Hopefully you'll never, ever run into me at the supermarket. Oh, I suppose it would be okay if we encountered each other in the meat department. I could share a few fun and fab chicken, beef and/or pork recipes. You'd be fairly safe in the dairy section, I'd show you the best yogurt you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting or tell you how to take simple egg whites and turn them into something sensational. If we bumped into each other in the baking aisle, you might be a bit sad, because I'll probably have snatched up all the toffee bits, but I'd be sure to tell you about a wonderful dessert idea for your next dinner party or family get together.
Avoid me at all costs, however, in the produce section. In the summer. When displays are piled high with multi-colored peppers in brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange, sweet, fresh soft yellow tiny-kerneled corn, glistening, glossy, deep purple eggplants, mounds of juicy, fuzzy-skinned, golden Georgia peaches, sweet as sugar, jewel-hued nectarines, slender, tender green beans, sun-kissed cherry and grape tomatoes in lovely shades of red and gold .............. pretend you don't know me, just do YOUR produce shopping AFTER I've wheeled my overflowing cart to another aisle. You see, I am very likely to ...................
.................. get so excited about the beautiful produce that I BURST INTO SONG!?! And I can't sing ............. or hold a tune .......... or a beat ...........or anything like that. And I'd probably make up the words; something really silly, something about being in love with summer and/or about the thrill of seeing all the gorgeous produce ............... Oh, it just wouldn't be a pretty sight sound. So, like I said, if you see me there in the produce section, pretend you really need something in the farthest corner of the store ...
Something you DO want to do however, is try this fabulous summer salad, inspired by a recent trip to the market (I wanted to, but I didn't sing - I thought you might be watching). Corn, cherry tomatoes and green onions were on super sale. Fresh mozzarella caught my eye and it's way into my cart. Our deck herb garden is prolifically producing at this time of the year. Pasta sounded wonderful. Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad evolved. We all loved it and I think you will too!
The recipe makes a enough for a crowd so it's perfect for picnics, parties and family get togethers.. Cut it in half if you want, but it keeps quite well and makes wonderful leftovers, fabulous for lunches at work or meals on the run.
P.S. Wondering about the combination of pastas in this Israeli Couscous and Orzo Pasta Salad? I love mingling fun shaped pastas. You could definitely use just one (either, or), but the round Israeli couscous and the oblong orzo make such a pretty presentation. It's kind of like "layering" in home decor. It makes it all the more attractive and interesting. Israeli couscous and orzo both take about 10 minutes to cook, so they're a perfect match, you can even prepare them in the same pot, at the same time.
- 8 ounces Israeli couscous*
- 8 ounces orzo
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling over pasta
- 3 cloves fresh garlic finely minced
- ½ cup fresh basil finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh oregano finely chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sea salt we love Maldon, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 pint red cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 bunch green spring onions, thinly sliced
- 6 ears fresh corn** shucked and kernels cut from cobs
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella drained, if necessary, and cut in bite sized pieces
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- small fresh herb leaves if desired, for garnish
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove top. Add a generous measure of salt (about a tablespoon) and return to a boil. Add couscous and orzo, allow water to return to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Stir frequently while pasta is cooking. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil, just a teaspoon or two to keep the pasta fro sticking together.Stir to coat well to coat and allow to cool.
Combine the ⅓ cup olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl.
Add halved tomatoes, green onions, corn and pastas. Stir to combine. This is when you get to act like a real chef; taste and add more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
Add fresh mozzarella cubes and stir gently. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Add fresh herb leaves for garnish, if desired. Drizzle with a bit more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
~ *Israeli couscous is widely available in larger super markets (often in the "kosher" section) or at Middle Eastern markets. Trader Joe's carries it also.
~ **Corn is not cooked in this recipe. It's delicious this way, sweet with a bit of crunch. Just make sure you get fresh corn, kernels should be plump and not too large.