Category: salads, slaws and such

Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad… with my little twist

 

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  May 2018

OK… for starters, let me just say that if you are no fan of mayonnaise, you’ll want to skip this one!  Because THE big “thing” about Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is mayonnaise, and a LOT of it. The noodles are cooked soft… well past al dente (it is said so it will absorb more mayonnaise)… mucho mayo to make it very creamy… and you’ll find carrots in there too!

Macaroni salad dates back to the 1880’s in Hawaii and was a staple part of lunch for the pineapple field workers. This salad is found on just about all diner and “plate lunch” menus in Hawaii, often alongside of and served with rice (which is weird to me).  For the most part, the only ingredients are soft macaroni, MAYO, carrots, salt and pepper.  You might see some with a bit of celery and onion, but that’s not often in authentic macaroni salad. And my research found that you NEVER.EVER. put ham or pineapple in there!!  I also found that Best Foods is their preferred brand of mayo, but I’m sure that’s only because they haven’t had Duke’s there!  So my version is made with Duke’s. Period. 
And a couple of tiny twists to make it mine.

I made this one to pair with my Aloha Hula Hot Dogs… it’s hard to fault such a simple recipe and one that goes nicely alongside all sorts of foods. I hope you will give this one a try. I’m not a big fan of pasta, but do love me some mayonnaise, Duke’s… so I’m a fan of this creamy salad.

Aloha y’all!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Authentic Hawaiian macaroni salad is all about mayonnaise, and a LOT of it! Usually slightly overcooked (to absorb the dressing), it is a staple on their “lunch plates” alongside grilled, fried or teriyaki meats. Enjoy this simple tropical make-ahead side salad this summer!

Course: Brunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Tailgating
Keyword: Hawaiian, macaroni salad
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle juice*
  • 1 large carrot. grated
  • 1/2 large onion, grated
  • 1 small bunch green onions, diced
  • 2 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni per directions plus 2 minutes until soft. Drain. Stir in pickle juice. Cool 20 minutes.

  2. Add carrot and onions. Combine remaining ingredients and mix into macaroni. Chill 4 hours, or overnight (best). If not moist and creamy, stir in more milk at serving time.
    Remember... this salad is all about the creaminess!

Recipe Notes

*Vinegar with sugar can be substituted for pickle juice. This is important for mayonnaise absorption into the macaroni.

 

It’s Asparagus time… Spring Green Veggie-Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Spring Green Veggie-Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

It’s Asparagus time… and here is a simple way to put this bright-in-color-and-flavor salad on your spring table!

keep reading

Winter Citrus Salad… with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette ~ Sunshine!

Published in Carolina Country Magazine… January 2018.

Winter Citrus Salad with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette

 

As I sit here on this really cold day, watching stories from temps in the midwest United States colder than Antarctica with records being broken, this salad came to mind. I created it for January 2018 issue of Carolina Country magazine… when citrus fruits are plentiful. Sure to break through the winter doldrums, this vibrant salad, both in taste and color, will break the monotony of heavy winter comfort foods, and offer a reminder of warm spring and summer days ahead. 

 

A few helpful hints:

Getting the arils (seeds) out of a pomegranate are not as challenging as one might think.  Don’t let that keep you from enjoying these tasty fruits. They are most plentiful and in season from November into the early part of the year.  Here are a couple of ways to get those crunchy little nuggets out in just a minute or two.

 

Seeding a Pomegranate in Water

Peeling and Seeding a Pomegranate

Pomegranates have all sorts of nutritional benefits.  Just do a quick google search to find a site you trust to “read all about it.”

When buying… look for smooth-skinned fruits that feel “heavy.” That means more juicy arils tucked inside!  They will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, and can even be frozen.

Ways to use pomegranate…

  • for a snack “as is”
  • on top of salads
  • scattered on yogurt
  • in grains and grain salads
  • in salsa and guacamole
  • over oatmeal
  • scattered over hummus
  • in cocktails and in champagne
  • over ice cream
  • in sauces spooned over grilled or sauteed meats
  • as a garnish for pureed vegetable soups
  • in relishes
  • tossed over vegetables like green beans or asparagus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are blood oranges?
The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, almost blood-colored flesh. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. Chrysanthemin is the main compound found in red oranges.
Source:  Wikipedia 

The skin of blood oranges may be darker orange and “blood” toned like the flesh. It tends to be thicker also.  The flavor of a blood orange is different than your usual orange… some say it has raspberry undertones.  I don’t find that to be the case (I don’t care for raspberries but love blood oranges).  Due to growing conditions necessary for them, you will not find them year round.  Their season is from December to early spring.

When buying, look for those that feel “heavy.” Stay away from those that feel spongy.  They can be stored a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.  Use to spiff up winter salads or enjoy as is. Blood oranges have some great medicinal qualities too.  Just google to read from trusted sources.

Add these salad ingredients to your next grocery shopping list!  And add some sunshine to your table this week…

 

Winter Citrus Salad With Blood Orange & Red Wine Vinaigrette
Vibrant citrus fruits are plentiful in the dead of winter, and this is a great salad to brighten the dreariest of days. Don’t worry about exact measurements for salad ingredients. Use as much or as little as suits your fancy.
Course: Brunch, Dressings, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: blood orange, red wine vinaigrette, winter citrus salad
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 naval oranges
  • 2 clementines or tangerines
  • 2 limes
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 grapefruit
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • 1-2 avocados
  • 1 cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • freshly ground pepper (I like to use pink peppercorns for color)
  • fresh mint, optional
Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or EVOO if preferred)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 1 tablespoons blood orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried spearmint
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Peel the citrus fruits and cut into thin slices, removing any seeds. Place onto platter along with avocado.
  2. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, nuts, pepper and sprigs of mint.
  3. To make vinaigrette:
    Put all ingredients in jar with lid and shake to blend. Best if made at least one hour ahead.

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Are your bloomers exposed tonight?

Tub ‘o Chive

Gotcha!
I’m not much on that yard work stuff… but on occasion, it’s simply necessary.  I’ve been at it for weeks, in snippets (to make it more digestible)… in order to make sure I’m as de-snakified as can be.  Because for those who know me, know that I DO NOT DO SNAKES. Period.  No such thing as ‘good snakes’ for this girl.  I actually have thought that I probably need to check myself into some sort of snake phobia program, except I’m sure that would, at some point, involve the handling of snake(s)… therefore, I’m not inclined to voluntarily enroll.

As I was out and about today in my back yard, I smiled as I saw how well my chives are flourishing.  Not being much on gardening either, (aka ‘yard work’), the one thing I’ve always managed to cultivate successfully are chive… or is it chives?  My smile quickly turned to concern as I remembered that… tonight it is supposed to dip into the 20’s!  Just days ago I was sweating in shorts, tank top and flip flops, and here I sit writing this bloomer blurb by a burning fireplace!  When I saw all those cute little chive blossoms… little teardrops …about to ‘splode, I stopped yard work’n (doesn’t take much to divert my attention from THAT!).  I immediately went into ‘mama chive mode’ to do what is needed to protect my bloomers!  Because, you see, we must.

One of my favorite early spring treats are my blooms… thus the importance of bloomer protection!  Did you even know you can EAT those fluffy little lavender flowers?  Some folks do not know this, and so this, my friends, is for you!  (I have had folks look at me like I’m some sort of weirdo when plucking these and snacking while strolling around the yard.)  There are quite a few edible flowers, (note: make sure they have not been treated with chemicals and pesticides… or peed on by passing critters)… and my very favs are chive flowers.  I grow mine in fence hanger boxes and in the Hungarian Baby Bathtub (see picture) so they stay up off the ground and ‘pee free.’  They are really pretty on salads, and a nice surprise for folks not used to eating floral matter.  I, however, don’t always make it back into the house with them… I snack tub side.

The ‘by product’ of these bloomers are the chive fronds… is that what they are called?  I don’t know, and because I know you really don’t care, I’m too tired from all that YARD WORK today to go research proper ‘chivese’ so for now, they’re fronds!

OK… I got a bit diverted there.  Back to bloomer protection!  Short of hauling that big ass Hungarian Baby Bath Tub in the house (and not even possible at this point due to the Ben Gay slathered ‘every muscle aches in my body’ condition), I am putting faith in those annoying

plastic grocery store bags… and have bagged my bloomers!  I surely hope that works… ’cause I’m looking forward to the Chive Blossom Jive real soon… maybe by the time they bloom, my old sore muscles will be healed and jive’n will actually be possible… stay tuned!

Oh, P.S.  Do YOU eat chive bloomers?  (I’m just trying my best to get y’all to put something in that comment box down there!)….

And please click the ‘like’ button (if you do) and share on your FB pages and invite your friends to come here too.  THANKXXX

…i can almost smell salt air!

Here it is, middle of February, and as typical here in North Carolina, we’re having a beautimous day approaching 80 degrees!  A few windows have flung open to ‘air out’ the house, hopefully blowing out the germs from another visit from Mr. Winter Crud.  I’m trying to pretend the fragrance of Vick’s Vaporizer that fills the air is actually salt air and close my eyes, visualizing I’m strolling down one of our beautiful North Carolina beaches.

One of my favorite warmish day meals is Shrimp or Seafood Salad.  This is such an easy and f.a.s.t. treat to throw together and for me, gets better after a day or two in the fridge!  I hope you’ll enjoy making this salad and enjoy eating it as much as I do!  Now, I’ve gotta run and rinse the sand off my toes….

Many recipes I post in my my blog will not give you exact measurements.  I like to teach folks “throw” cook’n… throw some of this, that and the other together till it tastes like you like it!  Those are usually the best dishes, so don’t be afraid!  What’s the worst that can happen?  You have “A” dish that’s not going to be a family fav?  The other side of that is you *might* even create something you’ll be making for years to come!  So, don’t be afraid just because there are no measurements here ~ let’s just  throw down…

Start with fresh local shrimp if possible.  Here in my neck of the woods, I can get peeled and deveined North Carolina Shrimp at Lowe’s Foods (where they have seafood markets).  I stock up when on sale and buy 5# bags still frozen (just ask the folks behind the counter for those).  That way, I can just grab out a few handfuls at the time to throw on a salad, in a quick stir fry or to make shrimp butter to top a steak just off the grill.  Sometimes (as in this batch), I throw in some of that ‘fake’ crab, not a big fav of mine, but in this case, had a few extra folks coming and needed a quick stretch of the salad (and one in the crowd loves the stuff)!  The shrimp need to be well drained…. so throw in the colander to thaw and drain.

After draining, I take some paper towels and dab the shrimp to dry out as much as possible… then throw in a bowl.

One of my fav kitchen tools are my Dollar Store scissors… I keep several pair handy (along with my wondermous Cutco Shears).  The scissors are perfect for snipping things like the ‘crab’ in this salad.

Celery is a ‘must’ for me in seafood salads… so just finely dice up as much as you like., then throw it in the bowl.

A little red onion never hurts either, so throw that in too!  I usually add some boiled eggs, again, as much or as little as you like… but didn’t use egg in this particular batch.  Sometimes I throw in some pickle relish or cubes too.

Any kind of pepper will do, but I like using white pepper in light salads!

…and in my kitchen, the o.n.l.y. mayo is DUKE’S!  End of story.  Start with a couple of tablespoons and stir in… add a tablespoon at the time until the consistency you like.

The is where you can play with seasonings…now y’all know I’m not one to measure, so throw in whatever herbs and spices you like with fishy wishy stuff.  I sometimes grab a pack of Ranch Dressing mix and throw in a bit to mix with the Duke’s to ‘dress’ this salad.  Even a dab of honey mustard is good in a seafood salad.  Some herbs and spices that work well with shellfish are bay, basil, cayenne, coriander, curry powder, dill, marjoram, oregano, tarragon and thyme.

And as ‘standard’ for many of us Southern cooks, we have to throw in some sugahhh because that just enhances everything… a little dab ‘l do ya!

Mix it all up real good, and dish up!  Garnishes that work well are parsley, chive or cilantro… I ♥ cilantro, so I often use that on my Shrimp Salad.  Try to make this a day ahead, or at least a few hours ahead if possible and throw in the fridge.  All those goodies will ‘marry’ and taste bunches better  after ‘dating’ for a while!  I hope this recipe has inspired you to throw together a shrimp salad real soon.  And if you do, come on back here and tell us about it.  And oh, can you smell the salt air where you are?