Friday, August 15, 2008



Here it is only 8:30 in the morning and I've had enough drama for the entire day, thank you. I got up at my usual 6 AM so I could go out for a newspaper and have a few quiet minutes to go through it before the day began. The only place I know around here that sells the Washington Post is a quickie-mart about 3 miles away. I padded around in here trying not to awaken Steve, but saw that the car keys were nowhere to be found. Steve woke up in spite of my careful quiet, and I asked him if he knew where they were. He suggested I try the car, remembering that I had gotten into the car late last night to close the windows against the rain. And there were the keys, all right, in the "on" position in which I had inexplicably left them. All night. The battery was dead. I was going nowhere,
I had the immediate and normal reaction: "who can give us a jump?" But it was Steve to the rescue once again: I forgot that we had a battery charger. We had bought one for the boat, used it once, and it had been sitting in the garden shed all these years since in pristine condition. We hooked it up to the car battery and the car started within minutes. So I got my paper. But now I notice that my silver and turquoise money clip is not where it is supposed to be. I've done due diligence looking for it to no avail, and have decided to put thoughts of my total stupidity and inadequacy out of my mind. The clip will turn up. The car battery is re-charged. The rest of the day, which is filled with house building consultations, will be fine, by God!
On to food.

Here is a dead simple and delicious way to use orzo, the Greek rice-shaped pasta. It makes for a different side dish and is something good to do with orzo besides (for me, at least) the usual salad. This is a direct lift from the most recent issue of Cooks Illustrated. The only note of caution I would add is that this cooks up very much like risotto; fairly frequent stirring is necessary as the liquid is absorbing, or the orzo will stick. (But unlike risotto, all the liquid is added at once.)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
table salt
2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 pound orzo
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
10 ounces frozen peas (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
pinch ground nutmeg
Ground black pepper

Heat butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add onion and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add orzo and cook, stirring frequently with heatproof rubber spatula, until most of orzo is lightly browned and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Off heat, add vermouth and chicken broth.
Return skillet to medium-high heat and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until all liquid has been absorbed and orzo is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

With rubber spatula, stir in peas, Parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Let stand off heat until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes; adjust seasoning with salt and serve.


Anonymous said...

Looks good! I'll check it out when out of the Hospital. You guys have a great week! Many Purrs.

Ralph said...

Z&M, I had no idea. Hope all is well.

Nan said...

Sorry about the drama. Hope the money clip turned up. Hmm. First the flash drive, now the money clip. Maybe you secretly (or not so secretly) want to leave things in Delaware as an expression that you want to spend more time there! The orzo recipe looks really yummy!