The trick to good potato salad is a two-step dressing process, and most importantly, making it the day before. Potatoes are stolid things, and they need some time to jazz themselves up. Sitting on BART for 30 minutes nestled up against a cold pack won't do it. Give your potatoes a full 24 hours in the fridge to soak up their dressing, and you'll have something worth eating. Otherwise, you'll have OK salad followed by really spectacular leftovers.
The method is more important than the exact measurements, which will vary depending on your taste and how many potatoes you have lying around. Waxy potatoes, like the commonly found round, red-skinned ones, will give you a neater salad, since they tend to keep their shape better when boiled. Once your potatoes are boiled tender (but before they start collapsing and exploding), drain them and let them cool just to the point where you can handle them without burning your fingers. Peel and cut into just-a-little-bigger-than-bite-size chunks. Toss with some minced shallot, a bit of freshly minced garlic, a generous dose of white-wine or rice vinegar, and plenty of salt and pepper. Turn them around in this; they should be well moistened but not sitting in a puddle. Cover and put this away at room temperature for an hour or two, or in the fridge if you need to leave it longer than that.
Once your potatoes have soaked up a little tang, you can decide which way you want the dressing to go: a mustardy, olive oil-based vinaigrette, with the crunch of whole-grain mustard and perhaps a little diced red onion for color, or the all-American mayonnaise-y way, with lots of good mayonnaise whisked with a little milk or sour cream to lighten it, plus a dab of mustard and a good squirt of fresh lemon juice, tossed with the potatoes to coat with some finely chopped celery and scallion. Whichever you choose, toss it well and put it back into the fridge to mellow. Taste for seasoning before serving; potatoes can usually stand a lot of salt and pepper, and the French-style salad always benefits from a generous handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley thrown in at the very end.
Then there are deviled eggs, which everyone loves but not enough people make. The reason? Most likely, the unhappy memory of trying to transport a plateful of the slippery little devils on the N-Judah, arriving with all the tasty yellow filling smooshed into the plastic wrap. For the classic cut-in-half eggs filled with a swirl in the shape of fancy cake icing, you really need one of those made-for-the-purpose plates dimpled with little egg-shaped indentations. Which you'll use maybe 3 times a year, which is why so few of us have them.
Not to worry, though. There's another way to make deviled eggs that neatly sidesteps the need for specialty plateware. So, boil your eggs the way you do, keeping in mind, my chicken-keeping friends, that backyard-fresh eggs will be much harder to peel, leaving you with something like a pock-marked chunk of moon rock. It will be much easier to separate white from shell if you use a stash that's been waiting in the fridge for a week.
Anyway, peel your eggs. Now, standing the egg upright on its narrower end, slice a little bit off its round bottom, so it has a nice flat surface to sit on. Now slice off the top, about a third of the way down. Scoop or pop out the yolk, and drop it into a bowl. (Generally, as an egg ages, its yolk sinks closer to the wider end.)
Once your whites de-yolked, consider your flavorings. Everyone loves a plain deviled egg, the yolks mixed up with mayo, a pinch of dry mustard, a wee bit of paprika, perhaps a drop or two of lemon juice. Which means, of course, that you probably can't wait to mix it up and put in curry or wasabi or smoked paprika. All of which are fine, as long as you don't go nuts and overwhelm the nice rich egginess of the basic product.
Lately, I've become particularly enamored of deviled eggs sassed up with the salty, umami-laden punch of anchovy. Spanish boquerones, marinated white anchovies, are expensive and gorgeous, but whole salt-packed regular ones work quite well, too. (Fancy Italian delis often have a large open can of the salt-packed ones around, and will scoop out as many as you need. Rinse off the extra salt before using; some soaking may necessary if they still seem excessively salty.) There's also the funkier, fishier canned versions, as well as anchovy paste in a tube.
Anyway, as in Caesar salad, the anchovy is just there to enhance the final product and give it that more-ish edge, not to scream ANCHOVY ANCHOVY ANCHOVY!!! So, mash your little fishy in, just a bit more than you think you should use, forking it together with your cooked egg yolks into a crumbly paste. Moisten with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a glug of olive oil, and enough mayonnaise to bind it. Taste and adjust the seasonings.