Something quick for summer

This is for my friend Betsy, who observed that most of the recipes on this blog are rather long and involved . . .

I make this basic pasta salad many times each summer. It is open for endless variation–leave out the cheese for non-dairy gatherings, substitute broccoli for the green pepper, use nuts only if you have them, etc. The original recipe used pimentos instead of artichoke hearts (but I HATE pimentos). This past weekend when I made it, I added a pint of grape tomatoes (just tossed them on top).

[Given the current “tomato salmonella scare” I’m sticking to grape and cherry tomatoes until they get the rest figured out. A week or so ago, my food coop sold me tomatoes from Mexico and insisted that since they were organic they are safe, regardless of what the FDA says . . . and even claimed that no manure is used on organic produce . . . though as far as I know, it is just “synthetic fertilizer” that is not considered organic . . . oh well.]

I’ve included the Pasta Salad recipe on its own page, but will put it here as well:

Lucinda’s Favorite Pasta Salad
Time: 30 minutes to prepare, several hours to chill
Servings: Many
Ingredients
1 lb. (raw) pasta–medium shells, Campanelle, and Farfalle (Bow Tie) work well
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
a spoonful of pesto OR 10-20 basil leaves (fresh) OR 1/2 tsp basil and 1/2 tsp oregano (dry)
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, minced
1-15 oz can artichoke hearts or 2 jars marinated artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup (packed) freshly-minced parsley
4 oz. mozzarella cut into cubes
a handful of toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt (if desired) and the pasta. Return pasta to a boil and cook until al dente (approx. 8-10 minutes depending on the shape).

Drain pasta in colander. Rinse in lukewarm water. Drain thoroughly.

Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add olive oil. Stir. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Add all the remaining ingredients, mix well. Chill and serve cold.

Enjoy!

Copyright © 2008, Lucinda DeWitt

Summer Eating & The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

Now that Memorial Day has ushered in the unofficial summer season, I’ve added a few summer recipes to the collection. My Minnesota garden contains more rhubarb than I know what to do with, but I love Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and have included my recipe here. Summer also means Egg Salad Sandwiches, which reminded me to write up instructions for how to cook soft- and hard-cooked eggs.

Yesterday was the Indianapolis 500 (aka The Greatest Spectacle in Racing) or “an intimate gathering with half a million of your closest friends” as I like to call it. I miss not being in Indiana during the month of May–practice, time trials, qualifying, race day. This year’s field was filled with too many rookies, newcomers, and idiots, many of whom had difficulty turning corners and entering/exiting pit row. Danica was knocked out by one such knucklehead. Not the most exciting Indy 500 ever raced, but not the most boring either.

My Cubbies are holding on to first place in their division, but just barely. Lou keeps making excuses for Soriano’s miserable outfield performance. Easier to listen to when he is on a hitting streak, but when he’s not it’s more annoying than all the other annoying things Lou says . . .