23 March 2009

Dinner Rut. Calling for Help.

I'm in a deep rut.  And I know beggars can't be choosers, but I want really good recipes.  (please?)  Not just, oh-this-recipe-is-okay-and-the husband-and-kids-manage-to choke-it-down-and-it's-not-too-hard-to-make-either.  No, I want things-you-crave-when-you're-not-even-pregnant recipes.  I'm including one of my warm weather favorites.  Let me preface.  I don't like pasta salads.  Everything coated in mayo, therefore unidentifiable pasta salads.  This one is called Gazpacho Pasta Salad. But I do not think it really belongs with the pasta salad family.  Or, if it does, it's more like royalty.  It is so good, I'll even eat it as a leftover.  I know.  It's that good.

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/4 c packed fresh basil
1 T red wine vinegar
1 lb rotini pasta
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c pitted black olives, quartered {I actually use kalamata}

1.  Puree diced tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, vinegar, and 1/2 tsp salt in blender until smooth.  Transfer to bowl (don't use metal), cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
2. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot.  Add 1 T salt and pasta and cook unitl al dente.  Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
3. Place cucumber, red and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, scallions, and oil in large serving bowl and toss well to combine.  Add pasta pureed dressing and toss again. (Salad can be refrigerated overnight.)  Scatter cheese and olives over top.  Serve chilled or at room temperature {how I prefer}.
{Taste it before serving, because sometimes it just needs a little more salt.}

P.S. I'm thanking you in advance because I have faith YOU will be contributing to my favorite recipes and getting me out of my rut.


  1. Amen. Pass along the treasures.

    Beautiful photo. I think we'll make this this week

  2. Hey, I didn't want to post an entire recipe in a comment, and I didn't see a contact email on your blog...but I do have an excellent recipe to share, so I just posted it on my blog: http://whitelilyathome.wordpress.com

  3. Katy, that looks yum. I LOVE Otsu recipe on 101 Cookbooks. Go on line. You can add any vegetables to it. It is a Japanese noodle recipe so Ryan should fall deeply in love with it, right?
    I add carrots, peppers, broccoli, etc.
    The pan fried tofu is good with it too.

  4. My flourless chocolate walnut cookie is PERFECTION!

  5. Our favorite right now is this:
    You may have already had/seen/made it. But it's delicious. We usually add about twice the broccoli, a little extra peanut butter and some extra soy sauce. With thin whole wheat noodles it's scrumptious.
    I also love trader joe's tomato & red pepper soup with grilled cheese sandwiches right now. Mmmm.

  6. Man, do I KNOW that rut! I have a few favorite recipes that I love, both on my blog. The lemon/broccoli/tofu dish and the red lentil carmelized onion dish. Try them! Oh, and I am totally with you on pasta salads or any salads with mayo, ick.

  7. Matchstick pasta for us over here. It's on my blog somewhere.

  8. I know, Ann! I was at the store wanting to make it and all I could remember was pistachio nuts. I'm looking it up today!

  9. Just your style:
    The best, I'm serious:
    On my TO DO list:
    On my list of favorites:
    Ignore the horrid photo:
    An affair to remember:

  10. I have been loving our latest cookbook: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It's all very simple fare, but really good. I haven't been disappointed yet.

  11. I'll email you a chicken & rice salad, I like. I have been in this rut for a while now and have been reading food blogs to get me out of it. My favorite food blog is http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/recipe-file/

  12. I have another recipe for you...tostadas with carmelized onion, mango, lime, and cheddar cheese. Amazing. Email me and I'll email you with the recipe: jessicawdavis@gmail.com. Also, have you seen this site: tastespotting.com. Their search function is tremendous--just type in any ingredient and voila, you get a whole population of ideas.

  13. this is our staple:
    Coconut milk
    Vegetable broth
    Fish sauce (just a titch)
    Lime Juice
    and/or additions
    shrimp paste
    red curry paste
    lemon grass

    Boil and add

    Any vegetables you have
    mushrooms, carrots, scallions, brocolli stem, baby corn, grape tomato, bok choy

    cook until veggies are done.

    Depending on your mood you can add:
    noodles (ramen type)
    serve over rice
    or eat as soup

  14. For breakfast in Asia, I fell in love with Rice Congee. It was a simple white rice soup (I found a recipe using brown rice--one cup in 10 cups water cooked overnight in the crockpot). Then you add a bit of sesame oil, salted peanuts, cilantro and green onion.

  15. I realize this is an old post, but this is my favorite "try something new" recipe:


    It's a pesto of sorts made from corn. Fresh corn is cooked in bacon fat and then pureed with Parmesan and olive oil (I use mostly stock and less oil). I usually caramelize a diced onion with the corn and leave out the pinenuts because I never seem to have them around. My favorite add-ins are roasted grape tomatoes and asparagus. I also leave half of the corn unpureed because I like the texture. So, so good.


Be a lamb & tell me what's on your mind.