Orzo Synthesis

Happy belated Memorial Day, and thank you to those who served -- especially to those who paid the ultimate price.

We spent part of our weekend with KEB and JB!  They came and visited us, and we played games and watched movies.  We made grasshopper martinis -- something KEB has been trying to get me to try for quite a while.  We've talked about it many times, but it just never happened before.  Well, now it did!  And they were very green.

And of course, we ate Twinkie cupcakes!  The rest  went to NES's coworkers today.  Sorry, MM, you were just a little too late to put a claim on one!

For dinner, NES made his famous eggplant and garlic bread sandwiches, and KEB made a salad!  But I didn't take pictures.  We ate it too fast!  

And then after a week of grey, humid days and showers, the sun came out!  Huzzah!  NES made us waffles, and we went on an adventure!  KEB and JB hadn't been downtown with us before, so we brought them all over!

We stopped at our first farmer's market of the year, and I got some blue potatoes and shallots (which I used for dinner tonight).  I couldn't believe how much there already was at the market!

We ate lunch at one of the fun little sandwich places. This one has lots of vegetarian stuff.  I had wonderful quiche and lemon-chicken-rice soup.  Yum.

And how could we miss our favorite ice cream place?!

After they left, I went a little crazy cutting up vegetables for Memorial Day.  There weren't that many leftovers, so I guess it wasn't too much!  And yum, hummus!  I didn't make it myself though.

We had a great day on Monday at the S's house.  We had great salads, ribs and desserts!  Yum.  Of course there was bocce.

And it was good to see mom and dad after their adventures in Ireland!

Afterwards, I helped mom and dad plant their garden, too.  Tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parsley and oregano!
I also discovered this weekend that just as there is a (decently) normal version of boxed macaroni and cheese, namely Annie's Shells and White Cheddar, Annie's also makes a (decently) normal version of Spaghettios!  Just like lunches in my childhood!

And then, well, today was no longer weekend.  But I cooked!  KEB made Tomato Orzo Pasta last week, and I decided I had to try it.  It sounded so good.  The problem is that NES doesn't like tomatoes.  So, that was a dilemma.  Which led to the synthesis of recipes that was the result.

NES makes a really, really tasty dish with boxed rice pilaf, orange pepper, mushroom, shallot and dried red pepper.  It's super easy, and super tasty.  It basically involves taking the vegetables, sauteeing them, and then cooking them with the boxed rice according to package directions.  I'll leave the details for NES to divulge later.

So, I decided that I'd use my farmer's market shallots and orange pepper instead of the original onions and tomatoes.  And to make it more like NES's style, I added black pepper and dried red pepper.

I'd say the synthesis was a success.

Pepper, Basil and Mozzarella Orzo

1 medium shallot, diced
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
2 cups orzo pasta
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
dried red pepper and black pepper, to taste
fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Heat the olive oil in a 3 qt. pan with a lid.  Sautee the shallot, garlic and bell pepper until the shallot is translucent.

Add the orzo to the pan and toast lightly.

Add the broth to the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, stir and simmer, covered, until almost all the broth is gone (approximately 10-15 minutes).  Meanwhile, dice the cheese and cut the basil into strips.

Before the last of the broth is gone, add black and dried red pepper to taste.

When the broth has been absorbed, add the basil and mix it in.

Add the cheese and mix until it is melted.

(KEB and I both found it needed a little salt.)

Serves 3-4.


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