It’s always fun to go to a get together where everyone brings a dish. It gives you the opportunity to try out food that your friends and family enjoy cooking (always gives me ideas and inspiration!), and it also sometimes gives me the chance to branch out from the norm and make something that my family wouldn’t necessarily eat at home. This pasta salad isn’t really a good example of that since (thankfully) we all love pasta, tomatoes and cheese, but you catch my drift, right?
My nephew Ryan turned 20-something this past weekend (26? 27? Ryan? I can’t believe I celebrated with you and don’t even know!)…let’s just say, I think he’s about 10 years younger than me, give or take a year. We celebrated in style – pool side, with music (provided by my beloved and talented husband), beverages, games and of course a fired up grill. Ryan asked if I could bring a pasta salad to serve on the side and of course I was all over it.
This one came together quick – and quite simply – as most pasta salads do. The only ingredient that you’ll have to make a little extra effort for is the roasted garlic, which to be honest, wasn’t part of the original plan. When making dressings, I usually use fresh garlic that I crush with a knife before adding into the blender. This time around I wanted to do something different and that something different was sitting in my fridge in tupperware and I didn’t even know it. Earlier in the week I roasted a head of cauliflower florets with a lot of garlic…and I mean a lot, like a whole head of cloves alot. It smelled SO GOOD. That smell has been coming at me every time I’ve opened the fridge for days (please tell me the smell of roasted garlic makes you as happy as it makes me). Since I had a few cloves already roasted I decided to use them instead. It added a more sweet, mellow garlic flavor to the dressing and I now know to make a point of always roasting a few extra crushed cloves of garlic when I am roasting veggies, just so I have them on hand – because you just never know when inspiration to use roasted garlic in a recipe will hit. If you don’t have any on hand, no worries, just plan ahead and follow Dara’s great how-to on roasting garlic here. It’s so worth it.
Ryan is also a fellow foodie…always talking food an wine with me, texting me pics of dinner and giving me ideas for recipes. I love it! Check out a few of Ryan-inspired posts here on the blog:
Happy Birthday Ryan!
(photo taken in St. Thomas, 2008)
and one more thing…
Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by BigKitchen Store. Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.