Fourth of July + Recipe

Happy Fourth! We kept busy. First fireworks shopping outside of town (most fireworks are illegal in Lawrence city limits, blah).


Then spent a good chunk of time at the park.

Home for a nap, a quick trip to The Merc, then back home where Pete and I hit the pool. And I admired my new sparkly pedicure under the water (out of water and up close: not quite as impressive, I need to work on my “fade”).

We had a nice little BBQ, just the three of us. I made orzo salad and potato salad, and Scott grilled Angus hot dogs and turkey burgers. We topped both with a mango salsa he whipped up, yum yum. Pete is usually a hot dog guy but not so much today, he totally swiped my burger and polished off half of it.

After dinner we sat out back. I bought the goodies for S’mores but chickened out (something about an independent toddler + open flame made me a little nervous) so I made chocolate-toffee rice krispie treats instead. Much more manageable.

Oh and we TOTALLY didn’t light those chickens, we TOTALLY just bought them for Pete to hold, yeah, that’s it. And we TOTALLY did the same thing for anything else that wasn’t a sparkler, snake, or snapper thing. Yeah. Mmmhmm.

And that about wraps it up. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July! Will get back to your regular blogging very soon. I’m off for another business trip this week but am getting a few posts/recipes finished up so there’s hardly a blip while I’m away.






Okay, you were good and endured all that so I’ll share with you one of my favoritest recipes. Every time I make it I sigh dreamily and tell Scott, “I love this salad so so much”. And he’s all “yeah, I know, because you say that EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU MAKE IT WOMAN OMG ENOUGH ALREADY”. Okay maybe he’s a bit nicer than that, but I bet he says that in his head because he’s so sick of me fawning over this stuff.

This is Ina Garten’s roasted vegetable orzo salad – and you guys, it so so good. I usually make a huge batch to go with our meal, then have it for lunch all week long. I am not generally fond of eggplant, and I’m not a huge fan of feta either, but in this recipe both are excellent and just perfect with all the other flavors. I make it in the summer, the winter, the fall and spring – it is particularly perfect for a summer BBQ, however, as it can be enjoyed room temp and can blissfully sit at that temp for some time. So give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad
(from Ina Garten)

1 medium eggplant, peeled and 3/4-in. diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. good olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. orzo or rice-shaped pasta
For the dressing:
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 c. good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
To assemble:
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 c. pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
3/4 lb. good feta, 1/2-inch diced (meh, I use the pre-crumbled stuff in the container at the grocers, and it’s fine)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.


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