Monday, May 2

Creamy Macaroni Salad

Today, I’m going to do something a little different, for me that is. I’m want to share with you a recipe. Now, I know what you are thinking, cheap blog filer, but I assure you this is not the case. This is a very special recipe that my husband and I just cannot get enough of. I usually make it for the first time some time in March, when asparagus first comes into season, as my celebration that summer is just around the corner. Come June, I generally start making it every two to three weeks until summer comes to an end.

For some strange reason, I have not made it yet this year. I’m sure it’s just due to my adjustment to the Texas climate. When you have such a mild winter, there is less need to celebrate spring. This fall, I’ll probably be chomping at the bit to do all my wintry and baking recipes, as it is already getting too warm to bake most days. But now my dill is crying out for me to use some and I can think of no better way to do so.

Originally, I found this recipe in, what is in my view, the sacred Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites. At this point I have made it my own. I mix things up a bit for variety, but I generally stick with this basic model. With all the summer salads recipes I’ve tried, I still like this one the best.

Creamy Macaroni Salad
½ pound whole-wheat penne
Cooked until al dente, rinsed with cold water and set aside.

½ cup cottage cheese, more healthfully, low-fat
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced (as tempting as it may be, don’t use more)
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (if you must use dried, use just 1 teaspoon full)
Combine these in a blender or food processor, puree until smooth , and set aside.

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
15 grape tomatoes, whole
½ a red bell pepper, cut into bite sized strips
½ a cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 dill pickles, diced
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, don't be shy
Steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes, until crisp-tender and bright green. Briefly submerge into icy water to stop cooking process and maintain its color and texture. Steam the asparagus until just tender, then submerge it into ice water for about 30 seconds.

Mix together the pasta, the cheese mixture and all the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Chill for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.

This is nice to have on hand for quick healthy lunches or as barbeque bring along. They recommend fresh basil leaves and tomato wedges as a garnish, but I've never bothered with this.

Moosewood Restaurant is fabulous, and no recipe goes into their cookbooks without being throughly tested and enjoyed by their guests. If you ever visit Ithaca, NY be sure to stop on by.

Now that I’m all worked up about it, I’m going to the store to get the rest of the produce I need and whip up a batch.

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