Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pasta Salad

I've decided that I am going to make pasta salad for my contribution to the family Easter lunch. I don't normally like pasta salad, I find it's usually drowned in mayonnaise. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with mayo.... in the right proportions and on the right foods. Call me picky but I don't particularly want it on my pasta salad. Neither do I want a whole bottle of italian dressing dumped on there as well.

I've found about 4 or 5 recipes that I need to choose from all of which are mayo-free. My pasta salad is going to be mayo-free. This works out pretty well since I've been assigned to bring the pasta salad to our pot-luck at work next week. So I can do a trial run of the pasta salad. Cool.

I think I might adapt something from Michael Chiarello's recipe that I found on the Food Network's website.
Tortellini Salad with Fresh Herb and Tomato Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
  • 2 pounds packaged tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 1/4 cups
  • 4 cups freshly diced tomato
  • 4 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
  • 4 tablespoons chiffonade basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick into approximately 30 slices
  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • Gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the tortellini according to the package instructions. When fully cooked, drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, herbs, shallots, lemon juice, and remaining 1 1/4 cups olive oil. Mix to combine and season with gray salt and pepper to combine. When the tortellini have cooled to room temperature toss with the vinaigrette.
To serve, line the perimeter of a large serving platter with overlapping slices of the mozzarella. Spoon the tortellini salad in the center and scatter the arugula leaves over the top.

I did find another recipe that looks pretty good. It's an orzo salad from the Food Network (where else).

Orzo Salad
Recipe courtesy Mary Nolan
Serves: 6 servings


  • 1 cup whole-wheat orzo pasta
  • 3 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley


Bring a pot of generously salted water to a rapid boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions, adding the corn in the last minute of cooking, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside.
Pour the lime juice over the avocado and coat evenly (this will minimize discoloration). Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle over the orzo and add the avocado with lime juice, tomatoes, and parsley. Mix until combined and serve warm or at room temperature

Eitherway, I'll post pictures of the one I choose and we'll see how it turns out. For now I have to go find lunch..... and darn it all I want pasta salad!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Basic Human Right

"Three-quarters of Americans agree that housing is a basic human right, and the Obama Administration says it supports the reduction of homelessness as a human rights obligation," said Eric Tars, Human Rights Program Director at the Law Center.
Read the article here:

A worthwhile cause....

I posted yesterday about a guy I heard about through NPR's the story. And while I can do nothing to help him but pray I have decided to focus my efforts a little closer to home. I have found a local homeless shelter for children called City House. I am going to become a supporting member of City House and I urge you to do the same. If not at City House then some other homeless charity.
Homeless prevention is something we can all support. In a country a great as ours it is sad to think that there are over 600,000 homeless people in the United States.  Homeless people are not all junkies, drug addicts, or mentally challenged.  A lot of times they are people who are just down on their luck and need a helping hand. The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a national organization (duh) that is dedicated to ending homelessness. Their website has a lot of information and ways that we can help. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crisis of conscience

I'm having a crisis of conscience and I'm not sure what I can do if anything.
I heard about this guy Chris and his blog on NPR's The Story. He is homeless. His story is from 09/21/10.
He started a blog to chronicle his experience with homelessness. Here's a link to the podcast/story:
and the blog:
Here's my problem, I feel like I should do something. But what? I'm in Texas, he 's in Minnesota. Can't really take the guy to lunch. I'm strapped financially and can't really afford monetary support. I don't have a big online presence or impact.
What to do? What to do? What to do?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I made up a new word today while talking to someone on the phone - logicalize.  Actually I said "logicalizing" but what the hey.
At least I thought I made up a new word. According to the Urban Dictionary it means:

To think logically; to use reasoning, usually in a desperate situation

Here I am feeling all special and Urban Dictionary busts my bubble.  Does the Urban Dictionary count as an official dictionary? I guess that's like asking does Wikipedia count as an encyclopedia.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thoughts of a Technocrat: Mobile Apps Invading Your Privacy

Thoughts of a Technocrat: Mobile Apps Invading Your Privacy


Little known fact.... I am working on my MS in Information Assurance (Cybersecurity). I just defended my thesis about employee awareness of information security policies in the workplace.  So information security is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. That being said I would like to make known a campaign created by the DHS - Stop.Think.Connect.
Stop.Think.Connect. is a national campaign aimed at informing people about security online.
Stop. Think. Connect. is a national public awareness effort to guide the nation to a higher level of Internet safety by challenging the American public to be more vigilant about practicing good “cyber hygiene.” It will persuade Americans to see Internet safety as a shared responsibility—at home, in the workplace, and in our communities—and demonstrate that shared responsibility by bringing together a coalition of federal, state and local government, as well as private sector partners.
Protecting yourself online is so so so important! Information security affects everyone.... including you.  Yeah.... you! So please stop in and check out the website for Stop.Think.Connect.  You will learn about safety online and what you can do to help pass the word on!
I am attending a forum  on April 12th at my university and there will be a guest speaker from the STC campaign. I am looking forward to it. Let you know how it goes.