Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cooking: End Of Summer Macaroni Salad

Seasonal food is about what is fresh, available, and cheap (at the moment). Summertime is Salad-Time, and it may seem like I'm out of order by posting the last salad first, but here it is just the same. It is a sweeter salad because of the peas and peppers, but variety is good! As with all of my recipes, this is a large family/company/covered dish dinner sized meal. Cut it in half if you are only feeding 2 or 3 people, or if your kids aren't teenagers yet.

  • 1 lb dry pasta (I like medium shells with salad that has peas in it, but pick your favorite.)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 super-large or 2 regular-sized red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet peas (that's a 15 oz can if your peas failed this summer like mine did - otherwise, give fresh ones a quick boil)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Bring water with a little salt to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta and stir. Cook until completely done, strain, rinse and cool.

While your water is boiling is a good time to chop up all those veggies and eggs, and shuck peas if needed. Once the pasta is ready, toss everything together EXCEPT THE MAYO. The little bit of vegetable oil will keep the pasta from sticking while it cools. Chill until at least room temperature (completely cool is even better) then add the mayonnaise. This will keep the mayo from separating, and is also good food safety.

It may go without saying, but I will say it anyway: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. For outdoor picnics, place any salad with mayo in it into a larger bowl filled with ice for safety. Besides, most people like their summer salads ice cold anyway (I have met one exception, and one only).

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