Rainy Day Activities

This Memorial Day weekend has been a bust--weather wise. But I am not one to complain about the time off from work, and have done my best to make the most of it. Despite the rain, or maybe because of it, we've been cooking up a storm, reading good books and working on a few small outdoor projects---some of which include planting, building an outdoor shower, and trimming the hydrangeas that tell a story of previous landscaping circa 1968.

I made it my mission to create holiday pasta salads this weekend. Below is a recipe of one I came up with last night (after several beers and a couple bottles of wine--what else am I gonna do?):

Chub's Greek-like Pasta Salad
Serves 4-6 (double recipe for a par-tay---which I did not have seeing as no one wants to play in the rain)

Pasta Salad:
1/2 lb penne pasta
*You can add 1/2 lb orzo to the penne as well if you are feeling like a gourmet--makes for such a pretty little salad.
15-20 grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped pepperoncini
1/4 c artichoke hearts
1 package cracked-black pepper feta cheese

Cook pasta as directed--rinse with cool water, and combine with other ingredients in a large bowl. Note that I use the grape tomatoes as they are easy to pick out for people who don't like them, and they keep better than chopped tomatoes in the salad and don't turn it red.

Dressing:
3/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (super secret ingredient)
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
squirt or two of dijon mustard
Note: these are all guestimates of how much I actually put in there--other than the olive oil and vinegar--I was just shakin'  so do whatever you like with these ingredients.

Combine in medium bowl or liquid measuring cup and whisk ingredients together well.

Pour over pasta mixture and coat well. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Right before serving, add a tablespoon of pre-prepared pesto and voila! Yummy decliciousness.

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