The Art of Food: Simple Pasta Salad

I’m busy.  Always busy.  So therefore, it seems I never have time to make any fancy meals or dishes unless I’m preparing for a party.  To my women readers, don’t get jealous please, my husband also does most of the cooking for dinner.  (He likes it!)

That being said, I do like to make some things, and I especially love fresh food.  Good food, doesn’t always have to be complicated to make, nor does it always have to take a ton of time. So today I share with you how to make a simple pasta salad that is extremely healthy and very tasty.

The key is FRESH HERBS and lots of vegetables!

You can experiment with adding a variety of herbs. For my salad I went out to my herb garden and picked fresh sprigs of globe basil ( a little spicier than traditional basil), oregano, a bit of thyme and some big leaves of thai basil (strong licorice flavor).  There are so many possibilities to add though: cilantro, dill, parsley and a variety of others will all slightly change the flavor of the dish.

To keep things healthy I use Barilla Plus pasta ( it’s the stuff that comes in a yellow box) as an alternative to regular pasta.  It tastes so good and has a bunch of healthy ingredients like flaxseed, semolina, and legumes and packs a lot more protein than your average pasta (and it doesn’t have the “gritty” texture like other healthy pastas have) then I dice up a bunch of veggies and toss them in with olive oil, a little lemon juice, garlic and pepper!

Ingredients and simple instructions:

*Cook half a box of Barilla Plus Pasta, any variety, per instructions on box (usually 7-10 minutes), rinse then put in a bowl

*Herbs:
Add fresh cut Globe Basil, Thai Basil, Thyme, Oregano (or add your own favorites)

*Vegetables:
Add
1/4 green pepper, diced
1/4 red pepper diced
1 carrot diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
(I also recommend broccoli)

*Toss together with olive oil to coat.
*Add 1-2 t. of lemon juice
*Add fresh grated garlic or 1 t. of garlic powder
*Salt and pepper to taste.

Add a sprig of herbs on top for presentation.

It’s simple, fresh, quick, and low calorie while still tasty!

Fall Foodie Party 2010

I happen to think cooking (and eating!) is an art, so this year my husband and I hosted our first seasonal foodie party. I extended an invitation to friends to join us in a food tasting party and competition, and limited the party to the first half dozen or so responses. Guests were asked to bring their favorite fall small plate food as well as enough copies of their recipe for all the attendees.

We kicked the evening off with wine and and seasonal fall brews as the guests arrived.

As the platters started to fill up the counter we noticed a surprising trend. While you might think of turkey, cranberry, pumpkin, apples and squash as popular fall fare, apparently in our group of friends bacon reigns supreme! A few dishes included bacon wrapped pears with cheese, bacon wrapped dates, and potatoes gratin with bacon. I created sandwiches with applewood smoked bacon, granny smith apples, sharp cheddar, sauteed onions and appleslaw. We also had zucchini pancakes with zippy horseradish dip, roasted butternut squash bisque, acorn squash soup, and prosciutto wrapped pears.

Everyone ate and socialized, and once they were all full, they took the time to cast their votes. Points were scored for originality, appearance, and taste.

The bacon wrapped pears, and prosciutto wrapped pears fared well in the tasting competition but the overall winner were amazing chocolate covered coconut candies with a special kick from habanero chocolate drops!
We talked, we laughed, we told bad jokes, and also went through many bottles of wine.

Then, sufficiently satiated, we took the party outside where Nick, our favorite pyromaniac got the bonfire going.

“Eat your Art Out” for a good cause

Art House is a non profit arts center located between Ohio city and Brooklyn center in Cleveland. The Center was actually founded by local artists and residents almost a decade ago. Art House provided educational outreach programs, in-house arts classes for both children and adults, professional development for artists and educators, and even corporate services.

If you’d like to support this great organization all you have to do is have a great dinner. Dine on Wednesday April 18th @ The South Side in Tremont and the South Side will donate 20% of your check to Art House ( You need to visit the Art House site to print out the “EAt your Art out flyer” to present to your server however!) Get your flyer at the Art House Site athttp://www.arthouseinc.org/

View the South Side’s site for their menu and more info at http://www.arthouseinc.org/

A Tasteful Affair to benefit our “Arts in Auto-aviation”

I suppose you may be now asking…automobiles and airplanes  as art? If you ask my husband, cars can most certainly in fact, be art.  I think they may even be his favorite kind of art.  If you only knew the amount of time I have spent in a car museum, the whistles I have heard out of him at times driving down the road, or that on our honeymoon half the photos we took were of cars!

In Cleveland, we actually have a museum that is one of the best in the country when it comes to showcasing automobiles (and for that matter a few airplanes as well) .  The Crawford Museum has over 200 vehicles, including classic, vintage and antique cars, many of which even have a direct history with Cleveland.  I must agree with my husband that some of these cars are truly gorgeous artworks, and some fine examples of design.  It’s not surprising that Car Collector named the museum one of the top ten collections in the United States–it’s quite a large collection!

That being said,  my whole point with writing this was to inform you about Scene Magazines 5th Annual Tasteful Affair, in which a portion of the proceeds benefit the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.  The event takes place on Thursday May 17th from 7pm-10pm.  Over 20 area restaurants will be participating, and drinks are complimentary.  Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door.  I’d recommend getting there early since in the past food vendors have not always been so prepared for the large crowds and have run out of food before the event was early.  Currently at this time the restaurants participating have not been announced.  Hopefully this year the quality of restaurants will have a bit of resurgence, since last years were not as top notch as in prior years.

Unfortunately however, due to the Diana exhibit I believe, the event is not being held at the Crawford Museum this year but is instead  being held at Windows on the River.  This bit of information was disappointing to my husband, whose sole reason for going every year has been to get to go wander around looking at the cars, beer and food in hand.

Regardless, for $30 you still get an awful lot for your money, and are providing funding for the Crawford, which is definitely a good thing!