I had a plan. I was going to get really pretty pictures of this brand-new pasta salad I’d invented. Petey had shown me a few camera tricks and I was going to wow the world with this gorgeous summer dish.
There was only one problem.
I forgot.I’ve had a life-long culinary handicap. I’ve talked about it many times, and in various ways: baby tongue, delicate palate, wimpy mouth. No matter the moniker, they all mean the same thing. I have a very low tolerance for heat/spice.
My upper limit is in the poblano neighborhood. This pecadillo isn’t a choice, I’d love to be able to order willy-nilly, from any Mexican menu, or eat Thai or Indian food, or order a Chinese dish that has a red pepper symbol on the menu without begging the proprietor to leave off the spice, and worry until I take the first bite that they’ve either ignored me or forgotten.It literally causes me pain (and definitely not in a good way), and I can’t eat it. But, it would be a perfect weight loss strategy—if I didn’t have a problem with wasting any food, fiery or not.
I have discovered that I can eat a pretty intense level of horseradish. It’s a different type of heat, more nasal and “less mouth scorching-ly why God why?” Eating it makes me feel like a big girl.
But a couple years ago I discovered chili and lime. It’s a combination made in flavor heaven. It’s the savory equivalent of Holmes and Watson, or Kenan and Kell.
The Kid and I love to shop at Trader Joes. One reason is that they’re constantly coming up with products that are so good they make one wonder, why weren’t these always a thing? Just in the spice aisle alone, the have an umami seasoning, and a jar of everything bagel sprinkle which my child adores.But my new favorite is the chili-lime seasoning. It’s perfectly balanced and goes great on meat, avocados, and fruit. The other day I made pasta salad, and got crazy with it.
And that’s the dish that we devoured before I remembered to take a photo. So, here’s the recipe:
Summer Red & Green Pasta Salad½ lb. rotelle or other small extruded pasta, like shells or cavatappi, cooked according to directions and drained
½ rotisserie chicken, skinned, pulled, and cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup mixed grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup thawed frozen peas
Place all salad components into large bowl and toss.
Dressing1 cup mayonnaise
juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon chili lime seasoning (more or less according to taste)
salt & pepper
1/4 green onions, sliced thinly
smoked salt (optional)
gel from the bottom of the rotisserie container (optional)
Whisk together dressing ingredients and add enough very hot tap water to get it to the consistency of thick pancake batter.
chopped avocado, seasoned and dressed with a tablespoon of lime juice
Gently fold in enough dressing to make the salad a little wetter than you want the finished product, as some will absorb into the pasta. Cover and let sit at room temp for thirty minutes.
When ready to serve, lay a pile of spinach, spoon on some salad, and top with avocado.Serves 6-8.
This salad would be perfect for a barbecue. But, it’s also a terrific cold dinner all by itself. Or, if you’ve got company, serve it with some crusty bread, and some Mexican street corn, elote (roasted corn on the cob painted with mayo and dusted with chili lime and the crumbly Mexican cheese cotija).
And since I’m a big, grown-up, chili-eating girl, I’m having mine with Sangria.Thanks for your time.