Life is slowly getting back to normal, and we have been getting together with friends quite a bit lately since social gatherings were not only frowned upon, but were not allowed in many cases for what seems like so long. This time Priscilla and Jonathon came over for fun times out on the deck. We weren’t sure if the weather was going to cooperate to let us enjoy our deck and the lakes. There were high winds, dark clouds and a bit of rain. But by the time it was time to eat, Mother Nature eased up and we ended up have a very enjoyable, pleasant meal out on the deck, just as we had hoped.
Priscilla and I always co-make the meal when we get together. We both love to cook, and it just makes it so much more fun when we share the meal and share the dishes. She made some delicious bruschettas with roasted peppers as the appetizers and a fabulous lemon custard tart for dessert. I added a variety of olives for the appetizers as well, and then made some bacon wrapped chicken kebabs and an Italian orzo and vegetable salad for the mains. As always, everything was a hit and the company was great.
This salad is a perfectly cool salad that helps you get through those really hot, dog days of summer.
Italian Orzo and Vegetable Salad
2 cups cooked orzo
3/4 cup toasted or candied pecans
1/4 cup apple cider
1/3 cup olive oil
1 TBSP garlic
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
salt to taste
1 tsp black pepper
1 roasted bell pepper chopped – yellow, orange or red, peeled and seeded
8 oz green beans, ends removed
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
2 TBSP lemon verbena, chiffonade, optional
2 TBSP shaved Parmigiano cheese, optional for topping
I candied my pecans to give a little extra sweetness, but you can just toast them too if you prefer. To candy them, I just cooked them in butter and honey for about 7 minutes, then turned them out on a piece of parchment paper to harden. Once they have cooled, chop them in small to medium sized pieces.
Make the dressing by combining the apple cider, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and garlic.
Toss all the remaining ingredients together, including the pecans. Add the dressing and toss well.
Top the salad with the shaved Parmigiano cheese, if using, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. This salad is best when served cold or cool.
After dinner and dessert we played a couple of games of Clue. Nicodemus, who never wants to miss out on anything, decided she needed to join the game as well. She wanted to be Colonel Mustard.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.