You all can call me MS, officially. I have deposited my Master's thesis and am done with edits and insane formatting requirements. I have been celebrating by taking it easy this weekend and figured I should get back in the swing of blogging.
To be fair, by not posting I saved you all from really bad entries about whether yellow or dijon mustard tastes better on hot dogs (it depends on if there are onions involved) and the science behind the peak (and decline) of leftovers. In addition, there is also no way to photograph Taco Bell's 7-layer burrito that makes it appetizing (yet I consume it regardless).
The little bit of time that I have on my hands is driving me batty. I am definitely back in the cooking mood and there are SO many options. I am especially excited about eating something tasty again; these last weeks have been pretty barren in the flavor department. To add to the cooking itch, the weather is changing and it promises fresh produce. The Lafayette farmers market officially begins next weekend and while I am not certain what will be available so early in the season, I am looking forward to it nonetheless. There is also the prospect of establishing a "community garden" of sorts in K's backyard. I am looking into planting poblanos, thai chilies, arugula, shallots, and golden beets. I might throw lima beans into the mix just for kicks. Roma tomatoes would be nice too but I will be gone for about a month in the middle of the summer and dont want to waste produce while I am away.
I celebrated my successful thesis deposit by heading to home depot and purchasing fresh herbs. Its true, I am a big dork, but thats how I chose to celebrate. I purchased spices that wouldnt get too big for my balcony and that are difficult to find in mass quantities at the farmers market. So far I have lavender, mint, thyme, sage, and thai basil. I am envisioning frequent mojitos and massive quantities of thai chicken. Yup, its going to be a good summer.
I kicked off my return to the world of good food by making goat cheese fondue to have with broccoli, apples, pears, and sourdough. I flavored the goat cheese with white wine, garlic, and shallots. For some reason goat cheese fondue is my ultimate comfort food. It is so easy to make that I always wonder why I waited so long to make it.
Today I made a Moroccan orzo salad for dinner. It was easy also, but took a little longer to prepare because I had to boil the orzo and roast the veggies. It is currently sitting in the fridge "melding" with itself. I snuck a taste or two and I can hardly wait for dinner time (two hours and counting).
Moroccan Orzo Salad
2/3 c. orzo
1 c. veggie broth
1 large can tuna
5 sweet peppers, chopped
2 large shallots, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts
1/3 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
10 green olives, chopped
2 T. olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1/4 c. lime juice
2 t. harissa
1/4 c. olive oil
Heat the veggie broth and water together with the orzo. Simmer with the lid of the pot on until the orzo has absorbed all the liquid.
Toss the artichokes, shallots, and peppers with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for 40 minutes being careful to not burn the shallots.
Remove the orzo from the heat once it has sucked up all the liquid. Transfer it to a large bowl and stir in the diced garlic and drizzle with a bit of oil so it doesnt stick to itself.
Once the roasted veggies are out of the oven add them to the orzo. Toss in the olives, cilantro, and tuna.
In a small bowl combine the lime juice, harissa, cumin, nutmeg, and the remaining olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.