Monthly Archives: June 2011


Picnic season has finally arrived in Chicago (it feels like summer) and so Sabasalads has been experimenting with various sides and sundries designed for eating outdoors. A trip outside the city limits to Ravinia gave us the opportunity to try a new recipe for the most quintessential picnic food out there- potato salad.

This recipe is a modified version of one by Jamie Oliver, and it calls for a dressing of crème fraîche, olive oil and lemon juice instead of mayonnaise. This results in a lighter tasting but tarter version than the potato salads we’re used to. The result was good, but we missed the taste of mayonnaise. In order to make up for it, we suggest adding a hard-boiled egg to the dressing for that yolky richness. Oliver’s recipe also calls for purple potatoes. You can use a variety like the Russian Blues available at Green City Market, or you can just use new potatoes (as we did) if these aren’t available. As for the herbs, use whatever fresh ones you’ve got on hand, but this is best with savory herbs like dill, chives and thyme. The best part of this recipe is the addition of radishes and daikon, which give it a great crunchy texture.

This is excellent with fried chicken and cold, full-bodied white wine (e.g. Vouvray, Alsace- or Austrian-style Rieslings, or Chardonnays)



1 lb small colorful potatoes (e.g. Russian Blue or new potatoes)

8 oz crème fraîche

2 tbs olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 hard-boiled egg

1 bunch radishes

1 daikon (you could also use carrots)

2-3 handfulls of fresh savory herbs (dill, thyme, chives, marjoram, parsley)

Salt and pepper to taste



Boil the potatoes in salty water until cooked through but still firm. They’re done when you can stick a knife through one easily. When the potatoes are done, strain them and let them cool.

Meanwhile, dice the radishes and daikon into small slivers and chop your herbs finely.

When the potatoes are cool, combine the dry ingredients. At this point, make sure to add plenty of salt and pepper to taste.


To prepare the dressing, chop up the egg and whisk it into the crème fraîche along with the olive oil and lemon until the mixture is consistent. Fold this into the salad to ensure that the whole thing is coated evenly and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.





This soup is one of the easiest and cheapest weeknight meals, but also one of the most satisfying. If you own a pressure cooker, you can prepare black bean soup in around an hour. Unlike the more traditional versions, this recipe uses onion and hot peppers and results in a purée. Thanks to César for this delicious recipe!


1 and 1/4 cup dried black beans

2 quarts cold water *

1 clove of garlic, peeled

1 small white onion

4 jalapeño or serrano chilis

2 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Salt to taste


Optional garnishes:



Crema (Mexican table cream) or crème fraiche – no sour cream!


*If you have a pressure cooker, this is about the amount of water you need. Of course, don’t exceed the mark on the inside of the cooker. If you are using a regular pot, you might need a bit more water.



Put the dried black beans in a pressure cooker and cover with approximately two quarts of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic and a pinch of salt. Seal the pot and bring to a boil. When a steady stream of steam is rising from the valve, turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for 40 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll need to boil the beans longer in a regular pot- probably around 2 hours. In this case, cook the beans until they are very tender and have absorbed most of the liquid. You might need to replenish the water once or twice if the beans have absorbed the water but are still firm.

Meanwhile, de-vein the peppers and remove the seeds. Dice these finely with the onion and sauté them in a frying pan with the other tablespoon of oil until the onions turn translucent.

After the 40 minutes are up, take the pressure cooker off the heat and let this sit for around 10 minutes so the steam can escape. When it has sat for a time, remove the lid carefully.

Pour the beans with their liquid into a food processor with the onions and peppers. Blend the mixture until just smooth. Add salt to taste, and a tablespoon of water or so if necessary- you want the mixture to be a thick liquid (still pourable) with some texture. Alternately, you can use emersion blender or potato masher in the pot to get the mixture to the right consistency, as we did.

Reheat the soup over the stove for a few minutes before serving. Serve this with a green salad and a baguette or bolillos and you’ve got yourself an excellent meal. (The salad in the picture below is watercress and feta cheese with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper).