After enjoying the Italian beef from that top sirloin roast the other day I decided to do a pork shoulder in the same manner. This time I used a big slow cooker to do the cooking but the seasonings were much the same. I rubbed the shoulder with salt and dried Italian herbs, poked garlic cloves into slits cut into the meat, and tossed some fresh oregano and rosemary into the bottom. No additional liquid was used and I poured off the liquid the pork shed while cooking hoping to get what browning I could. I skimmed the fat from the drippings and reduced the remainder for gravy.A nice chunk of the pork featured in a dinner that included steamed veggies, garlic mashed potatoes, and buttered hot rolls. There was a lot of meat left for a sammich for lunch today:That big jar of giardiniera has a nice dent in it but there is plenty more yet.
Cookout season is in full swing. And with it, cold salads, a personal favorite. There are so many varieties out there, from coleslaw, to macaroni, to cold bean salads I thought it would be a good place to start the summer cookout season.
The featured recipe tonight is from a neighborhood cookout we had last week. I was very busy, so I had to throw together something quick. I went with a basic macaroni salad, but with a few tricks to keep it fresh and flavorful, instead of soggy and bland as some can be.
Before that, here are a few other cold salads:
JeffreyW has a traditional coleslaw recipe (and slideshow) here.
I’ve made a Caribbean Orange-Mango Coleslaw for several summer cookouts. Recipe here.
I adapted a Giada De Laurentiis, recipe for Italian Lentil Salad here.
That’s just a start. I’ll probably follow-up in a while with some veggie cold salads. But until then, what’s on your summer plate this weekend? What are some of your favorite cold salads? What’s your go-to dish when you’re invited to a cookout? Hit the comments and share your ideas.
And finally, the featured recipe (pictured above).
Quick and Easy Macaroni Salad
- 1/2 cup creamy Italian dressing (I like Newman’s Own)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
Blend together well and refrigerate until ready to mix in.
- 16 oz box favorite pasta
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp crushed dried basil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz shredded carrots
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz cubed mild cheese (I used a marbled colby/jack)
Bring water to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and pasta. Cook until al dente (firm to tooth). Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain well, allow macaroni to stay wet, remove to bowl. Immediately add garlic, spices, celery seed, and let sit for 5 minutes. As the pasta absorbs the remaining water, it absorbs all the flavors. Next stir in carrots, celery, cheese and tomatoes. Save tossing with the dressing until 5-10 minutes before serving. This keeps the pasta from absorbing all of it and becoming mushy and flavorless, but still gives it enough time to meld the flavors together.
It’s cloudy and rainy today and that put Mrs J into a soup mood. I started chicken simmering with onions and then ransacked the cupboards for egg noodles and came up short. I suggested the mung bean noodles I have stashed away but she refused them in favor of a run to town for “proper” noodles. While she was gone I went ahead and fixed a bowl using them. These are often called cellophane noodles and are huge in Asian cuisines. I have garnished this bowl with fresh chilies and red onions. There are a few shiitake mushroom slices in there, a splash of soy sauce, and a few drops of hot sesame oil along with the carrots and celery.
It’s a cool, rainy Saturday and we weren’t going anywhere today. Mrs J called for soup and mentioned beans but they really need to soak overnight so I mentioned another of Mrs J’s faves: Cheesy potato soup. I got the chicken broth going with a chopped onion and some of those cured ham pieces. I like to get the ham chunks falling apart done before I add any veggies so I had a little time to surf recipes to look for seasoning tips. I found this recipe atop the results page and gave it a quick study. With some modifications I followed it. Three potatoes were chopped and added to the broth. I had some bacon frying for garnish so the fat part of a roux was ready. I removed the bacon to drain on a paper towel and added a little butter to it, then cooked the carrots and celery, adding the flour when they were tender and let the roux cook a few minutes, then added white wine to mobilize it, dumping the veggie mixture into the main pot with the potatoes. After all the veggies were tender they got a quick buzz with a stick blender.
We both gave it a taste at this point and found it to be very good. I questioned Mrs J as to the need for cheese and cream but she refused to consider it without. Fine by me! I added six ounces of smoked provolone and stirred it to melt, then hit it with a scant cup of heavy cream. Fabulous! Perfect! Some fresh chives from the garden and the bacon for garnish and a crostini with goat’s milk cheddar made this The Best Potato Soup Evah! LOLGood enough for a second bowl – no time for toasting the garlic bread!