I hope everyone had a nice Easter. Or Passover. Or, if neither of those are apropos, a good weekend! We spent the weekend with Matt's parents. Penny loves it there because she can roam the property and take hourly dips in the pond. Every night, after exploring, she curls up in her dog bed and snoozes through the night so she's ready to go at 6 am the next morning. Promptly at 6, she comes to my bedside, sits down so her face is no more than a foot from mine, and commences her staring. She's got it down pat, and I gotta say, it's unnerving.
For the festivities I brought a simple-as-pie Greek orzo salad. I make a lot of stuff like this that require no recipe and virtually no thinking: take a grain (couscous, quinoa, some sort of pasta) and mix with a simple vinaigrette and summertime vegetables. Easy on the eyes and the stomach. (It also travels well and you really can't botch it up.)
My go-to vinaigrette is this, and it's a classic: 2/3 cup of good olive oil to 1/3 cup vinegar (this time I used red wine). Whisk in a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a diced shallot, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme (this is patented by yours truly) and salt and pepper to taste. If I have cooking sherry I add a splash of that, but you know, that's when I'm feeling particularly opulent.
All my salads have a Mediterranean flare given the warm-weather vegetables, and this one focused on Greece given my very eye-brow raising amounts of feta involved. My favorite cheese is feta cheese. Actually, every cheese is my favorite cheese. Duh.
Greek Orzo Salad
- One package orzo (16 oz.), boil to al dente
- One jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced
- One jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced
- One large red onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers (orange, red, or yellow will do), diced or cut into think 1/4" strips
- 1 package baby spinach
- 1-2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup packed and chopped fresh Italian flat parsley
- feta cheese to taste (about one Athenos package)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vinaigrette, recipe above - makes 1 cup
- Optional: toasted pine nuts
Directions: Mix all ingredients to a large bowel (except pine nuts and feta). Add vinaigrette and mix. Fold in crumbled feta, and garnish with pine nuts and additional parsley, if desired.