Category: Lunch

Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo

Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo
Things at the farmers market got serious on Saturday. I was at one of my favorite stands when I spotted containers of shelled fresh peas. The farmer gave very explicit instructions to consume the peas in 2 days or freeze them. I hadn’t planned on leaving with peas, but I was up for the challenge and bought a box.

Summer pasta had been on my mind when I found some orzo hiding in the back of a cupboard. Before cooking the pasta with the peas, I roasted zucchini and squash. I spooned in pesto for a flavor boost and then finished off this zucchini squash pea orzo with chives and salty crumbled ricotta salata.
Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo
Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo

Serves 4

1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium summer squash, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
1/2 cup orzo
3/4 cup fresh peas
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the zucchini and squash on a parchment-line sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned at the edges.

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Add the peas in the last minute of cooking. Drain and transfer the orzo and peas to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto followed by the zucchini, squash, chives and ricotta salata. Season with salt and pepper.

Tomato Corn Barley

Tomato Corn Barley
Second to produce, the bulk section is my favorite department at the grocery. I never buy things in massive quantities. It’s actually the total opposite. I love that I can get smaller amounts, so I can shop per recipe instead of wasting valuable cabinet real estate with overstocked shelves. Then I am buying pantry ingredients on a more regular basis, so I know they are fresh.

A few months ago, I was getting pearl barley from the bulk dispenser, and it whooshed out so fast that before I knew it, I had way too much! Thank goodness I love this grain. I am still trying to eat my way through what I accidentally bought. Over the weekend I made tomato corn barley with chive vinaigrette, scallions and feta. It was a spontaneous mix of summer leftovers that I had around.
Tomato Corn Barley
Tomato Corn Barley
Serves 4

1/2 cup peal barley
1-1/4 cups water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 cup cooked corn kernels (I used grilled corn.)
2 scallions thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut side up, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until plump and juicy.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and chives.

Combine the tomatoes and corn with the barley. Stir in the vinaigrette, scallions and feta. Serve at room temperature.

Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread

Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread
My oven hasn’t been getting as much use now that it’s officially spring and unofficially summer. I’ve taken food prep to our back deck where I’ve been grilling all sorts of stuff from chicken to burgers to pizza. If I can put grill marks on it, I’m throwing it is straight on the grates. Another bonus is that cleanup is a breeze, and there aren’t any lingering dinner smells inside.

And just like that, my new routine came to a sudden halt last week thanks to back-to-back rainy days that seemed like they would never end. It was time to switch on the oven. I thinly sliced bell peppers, zucchini & squash and arranged them on a couple sheet pans. Once they were browned a bit at the edges, I made a roasted vegetable naan flatbread with hummus, arugula & feta.
Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread
Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread

Makes 2

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium summer squash, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced and deseeded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced and deseeded
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for naan
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 naan breads
1/2 cup hummus
1 handful arugula
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the zucchini, squash and peppers with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the vegetables on 2 parchment-lined sheet pans and roast for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned at the edges.

Brush the naan with olive oil and warm for 2 minutes in the oven.

Spread the hummus on the naan. Arrange the roasted vegetables on top followed by the arugula and feta.

Asparagus, Cannellini Bean & Sourdough Salad

Asparagus Cannellini Bean Sourdough Salad1
Last Friday I had trouble sleeping. It wasn’t because my mind was racing with anxiety or nerves. Nope. It was actually just pure excitement. Saturday morning was the official start of outdoor farmers market season in Chicago. It was a day I had been waiting for since the last market of 2016. Yes, stands appear indoors in the slog from November to April, but it isn’t the same feeling.

I joined the early crowd—before 8am. The almost glove-worthy weather was windy and cool, but I didn’t mind. The selection was dominated by greens with a few pops of color here and there. I bought a couple bunches of slender asparagus. They were so fresh they didn’t require much fuss. When I got home I made an asparagus, cannellini bean & sourdough salad with Parmesan & scallions.
Asparagus Cannellini Bean Sourdough SaladAsparagus, Cannellini Bean & Sourdough Salad

Serves 2-4

6 ounces sourdough bread, torn into rough pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1 teaspoon black pepper pus more for serving
1/2 lb. asparagus, bottom ends trimmed
3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans (I used canned beans.)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the bread on a sheet pan and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake the bread until it toasted and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

For the asparagus, preheat a grill pan over medium high heat. Toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Lightly grill the asparagus, until it is warm, but is still a bit crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Slice the asparagus into 1-inch pieces

In a large bowl, combine the toasted bread, asparagus, cannellini beans, scallions, chives and Parmesan. Stir in the remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Taste and season with additional salt & pepper before serving.

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