Here in Florida things are crazy, life is hectic and we are in between summer and fall. The weather is weird, and the schedule is making me straight-jacket worthy. Gymnastics, Baseball, Piano, School, Work, Homework – how do other parents function?! It’s been easy lately to fall back on my failsafe recipes, my low prep safe go to ingredients. Yet, I have been in desperate need of some variety and excitement in my kitchen.
The farmers markets are down to the last of the summer squa
shes in lieu of the fall varieties. I happened across some monstrosities of a zucchini and decided that I really was missing a mayo – based pasta salad. You know the kind; the elbow macaroni or baby shells with mayo and a variety of veggies, served cold. And so, this easy salad was born!
I’m not a “foodie” or “gourmet”, I’m a busy mom whose kids go from “not hungry” to “climbing the walls” in record time. I like simple food, and keep my recipes down to ten ingredients or less. I don’t go overboard, I don’t measure, I don’t plan. I mix, I try, and it either works or it doesn’t. We’re going to eat it either way! Occasionally, I come up with something I will actually do again and then I write it down.
I had the zucchini and I new that I wanted to start with zoodles. I have the Paderno Spiral Vegetable slicer and I love it, it gets a lot of use in our kitchen for kid friendly, fun foods. Best of all, my kids know how to use it and can help! Anything the kids can do to be part of the food experience, is tremendously helpful in creating life long good habits, a little family bonding and skills that will be essential for them later in life.
Whenever I’m in a pinch, I like to use shrimp. I always have wild caught shrimp on hand in the freezer because it defrosts and cooks very quickly.
Then came time for the veggies, I grabbed whatever I could
find in the fridge and pantry: green onions, cherry tomatoes, capers, black olives, artichoke hearts. I dressed it simply in mayo, salt, pepper & lemon juice and topped it with grilled shrimp. Not only was it amazing freshly prepared for dinner, after it sat refrigerated overnight it was BETTER as leftovers!
Here’s how it came together:
2 large or 4-5 small-med zucchinis cut into ribbons (salt, allow to sit and sweat, drain & dry)
4 scallions1 can of black olives, sliced & drained
1 3.5 oz jar of capers
1 pint of cherry tomatoes (I used a mix of red/yellow), halved
1/2 can of artichoke hearts, quartered
2 lbs of shrimp, steamed in lemon juice & garlic (or grilled)
The zest of 1 lemon
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1.5 cups of home made paleonaise
S&P to taste
And just in case you don’t have a favorite paleo mayo recipe, here’s mine:
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tbs of lemon juice (can sub ACV)
1 tsp of mustard of choice (I like a stone ground or dijon style)
1 cup of olive oil ( I don’t mind the EVOO flavor, some prefer a light olive oil though)
1/2 cup of avocado oil
salt & pepper
I used to cry over wasted oil after my many failed attempts at mayo making in a traditional blender. I certainly don’t have the patience for the drop by drop experience. After one too many times cussing as I through more oil and eggs down the drain, I saw a recipe calling for the use of an immersion blender. Now, I wonder why no one had the decency to tell me that sooner! For the past year… never another failed attempt at mayo!
With all the ingredients in a tall narrow cup (my immersion blender, aka stick blender, came with one of its own), put the immersion blender all the way to the bottom and blend until you see the mixture begin emulsifying and expanding, slowly move your blender up toward the top of the cup. The mixture will emulsify as you go. Takes 30-60 seconds. Like I said, I prefer the easier, less time consuming route!
I didn’t season this recipe very much, but considered adding garlic to the mayo next time, or even red pepper flakes to the salad. It’s a clean slate to build off of.
If you are like me, good food has to also be simple to prepare. This was a breeze, and a crowd pleaser.