Pasta salads that exceed the ordinary


Washington Post Service

Answers come from Ann Harvey Yonkers of FreshFarm Markets, Aviva Goldfarb of the Six O’Clock Scramble and frequent contributor and former chef David Hagedorn.

Q. Cold pasta salad is one of our favorite go-to summer meals. Quick to make, uses fresh summer vegetables and makes great leftovers for lunch. We use different types of pasta and vegetables, depending on what we have in the house. However, recently they’ve seemed kind of blah. Any ideas for adding zing but still keeping the salad relatively easy to bring together?

I find that a flavored olive oil or great vinegar really steps up the flavor of pasta salad. Also consider adding flavorful ingredients like olives, capers, roasted tomatoes, sausage, fresh lemon juice and, of course, lots of fresh herbs.

Aviva Goldfarb

Artichoke hearts. Feta. Nuts!

Joe Yonan

Q. I have a busy schedule. The other week, I thought I would have time for a few nights of home-cooked foods. I bought a variety of fresh vegetables from the farmers market. Ultimately, things came up, and a week later I still had some corn on the cob, carrots and other items left over. How long will the foods last? I wasn’t sure if it was too late to eat them.

Vegetables from markets are very fresh, so mine, forgotten at the back of the refrigerator, are usually delicious even if they have been temporarily abandoned. Cut the corn off the cob and add it to a stew or a tomato salad. No need to cook.

Ann Harvey Yonkers

Q. I’m having friends over Saturday morning and would like to make a quiche. I’m thinking maybe with roasted tomato, bacon and zucchini. I have two questions: 1. What’s the best way to make it ahead of time? Could I bake it the night before and reheat it in the oven? Or should I make the components (custard, crust, veggies) the night before and then assemble and bake in the morning? 2. What is the best pan to use for a quiche? Should I use my 9-inch deep-dish pie plate? A tart pan?

The day before, roll the crust, line the pan with it and freeze it. (I use a deep-dish pie plate or a quiche pan with a removable bottom.) Prep the custard. Prep the solids. Then bake the day of. Quiche generally is meant to be served at room temperature, by the way. You can make it in advance and reheat it, but it’s best to make it the day you want to eat it.

David Hagedorn

Q. I have tons of awesome fresh corn and zucchini and other squash from a friend. Any ideas for ways to use some of it up? I was thinking something with bacon, perhaps, for my meat-loving husband. Non-meat options also would be appreciated, as I am vegetarian.

I love to saute diced zucchini, corn kernels and diced onions in a little butter and olive oil; bacon would also be a delicious addition. I like to season it with curry or chili powder and a little salt.


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