Dot's Easy Asian Pasta Salad… and 3 other things

Item 1: The Judges are feverishly working to judge the summer doldrums contest.. Results soon!

Item 2:
I realize I haven’t done a food post lately, so I figured we’d remedy that today.
My fabulous neighbor invited us over for dinner tonight, and they are vegetarians. I’m bringing a super easy vegetarian asian-inspired Pasta Salad. Recipe follows at the end of this post.
Super easy pasta salad

Item 3:
The cute stuff I won from The Caffeinated Crafter!

Item 4:
The mess I really need to clean up this weekend. This is the corner of the ‘office’ — picture two other computers sitting off next to the one you can kind of see. The much maligned scanner has a stack of scanned doodles just sitting under it, and lets not even talk about the sewing equipment. We also won’t talk about the fact there are two OTHER computers in there that are my husband’s problem to clean up.
The Mess I really need to clean up this weekend

Dot’s Easy Asian Pasta Salad:

*As always, I don’t measure and I substitute freely, so take this as a guideline! I know some of the directions are vague, but go slow and taste often, and it’s really hard to mess up.

Pasta (1 package) – i used bowties.

1 can cannolini beans (white kidney) (this also works well with black beans instead or together)
1 can heart of palm
1/2 package of frozen, shelled Edamame (i’m guessing, because I just used what I had left – you could probably use close to a whole package)

1/3 to 1/2 jar Ginger dressing (from the refrigerated section, like Maria’s or Naturally Fresh)
Olive Oil
Sesame Oil (optional – it just gives a great smell!)
Rice Wine vinegar (or white wine or red wine vinegar would do in a pinch)
Soy sauce
Black Pepper
Sesame Seeds (optional, as a garnish)

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
In large boil, pour beans (with the liquid!) and palm hearts. Microwave the Edamame in a boil of water for 1-2 minutes to defrost, and add to the bowl.
Now add Ginger dressing, a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of sesame oil, several shakes of vinegar, several shakes of soy sauce, and a healthy few shakes of black pepper. Stir.
TASTE. Does it taste good? This is where you play around with it. Want it hotter? more pepper. Want more of that Ginger flavor? more dressing. not enough ‘kick’? More vinegar. Just try to do approximately the same amounts of oil and vinegar. Let that sit while your pasta cooks. When the pasta is done, drain, and add about 1/2 to the mixture. Stir it up and ensure that it is fully coated. You may not need all the pasta. For mine, I added about half again of the pasta, stirred, and decided that was enough pasta based on the amount of beans and palm I had, and saved the final 1/4 for red sauce for The Boy. (Obviously, if you increase to 2 cans of beans, and a full package of edamame, you may use the whole thing. But up your liquids accordingly.)

Refrigerate the whole thing for several hours for the pasta to cool and the flavors to meld and be absorbed by the pasta. Taste before serving and you can always add a few more shakes of soy/vinegar/oil if it seems dry. Optional: sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

This is great with many different kinds of vegetables, so feel free to go for artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, baby corn, steamed carrots or peppers, whatever you have on hand.
If you’re really lazy or don’t have any supplies on hand, you can always just mix everything with a store-bought asian dressing for a quick and dirty version.