Monday, April 27, 2009

Work up an appetite

In the spirit of the season, I've got my mind on outdoor dining. Namely, the picnic. The glorious picnic! I kicked off this season with an intense hike up the (very) popular Breakneck Ridge. Appropriately named, Breakneck is no joke. The initial ascent requires a good pair of shoes, the use of your hands (as you are really bouldering, not hiking, at this point) and a fair bit of patience because it gets rather crowded. Luckily, once you've scrambled your way to the top, the crowd starts to disperse and you can enjoy the rest of your hike in relative peace. And, you've worked up a fine appetite with which to enjoy whatever you've packed for lunch. Did I mentioned that everything tastes better when you're outside and have breathtaking views of the Hudson? Well, anyway, it certainly seems that way. A simple (read boring) macaroni salad is elevated from passe potluck fare to a mouthwatering treat that provides sustaining carbs, just enough crunch and, if you're like me and add a handful of rogue capers, a bit of briny flavor to punch up the mellow mayonnaise.

Almost Old-fashioned Macaroni Salad

1lb. elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
3 T. white vinegar
1/2 sweet onion, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
2 T. capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup mayonaise
salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Cook pasta in amply salted, boiling water following instructions on the box. Test often so as to not over cook. Drain and immediately toss with vinegar.
  • Add onion, celery, capers and mayo; mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Enjoy!

My boyfriend and I are hearty eaters, so we rounded out our picnic with BLTs on homemade oat bread and nutty "Power Bars". Recipes to come.....

If you are interested in hiking Breakneck, check out the following websites:

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