Summer Orzo Salad

I have a couple of great aunts that are my idols.   Both are in their mid and upper 80s.    Both still live on their own and you truly need to get on their social calendars months in advance if you want to go to lunch with them.    Between bridge, church projects, volunteering, etc., they are literally running all the time.

They are two of the most cheerful people I have ever met.

They are my grandmother’s baby sisters and as they age, their mannerisms, personalities and appearances remind me more and more of her.    They are my connection to her.

My KC great-aunt recently made the trip down to visit her little sister in Tulsa.   It was an excuse for another family celebration.    I took the Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad to our last little family get-together.   I needed to up the ante a bit and take something else fabulous to wow them.   (Nope, not a competitive bone in my body…not at all.)

 

Summer Orzo Salad

2/3 c. canola oil
3 oz. red wine vinegar
3 oz. honey (Use less honey for a tangier dressing.)
2-3 drops Tabasco or Srirachi Sauce
1/2  t. salt
1 t.  pepper
1 1/2 c. orzo (cooked according to directions)
4 small cucumbers, diced (about 2 cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large bell pepper, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/8 c. basil, julienned (If using a boxwood, Pistou, or pesto basil, just chop it.)
4 oz. feta
Optional:   fresh herbs to garnish

Combine oil, vinegar, honey, hot sauce and salt and pepper in a blender and pulse until mixed.

Place all other ingredients in a bowl, drizzle on dressing and toss to coat.   Chill covered for 3 hours or longer.   This is better the 2nd day.

orzo summer saladI recently vowed to stay off the internet and my favorite foodie blogs for a while when searching for recipes.   I have a plethora of cookbooks that I never use any more.   It is just easier to use Google.  🙂

This salad is based on a “Pepper Place Vegetable Salad” from Tables of Content by the Junior League of Birmingham.  I adapted the dressing, added the orzo and basil and feta to a vegetable salad that is allegedly much loved at the Pepper Place Saturday Market in Birmingham.    (I also found inspiration for the jam dressings that I posted earlier in the week from the cookbook.)

This is easy to add chopped grilled chicken to for a summer meal.

Note:   Unfortunately, nothing was from the garden for this meal YET.   That is except the basil.   I have almost stripped my pesto basil clean.    I was able to land a Holy Thai basil plant in Houston, though.   That was a find!

Last Note:   When did your stuff that you bought new get retro?    I am referring to my green Tupperware “crisper” that was a must-have when I first moved out on my own.  (I was about to say “set up housekeeping” but that sounds too vintage in itself.  )IMAG3637

Is it about the same time as when you realize the toys you played with are going for big bucks on eBay as antiques?

Alas, what will I consider retro when I am in my 80’s like my two favorite great aunts?

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My Favorite Reads

Eat, Pray, Love
Running with Scissors
SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Naked
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
The Paris Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls


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