Monday, May 8, 2006

Pasta Salad

This was an interesting piece, and you'll see why as I describe it. It was another dish born of hunger and lack of resources. Yet, most of the resources I had were not things that most people have. But worry not. This isn't so much of a recipe as it is a concept.

My regular formula for pasta salad (not counting the pasta) is: 2 types of cheese, 2 types of meat, 4 to 6 types of veggies, mayo or sandwich spread and paprika. The cheeses are usually cheddar and jack, the meats are usually pepperoni and ham, and the veggies are usually dill pickles, celery, olives, jalapenos, and sometimes carrots and/or grape tomatoes.

This was not my normal formula. I had half a box of cooked whole wheat pasta in the fridge, so I went with that. The only kinds of cheese I had were the manchego and mimolette that I bought on Saturday, so I went with maybe 1/4 cup of each, cubed. I cut up a couple of links of spicy smoked sausage, browned them off, and let them cool before adding them. I added a small can of sliced black olives, because I'm saving my fresh olives for another recipe. Don't knock it. I also added about half a red bell pepper, cut into pieces. And an orange, cut into wedges. I tossed it all in just enough extra virgin olive oil to coat.

Now, I learned a few things with this dish. First of all, I learned that expensive cheeses are not a good idea in pasta salad. All the fine subtleties get lost in all of the other ingredients. It was worth a shot. Second, I learned that I should have bought more kalamata olives (pitted) and used those instead of the California olives. I also wish that I'd had another orange to add too. The sweetness of the fresh orange really worked nicely with everything else.

One more thing that you should all learn is that it's important to make mistakes in the kitchen. That's what you learn from, maybe even more than from the successes. Still, it was a pretty good pasta salad. I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

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