Macaroni Salad

MacaroniSaladVertbfLOThe weather seems to have broken for the moment – clear blue skies and none of the haze and rain (and thunder and lightning and hail and tornado warnings and toads… well, OK, no toads – but it certainly felt like they COULD have been next).

The turn for the better is perfect timing, because we’re having our friend Golnaz over for dinner and planning on grilling sesame shrimp – a new recipe from Food Network Magazine that Rich wants to test his new grill skewers on. The drier weather also (hopefully) bodes well for getaway to Michigan this weekend.

A long weekend away means I have let our supply of fresh fruits and veggies run down to a minimum, and don’t really want to restock until after our return, so I went looking for a side to go with the shrimp that could be tossed together with what I had on hand. The rainbow rotini in the pantry set me to thinking about the deli macaroni salad we had at Allie and Wes’ on Sunday, so I went back to da Google to see what I could find…

The kind folks at Food Network set up up with this basic recipe for what they call American Macaroni Salad.

•2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained – I didn’t rinse – most recipes seem to say not to – opinions?
•1/3 cup diced celery
•1/4 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, drained
•1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
•1/2 cup diced vine-ripened tomato (optional)
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•3/4 tsp dry mustard
•1-1/2 tsp sugar
•1-1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
•3 tbsp sour cream
•1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste (I used celery salt)
MacaroniSalad01bfLO•Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl combine the macaroni, celery, onion, parsley and tomato, if using. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, sour cream and salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Store covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

Obviously, I swapped out rotini for the elbows; I also used yellow onion for red (has anyone else been having trouble finding decent red onion lately?), English cucumber instead of celery (so used celery salt in place of kosher), and dried parsley for the fresh. I also read the reviews (I LOVE that feature) and doubled the dressing amount – stir half into the salad, then cover and chill overnight – the pasta will absorb the dressing. Add the other half before serving and you get a moister salad with a nice little flavor kick.

TomatoesJune182010bfLOOh, did I mention that I added a few drops of Tabasco Chipotle to the dressing?

The image above is the salad after resting overnight with half the dressing. A nibble proved to me that this could be a winner, but I’ll wait until this afternoon to add the rest of the dressing along with some black olives and a few chives from the garden. Hmmmm, maybe some basil as well; it DOES look to be taking over…

Final results tomorrow, along with shrimp pics and recipe.

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