Not My Mama’s Macaroni Salad…or is it?

Continuing the spring/summer salad series, I decided to make a pasta salad.

When I was a child, my mother was always making two kinds of pasta salad (back then she called them macaroni salad). One had canned peas (yes, gag), celery (more gag), a little green onion and used elbow macaroni. The dressing was miracle whip based and I avoided this mixture like the plague. But, she made another one with shell macaroni that involved fresh diced tomatoes, sliced manzanilla olives, a little red onion and the dressing was mayo based. I loved this one.

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what’s not to love about tomatoes and green olives?

Unfortunately I neglected to get the recipe from her before she passed, and while I have made similar salads, I have never been able to recreate her exact recipe. Finally I decided to just make my own creation and this is the result.

Ingredients

2 cups of dry israeli cous cous (also called pearl cous cous)

3 roma tomatoes, finely diced

1/2 cup of manzanilla olives, sliced

1 tbl roasted red pepper strips, finely diced

1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced

Dressing Ingredients

1/3 cup of mayonnaise, (I used Hellman’s)

1 tbl swedish mustard (I am seriously in love with this stuff)

1 tbl rice wine vinegar

1/2 tbl honey

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Cook couscous according to package directions.

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dry couscous

Rinse with cold water (to cool) and drain well.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended.

Add vegetables to pasta and mix well.

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sans dressing

Add dressing and stir until incorporated.

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fini

Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Somehow, despite not having her original recipe, I managed to make this taste almost EXACTLY like hers. I think I was channeling her when I made my choices for the dressing, heh.

Tabbouleh Ras

Both Spouse & I like tabbouleh, but I can no longer eat the bulgur wheat or feta. This was my alternative.

Tabbouleh-esque

1/2 cup of amaranth

1/2 cup pearled barley

the juice of three lemons mixed with 1/2 tbl of honey

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of diced roma tomato

1/4 cup of diced red onion

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1 tsp of garlic powder (not granulated, I used powder)

3 tsp of dried parsley

1-2 tsp dried mint

1 four ounce container of gorgonzola crumbles

Directions

Cook amaranth and barley according to package directions (I cooked the amaranth on the stove with 1-1/2 cups of water at a boil until all the liquid was absorbed – the barley I made in my rice steamer using 1-1/4 cups of water). Mix grains in a bowl and allow to cool. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and chill for a couple hours before serving.\

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It’s not the prettiest looking thing, but it is very tasty!

Of Fish Loins and Baking

So I bought some wild Alaskan cod loins from ye olde door to door organics. I have eaten plenty of cod in my life, usually battered and fried to within an inch of it’s life. It’s not a fish I usually buy as Spouse is not a fish fan..unless it is prepared in the above mentioned way. However, the Rabid Hyena Pair & I are rabid fish & seafood lovers, and as these were on sale I figured we could try them.

After perusing several recipes for cod loin online, I found this one which is incredibly close to what I do with tilapia and bocourti/basa. I then proceeded to change it…as I do with nearly all recipes save for baked goods, heh. This is the final product:

Cumin Baked Cod Loin

4 – 4 oz cod loin fillets (as close to the same thickness as possible)

2 tbl of melted butter

the juice of one lime

peppered bacon salt (I used this in lieu of salt & pepper…I do this a lot because bacon salt is lower in sodium and adds a nice smoky flavor)

1/4-1/3 cup of panko bread crumbs seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and paprika

1-2 tbl olive oil for oiling the baking dish

olive oil cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a shallow baking dish with the olive oil and place the fillets inside. Mix the melted butter and lime juice and drizzle over all the fillets then sprinkle with bacon salt. Allow this to sit for about 10-15 minutes. You want that flavor soaking in to the fish some.

While this is sitting and marinating, mix the bread crumbs with the spices if you had not done so already, then top each portion with a nice amount. Enough to cover the top but not be a crusty nightmare. Something like this:

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Spray tops of becrumbed fish with some olive oil cooking spray and bake until bread crumbs are browned & crisped and the fish flakes easily, about 12-15 min or longer depending on the thickness of the fillets.

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I served these with some steamed, buttered peas for a really simple dinner.

Carrot Pulp Experiment #3

I adapted a recipe that I found here to use what I had on hand. It galls me to use a recipe that effing Zakarian has created, but while I don’t care for him on a lot of cooking shows, he does know his shit. He got some skillz. I only had carrot pulp…always with the carrot pulp…I have nightmares about carrot pulp.

Faux Meatballs

2 cups of carrot pulp (if you have a centrifugal juicer rather than a masticating one, you will have to strain some of the liquid out of the pulp)

1 egg (I used two because I had more than 2 cups of pulp, you could easily sub flax meal mixed with water here for a vegan option)

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

garlic powder

onion powder

dried oregano

peppered bacon salt (I used this in lieu of salt & pepper…it’s low in sodium and adds a nice bacony punch)

1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup parmesan reggiano cheese, finely grated (this could be subbed out for some vegan parm)

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I currently have Bertolli Tomato & Basil)

enough cooked spaghetti for 4 people (I used a veggie spaghetti I get at a local grocery…MOAR FIBAR!)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or line the top rack of the oven with foil and spray on some olive oil cooking spray (this is what I did).

In a large bowl, mix together the vegetable pulp, cheese, oregano, bacon salt, garlic & onion powders until well combined. Beat the egg with the oil and add to the mix, Combine well then add the breadcrumbs, mixing again. Allow mixture to sit for about 5-10 minutes before forming meatballs using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet or foil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(after 15 minutes, they no longer looked orange, but cooked to look almost like a poultry meatball.)

Bake for 30 minutes, using a spatula to flip the meatballs halfway through baking. Add to warmed sauce and serve atop spaghetti with a sprinkle of parm.

Edit: These taste amazing, almost like a chicken or turkey meatball. The texture is perfect. One suggestion I would make is to not put them in the warmed sauce, rather set them atop the portions of pasta and ladle sauce over them. This is what I ended up doing. I think if they sat in the warm sauce they could get mushy.