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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


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


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.

28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dayna #

    Woohoo! Boys are AWESOME! As Nikki, Margaret and I can attest to. Also, I work with a Basil – he’s a world famous epileptologist who reads neurology journals in the biomedical library on weekends because he enjoys it. Also an elegant, humble, thoughtful man. A kid could do worse.

    August 31, 2014
  2. Yay team blue! What a great way to find out! I love it! Macaroni salad looks fabulous, btw. I wants it.

    August 31, 2014
  3. Jen #

    Congratulations on the boy news!!! 🙂 🙂

    August 31, 2014
  4. Woohoo! Congrats! That is hilarious, I think my dog would go crazy if I brought a pinata into the yard. Aaaand now I’m craving pasta salad. Want.

    August 31, 2014
  5. Sharon #

    As a mom of 3 boys (and your former babysitter!), I just wanted to say congratulations to you, on the wedding and the baby and just everything!!!!! So much fun to follow you and see all the happenings!

    August 31, 2014
  6. Ruth Vaughan #

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Boys are awesome, and I’m sure Thunder will be a great big sister! One of my favorite pics of Stafford is his first meeting with our dachshund Ralph…it is mainly a big pink tongue spread out all over Stafford’s tiny face….and it is adorable!!!

    August 31, 2014
  7. Congratulations. I am the mother of a boy and I assure you that the kind of stories you enjoy telling will multiply. Children = chaos. Delightful chaos but chaos nonetheless. It’s been great to hear about your very eventful summer.

    How about Nicodemus Bartholomew? Aloysius Wolfgang?

    August 31, 2014
  8. Congratulations! I like your words…

    August 31, 2014
  9. That is the greatest gender reveal ever! And I love Thunder “helping.” Congratulations on your behbeh boy!

    August 31, 2014
  10. YAY A BOY!!! Yayay huge congrats, Katherine!!! I’m kind of secretly hoping for a boy first when the time comes 😉 wishing you guys a safe and happy pregnancy, and all good things!! PS Totally on board with BPR IV. His initials sound like a disease strain, which I’m pretty sure is an express train to cool-kid status.

    September 1, 2014
  11. First off, I have a cat named niles, and he is the best cat ever in the history of the world. SO YOU COULD DO WORSE. It’s a great name. That said, Basil is probably the best name you could choose if you didn’t go with Niles. Men with those names are intelligent, neat and tidy. Also, they wear corduroy jackets with elbow patches.

    Second, a boy! That means those names will work far better.

    September 1, 2014
  12. Yaay for piñatas! and blue candy! and Thunder! and blindfolded baby-bumps! and Scott’s fainting-voice!

    September 1, 2014
  13. christine #

    BOY!! CONGRATULATIONS! So excited for you! And your bump is adorable! Xx

    September 1, 2014
  14. Ahaha… best ever way to find out this news. Oh Thunder… what do you think is going to happen here? Sudden super-spring ability? Still, good effort…

    Basil is the name of one of the finest versions of Sherlock Holmes known to man – I speak, of course, of Basil the Great Mouse Detective. So on that theme it’s got to be either Basil or Benedict. Definitely stick a number at the end, regardless.

    September 1, 2014

    September 1, 2014
  16. Congrats on the baby boy. Don’t saddle a child with a name that you wouldn’t want to have for yourself.LOL

    September 1, 2014
  17. a #

    A boy! How wonderful!

    September 2, 2014
  18. The Sessionista #

    You’re just selling yourself short if you don’t go with Niles Godfrey Rohrbaugh Basil Prescott Rohrbaugh VI. Congrats!

    September 2, 2014
  19. ibreatheimhungry #

    Congrats!!! Boys rock!

    September 2, 2014
  20. Team Blue – Congrats – YAY!!!

    September 2, 2014
  21. Yay! Congratulations!

    September 2, 2014
  22. Congratulations! I’m now seriously loving the name Basil Prescott…

    September 2, 2014
  23. Absolutely ecstatic for you guys! Congrats congrats congrats! Jumping the gun a bit here, but are you going to post baby food recipes? There’s a munchkin in my camp who’s clamoring for some new dishes in our repertoire…

    September 3, 2014
  24. Anika #


    Also, I need this pasta, like now.

    September 3, 2014
  25. Frasier Niles Rohrbaugh. Congratulations!

    September 3, 2014
  26. pasta salad = always delicious, especially when pregnant because you can eat the entire thing without shame. it’s wonderful, comforting stuff.

    two, yay for boys!!! I’m so happy for you! I knew rachael was going to pipe in with her feelings on the name Niles (because, cat), and she’s actually right about that whole elbow patches/tidy thing. Not a bad way to go with a boy child, just saying. 🙂

    September 5, 2014
  27. Kath the Cook #

    Love your writing! Give this one a try:

    Mediterranean Orzo Salad

    1 cup or so cooked orzo
    sliced or chopped red onion
    chopped kalamata olives
    marinated artichoke hearts – trimmed up and chopped
    feta cheese – I think Vigo is best
    roasted red peppers
    chopped fresh oregano
    red wine vinagrette of your preference
    maybe some capers?

    absolutely addictive and yummy

    September 5, 2014
    • Kath, this looks delicious! I’m so glad you posted it. I will let you know when I try it. Scott is a huge caper fan so that he’ll love it

      September 5, 2014

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