Tag Archives: vinegar

Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad

Mac Salad 004

This year, for our Thanksgiving pot luck, I made two dishes. The first was a repeat of the Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows. I made a couple changes to the recipe to try to fix the problems I noted last year. I added a note to the recipe to say what I did, and so would direct you there if you are interested. (It should be Yams and Marshmallows).

Then, while I was considering different vegetable side dishes, it occurred to me that the meat was to be Kalua Pork; our theme was Hawaiian! So I decided that with the pork we should have sticky rice and macaroni salad. After trying to understand what sticky rice was, I decided to do the salad, and that is the recipe I am giving you here.

This salad has a slightly acidic taste from the vinegar rinse. The sauce keeps the macaroni loose; it doesn’t clump up badly. And it has plenty of vegetables.

Mac Salad 001

Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin (5-7 scallions)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups minced celery

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the macaroni and cook until soft; about 10 minutes. Drain, and immediately return the macaroni to the cooking pot and toss with the vinegar. Let cool ten minutes.
  2. In a very large bowl, whisk together half the mayonnaise (1 cup) 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the cooled macaroni with the mixed sauce and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk together the remaining mayonnaise (1 cup), milk (1/2 cup).
  5. Once the macaroni and sauce has cooled, fold in the scallions, carrots and celery. Pour the whisked mayo / milk over the salad; toss to coat. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.


First, when I say to make the sauce in a very large bowl, I mean more than a 4 quart bowl. I started with my 4 quart mixer bowl and it was full when I added the cooked macaroni. I luckily have a 10 quart bowl and so I switched to that to finish the salad. If the macaroni and sauce fill a 4 quart bowl, you still have to add over a quart of vegetables and thicker sauce.

I decided to let the food processor grate my carrots; I don’t like to use the hand grater and spoil my fingers. Anyway, as I got ready, I chopped the carrots so that I could place them in a 1 cup and a 1/2 cup dry measuring cups; they stuck out the top. But the interesting thing is, (and I have found this to be true with other ingredients that need chopping, etc) is that the processed / grated carrots take up almost the same amount of space as the chopped carrots. And because I had the food processor out, I decided to “mince” the celery using the same grater blade and technique of chopping the stalks to fill the cups. It works! The scallions I did do by hand.

I looked at more traditional macaroni salads, and they all seem similar with just a different cast of vegetables. Some use roasted peppers, or ripe olives. Most seem to use scallions. But not many seem to use carrots or celery, things that might be in your vegetable crisper and not need a special trip to the grocery store. I hope you try this version of a macaroni salad and enjoy.

Basil Chicken Marinade

We marinate meat for two reasons; the marinade enhances the flavor of the meat, but more importantly, the marinade tenderizes the meat. This simple marinade does a great job on chicken breasts.

Basil Chicken Marinade

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic chopped

Mix together, and place in a gallon freezer bag with chicken breasts. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Marinades work best on flat pieces of meat; slabs of meat that are the same thickness across the entire piece. This is so the penetration is even across the entire piece of meat. So, before we actually worry about the recipe for the marinade, we need to take action to flatten the chicken breast to be more even in thickness.
Basil Chicken Marinade 004

The easiest way to flatten the chicken breast is to hammer it with the bottom of a heavy pot. To keep from making a mess, use either a plastic storage bag (open so the air doesn’t cushion the blow of the hammer) or a couple pieces of plastic wrap- one under and one over the chicken breast. Now that the breast is captured between two layers of plastic, bring the heavy pan’s bottom down hard on the breast. It takes a good amount of smashing to get the results where the high spots are reduced to the same level as the edges of the breast.

Now that the breast is flattened, slip it into a plastic storage bag and add the ingredients of the marinade. I find one fault with the ingredient list; it sounds like there is enough volume to do several breasts at a time. My experience was that I feel that the ingredients as listed would do a single chicken breast- about 8 ounces of chicken breast. And, I felt that I could do the single piece of meat in a quart freezer bag instead of the larger gallon size. I would double the recipe if I were doing more that a single breast or a gallon freezer bag.
Basil Chicken Marinade 001

Because the tenderizing process is really a “cooking” process, I would limit the time I left the meat to marinate to not more than about 10 hours; certainly not over night. The acid (vinegar) in the marinate is acting on the meat just as when we make ceviche- the sea food “cooked” in lime juice. Too long of a marination will leave the surface of the meat mushy and the interior of the meat dry. Marinating draws moisture out of the meat. It is important to turn the freezer bag a few times so that all of the meat comes into contact with the marinade, and not just one surface.

That last paragraph makes marinating sound like a difficult task; it isn’t. That paragraph is mostly about the end cases of what is happening, and why the time period of marinating is important. It isn’t something to start and forget.
Basil Chicken Marinade 003

I think marinating makes a difference. One way to test that and form your own opinion would be to cut the chicken breast in half, and only marinate half. Then, after marinating one half, cook both halves and make a taste test. Hopefully, you will see the difference I did, and enjoy the enhanced flavor the marinade gives to the meat.