green Bean Salad

1 3/4 lb small red potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
1-3 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste, to taste
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1 tbsp chopped capers
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound small French beans, or green beans
4 large eggs
Handful of chopped herbs: chives, parsley, basil
1/4 cup pitted, cured black olives

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes, a bay leaf, and the thyme. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are still firm but can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and cool. Don’t drain the water because you can use this later for the green beans.

2. Make the vinaigrette: In a bowl combine the garlic, anchovy paste, capers, mustard, and vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the potatoes are cool, cut into thick slices. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with half the vinaigrette. Set aside.

4. Trim the ends of the beans and simmer in salted water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool under running water.

5. Cook the eggs: bring a pot of water to boil. Add the eggs gently and cook for about 8 minutes, 9 for a firmer yolk. Crack and peel immediately to cool. Cut each egg in half and season with salt and pepper.

6. When ready to serve, coat the green beans with the remaining dressing, and add to the potatoes. Arrange the eggs and olives on top. Garnish with the fresh herbs and serve.

Below are shots of the purple basil in the garden; ice cream from Middlebury; and I just had to have a picture with this teal green bug in town. There was a summer in California I drove around in a bright yellow one, I’ll see if I can find a photo of that. Happy 4th people.