I know I can’t be alone when I say that being in the kitchen in the summer is a drag. It’s hot outside, I don’t need it to be hot inside, too. And since it’s Utah, where central air is not especially common inside homes – they favor swamp coolers here – it is frequently already hot inside anyway so the last thing I want to do is make it hotter. I prefer to flavor my food with kosher salt, not beads of sweat.
Anyway, like most people we move to a great deal of low-maintenance cooking in this wretched heat, like grilling or things that cook quickly, and especially things that can be served cold, like this fantastic pasta salad from the June/July 2010 issue of Cooking Light. It is everything you could want in a summer dish – bright, sunny notes from the fresh dill, the tang of lemon, the smooth, silky bite of cold orzo and the crunch of crisp red bell pepper and cucumber. And the best part? I listed nearly all of the ingredients right there. The full recipe is, as usual, behind the cut.
I know, too, that it’s been a long time since I’ve updated. I won’t apologize for it, since I was using that time well, or promise that I will update more frequently, because you can see that’s worked out so well in the past, so instead I will encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed so that you’ll get the updates whenever I do get around to posting them.
And you don’t want to miss the chocolate peanut-butter cookies coming soon!
You will need:
3/4 cup uncooked orzo (get the bronze-die cut, it’s worth it!)
1/4 tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp honey
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup diced English cucumber (these are frequently marketed as seedless, longer than standard cucumbers, and might be wrapped depending on your store)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (Utahns: Sunflower Market is great for fresh herbs)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Cook your orzo as the package recommends, but don’t salt or oil the water. Drain and rinse with cold water, drain again and place in a large bowl.
While the orzo is cooking, combine lemon zest, juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey and black pepper in another bowl, whisking well to get them all together and full of deliciousness. Pour over your cold orzo, stir well to coat. Add cucumber, bell pepper, onions and dill, and toss gently again to coat veggies. Sprinkle with the goat cheese, if you like that sort of thing. Crumble cheese are not my thing. Stick your head in the bowl and enjoy.
Just kidding. It’s for eating – so eat!