Oh, how I love the longest day! Hope everyone's doing something sunny today and enjoying the thought that summer has officially started . . . being a dweller of the land of winter greyness, I suppose I do find it slightly depressing though that from here on out the days get shorter but now's not the time to think about that!
I am going to a potluck tonight with my home group from church - we are celebrating the arrival of our friends Paul and Ruth's little boy Joe only six days ago. We went to visit them yesterday and it was really fun to see such a tiny newborn - only days old - the mind boggles! I went to pick up Joe and Stu helpfully admonished me to 'be careful.' Uh, yeah, thanks.
I was trying to think of what to make for tonight and to me the summer potluck is all about the pasta salad. I turned to Moosewood (where else - the best salad-y cookbook eva) and enjoyed de-stressing tonight after work while making this very yummy Greek Pasta Salad. Go on, you know you want some . . .
Greek Pasta Salad
1/2 lb pasta shells
1/4 c olive oil
1 medium aubergine/eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp water
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 scallions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (2 tbsp dried)
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (1 tbsp dried)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 c crumbled feta cheese
Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil. Cook the pasta, uncovered, until al dente, and then drain. Rinse under cold water until cool and drain again.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the eggplant. Cover and cook for three minutes on medium heat. Stir in the salt, garlic, lemon juice and water. Cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until the eggplant is almost tender. Add the diced red bell peppers, and if you are using dried herbs, add the dill and oregano. Simmer a few minutes more, until the peppers are cooked but still have some crunch.
While the eggplant and peppers are cooking, place the artichoke hearts, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, scallions, fresh dill and fresh oregano in a large salad bowl. Add the cooked eggplant and peppers. Stir in the pasta and toss well. Add salt and pepper and more lemon juice or olive oil to taste. Serve at room temperature topped with the feta and some olives.