Macaroni salad

I made this macaroni salad over fourth of July weekend a couple weeks ago, when I was going with the husband to visit a girlfriend from college in Jersey City.

My friend has a *severe* onion allergy, so I had to make several substitutions for this recipe from the original – not only because of the allergy, but also because of what I had on hand.  I was a bit nervous, because this recipe comes from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which is typically foolproof, but you know what?

The changes I made really came out perfectly, and it’s how I’m making this one going forward.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup cubed white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles*
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped**

*I think the pickles are what makes this recipe special. I often mix mayonnaise and mustard together, but adding chopped pickles to the dressing really gives it some oomph.

**How to hard boil eggs: Place eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water an inch above the eggs. Turn heat on high. When at a rolling boil, remove from the heat and cover; let sit for 15 minutes. Then, immediately transfer to a large bowl with half cold water and half ice cubes. Let eggs sit in ice water bath for at least 10 minutes.

I’ve also made this using celery seeds, but I will include a list of possible additions to the recipe in the card at the bottom of the post.

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Just veggin’

I came thisclose to beating Tara the Terrible – that’s my new nickname for her, I’ve decided, everyone join me – in our vegetarian main dish competition.

The bad news: I lost. Again.

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Photo credit: Sarah Hodges

The good news: I am undoubtedly becoming a better cook, and when I get my revenge, it will be *sweet.* (Or cold. Revenge is a dish best served cold, right?)

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Difference between: cucumbers and English cucumbers

People may ask about the difference between a cucumber and an English cucumber because English cucumbers are more expensive – $2 per cuke or more – is it worth the extra dough?

In my opinion, no, it’s not.

However, I’m biased because I heart cucumbers pretty much more than any other vegetable. They’re just so crisp and refreshing.

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Photo credit: Eatocracy.CNN.com

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All about parsley

Parsley is one of my favorite herbs, along with basil and another herb we have yet to check out.

There are two main types of parsley, flat leaf and curly, and you can read about the difference between the two here.

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Photo credit: OrganicFacts.net

The Spice and Herb Bible describes parsley perfectly: “Parsley complements most flavors it is put with and never seems to dominate, yet always manages to make its presence felt.”

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Difference between: mouthfeel and texture

I first learned of the term “mouthfeel” in The New York Times article “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.” Then, it came up again when I was reading, Salt, Sugar, and Fat.

Photo credit: HeadlineScienceNow.com

When we started our Game Night Food Competitions, I used “mouthfeel” as one of the judging categories. My husband at one point asked if we could have “texture” instead, and I balked.

It occurred to me people really don’t know the difference, and clearly, they need to.

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