Cool Cucumber Pasta

Cool Cucumber Pasta :: Zim on a Whim

This warmer weather has me craving cool salads like this Cool Cucumber Pasta salad. (I’m sorry to those of you who actually have SNOW on the ground in May!) It’s sweet and tangy and perfect for summer barbecues because there’s no mayo. It’s great for lunch, too.

I got the recipe from my friend Lisa about 15+ years ago! I believe she got it from a magazine, but my old, faded, and handwritten recipe card doesn’t say the source.

Here’s how you make it…

Cool Cucumber Pasta
Ingredients:
8 oz. tube pasta, like ziti
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 medium cucumbers or 1 long hot house cucumber, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse to cool.
2. In a large bowl, stir the pasta with the oil, cucumbers, and onion.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk and pour over the pasta.
4. Chill for 3-4 hours, stirring it up a few times while chilling.
5. Stir again before serving.

*The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it sits. You will need to stir it up before serving each time as the liquid will settle to the bottom of the bowl.

If you’d like to check out another cold salad great for entertaining, check out this Fiesta Salad or this Mango and Jicama Salad!

Enjoy!
Micha

Fiesta Salad

Fiesta Salad

It’s not even warm yet and this is currently my favorite salad. I can only imagine how refreshing it will taste in the summer! It has lots of crunch, which I love, and it’s dressed with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. I’ll give you the recipe I use, and you go from there!

Not only is this a great salad to have for lunch, or for dinner on a hot summer night — but it is also a delicious salad to take to a barbecue. It has no mayo so it can sit out for a while, making it the perfect side dish to bring!

I’m not sure where the original recipe came from as she didn’t say, but I got the recipe from a teaspoon of happiness ‘ blog and adapted it to my taste. If you think you don’t want the chickpeas in there, give them a try. I reduced the amount from the other recipe and for me it’s a good balance. They are full of protein and so healthy. I used frozen corn that I roasted for mine which added a great flavor, but you can use any type of corn. So make it yours and enjoy!

**Note: I will tell you how to quickly roast up some frozen corn after the recipe! **

fiesta salad no title

Fiesta Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients for Salad:
12 oz. corn (frozen bag), roasted – or any cooked corn of your choice. If you use canned, drain and rinse first.
1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 to 1   1/2 chopped English cucumber (the long ones with ridges)
A few shy of a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
Small red onion or 1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, diced (use whatever color you like or mix it up!)

Ingredients for Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, mined -or- 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic in jar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:
1. Chop up all veggies and put into a large bowl. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and put them into the bowl. Add your corn. Mix well.
2. Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk together. Pour over the salad and mix well, making sure everything is coated.
3. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two, but overnight is best!

**If you want to roast up some corn quickly, just take a bag of frozen corn and pour it onto a baking sheet. Add a little oil, salt, and pepper and combine. Put under the broiler for about 5-8 minutes and you have roasted corn! (Just keep an eye on it so you don’t have burnt corn…you know how tricky those broilers can be.)

I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do!
Micha

Sweet Corn Muffins

Torture. Pure torture, I tell you. Having to do this post and gaze at that photo of the corn muffins that vanished faster than you can say, “Pass the butter, please.” There is certainly an excitement in the air when I announce that these sweet corn muffins will be served with our dinner meal. They are so easy to whip up and are a perfect accompaniment to spicy stews and the like. Last night I decided to try the recipe that Joan posted of her Mom’s Baked Beans. She wasn’t kidding. They were good! I thought that my corn muffins would be perfect as a side and got some in and out of the oven in no time.

Here is the recipe:

Sweet Corn Muffins (modified from Allrecipes.com)
Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the egg, milk, and oil in the middle of the dry ingredients.
5. Stir everything together with a spoon, breaking up the egg, and mixing until well combined. It will be like a thick soup.
6. Spoon or ladle the batter evenly into the paper muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. You should get about 12 muffins.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
8. Let sit in muffin tin for a few minutes until they are cool enough to transfer to a wire rack (or your belly!)
9. They are good all by themselves, with butter, or with a little honey drizzled over them as shown in the photo.

Be corny & enjoy!