The Fourth of July! I love the fourth! And I went on an absolute cooking binge, so there will be three posts about the holiday. There are certain foods that just scream American to me (s'mores, crab rangoon, anything with Velveeta cheese) and a BLT (p. 180) definitely fits that description.
I imagine that most people know how to make BLT's--I have no idea if they are common in other countries (I actually have quite a few international readers--do you have BLT's in your country?). Easy--spread mayonnaise on some white toast, add a few slices of tomato, a little lettuce, and some bacon, add the other slice of bread, and eat!
So good! The recipe didn't add much but I have taken to thinking of TJOC as the quintessential American cookbook (like I think of the Silver Spoon for the Italians) and I figure that some of these recipes are for international readers. I (I'm not sure I should admit this) ate four BLTs for lunch. I just couldn't help myself. Thankfully, it's a problem I only have with a handful of foods (s'mores, bacon, BLTs, fudge, and tortilla soup), otherwise I would weign 700 pounds.
I decided to make the traditional accoutrement for the July 4th meal--pasta salad and potato salad. There are a number of pasta salads in TJOC but I settled on Calico macaroni salad (p. 172).
So why calico macaroni salad instead of one of the other pasta salads? I have a sitemeter on TJOTJOC so I can see what people are searching for when they find my blog. People find my blog at least once a day by searching for "calico macaroni salad joy of cooking". I've been intrigued for quite a while about this pasta salad--what is so awesome about calico pasta salad so that people search for it on a daily basis? And what better time to find out than the Fourth?
The recipe had an easy start--I mixed red wine vinegar with vegetable oil and then added (cooked, rinsed, and drained) macaroni.
(The vinegar mixture before the macaroni was added):
The macaroni mixture was refrigerated for a few hours. In another bowl, I combined onion, celery, parsley, pimiento-stuffed olives, salt, pepper, and sour cream:
One of the things that make this recipe so strange to me is that it also says that you can use pesto instead of the vegetable mixture. I think that's bizarre. Basil+Parmesan+pine nuts+garlic+olive oil =onion+celery+parsley+olives+sour cream???? Not a single ingredient is the same! I'm not saying that it wouldn't be tasty but it would be an entirely different food.
Either way, it came smoothly together:
How was it? Good but I don't understand the love for it (certainly not the best pasta salad I've ever had). If someone stumbled upon this blog looking for this recipe, I would love to know why you are searching for it! Please comment! It was good, although very, very briney. I can't imagine taking it to a potluck--I don't think it would be one of the first things to disappear.
I settled on American potato salad (p. 168). I'm not a huge fan of potato salad. Honestly, at times, I feel I'm the only American who isn't fond of potato salad.
I was digging through boxes in one of our upstairs rooms when I found that my immersion blender had another attachment--a chopper attachment! I had managed not to unload the box all the way. The attachment is excellent and I used it to dice celery, onion, and parsley. I then added some mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, and relish.
The vegetable mixture was added to two pounds of potatoes (I used Yukons because they are my favorites but the recipe actually calls for waxy potatoes).
And done! It was actually a pretty damn good potato salad. I liked that it wasn't extremely heavy on the mayonnaise and I liked the potatoes being a little softer than they normally are (the difference being Yukons versus waxier potatoes). The relish added a little briney finish that went well with the pasta salad. And both the salads kept incredibly well--in fact, I think they were better after being refridgerated for a day.