Friday, July 3, 2009

Special Edition: Summer Food!

In celebration of summertime and national holidays, why don't we share some of our favorite summer foods?

My contribution is modest, but a family favorite: pasta salad. We can live on this for days [unless my son comes home with friends, in which case it doesn't last], and it is the perfect picnic/potluck offering. My cooking tends toward "a little of this, a little of that," so this recipe is not exactly precise; however, it is great in many variations -- add or subtract what you choose!


1 lb. dry pasta [rotini, penne, elbows, bowties, etc. -- I especially like rainbow rotini for its shape and colors]. Get a big pot of water boiling, and cook to al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water.

While the water is heating, toss the following into a big plastic container or bowl [I use a 1.6 gal. container, to allow room for mixing]:

* 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 can black olives [whole or sliced], drained and rinsed
* 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained [no rinse] - slice to smaller pieces if desired
* some green onions, sliced thinly
* handful of frozen corn niblets
* handful of frozen shelled edamame, baby lima beans, whatever -- they'll thaw
* other fresh or cooked veggies as desired; chopped bell peppers are colorful and tasty
* some italian salad dressing [start with maybe 1/2 cup]
* a few dashes of sweet rice vinegar, to add a gentle tang and cut the oiliness of the dressing
* salt, pepper, some fresh or dried basil, garlic, dill, hot paprika, oregano -- be a little generous, because this will flavor all the pasta, too

When the pasta is cooked, rinsed, and drained, toss it in with the veggies/beans/dressing, and mix well. Add more dressing, tiny bit of vinegar, and/or spices as needed. For a little more zing, you can add a few dashes of hot sauce. You want enough dressing to flavor the pasta, but not so much that it is swimming. Chill for a couple of hours and let the flavors sink in.

Additional yummies can be added before chilling: small chunks of fresh mozzarella; sprinkle of blue cheese; cherry tomatoes; whatever you have around.

What does your family like in summer?


KLee said...

Oooh -- yum! My brother's fiancee is a vegetarian, so whenever they come down this way, I make Penne Pasta with Garlic and Almond Breadcrumbs.

It's very easy to make. All you need is a box of penne; olive oil; about a cup of toasted, silvered almonds; a box/bag of garlic-flavored croutons; and a food processor.

First, put your pasta on to boil. Cook to taste (I like mine a little more done than traditional al dente) and while that's going one, you toast the almonds if needed (low heat in a nonstick skillet until they brown a little) and then grind the croutons and almonds together in the food processor until a crumb mixture. At this point, I usually add a bit more garlic powder and some Italian seasonings to the mix.

When the pasta is done, drain well, and then toss pasta with about three quarters of a cup of the olive oil. Coat well, and toss the crumb mixture in as well, and toss again. Serve immediately.

Nice and filling, and easy to make.

Unknown said...

I recently invented an israeli cous cous salad that is fabulous and very inexpensive to make.

You get two packages of Israeli cous-cous, the kind that looks like tapioca, and cook it according to package directions. Let cool.

Add enough olive oil to keep cc from clumping.

Cut up into 1/2 inch dice tomatoes, scallions, holland red and orange peppers, fresh chives and mint, minced up, cucumbers that have been seeded and any other veggies that you like.

Add the veggies to the cc, then add about 1/2 to 1 cup of orange juice to make the salad moist.

Add salt amd pepper to taste, and voila... a pretty salad with nice sparkling crunchy taste.

Liz Miller said...

Roasted Corn on the Cob ala Nero Wolfe:

Take ears of fresh-picked corn (picked that day if possible)
Put them with husks still on in the hottest possible oven (525 f) for 40 minutes.


"Served with butter and salt - nothing else - they are ambrosia."

esperanza said...

saltines and Sprite. Very easy recipe.

Oh. Maybe that's just me. Sorry.

kathy a. said...

esperanza, that is a lovely combo, perfect for many occasions!

JenR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

Oooooo a food edition! Love it.

Can I even turn my food entry into a whine????

When our family gets together the meals are so familiar that we have numbered them. For example, Thanksgiving and Christmas are Meal #6 and everyone knows what to bring. (I bring a green salad and buns to that one)

The Summer Gathering is Meal #3 and my Sweet Sister always, and I mean ALWAYS makes this 7 Layer Salad that was good the first time I tried it. Since then, I can't go near it. It smells like old socks. I think it's the hard boiled egg layer that give it the odour, but I can't be sure. Anyway, hubby and I always get a good laugh out of Meal #3. We talk about it like it's a form of torture. Actually, I think in the fine print of the Geneva Convention, it's mentioned.

kathy a. said...

Sue, thanks for not sharing the recipe for 7 layer salad that smells like socks! But, any other items from Meal #3 that are tasty? Or, for that matter, Meals #1-infinity?

JenR said...

Lime (or Lemon) Whip
1 jar lime curd (or lemon)
1 medium-sized tub of cool whip

Mix until combined (but NOT with an electric mixer, or you will have lime goo instead of wonderful fluffy goodness).

Serve with thin ginger cookies (like the Anna's brand). I've tried the regular ginger as well as the orange and lemon flavored ones and they are all good.