So, my neighbor is a calendar.Every year, the week before Memorial Day, she has a couple different crews come out. One is to spruce up the landscaping, and make sure the yard is clean and the bushes and trees are trimmed and neat. Another bunch wash and paint the outdoor furniture. And, a third team does maintenance on, and fills the pool.
Then on that last Monday in May, the traditional start of the summer, she throws a pool party.Unfortunately, the neighbor and I only have a wave hello, comment on the weather kind of relationship, so I’ve never actually been invited to one of these Memorial Day pool parties. But I’ve thought about them, and in my mind, they’re potlucks.
So, of course, I’ve thought about what I’d bring. I decided on two dishes; one sweet, and one savory. Shockingly, there is neither cake, nor potato salad on my list.The sweet is a cool, creamy lime/pear jello recipe that has been a family favorite for literally, decades. It’s named after that seventies toy/curiosity, Slime. The savory is a new pasta salad based on one from a new local grocery store, Sprouts. It has no mayo, so it’s perfect for an outdoor dining (Look Ma, no salmonella!).
Prepare a large box of lime Jello according to package directions. When cooled, but not set, pour into a blender along with one 15 oz can of pears, drained, and one 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened. Blend until completely smooth. Pour into mixing bowl and fold in one packet of Dream Whip (Whipped topping mix found in the baking aisle. Can substitute thawed, 8 oz tub of Cool Whip) which you’ve made according to directions. Let set for at least four hours before eating. I consider it a dessert, but there are folks who call it salad. So…
You can use any type of noodle for this salad that you like—the pasta police will not break down your door with a side dish subpoena. But, I first had it with a broken capellini (angel hair). I like the way the sauce coats these noodles produce a silky mouth feel. And, it’s a departure from the norm.You can use angel hair or spaghetti, then break it into approximately 2-inch pieces. Or, in the Latin food section of your grocer is something called fideo; it’s short pieces of angel hair pasta. And, it runs between 33 and 50 cents a bag.
The dressing can, and frankly should, be made well in advance. The garlic will kind of cook in the lemon’s acid, and thus will make it less sharp and biting, and more mellow and round, almost sweet.
Lemon ‘Sghetti Salad
Dressing:Juice and zest of 1 large lemon (about ¼ cup)
½ cup olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized tomato cut into ¼ inch cubes or 1-pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 heaping tablespoons capers in brine, drainedWhisk together lemon juice and zest, oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning, and re-season, if necessary. Fold in tomato, garlic, and capers. Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours before using.A couple hours before service cook one 7.05-ounce or 200-gram bag of fideo in heavily salted wateruntil al dente (around 6-8 minutes). Strain and cool completely.
Mix pasta and sauce and let sit at room temp for at least 45 minutes. Cover leftovers and refrigerate up to three days.
Optional-Stir in 3 big handsful of leafy greens like spinach, arugula, or mixed herb greens.
Thanks for your time.
If you have an invitation for a pool party potluck or any invitations at all really, contact debbie.