Orzo Salad


How often do you make recipes from blogs? Although I read a lot of food blogs, I rarely follow recipes I’ve found on them. I read food blogs more to follow the people than the recipes. Every blogger has their own story to tell, and a style they use to tell it. My favourite blogs are the ones that engage me, the ones that give the impression I’m actually getting to know the author. Pretty pictures help too.

That’s not to say I only read blogs for the articles. The recipes inspire me. Sometimes I’ll see a blogger use an ingredient in a way I had never considered, which makes me think of other innovative things to try in the kitchen.

Other times I’m inspired by the simplicity of a recipe. This salad was inspired by a very simple pasta dish by Paula of bell’alimento. Her recipe got me thinking that pasta is the perfect showcase for some of my favourite summer ingredients.

This dish is comes together very quickly, but is still full of flavour, especially if you use fresh summer produce.

Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • chives, chopped
  1. In a large pot, cook the orzo according to the package instructions.
  2. While the orzo is cooking, in a large sautee pan heat the olive oil on medium. Add the minced garlic to the oil. Once you can smell the garlic, add the tomatoes, pepper and olives. Sautee for two to three minutes; the peppers should remain crisp.
  3. Strain the cooked pasta, pour into a serving bowl then add the tomato mixture. Toss with the lemon zest and chives.
Enjoy!

Chicken with Vegetables & Spinach And Ways to Help

Last week when I decided to cook this dish, I planned to write a silly little post about the pot holes in Montreal, or “nids de poules” as they are called in French (chickens nests). But then Japan happened. Seeing all the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami made writing about a few bumps in the road seem so petty.

People around the world are looking for ways to help. The easiest thing to do is to make a donation to a non-profit that is helping in the area. Which non-profit to donate to is always a tough call. The safe choices like The Red Cross have high overhead costs, and the smaller organizations may not be legitamite. Because of their reputation, I choose to donate to organizations like The Red Cross or Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders); they may have more overhead but they are trusted, well known organizations.

If you are looking for another way to help, Sabrina from The Tomato Tart is hosting an Online Bake Sale to help Japan. Check out her post if you want to donate goods or bid.

If you simply want to donate, here are a few links.

In Canada:

The Canadian Red Cross

Medecins Sans Frontieres

Unicef

Oxfam

In the United States:

The American Red Cross

Doctors Without Borders

Oxfam

Unicef

And now for the recipe…

Chicken With Vegetables and Spinach

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • 5 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper and thyme to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • fresh spinach
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Clean and pat dry the chicken legs. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the onion, garlic cloves, bell pepper and potatoes with oil so that everything is coated. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
  3. Place the vegetables on a large baking sheet in an even layer. Place the chicken legs on top of the vegetables. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan. Place the pan on a burner on high, pour the wine into the pan and deglaze (scrape up all the brown bits).
  5. Place the chicken and vegetables on a bed of spinach and top with the wine sauce.

Enjoy!