Mark Karney

Jul 142018

Here’s a potato salad that makes use of summer vegetables and is lighter than traditional potato salad and should hold up better in the heat because it contains no mayonnaise or eggs. It’s also delicious! I found the basic recipe idea on Food Network and modified it for my tastes. It features Castelvetrano olives which have become a favorite with me.

Summer Potato Salad With Tomatoes and Olives
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Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 12 Servings


  • 2 pounds small red-skinned or multi-colored potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 ¾ pounds Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise,
  • ½ Red onion, sliced thin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives


  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 more minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse; let cool 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and several generous grinds of pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix the potatoes, tomatoes, onion, olives, and diced celery in a large bowl and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
  4. Scatter the basil and chives over the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Castelvetrano olives are a lighter, buttery flavored olive, and I would advise that you use ones from the olive bar rather than bottled. Castelvetrano olives are key to the recipe, but if you need to substitute another type of green olive, I would advise cutting back on the amount in the recipe.

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Jun 092018

We have been blessed to live in a friendly and loving neighborhood since the boys were very young, and participated in many picnics and parties with our neighbors. Everyone had their specialty item, and Charlotte Welch always made a pot of Calico Beans, which several of us guys referred to as “Beans to die for.” There were never any leftovers on the beans.

When Char moved to Santa Fe, there were no more beans until she graciously gave us the recipe, which she got from her sister, Jeanne. Char always doubled the recipe, and there were still no leftovers, and I would recommend you do the same.

Now, I’ve never met a recipe that I wouldn’t mess with, and this one is no exception, thus the optional Jack Daniels. I’ve been adding Jack Daniels to my barbecues sauces for years since I picked up the Jack Daniel’s Old Time Barbecue Cookbook while driving through Tennessee, many years ago. It seemed appropriate for this recipe, too.


Grandma Jeanne’s Calico Beans
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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 21 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings


  • ½ lb. Bacon (diced)
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 can kidney beans (light or dark)
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 can butter beans (drain half liquid)
  • 1 Tbsp. Vinegar
  • ½ cup catsup
  • 1 tsp. prepared mustard
  • ¼ cup Jack Daniels Whiskey (optional)


  1. Cook the bacon in a frying pan, and drain all but a little grease when done.
  2. Add the beef and onions and cook until browned.
  3. Put the browned meat and onions in a bean pot with the beans, draining half the liquid from the butter beans only.
  4. Add the vinegar, catsup and mustard. (Optionally, add ¼ cup Jack Daniels Whiskey)
  5. Bake covered at 350 for 1 hr. Remove the cover about halfway through if the beans are too wet.

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Feb 182018

Years ago, there was a Soda Fountain/Magazine Shop in downtown Barrington called the Towne Shoppe. I think it had been there forever. There was the typical long counter that you would find in a Soda Fountain along with the requisite round stools attached to the floor with red vinyl cushions. The food was simple, bagels in the morning, soup and sandwiches the rest of the day. I went in almost every morning for a bagel and tea, and would sometimes pick up soup for lunch since it was only a short block away from my studio. My all-time favorite soup was one that they had only occasionally, and that was hamburger soup. It was unique as it was not tomato based, and it wasn’t overly flavored with beef broth as you might find in a beef-barley or beef vegetable soup.

Recently, I was preparing soup for a dinner with friends and thought I would try and replicate it from my 20-year old memory. Unlike my normal cooking experiences when I try to replicate an unknown recipe, which usually requires many attempts and adjustments, I hit this one on the first try. The soup matched my memory of the Towne Shoppe’s soup and my friends raved about it. This recipe will serve at least 12, and you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your liking. Enjoy!

Towne Shoppe's Hamburger Soup
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1 ratings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 12 Servings


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large white onion. diced
  • 1 pound of carrots, cleaned and diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 3 Tbsp. white flour
  • 4 pounds of waxy potatoes (Red or Yukon Gold), diced
  • 32 oz. beef stock or broth
  • 64 oz. chicken or vegetable stock or broth.
  • 1 pound turkey Kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 pound frozen corn
  • 2 tsp. thyme (French thyme if you have it)
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Brown the hamburger in a skillet, sprinkle liberally with black pepper, drain any excess grease, and transfer to the soup pot.
  2. Add the oil to the skillet and then add the onion, carrots, celery, pepper, and garlic. Sprinkle with black pepper. Saute the vegetables over medium heat until they start to soften and the onions become translucent.
  3. Lower the heat, and sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix in with your spatula. Keep scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the flour from burning.
  4. When the flour starts to brown and is absorbed into the oil, add the vegetable mixture to the soup pot.
  5. Return the frying pan to the heat, turn it to medium high, and deglaze the pan with about a cup of broth. Scrape the pan to remove the fond and add the mixture to the soup pot.
  6. Add the potatoes to the soup pot, and then the broth. Turn the heat under the soup pot to high and bring it to a boil, stirring frequently. When it boils, lower the heat to a simmer.
  7. Set the bag of corn out to thaw a bit. While the soup is cooking, add a little oil to the frying pan and lightly brown the sausage.
  8. When the potatoes are almost done, add the corn, sausage and the thyme.
  9. Taste the soup and add 1 tsp. salt at a time until it has the desired saltiness.
  10. Adjust the other seasonings if necessary.
  11. Serve when the corn and sausage are heated through.

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Dec 222017

We are always looking for new vegetables and interesting ways to serve them. Celery root or celeriac is a root vegetable that probably most people aren’t familiar with. It is rich in fiber and vitamins and has less than half the carbohydrates of a comparable amount of potato.

In the past, Natalie and I have attended the Food and Wine Festival at Disneyworld’s EPCOT. You can literally eat your way through EPCOT sampling wines and small plates of food from many different countries and different regional American cuisines. This last time, we tried a dish of seared scallops served over pureed celery root with sauteed mushrooms. It was exquisite.

A month or so after that I was wandering through the produce department of my local grocery store looking for something different and saw some large beautiful celery roots, so I bought one with that dish from the Food and Wine Festival in mind. When I got home, I consulted my copy of The Flavor Bible, a book by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg which is my most-used cooking resource and it indicated that celery root pairs well with seafood. It also listed mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon as a favored combination with celery root. After a bit of tasting, I worked out this recipe. It paired well with salmon, and I served it several times thereafter.

I hope you will try it and enjoy it

Pureed Celery Root
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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 7 servings

Serving Size: 6 oz.

Calories per serving: 150


  • 1 large Celery Root (1 ¾ lbs. peeled and cleaned.)
  • 1 large Russet potato (1/2 lb.)
  • 6 Tbsp. Mayonnaise (use vegan mayo for a totally vegan dish)
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1/6 of a lemon.
  • Salt to taste


  1. Peel the celery root and dice into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Peel the potato and dice into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Put the potato and celery root into a pan of water and bring to a boil, continue cooking until done.
  4. Add the next four ingredients and puree in a food processor.


Most of the calories are coming from the mayonnaise, so you can cut back on that to reduce the calories even further.

The dish can be made ahead and reheated.

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Dec 162017

We made this recipe quite often in the past and recently made it again and remembered how good these cheese balls were. This is a relatively easy recipe to make and a bit different than the usual fare. They are a nice addition to any holiday platter.

Chili Cheese Balls
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  • 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 3-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tsp. chili powder


  1. Combine the first six ingredients with 2 tsp. of the chili powder and mix until well blended.
  2. Roll into bite-sized balls.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining chili powder into a large bowl, add the cheese balls and toss gently until they are coated.
  4. Chill before serving.

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