Spicy Macaroni Salad

Memorial Day was always the first day of real summer when I was a kid. School was out by then, we weren't allowed to go swimming before Memorial Day and picnic season officially began with that weekend. Our little town always had some sort of service honoring our fallen soldiers. And weather permitting, we ended the day with a picnic, my mother's traditional macaroni salad included the picnic basket.

Nothing against my mother's macaroni salad (which we all loved), but I couldn't resist the idea of a spicy macaroni salad to serve this summer alongside some grilled chicken, ribs or steak. Spiced several ways in fact, so perfect next to grilled meat.

Spicy Macaroni Salad

From Noble Pig

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup horseradish
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped peperoncini
1/3 cup  peperoncini juice (from the jar)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and cooled
4 large hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, horseradish, sour cream, Parmesan, peperoncini, peperoncini juice, lemon juice, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes. (You can easily make this part a day ahead. Don't worry if the consistency is thin, the pasta will soak it all up.) 

Add pasta, eggs and peas to the mayo-horseradish mixture; combine well. Place in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.


Childhood Memories: Mother's Lemon Sunshine

Do you have sweet memories of childhood desserts? I don't know what made me think of this one the other day, but perhaps it would be fun to make an occasional blog presentation of our favorite desserts from childhood. Making this one was a trip down memory lane. I don't think I even made this for my kids!  I saved all my mother's recipes in my files and between my mother and grandmother, we had some awesome treats as children. The British and French often refer to them as nursery desserts. 
Lemon Sunshine was frequently on the menu, as we all loved it.  Easy to make, sweet, airy and lemony in your mouth.  I used a Meyer lemon here because I had one left over. I also cut back on the sugar. The recipe calls for a cup total, but I used 2/3 of a cup total. Taste as you go, both the lemon mixture and the egg white mixture and sweeten as you wish.

Mother's Lemon Sunshine

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, grated and juiced
1 teaspoon gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar


Soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.
Beat yolks in a small saucepan and add 1/2 cup sugar, lemon rind and juice. Whisking constantly, cook until slightly thickened. Whisk in the softened gelatin and stir until melted and thickened. Cool the mixture somewhat in an ice bath.
Beat the egg whites, beat in sugar until the whites are thick and shiny. Fold in the cooled lemon mixture. Chill. Makes about 6 custard size cups.


Rhubarb Shortcakes

My first rhubarb recipe of the season. And look at that color! This rhubarb is dark red for a good reason...it's roasted in red wine. Of course, the deeper red your fresh rhubarb is, the darker the color in any recipe, but here, it's even more so. The shortcake recipe is excellent too...tender and better than my grandmothers!  A pretty dessert for company and you can make it all ahead and assemble it at the last minute. 

Rhubarb Shortcakes
From  Bon Appétit, April 2013, by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer 

Ingredients for roasted rhubarb:

2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed, sliced 1-inch thick 

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup red wine 

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 

Ingredients for biscuits:
1 cup cake flour 
4 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for work surface

Ingredients for assembly:
3 cups chilled heavy cream, divided 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted 

Preparation for Roasted Rhubarb: 
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine rhubarb, sugar, and wine in a medium baking dish or ovenproof skillet. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and toss to combine. 
Roast until rhubarb is very tender and juices are syrupy, 30-40 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks. Let cool. Discard vanilla bean. 

Biscuits and Assembly 
Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk cake flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and 1 cup all-purpose flour in a medium bowl to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups cream; gently mix just until dough holds together. 
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a 9x6-inch rectangle about 1-inch thick. Cut dough in half length-wise, then cut crosswise 3 times to form 8 rectangular biscuits. 
Arrange biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops and sides of biscuits with butter. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool (biscuits can be served warm or at room temperature). 

Beat remaining 1 1/2 cups cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Split biscuits and brush cut sides with remaining melted butter. Fill biscuits with roasted rhubarb and serve with whipped cream. 
DO AHEAD: Rhubarb filling can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill. Reheat slightly before serving. Biscuits can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool completely and store airtight at room temperature. 


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