Friday, May 15, 2009

The Return of the Blog and ... a recipe (Greek Orzo Summer Salad)

So, I feel like a very bad blogger (slap my hand, if you wish) because I've been absent for many days. While there are no excuses for delinquent blogging, I can say that it has been an extremely busy time at work. That said ... sorry to all 10 of my loyal readers. I mean to be much more faithful in the future.

In return for your patience, I have a recipe for you.

But first, a little background.

My parents were of the hippie persuasion. I grew up eating bulgur wheat (where did my mom get that in Priest River, ID?) and being refused sugared cereals and gums. To this day, I'm grateful that my parents exposed us to lots of different foods -- beets, brussels sprouts, squash -- I didn't like all of them, but I was supposed to try them.

In later years, my dad was an experimental gourmand, trying out enchiladas with nopal (we lived in Spokane then, but seriously - where did one find nopal?) , recreating the Italian meal in The Big Night, and cooking up various Asian specialties. Vividly I remember the afternoon when my dad came out and offered my friends salmon mousse and toast points.

"What's a toast point?" my friends asked.

One favorite of my youth was a Greek orzo salad; I think the recipe might have come from the newspaper. The other day, driving around in the 90 degree Houston heat, trying to think of what to make for dinner that would not turn the house into a sauna, I remembered this salad. Although the recipe is long-lost, here's my re-creation:


Cook according to package directions:

1 to 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta

While that's cooking, chop up:

1 cucumber (yummy organic, if you can get it)
1 package cherry or grape tomatoes (I really like Cherubs, although I wonder what mutant process might have created them)
About 1/2 cup kalamata olives, or more if you like them a lot
1 package fresh basil
2-4 sprigs of rosemary

When the orzo is done, mix it up with the chopped goodies. Add to that mixture:

1 can garbanzo beans (CHICK PEAS!), rinsed and drained
about 4 oz. crumbled feta

Then make some dressing.
With a fork, mix up:

2 tbsp olive oil
The juice from 1 juicy lemon
1 smashed-up clove of garlic

Pour that all over everything else.
Chill the whole mess for at least an hour.

It makes a great main dish salad, or can be a side dish with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or some grilled fish.

Bon Appetit!

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