There was a restaurant in South Pasadena I liked to frequent called Wild Thyme. Without waxing poetic and getting maudlin on you, Wild Thyme shut its doors under the pretense of “renovation” and reopened as an entirely new restaurant, a garish concoction called Canoe House. I was determined to hate it as it took away my crepes and crab cakes Eggs Benedict, but one particular man kept hounding me to learn how to love and forget how to hate. Out of sheer hunger and morbid curiosity I finally gave in and tried it out.
I’m not a fan overall of Hawaiian food but their burgers were pretty tasty. The item that won me over to the dark side, however, was their creamy macaroni salad and it sparked my latest culinary conquest. This recipe is a true, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-trousers kind of recipe in that I figured out the base, would taste, season and work it out as I went. I’m quite proud of the way it turned out and it was well received by my family as well as Steffie.
Creamy Macaroni Salad
makes: A substantial amount; good to bring for a large potluck barbecue with at least 10 people
1.5 lbs of ditalini pasta
1 orange bellpepper, diced
1 red bellpepper, diced
1 shallot, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 c. petite peas, steamed but given time to cool to room temperature
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 c. homemade mayonnaise
3/4 c. sour cream
1/3rd cup sweet relish
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4th c. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
As your pasta begins to cool, make your homemade mayonnaise (alternative: make a day or two ahead)
3 large egg yolks
3 tsp teaspoons lemon juice
3 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup canola/grapeseed oil, divided (if whisking by hand)
Alt: Use a hand/stick blender and have it done in under 2 minutes flat.
Taste and season accordingly.
I didn’t prepare this recipe exactly as above, but I will in the future. It was a lot of touch-and-go, not even adding the sour cream/relish mixture until the day of the barbecue because I was still trying to figure out what it was missing. I really need to get in the habit of writing down my recipes as I actually prepare them, especially on-the-fly recipes like this one because I am constantly adding a dash of that, a pinch of this, mix, taste, see what works. So, give it a go and put your own spin on it!