Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

Get Ya Party On by Baha Men
I was pretty much going around my kitchen and calling all the various fruits and vegetables to the counter for this salad.  So when I thought of a song to go with it, this one popped right into my head.  It's a pretty accurate description of the party going on in my kitchen that day!  If I were to make a music video of this song it would have me standing in the middle of my kitchen and pointing to the ingredients and saying, "Everybody over here!  Everybody over there!" and as I pointed, they'd magically hurl through the air, peeling and chopping as they fly, and land into the bowl.  Yeah - I still hold fast to some of that "Bewitched" magic from my childhood!

One of the things I've learned over the past couple years
is the importance of filling your diet with fruits and vegetables.
On this point, most camps agree.
But when I say filling your diet, I mean
REALLY making it the larger part.
Lean proteins and starches play a side dish
role in my new world.
At least it's what I'm aiming for.
I never realized what a carnivore I was before!
But now I'm looking for ways to get those fruits and vegetables in!
And I count myself very lucky that I happen to love them all!

Now, if you're like me,
this time of year has probably found you
 with a never-ending sea of fruits and vegetables.
Ones you've grown yourself or those you have 
received from friends and neighbors.
Some you've bought at the farmer's market
or produce delivery companies or the grocery store.
But for whatever reason,
they're there -

And, believe it or not, this is a good thing!

I realized the other day, though, that my situation
had gotten to the dangerous point.
The point when you have so much that it's going to spoil
before you get a chance to use it.
And that makes me sad.

So I start brainstorming.
What did I have?
Well, I had peaches - lots of beautiful peaches!
I had lots of bell peppers of different colors.
I had carrots as well as an ear of corn left over from dinner the day before.
I had some orange cherry tomatoes sitting there looking
so darned cute and perky.

And I had some bow-tie pasta!

I hadn't made a pasta salad for quite awhile and 
we were having company
for dinner that night so I decided right then and 
there that it was going to be the perfect side dish
for the Kalua Pork I was cooking up.
Per my new eating agenda, if I hadn't been
having company, I would have halved
the amount of pasta.  I'm never sure of how other people
will react to my new convictions.  But pasta salads
are always a great way to get in those vegetables!
And fruits!

As I started gathering and chopping I noticed a theme.
Do you see it?
Everything was in gorgeous hues of yellow, orange, and red!
These are my favorite colors so my eyes opened right up and drank it all in!
You couldn't find anything that screamed more loudly "It's the end of summer!"
I had some green bell peppers and zucchini but I decided that I
wanted to stick with this palette.
My favorite are the peaches and I'm kind of sad that I chopped them so small.
If I were to do it again, I'd leave them in bigger pieces 
because they are so beautiful and juicy!
Look at the party going on in this bowl!
And my favorite bite?
When I got some sweet corn and peach on the fork at the same time!
Ah, yeah!
So what fruits and vegetables do you have lounging around 
in your kitchen (or on your doorstep)
that would like to hang out with some pasta?

Fall Harvest Pasta Salad 
serves 10
1 12 oz. pkg. of bow-tie pasta
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 - 2 ears of cooked corn, taken off the cob
1 orange or red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
10 cherry tomatoes
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 - 3/4 cup poppyseed dressing, I like Briana's brand
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 T. chopped chives
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse immediately with cold water.  You can do this earlier in the day, but if you do, be sure to toss it with about 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil before you store it in the refrigerator.  This will keep it from sticking together in one big gooey glob.

Place cooked and cooled pasta in a large bowl and add the chopped fruits and vegetables. 

In a separate bowl, combine the poppyseed dressing, buttermilk, and vinegar and stir to mix.  If you happen to have some nice fruity vinegars on hand - the fancy ones you pick up in the specialty boutiques - use that in place of the rice vinegar.  You will be so happy you did!  Pour the dressing mix over the ingredients in the bowl and add the chives on top.  Toss well until all ingredients are well-coated.  Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly!