Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo

Seeing as I started the summer with a delicious orzo salad, roasted shrimp orzo, I figured I should end the summer with one. I broke open a cookbook I got for my birthday from my Mom.

So far, this cookbook is great! I love the recipes (there are a ton) and the saucy commentary with the recipes. This one was pretty simple. I subbed the mozzarella for feta because it’s what I had on tap. This recipe took literally no thought to put together and was great cold the next day. We had a mini heat wave last week with temps in the 90’s. Having no AC, a cold lunch was necessary. I couldn’t bear to turn on the oven.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo Salad

Ingredients

3 servings of orzo

1/8 cup chopped basil

1/8 cup EVO

1 tablespoon EVO

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange and yellow ones from the FM)

1 small minced clove of garlic

1 cup crumbled feta

Sprinkling of pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Combine the halved tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, feta, and 1/8 cut EVO in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour. This was great because it allowed me to get a post run shower in. Wahoo!

After an hour, cook the orzo. Combine the cooked orzo with the other ingredients and the additional tablespoon of EVO. Salt and pepper to taste.

Seriously, can a meal get any easier? I don’t think so. The tomatoes were so fresh and amazing, because they’re in season now. The feta melted just slightly onto the orzo and the basil. Be still my heart it was so good! Is there a better flavor combination than tomatoes and basil? Nope.

This makes three servings. With my marathon appetite I housed a serving and a half and chilled the other portion for lunch the next say. As I mentioned above, it was so hot that the chilled portion came in extra handy. I don’t think I would have heated it up if I could have; it was great cold like all orzo salads. This is something I can see myself making in mass for several days worth of lunches.

One Year Ago: I set my 10k PR in the Santa Monica 5000. It was also the race that introduced me to Kaitlin! Isn’t running wonderful?

What’s in Season Now: August

I realize that I always say one of the best ways to save money at the farmers market is to buy what is in season but I never blog about what is in season or what I’m buying. I thought I would take you WITH me to the beautiful, epic Santa Monica Farmers Market for a little peek at what is in season now.

Peaches

Eggplant – When I saw eggplant a few weeks ago I let out a squeal of delight. I LOVE eggplant and please note that there are about 5 varieties at this booth alone.

Heirloom Tomatoes – Both minis and full size perfect for Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes

Peppers

Bunches of herbs – Actually these are pretty much available year round, $1 for a bunch!

Summer Squash – Again, squeals of glee when I spotted these a few weeks ago! I’ve been using them in this risotto recipe to make summer risotto.

Papaya Melon – Like honeydew but 100% better! Sweet and mild, this is what I use in my Prosciutto Melon Salad.

Carrots – Normally I associate these with Fall, they are so good when honey roasted.

Ginormous ArtichokesGrilled artichokes are good but I need to find other recipes.

BerriesSo summer.

What are you loving at the farmers market right now?

Back at it

How was everyone’s long weekend? Mine was good. It was the last hurrah of vacation because I started work on Tuesday! This marks what will likely be the last internship that I will complete (did you know that I’ve done 6 total? True story) So far I really like the place I’ll be working and I am looking forward to going out in the world and actually doing something with my law skills. Very excited to see what the summer holds for me! More on that at the END of this post.

Before work started I made this fantastic dinner. It is Paula Deen inspired so you can probably guess what the main ingredient is (butter).

I give you: Shallot, Scallop and Goat Cheese Quesadillas.

Oh yes. Get excited. The inspiration for this dish came from Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. I took some of the elements of her Bay Scallop dish and rolled it into a quesadilla with some goat cheese.

I took 1 tablespoon of butter and melted it down at a low heat. Once the butter melted I added 1 chopped shallot. It is very important to cook the shallot and butter at a low heat slowly. Do NOT burn the butter. Seriously, just don’t. While the shallot is cooking take out a quesadilla (I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat) and spread it with goat cheese (again, I used Trader Joe’s spreadable goat cheese, but anything will work). Once the shallots are soft and lightly browned transfer the shallot to the quesadilla and set aside. There should be butter left in the pan.

Then, raise the heat in the pan to medium high and add about 8 baby scallops (which should be salted and peppered on either side) to the pan. If there isn’t enough butter then add about a half tablespoon more. Sear the scallops on either side for about three mins. Once the scallops are done, transfer to the quesadilla. So at this point you should have your quesadilla with everything in it. Lower the heat again, to medium, and place the filled quesadilla in the pan, heat it up, fold it up and cook until the quesadilla is crispy.

Yum. Shallots cooked in butter? Thank you, Paula. You are a goddess. The butter goddess. This will be a repeat quesadilla for sure!

National Running Day:

Did you know that today was national running day? Well it was! I hit the pavement after work for a 4 mile run (my favorite run around my neighborhood). I’ve been laying low on the running to ensure that nothing happens to my foot before my half marathon on Sunday but the 4 mile run felt incredible. My legs felt good and I had a fantastic runner high afterwards. Yay runners run!

What I’m Wearing Work Edition

Anyone who knew me, especially in college, can attest to that I love dressing up especially in business casual. Last week I took my suit (for court!), a blazer and a dress to the tailors. I hadn’t lost enough weight last summer to justify alterations and I didn’t wear them all year so some nip/tuck was much needed! In addition I dominated the Anthropology sale rack and Zara and came away with some fun new pieces. I’m so excited to wear them I thought that I would share them with you!

High Waisted Skirt, Zara

I don’t frequently shop at Zara (sometimes I feel like their proportions fit oddly on my body) but I did pick up this fun, high waisted skirt last week. Zara has cute stuff and is pretty affordable so I was happy to find something I really loved there.

Shift Dress, Anthropology Sale Rack!

I have an obsession with Antro. No joke. I really will know that I have made it when I can wear Antro to work every day. This dress fits like a glove and will pair well with a cardi.

White Blouse, Anthology Sale Rack

Not necessarily for work (maybe with a tank under, paired with a nice pant on casual Friday?) but this was fantastic for Saturday bunch in Silverlake. I paired with olive green shorts. I love how light and summery this top is!

How do you dress for work?

Joan’s on Third

If my first week of vacation was all about catching up with friends, the second week of vacation was all about large lunches, reading and shopping (post to come on my new business casual work wear acquisitions). Wednesday I went to the opening of Lemonade in Brentwood and on Thursday I went shopping at the Grove and then took myself out to lunch at Joan’s on Third. I’ve been to Joan’s for cupcakes before but never for lunch.

Joan’s was busy (as usual) but way less busy than it would be on a weekend. I love everything about Joan’s. They have a cheese case that I just want to dive into <- not even kidding. I placed my order at the counter and was lucky to snag a table outside.

My tour of the Chelsea Handler catalogue continues…

To drink I ordered an iced tea.

Soon enough my sandwich arrived. It was a tough decision but I ended up getting apricot glazed ham with brie on wheat. Obviously, brie and ham is always going to be my go to.

The sandwich was delicious! There was brie but not too much. The bread was very grainy and delicious. I sat in the shade, read my book, sipped on my iced tea and enjoyed my sandwich. Pure lazy vacation bliss!

The staff at Joan’s is great. I wish I could say the same for the other patrons. While I was in line there was a group of women I will refer to as the plastic surgery gallery (really, why does anyone do anything to themselves that makes them look like they are going through a wind tunnel at all times?) and they were on their phones while ordering. The cashiers were trying to tell them to order as a group on one register but because they were on their phones they didn’t understand. It was obnoxious.

Then while eating my sandwich, another patron waiting for a table threw a hissy fit, was incredibly rude to the server and basically demanded a table that wasn’t rightfully hers. In order to appease the women the server ended up asking me to move half way through my meal to a table in a lesser location. The staff was very nice to me as they asked me to move, clearly they were in a bind and they made things right with the drink refills but I was shocked at the audacity of the customer to basically demand another customer to move.

Other customers aside, the staff was nice and tried to be accommodating. The food was amazing as always. I snagged a cupcake on my way out, same as last time which was tasty! I will be hitting Joan’s again, but maybe only to go.

Any dining horror stories of other patrons? I consider myself a pretty low maintenance diner so I was shocked someone would cause a scene just to secure a table in a certain location.

In other news!

My little brother started a blog! He is spending the next 10 weeks in Cameroon doing civil engineering work. If you want to travel his exploits in Africa, you can follow his blog. I am so proud of him going out in the world and making a difference.

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad

Don’t call it a comeback. I finally took to my kitchen today for the first time in longer than I would like to admit. My eating habits during finals were pretty terrible. There were endless trips to the hot bar at Whole Foods and random snacking. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get proper nourishment for two weeks with the exception of a few meals and truthfully, I wasn’t that hungry. My appetite came roaring back during yoga last night (a 3 min head stand will do that to you) and today I took back my kitchen with this lovely summer dish.

Today felt like January in LA. It was cool (60 degrees, and yes I realize that there was a WIND CHILL in Chicago today so I won’t complain too loudly but I did see a women in a parka today so we’re going to count it as a ‘cool’ day). I think this dish would be great at a picnic, as a bbq side dish or, you know, whenever you want to feel like it’s 4th of July weekend. This recipe is a Barefoot original so feel free to pretend you’re in the Hamptons drinking a pitcher of mojitos with Jeffery as you eat it.

Ingredients:

Serves 3

3 servings of orzo pasta

1 lemon

10 shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 minced scallions

Generous chopping of fresh dill (I used a lot because 1) I love dill and 2) I bought an obscenely large stalk at the FM this week)

1 small hot house cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and diced

1/4 small red onion, diced

Generous sprinkling of Feta Cheese

Salt

Pepper

EVO

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take 3 servings of orzo (as directed by packaging) and cook until al dente. Once the orzo is done, drain and set aside in a large bowl. Then in a small bowl, combine juice from 1 lemon (make sure to remove any lemon seeds that escape in the process of juicing), a 1/8 cup dollop of EVO, plus salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together.

Combine with the orzo in a large bowl. Make sure to stir in thoroughly.

Next, chop the dill, onion, scallion, and cucumber. Set aside.

See, the dill I bought was SO freakishly large that it didn’t fit in the camera frame!

Get your shrimp out!

Put the shrimp in a baking pan, sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and EVO. Make sure the shrimps are covered in salt, pepper, and EVO and roast in the oven. This should only like about 7 mins at the MOST. Make sure the check on them so they don’t get overdone. If leftover shrimp freaks you out like it freaks ME out you could, in theory, wait to do this step until you are going to serve. The orzo stores well and you could just cook the shrimp right before you want to consume it.

Toss the shrimp in with the orzo. Then add the chopped ingredients (dill, scallions, red onions, and cucumbers). Top with the feta cheese and toss.

At this point, you can refrigerate the salad or let it sit at room temp for an hour like Ina instructs. But, if you’re like me, you photograph and eat as quickly as humanly possible because it is so tasty!

This pasta salad is delicious. The lemon and dill together felt like summer and the crispness of the onion, scallions, and cucumber was amazing. Can you promise me that if you make this you will only use the freshest of the fresh farmer’s market ingredients? Because using anything less or subbing out an ingredient just wouldn’t do the flavors justice. Roasting is by far my favorite way to cook shrimp (ok, I lie, I also have a special place in my heart for grilled shrimp) and it puts a great extra-special touch on this dish. This is the kind of thing I can see myself making on a Sunday and then bringing to work for lunch throughout the week. Oh yes, I see jealous co-workers in my future.

What meal just reminds you of summer? I could use the upper- another overcast day that requires boots might put me over the edge.

Good for me, good for the earth

Hey gang!

Today I decided that after all of the chocolate, cheesy potatoes, friend chicken and scones I consumed yesterday it would be a good idea to eat something green. Yoga last night was fantastic but my stomach definitely felt all the food I consumed. After eating like I did yesterday I was craving something green.

Enter Heirloom Spinach!

I didn’t even know Heirloom spinach existed! Of course I have had heirloom tomatoes, when you grow new tomatoes using the seeds from another tomato. This spinach looked so irresistible I had to buy it. It was so crisp and bright green!

My lunch today consisted of lentil soup and a slice of 9 grain bread, toasted with spreadable goat cheese and a huge handful of spinach. Gotta get the green in where you can!

Delicious. And don’t worry, that is the last of the goat cheese. I promise. I am stepping away from the goat cheese.

In other news… over the weekend I did something nice for the earth! I put all of my grains, pastas, nuts, snacks, dried fruit and baking supplies in to reusable glass jars! I went to OSH and bought 24 glass jars (half in pint size and half quart size). I buy many items bulk from Whole Foods and transfer the items to Ziplock bags so this will definitely help the earth!

I managed to use 22 of the 24 jars. Who knew I had that many jar-able things in my apartment?! 5 jars of pasta! 5! Another side benefit? I can see everything I have and I love the way that it looks. I don’t know why but whole walnuts in a jar are seriously beautiful. Other good things I do for the earth? I recycle, use reusable grocery bags and cart, walk to and from school everyday, buy local produce, and I buy use clothing and kitchen utensils. Most of my kitchen supplies are either hand me downs or purchased from thrift stores and estate sales!

What do you do for the earth?