Here's One We Made Earlier

I have one resolution this year. Just one, not counting all the usual everyday hopes for self-improvement. Just one, and that is to complete a monthly photo challenge. Like this:

So here it is the second day of the month and I've already forgotten about the challenge. Oops!

But! It's still the first in the United States, and I'm still a legal resident of the United States, so I say let's carry on anyway. (And if I forget again, I still have 11 lives left.)

The topic for the 1st was is "Lunch". I could snark a little about the originality of opening a new year with a post about what I had for lunch, but what Mike made for lunch (and dinner and all-hours snacks) yesterday is actually worth writing about.

Have you ever had the smoked mozzarella pasta salad from the deli case at Whole Foods?

It's amazing.

Whole Foods generously published the recipe in their cookbook, and all around the Internet you will see where people have reposted the recipe while singing its praises.

Those people are full of shit.

And I'm not just talking about the bloggers who copy the recipe word for word then claim it's "adapted."

If you actually follow the recipe in the cookbook, you'll discover - as many commenters have before you - that the result is as acidic as a freshly cut lemon sunbathing on a canker sore.

Maybe some people like that, but it's not what they serve at Whole Foods, and I speak here with the authority of one who has purchased the divine salad at five different stores in two different states.

Luckily, Mike quickly realized the secret to fixing the recipe, and what followed was as ohmynomnomnom good as the store-bought original.

The Trick: double the pasta, double the mayo. (Then maybe add a bit more mayo.)

(Maybe Whole Foods doesn't want you to think about all the mayo.)

Watch me do the cute food blogger thing of posting several annoyingly similar photos but hoping that in this case it builds drama as you get closer and closer (but not so close that you're bothered by how shiny a mayo-based pasta salad can look):

(Really, the first photo should be a gateway to a discussion about my exciting-to-me prototype for maintaining a realistic fridge inventory, but that deserves its own post. Also, I know that three photos probably violates the spirit of the challenge. Good thing I'm only doing it for fun.)

To make the salad, churn the following in a food processor: 1/4c grated Parmesan, 1/2c parsley (don't bother chopping per the recipe because, honestly, the food processor feels a bit slighted if you do), 1/4c white wine vinegar, 1c and maybe a bit more mayo, 3 garlic cloves, a pinch of chili powder or cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste.

Boil 500g of penne to al dente. (The metric people have gotten to me!) Toss the pasta with 2c washed/stemmed baby spinach leaves, two or more chopped roasted red peppers, and a half pound of diced smoked mozzarella. (I would've made this sooner, but it seemed that no one in Vegas sold smoked mozz.)

Apply the dressing to the pasta and bits. Toss some more. Serve to anyone you want to turn into a BFF or a future spouse. Easiest spell ever.


03 January 2014 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)