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The envelope

We could have just opened the envelope on Friday and found out immediately whether we’re having a boy or a girl, but that didn’t seem festive enough.  This is somewhat of an occasion, after all–it’s not like these envelopes show up at our house with the frequency of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons.  This envelope feels like an event, like a moon landing or a triple crown or a Michelin star!

So we went to the party store and bought a pound of blue candy, a pound of pink candy, and a tyrannosaurus rex pinãta.  Then we called our friend Suzanne, who came over right away and shooed us into the backyard while she opened the envelope and stuffed the dinosaur in the kitchen.

pinata I took two swings at it before Thunder started interfering, as usual:

But Scott eventually whacked it open.  Aaaaaand:

pinata on ground smallIT’S A BOY!  Which makes me very happy.  As I told Scott before he passed out, I’ve always wanted to name a child Niles Godfrey Rohrbaugh.

tangy pasta salad I’m kidding.  We’re not naming him Niles.

But can I tell you something serious, for a change?  This pasta salad is amazing.  It’s tangy and zippy because you overcook the pasta so that it’s extra absorbent, and then you let it soak up some cider vinegar before tossing it with crunchy vegetables and a creamy dressing.  That way the tang is in the pasta, not just on the pasta.  Huge difference.  Also, the recipe makes a huge salad bowlful.  If you doubled the recipe, it would probably feed 20 as a side dish at a picnic.

What do you think about something understated, like Basil Prescott Rohrbaugh VI?

Tangy Pasta Salad {Download & Print Recipe}
Adapted from a Serious Eats recipe and told in my own words

Ingredients:

for the salad:

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 green or red pepper, diced

4 stalks celery, peeled and diced (or you can substitute another pepper)

1 small to medium red onion (you’ll use 1 c.)

for the dressing:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 c. whole milk

1/4 c. sour cream

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

Put a large pot of heavily salted water up to boil.  (It should be as salty as seawater.)  When the water is boiling, add the pasta.  Overcook it.  This makes it extra absorbent and allows it to soak up more of the cider vinegar and get a good tang going.  When the macaroni is nice and soft, drain it well and dump it into a large bowl.   Pour the cider vinegar on top and toss to coat the macaroni.  Let the macaroni sit in the cider vinegar while you chop the vegetables and make the dressing, or about 15 minutes, until the macaroni has cooled and absorbed all the vinegar.

While the pasta rests, dice the red onion until you have 1 cup.  Place the diced onion in a bowl of ice water and let it sit for 10 minutes, then drain.  (This will make the taste of the onion less aggressive.  If you are serving this to people who might not be onion fans, you can reduce the amount or use scallions instead.)  In the meantime, chop the peppers and the celery, if using.

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

When the macaroni has cooled, pour about 3/4 of the dressing over it.  Add the veggies and the drained red onions.  Toss to coat the salad evenly.  Add more dressing if you like.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, preferably for at least an hour (overnight is fine, too).  Taste the salad and add any remaining dressing, if desired, or season with salt and pepper if it needs it.  Serve.