The funny thing about the weather in Virginia is that although we get 4 seasons, Spring and Fall are BRIEF. Before you know it "Spring" has turned into humid 90 degree days, and "Fall" has turned into 2 feet of snow. And April is the most manic month of all with Mother Nature vascillating between cold and wet to hot and humid.
It was hard to believe that yesterday was just another day in April and not August.
I even pretended it was August at dinner time. In a few months, most of these ingredients will be in peak season and might even be growing in your own backyard. This is an easy recipe I've made many times. It's simple enough that I could throw it together while the boys played out on the slip n side, then I just stuck it into the oven while we went out for a (hot and sticky) walk.
Basil Shrimp and Feta with Orzo
(from Cooking Light magazine like three years ago)
3 cups of uncooked orzo
1 pound of raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1 bunch of basil
3 medium sized tomatoes
1 cup of crumbled fat free feta
salt, pepper, and garlic powder
First things first, bring water to a boil and cook the orzo for about 5 minutes. This step probably takes the longest of the whole process.
While you are waiting, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil
Spray it with cooking spray
Rough chop basil or "chiffonade" which basically just means roll it up and then cut it into strips
Mix it with the bowl of raw shrimp
Dice the tomatoes
Orzo is done! I used a strainer to move it over to a bowl (separate bowl than the shrimp/basil)
Give the orzo a turn of olive oil. I dont know maybe 3 tablespoons or so? You just don't want it to stick together.
Zest one lemon... If you don't have a little zester no worries just skip this step. It will still be yummy :)
Then add the juice from half of them lemon. And by the way taking this picture with my right hand while juicing with my left hand was very akward.
Then add the cup of feta. Yummmm feta, I love you
And then the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, generously!!
Mix it all together
Then dump it out on the cookie sheet lined with aluminum
Add the bowl of basil and shrimp to the top. Then I sprinkled some more salt pepper and garlic powder on the top.
Put another sheet of aluminum foil and top and fold around the edges so that it's all sealed up
When you're ready, pop it into a 425 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. My tummy is seriously rumbling while I relive this and its only 10 am.
Now very important, grab that other half of the lemon you havent yet used and squeeze fresh lemon juice alllllll over it. This will really brighten it up! However, make sure you don't drop a seed in, because them lemon seeds look a lot like orzo and I definitely had the unfortunate experience of biting into a lemon seed last night.
Seriously if youre mouth isnt watering right now something is wrong with you
My only gripe about this is that orzo is quite possibly the worst food to clean up off the floor when your baby throws it all off her high chair. It's like the perfectly rotton combination of rice and pasta that makes it both small and sticky. Times like those I wish I had a dog!
Also, I did give Sage the shrimp because we have no allergies on either side of the family and she is very close to 1, but check with your doctor before you feed it to your babe.