As I type, it's -- shall we say? -- summery here in A2 (Ann Arbor, for those who don't live in the mitten-shaped state). So even though I'm actually inclined to cook today after receiving a very lovely and ego-boosting compliment from an acquaintance at work, it's just too hot to do so. Yeah, it's in the 80s -- it's not like it's Saharan or anything. But it's a big jump from the rainy chill we had only recently, and thus we're all still in the adjustment period. Either that, or I've hit menopause ....
The very kind woman who stopped by our office today was waiting to meet with one of my co-workers, and took a moment as I walked by to say to me: "You know, I really enjoy seeing your recipes in the paper. (FYI: AnnArbor.com -- see the column to your left to find the most recent articles I've written for them -- publishes a hard copy on Thursdays and Sundays.) You have such spirit! It's so nice to find out about people's interests that you didn't know about." I'm blushing ... it was so unexpected, and so charming, and so flattering ... :)
After I'd promised to send her a recipe for lemon curd, so she can use it to serve family members coming to visit this weekend (as a topping for pancakes ... sigh), I actually felt inspired to go into the kitchen. But, BLEAH!!! It's too hot out! But I didn't want to just make tuna salad or something equally uninspired for dinner simply because it's too wretched out to grill, and I have no desire to heat up the oven and counter the turned-on-too-early-in-the-season-but-whaddya-gonna-do? air conditioning.
And then I had a vision of brilliance. I often make a BLT pasta salad, but I didn't have any of the nitrite-free bacon that I eat because sodium nitrite makes me feel as though my skull is being crushed under a dump truck. But then I remembered that I had leftover ham in the freezer, and I had a variety of cheeses to choose from ... Ham 'n' Cheese Pasta Salad was born!
Now, of course, someone who considers herself to have the soul of a bubbe ([BUH-bee] = grandmother) probably shouldn't be eating ham ... or combining ham and cheese, especially. Not only is the lowly pig not considered to be edible according to the dietary laws, otherwise known as Kashrut [KAHSH-root], otherwise known as "keeping kosher;" but "Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk" according to Exodus 23:19, which has been interpreted to mean "don't mix meat and dairy" at the same meal. But, of course, my love of bacon and cheeseburgers and Beef Stroganoff and buttermilk-soaked fried chicken and such is partly why I'm a Secular Jew instead of a religious one. I thrive on foods that are treyf [TRAYF] = non-kosher. And, as the title of this post asserts, a Ham 'n' Cheese Pasta Salad is très treyf.
But oh, man, was it good! Whole wheat pasta shells, chopped ham, shredded Parmesan, some peas and carrots and a little salt and pepper. For myself, rather than for Jeremy, I also added grape tomatoes and shredded spinach and red onion, finishing it off with a Dijon-Balsamic vinaigrette. And I made enough that there will be leftovers for tomorrow ... to paraphrase Bob Vila, "Cook Once, Eat Twice." There's not really a recipe for this -- just add what you want in the quantities that you have on hand ... isn't that the beauty of a salad anyway, as evidenced in the Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays round-up???
Be sure to also look for this recipe at Harrigan Howdy, which offers a weekly Recipe Share to which I was just invited!
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- Don't Get Hungry at the Hospital on a Sunday!!!
- Room Service, But No Mints on the Pillows
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