Saturday, July 21, 2012

Orzo Feta Salad

When was the last time you had someone over for a cup of tea? Asked a friend or neighbor to take a pause in their day and come by for a short visit to sit down at the kitchen table and chat for a bit over a mug of English Breakfast? Yeah, I can't remember either. Never? I've had people over for dinner and served tea after. I've had a friend by for a drink. But, I can't recall asking someone to stop by for a cup of tea. Is this a lost form of socializing? Has meeting up at Starbucks for a latte become the modern-day version of this simple social gesture? (I am making some assumptions here. Maybe tea invitations are still happening regularly, but just not to me?)

A scene in a book I was reading recently got me to thinking about this and I was feeling bereft of shared tea drinking in my life. I'm not sure why I find this troublesome. Perhaps it conjures up scenes from my childhood and makes me nostalgic. Or maybe it represents to me a slower pace of life that I'm craving. Whatever the reason, it is something I want to fit into the regular rhythm of my days. Coincidentally, today my friend Tricia was telling me about a social call she had recently with her sister-in-law's 101 year old grandmother. Can you guess what they did? This wise woman said to her, "a friendship isn't sealed until you've drank a cup of tea together".

This post seems to warrant a recipe for shortbread cookies or something of the like, but I'll direct you towards 101 Cookbooks for that. If my memory serves me correctly, Heidi has many things in this category. I put this salad together recently and want to record it before I forget about it.

Orzo Feta Salad

1 cup dried whole wheat orzo
Water for cooking the orzo
1/2 medium cucumber diced small
small handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
4-6 sundried tomatoes (in oil) minced
1 big handful of baby spinach, chopped coarsely
1/8 cup toasted pinenuts
1/4 cup crumbled feta, or more to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
the juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

I wanted to keep it simple, but you could add olives and/or fresh basil.

1. Boil water and cook the orzo. When it's done, rinse it with cold water to arrest cooking and cool it off quickly. You don't want it to melt the feta when you add it to the salad.
2. Put cucumbers, tomatoes and sundried tomatoes, feta and pinenuts in a salad bowl.
3. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt & pepper to taste.
4. When orzo is done, add it and the dressing to the other ingredients in the salad bowl and toss together.

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