We’re in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures in excess of 73 degrees. Don’t laugh, it’s Oregon. It’s warm enough to dry out the webbing between our toes and evaporate at least an inch of water from the front yard. Seeing as how summer’s here, for the next three days anyway, I felt it was time for whipping up some summer fare: Pasta salad.
I decided to cook the pasta outside lest I risk heat stroking the cat and otherwise negatively affecting indoor air quality. I have a propane stove I made from a barbeque that someone threw off the bridge and into the creek last summer. That’s the thing with living in the sticks, it’s a free dump for the cityfolk. I wrassled the thing to shore with a comealong and removed the side wing burner assembly. I welded up a frame and stand from scrap angle iron and water pipe (that’s bong to you hippies) and since the burner valve was damaged I installed a propane regulator from a dead BBQ out in the yard. So I went out to use Frankenstove and LO! The burner grate thingy was gone!
After turning the kitchen upside-down and finding no cooling racks, much to Sweetpea’s delight (Mrs. Foxfur), I decided to use the steel mesh from my gold dredge’s sluicebox. One problem: it wasn’t there either. I finally found something that would work:
Good thing the plastic was there to hold the rust together. I used the blade on the BBQ brush to knock the plastic off and the bristles to shine it up a bit.
That being done, it’s time to start cooking.
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 2 Cups pasta (shells, elbows, bow-ties, anatomical shapes)
- 1 Cup mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Vinegar (cider, white, rice, glacial acetic acid)
- 2 Tbsp Mustard, prepared (yellow, dijon, honey mustard)
- 2 Pinches & 1 Dash black pepper
- 3 Bell peppers or enough to equal 1 Cup when minced
- 1/2 Medium onion or enough to equal 1/4 Cup when minced
- 1 Cup green peas (1/2 can)
- 1 5 – 6 Ounce can of tunafish
Set 2 quarts (4 cups) of water on to boil. Add a few dashes of salt. When boiling, dump yer pasta in.
Let it go for 8 – 10 minutes until it’s done how you like it. I like mine all denty like (al dente for you purists). Then drain it. If you don’t have a pot lip strainer, get one. Mine is stainless steel from IKEA. It’s imported (from Vietnam)!
Now we’ll prep the veggies. I recently acquired an incredible ceramic knife. It’s the only knife I’ve ever had that will slice through a piece of paper just like Zorro can do! Got it at The Grocery Outlet, or as Sweetpea likes to call it, The Grocery Whorehouse: You never know what you’re gonna find but it’ll be cheap. Price wise, not quality wise. It’s like a garage sale for food!
I minced the onion up really fine, about the size of pickle relish. You don’t want (I don’t want) big chunks of onion. I mince the peppers a bit bigger. While cutting up the yellow pepper I found clear evidence of either alien life or genetic engineering within:
The veggies were done thusly:
Combine the mayo, vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, and mustard. Now whip it, whip it good. Slather it all over the pasta and mix until homogenous. That’s a big word. I like big words. Fold in the veggies until evenly dispersed. If done semi-correctly, you may just end up with something like this:
I like to throw all sorts of tidbits in mine. Diced ham, cheese, bacon, corn, green onions, crabmeat, etc. Don’t get too hung up on amounts of ingredients. I vary the amount of mayo and seasonings depending on how crazy I get with the tidbits. I’ll leave out the vinegar for the unadventurous and serve it on the same plate as their PBJ with the crusts cut off. You know their kind.
Get reckless with this salad. If you mess it up, put it in a nice bowl, cover it with foil, tie a ribbon over the top, and bring it to your neighbor. Just be sure to get your bowl back…