Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy graduation, birthday, anniversary, independence, vacation day...and orzo salad with lemon, feta and pine nuts.

Well, you know I have a lot of catching up to do.  So, after friendly nudges, sweet "we miss you" e-mails, comments from my mom and husband, and straightforward "when are you going to start blogging again?," I am finally going to give up my blogging hiatus and get things back in gear.  I have no excuse, but that I work better on a schedule, and have been largely schedule-less since May. 

Here's a quick re-cap, in pictures.  

Summer Starts with a Graduation Celebration!

We celebrate our 6th Anniversary in Chattanooga, TN with a stay at Chanticleer Inn, great food, hiking, and city-exploring.  

Visits with family include a trip to Arrington Vineyards near Nashville, the Naval Museum in Pensacola, pre-Independence day celebrations, family meals, and time with friends.

 Independence day celebration in Philadelphia include a picnic near the Philadelphia Museum and a fireworks show over the Schuylkill River.  
Since returning from our Southern tour, my days have been relatively unhurried.  Window units notwithstanding, the heat still seems to slow things down to a molasses speed.  The job search, household chores, cooking (and apparently blogging) have all responded in kind, following snaillike paces of their own.

While I've occasionally turned on my oven for an occasion (pulled pork for Independence day, cookies for Bible study, brownies for my husband's guy-weekend retreat), it has been largely avoided on account of it's kitchen-stifling tendencies.  So, we've enjoyed our fill of grilled fare, sandwiches, and dishes which require minimal heat, like this delicious orzo salad.  

This has to be one of my favorite summer sides, one that I make often in warmer weather, and always elicits recipe requests.  The flavors just work so well together, it can be served cold or at room temperature, and goes well with almost anything you could throw on a grill.  

Orzo Salad with Lemon, Feta and Pine Nuts

Barely adapted from Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup orzo
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives 
1/4 finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup basil, julienned 
2 ounces good quality feta cheese, crumbled

In a medium pot, cook the orzo to al dente in salted water.  Drain pasta.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar.  Pour over the warm pasta, and let the pasta cool to room temperature.  

Add the pine nuts, raisins, olives, onion, basil and feta to the pasta, stir well.  Store Orzo salad in the refrigerator.  

This salad can be made up to two days in advance.  Salad is best at room temperature, but can be served cold.  

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