Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sloppy Joes and California Potato Salad

This post is about classic dishes. I was getting bored with my normal ground beef recipes and wanted to do something different. Allrecipes suggested Sloppy Joes. I’d never made Sloppy Joes before, so I was hoping for a recipe that was a good representation of what a good one tastes like. And for the side, potato salad. Although there are thousands of different potato salad recipes, many of which I’ve tasted, I had never made one of my own before. For my first attempt, I wanted to make the classic side dish but in a big way: a version that was unique and delicious. I think I accomplished both of these.
Two memories of Sloppy Joes growing up:
1. They were called “Sloppy Jolies” in my house because apparently I made a royal mess with them. This was the only acceptable term, and I’d bet money that it’s the one my parents still use.
2. The real reason I made a mess of them was because my mom hid tiny bits of onion on it and I was trying to eat around them. I was on to her tricks.
Current thoughts about Sloppy Joes:
1. It still feels weird to call them anything other than Sloppy Jolies, but I’m trying.
2. I like onions now, assuming they’re cooked down a bit.
So here we go. An onion and a green bell pepper.
All cut up.
I started with some ground beef in a big skillet on the stove.
A little browner…
When it was mostly done, I drained out the fat and added the vegetables.
The sauce that I made was a combination of a recipe and my own changes. I’ll post a link for it at some point. For now, this is what you need to know:
A bit of ketchup and also some barbecue sauce (I used KC masterpiece).
And some garlic powder, mustard, and brown sugar.
The meat and veggies are about done, so I transferred the mixture to a crock pot and added those sauce ingredients.
Then I added a touch of vinegar (not in the original recipe)
And Worcestershire sauce (also not in the recipe)
And then a healthy dose of salt and pepper.
Then I just mixed it up, covered it, and left the crockpot on low for a few hours.
Now for my potato salad. Here are some potatoes. I didn’t bother to peel them, just scrubbed and cut them up.
After cubing them, I dropped them in a big pot of water and let them boil.
I also put some eggs in water to boil.
Then I assembled my ingredients: garlic, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, mayonnaise, and a can of artichoke hearts. This is looking yummy already.
While I waited for the potatoes and eggs to cook, I chopped up the artichokes.
When the potatoes were finally done, I drained them in a big colander.
And when the eggs were done, I drained out the hot water
Before replacing it with cold
When they were cool enough, I peeled the eggs. Here they are! I was surprised by how easy they were to peel. I guess I normally wait until they’re chilled, but this worked well.
Look at how amazingly perfect they turned out! No green tinge, just a perfect, bright, fluffy yellow yolk.
Anyway, I diced the eggs and added them to the artichokes.
Added the potatoes and mixed everything up a bit before adding garlic
Dijon mustard…
Rice vinegar…
The recipe said to use freshly shaved Parmesan. This was the best I had. A poor substitute, I know, so I only added a touch of it.
Then I mixed everything up.
Then, in a flash of inspiration, I crumbled and added three strips of cooked bacon that I happened to have in the fridge.
Then it was time to serve!
I put some hamburger buns in the toaster oven.
The Sloppy Jolie Joe mixture had gotten real nice.
When the buns were toasted, I spooned a little bit of the meat onto the bun and topped with the other half.
And of course, my California potato salad, bursting with artichokes
The Sloppy Jolies Joes were sweeter than I’d expected. I suppose adding BBQ sauce without decreasing the brown sugar is to blame. I’m not sure it was a bad thing or not, except that the flavor was more reminiscent of BBQ sauce than tomato sauce, as well. But it was good. Hubby seemed pleased enough with it to have seconds, so I guess I did all right.
As for the potato salad? I can’t praise it enough. It was SO DAMN GOOD. I was fighting the urge to snack on it all afternoon. I ate too much of it at dinner. I nibbled on it again when I was cleaning up later. I ate more the next day. Someone who does not like artichokes will not like this recipe, but someone who likes them will love it. It wasn’t too heavy on mayo, either. I plan on making it again today or tomorrow, if I can get my homework done with enough time to justify playing in the kitchen.
Seriously. So good.


  1. My sloppy Jolie's are in the crockpot, and they smell really good... kinda torturing me in there!