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.

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Things to be Thankful For

Hey Blog World! Today was a good day. I have had such high energy this week and today I was reflecting on all the wonder things I have to be thankful for.

For example: I have great friends, I can run 10 miles and will soon be a half marathoner, I get to study race at a top institution with a one of the kind program, I can and do make choices to make myself happier everyday, I help those around me, and I get to blog for fun. How lucky am I and how is this my life? Things always turn out so much cooler than I could have ever imagined.

And on top of that I sorted out my situation for next summer and took a job offer. Wahoo! This demands a celebration so I went to Susie Cakes (obviously).

Seasonal Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

Soft and moist, with light seasoning. The cream cheese wasn’t heavy at all. Simply delicious. The best celebration treat ever!

I might have gotten a cookie for lunch tomorrow to. So shoot me.

Its just too cute.

So you’ve had a cupcake treat, what are you going to make for dinner? Answer: a creation from the brand new, yet to be released Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. This book is completely vegan and emphasizes local, pure food. What do I mean by pure? No preservatives. While I am not vegan I do eat mostly local (all local produce) and eliminated almost all preservatives from my diet in order to lose weight and fuel my runner’s body.

I used the pasta that I had, cut down the recipe, and substituted some major ingredients but I kept it vegan and let me tell you: best white wine sauce ever! In the past when I made white wine sauce I’ve use butter. Let me tell you, this is better. Did I just say better than butter? Why yes I did.

I don’t want to post the recipe because this book literally just came out. Buy it here! I will say that the sauce had grape seed oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, spinach (swapped with arugula), white wine, and vegetable stock. I wouldn’t have thought about the veggie stock but it was a great addition and gave the sauce a lot of flavor.

So the deal with the pasta: I didn’t have spaghetti. It ended up being a mash up of whatever I had left over but I think it looked pretty good.

As I mentioned above, this white wine sauce was better than the sauce I made in the past with butter. I am still in disbelief and will most definitely be making more from this book. If you are a vegan or just want to eat delicious wholesome food you should get this cookbook. There is tons of basic information about healthy eating and living a more healthy lifestyle. Left Coast Approved!