Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pots get hung, Seafood Salad gets made

The absence of counter and cupboard space here has me frustrated sometimes. After I stew for a bit I usually go into fix it mode. Cup hooks set into the underside on a cupboard and the pots are hung. I've actually been asked by people "if I hang the pots, where do I put the lids?" Take the lid that goes with that pot, slide it down the handle, hang it up. That way when you need to cook something covered you don't have to go through a stack of lids to find the one that fits.

I know it's hard to hear people talk about "a cooling trend" when the highs are still in the nineties, but, last night I was able to open the house and sleep breathing fresh air. When it's hotter than the southern slums of hell here it is easy to forget that the majority of our days are bright, filled with sunshine, and beautiful. I'm still not using blankets, but breathing unprocessed air is a godsend.

When it's hot out I like to make dishes ahead that I can easily assemble and eat. I have taco salad fixings that I've been eating off for a few days. My friend Angie came by last night and we ate heartily. There's still several meals left in it, but I thought I'd get another dish, meant to be served cold, and on the lighter end of things. I'm very happy with the weight I've lost since being here. It isn't any big project or deal, I'm just eating better and exercising. Most of the exercise is in the pool, but I've also started walking to AA meetings. There are three good ones all within walking distance, that's what I do.

I forget where I found the original recipe for this salad. Except for the dressing, I doubt what I have been making and eating for the last several years bears much, if any resemblance to what was on the page at the beginning.

That being the case, consider every ingredient, every proportion, to be suggestive only. If there are things you think would be good to add into it, by all means, go right ahead. One of the reason I made this today is that there were some fresh vegetables, a red bell pepper, and some celery that was due to be used. This is what I used today, I promise you, the next time I make this it will have different things in it

It all starts with pasta. The original called for vermacelli. I've used angel hair, rotini, penne, and just about anything. Go with your preferences, and what's in your cupboards. Today I'm using spaghetti because that's what I have. I prefer the longer, skinny pastas because they load up better with the dressing.
Boil up some water. You want it at a full, rolling boil, put in a good dose of salt, and add your pasta in.
  1. Stir that in and let it boil until it is "al dente." 
  2. While the pasta cooks, I make the dressing. It's easy, it is also very good.
That's a cup of mayonnaise, one packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian, a half teaspoon of dry British mustard.
To that, add a cup of buttermilk. Whisk until smooth.
This is a great all around ranch dressing. Better than stuff you buy.
Another thing I like on salads, and just to have around are hard boiled eggs. Making hard boiled eggs is simple. Do it this way and people will marvel at how perfect they are.
Start the eggs on the stove, covered by cold water. Doing it this way you will not have so many blowed up eggs. Use a low/medium heat to bring up the temperature slowly. When it reaches a simmer
cover it and
set your timer for fifteen minutes. Now go do the other stuff that needs doing. Leave the eggs alone to cook slowly while covered.

I chopped up the red bell pepper, three large stalks of celery, thin sliced some purple onion, black olives, I even had a bit more than a cup of shredded lettuce left over from the taco salad run, in it went, along with most of a jar of Italian Giardineira pickles, and for good measure about two tablespoons of capers.

When the timer eggs goes off, drain off the boiling water, and cover them with ice.
Doing this will stop the eggs cooking, they'll shrink a bit and pull away from the shell. You will have bright yellow, fully cooked, fluffy yolks that don't have that green ring, and they will peel easily.

I blew up the time line a little. While the other stuff was going on, the pasta finished cooking and was drained, not rinsed, and put into the container for the assembly of the dish. While the pasta is still hot, I pour the dressing over it. The picture of the assorted vegetables came after all that, so know that while I was doing that the pasta was already in the container and dressed.

Last, we add in the seafood. Today it is that fake Krab stuff. It's much cheaper than crab, this was even on sale. Other things you can use are shrimp of any kind or size. I've used everything from the little tiny bay shrimp, to langostine and crayfish. There are no hard and fast rules, if you want it in, throw it in. If it sucks you can always do something different next time.

That gets chilled through. To serve, put it in a bowl, or on a plate and go to town. I like a topping here and there, a few red pepper flakes, some parmesan dusted over the top, a splash of soy sauce, or even better vietnamese fish sauce, the crunchy salad topping thingies, are all good.

I was thinking I might hang a few instruments today, but, I'm ready to watch college ball and eat my salad.


Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the idea. I am always looking for things to keep on hand to eat whenever we get hungry. I usually cook one meal a day plus breakfast sometimes. All other meals are just noshing.

3:16 PM  
Blogger FriĆ°vin said...

I have ample storage space but I like to stack my pans and I had an old desktop file folder rack that I use in the cabinet to keep the lids on. I love repurposing shit.

3:51 PM  
Blogger JerseyCynic said...

You've inspired me to get my kitchen in order. I love how you've organized!

I love skinny pasta!!!!!! thank you for the recipe

5:24 PM  
Blogger Margot said...

Today I discovered that leftover steamed kale tastes better cold as a salad ingredient. Who'd a thunk? I tend more towards oily dressings than creamy ones -- but then I'm European. Stick it all in a tupperware and shake like buggery!

2:51 PM  
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11:08 PM  

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