Monday, August 22, 2016

Peanut Pasta Salad

An oldie but a goodie  --- from Gourmet, May 1984.

I had forgotten about this recipe until I was looking for something that I could make ahead and serve cold with grilled flank steak.

It makes a big batch so you have to be willing to eat it for several days, or have a big crowd coming over.

Good combination of Asian flavors with lots of vegetables.

Peanut Pasta Salad
(Penne & Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce)
(adapted from Gourmet, 1984)

Serves 12

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup water
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground turmeric
1 lb. penne pasta
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 carrots, halved lengthwise, and sliced diagonally
1 large seedless cucumber, quartered, cored, sliced on the diagonal
8 scallions, sliced and quartered into small pieces
1/3 cup roasted peanuts

Prepare all of your veggies first, and have them ready to go.

To make the sauce:  In a blender or using a whisk in a small bowl, blend the peanut butter, 1 cup water, soy sauce, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, cumin, and turmeric until smooth.

In a large pot, add water and a generous amount of salt, bring to a rolling boil.  Add the green beans and blanch them until partially cooked about 2 minutes.  Then fish them out with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain, or place in a water bath with ice to stop them from cooking more, and drain in a colander.  (You want them to be well drained before you add them to the salad.)  In the same boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook per the package directions until al dente about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta well.  And rinse it with cold water to remove the starch and cool it off.

In a large serving bowl, add the drained pasta, the drained green beans, the veggies and toss it all well with the sauce, until every bit is coated with the peanut sauce. Sprinkle with roasted peanuts on top and serve.

To make the salad ahead of time, reserve 1/3 of the sauce and the roasted peanuts, and refrigerate the salad, then just before serving, loosen the remaining sauce with a little more water or lemon juice, add to the salad and toss again. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Black Bean Corn Avocado Dip from Sarah's friend, Michelle

Good for a large gathering --- this dip is easy to make and popular with all ages.  I changed the black-eyed peas to black beans* and left out the cilantro and jalapeno --- to make it kid friendly.
*  Found the Eden brand of beans--- which are low salt and excellent beans --- in the organic section of our store, but sadly, there weren't any black-eyed peas --- we must be too far north ---so I switched to black beans.  
The recipe comes from Sarah's friend Michelle who brought it to a family event earlier this year. Michelle served it with quinoa chips but I used Frito scoops.

Michelle says the key to making this dip is to have the avocado ripe but not too mushy so it holds up well with the beans and corn.

She found the recipe on Skinny Taste which was a new food blog to me, but obviously very popular. and everything looks delicious on it!

If you want their original recipe for the black-eyed pea version, click here:

But the black bean version is, I think, even better.

Black Bean Corn Avocado Dip
(adpated from

15 ounce canned no salt black beans (Eden), rinsed well and drained
2 cloves of garlic, grated
3 T. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. cumin
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/2 t. salt
1 cup cooked corn, or canned sweet corn, drained well
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered and then cut in half again
1/4 cup minced red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
1-2 avocados, diced

Rinse and drain the beans in a colander.  Drain the corn well, too, if using canned corn.

In a large bowl ---the one you are going to serve it in --- combine the grated garlic, fresh lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.  Mix well.

Add the rinsed and drained beans, drained corn, chopped tomatoes, minced red onion, and optional minced jalapeno and option chopped cilantro, and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Dice the avocados and squeeze a little lime juice on them to prevent them from turning brown.

Then gently add the diced avocados to the dip and serve with firm chips for scooping, like Fritos.