You know those awful school fundraisers that everyone avoids? Sometimes they have some cool stuff so don't automatically say "No" before checking out the catalog or internet link. Some fundraising companies have gotten more creative for the schools. Take this one from my friend Ashley's son's school: novelty pasta. I ordered several bags and that was after cutting down on the number I wanted to the number I should really spend the money on. You can also order directly from the site just for the pasta: www.pastashoppe.com. They have everyhing from soup mixes to plain pasta, tons of shapes in everything from animals to holidays to collegiant themes to you name it!
My favorite is this Republican ("no taxes were added during the making of this pasta") and Democrat ( "no liberties were taken during the making of this pasta") pasta with shapes of blue donkeys, red elephants, and red/blue stars, along with the initials "R" and "D".
In pseudo-celebration of the mounds of bull--or rather elephant and donkey--feces that will be heaped upon us tonight in the official Obama/Romney showdown, I'm throwing down the gauntlet of "Can't we all just be civil" with this "Politickin' Pasta" side for dinner tonight, dressed only with a simple olive oil & balsamic vinegar dressing so as not to clutter up the cute little party symbols. Aside from the joking, no matter which side of the political spectrum you adhere to, watch the debate, investigate the candidates, and always vote from a base of knowledge (as much as we can ever know the truth about any political candidate) not just political slogans and nasty ads. A couple of websites I like are www.factcheck.org to double check facts and www.ontheissues.org to check the voting records and statements of the candidates, both nationally and in the state races.
For the pasta salad, cook 2 cups of any compact pasta (elbow, shell, rotini) in boiling waterr to al dente. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Cover with about half of this Emeril's vinaigrette recipe and chill for 2 hours before serving. Save rest of dressing for another use. Serving suggestion: side dish with grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli.
Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003
- Serves: about 1 cup
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Mesclun salad mix or favorite greens, for accompaniment
- Assortment of salad ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes, chopped carrots, sliced red onion, chopped celery, diced cucumbers, walnuts
- Blue cheese, for garnish
Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and desired salad ingredients, top with blue cheese and serve immediately.
If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.
*If using a good quality balsamic vinegar you should not need the sugar, but if using a lesser quality you might want the sugar to round out the dressing.
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