When I was nine or ten years old, I watched Miss Congeniality for the first time. I loved the make-over scene where Agent Gracie Hart transforms from a tom-boy who never grew up into a beauty queen strutting her stuff--until she falls over her high heels onto the asphalt. I would laugh, and rewind and laugh again.
Still, when I was a kid, I didn't understand why Gracie needed a make-over in the first place. She had the straight hair that my frizzy-haired self longed for. In fact, I remember my childhood prayers for a month or so after watching the movie being along the lines of, "Dear God, please make me look like Sandra Bullock, especially my hair."
I chased after this dream for several years. Momma became my accomplice, taking me to an African American Hair Salon on the north side of town when I was in sixth grade to see if they could relax my hair. The hair dresser gave one look at my hair, and fearfully shooed us out of his salon. "I might make it fall off."
One day, somebody did straighten my hair. It took 8 hours. I ate a mini-pizza in the barber chair as the hair dresser put a third coat of straightening goop onto my soggy curls. At the end of it all, I finally had my Sandra Bullock hair. I was happy--until the humidity hit.
Five years after the first straightening, I realized that I didn't want Sandra Bullock hair. I wanted curls, glorious crazy exploding cascading boinging curly-q curls.
Make-overs can be fun, but they can never beat the original. Take BLAT pasta salad, for example. A make-over of an already perfect sandwich becomes a refreshing and light salad great for summer. Creamy avocados sauce it up with some colorful pasta, cherry tomatoes, and of course, bacon. We're not necessarily making-over (the original is fine as it is), rather, we're paying homage and cutting out the lettuce.
Yields: 6-8 servings
1 12 ounce box of tri-color rotini
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
6 slices bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Boil pasta according to package directions in salted water until cooked al dente. Rinse in cold water and drain well.
In a blender, puree 1 1/2 avocados with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper until creamy. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until "sauce" reaches desired consistency and thickness.
Toss pasta and cherry tomatoes in pasta sauce.
Before serving, mix crumbled bacon and parmesan cheese into the pasta. Top pasta with avocado chunks from the remaining avocado half, and sprinkle extra parmesan over the top. Salt and pepper to taste.
Best served cold.