Monday, May 6, 2013

Orzo Caprese Salad

Listen up, folks.
 Today, May 6th, is National No Diet Day!  
Who knew? 

I certainly didn't. I had no idea there was only one such day a year. I've been celebrating it about once a week.

It couldn't have fallen on a better day for me, either. As I mentioned on my last post, I hosted my luncheon club here on Saturday, and I just happen to have some left over food. The fact that it's all pretty light and healthy food doesn't matter one iota, either. Everybody knows there's more than one way to break a diet.

You can eat liberally from your restricted food list...
Or you can just plain eat... liberally. 

Personally, I prefer the second option. 

So before I pull the chair up to the refrigerator, I thought I'd share the most requested recipe from the recent luncheon adventure.  It was even requested by the Farm Sister, who inherited the cooking gene. I just inherited the eating gene.

Believe it or not though, I actually concocted this one myself.  I tried three different recipes on Pinterest and ended up using parts of each to create my own version.

Orzo Caprese Salad

1 3/4 cup (dry) orzo
1 bunch asparagus cut into 1-2  inch pieces (I actually just used the tips)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions
fresh mozzarella cut into bite sized pieces
       (or if you can find them, mozzarella balls, halved)
Parmesan, (about a half cup, freshly grated)
basil (about 2 heaping tablespoons)
1 lemon, zested and juiced.
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c.balsamic vinegar (preferably white)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions. Blanch asparagus (about 2 minutes) and saute garlic and scallions about 2 minutes in 1 T. olive oil.

Mix all. Add tomatoes.

Add about a half cup of freshly grated parmesan. (I didn't measure this. I just kind of heaped it up. If you are using the dried stuff, I imagine you would use less. )

Cut fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. (I used a little circle cutter.) I didn't measure this either. I just kept adding until it looked like as much as I would want. I love mozzarella so I put a lot in there.

Add about 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh basil
(Or more if you happen to love it like I do)
and the lemon zest. 

Wisk together:

Juice of 1/2  lemon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I always use white balsamic for pasta salads to maintain color. Please do not blame me if you use the regular and it turns all brown, OK?) 
1/3 cup EVOO

Toss. Nibble. Repeat. 

Let stand several hours or overnight. Toss with just a little more lemon juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan before serving

Makes a gracious ton of salad, easily enough for 10 hungry people... or five lunching ladies and a blogger celebrating National No Diet Day all by herself.

Think I'll polish off the rest of this easy 
strawberry cream cheese cake that I dreamed up, too

 I might just post that recipe tomorrow
 if I can waddle to the keyboard after celebrating
 National No Diet Day today.    

Sharing On the Menu Monday


Debbie said...

Good morning! Oh Debbie this sounds just wonderful!! Yum, yum, yum. And I with you on the National Diet day. I am pretty sure it is once a week! (at least). Glad the luncheon went well (though I knew it would!) Enjoy your day, and your leftovers! (hope there is some of the cake left too!) HUGS

Gaby said...

I've been waiting for the recipe for that cake since you first posted the picture. Can't wait until you post it!

Barbara F. said...

That cake looks divine, Deb. Definitely want the recipe for that. The orzo salad sounds so delicious, too. I love orzo, in soups, salads. I did not know that today was National No Diet Day, I really don't need the free license!! Yikes!! xo

Chatty Crone said...

Okay girl - this recipe is a keeper and I agree with you - I like the second definition. I am going to pin this. And that cake - how in the world did you cut those layers. Recipe please. Sandie

Sharon said...

Clever in the more than one way!

Oh, I am just imagining the smells and tastes at your luncheon. Did you see me there? I was one of the invisible people who crashed the party.

I just know that you had a good time, Debbie. And if the wonderful recipes are any indication, every tummy went away full!

Woo Hoo to National No Diet Day. Now you're making me think of pizza to celebrate...(yes, it's all your fault).


Terra said...

The orzo salad has ingredients we like, so I will make this one day. Thanks for the inspiration.

Merlesworld said...

Everyday is a no diet day for me, but then I'm a bit on the round side, I just avoid sugar and fat when possible but that cake that does look good, I would have to gobble that up.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I knew there had to be a reason I was pigging out today!!! Thanks for the explanation-I'm relieved:@) Your salad looks great and the cake in beautiful, hoping you can make it to the keyboard tomorrow!

Sharlotte said...

This looks so good, one I'm definitely going to try. wonder I've been eating junk all day today! Stress? Nah...National No Diet Day! Subconsciously I must have know, right?!

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

This mouth watering post from a woman who swears she can't cook...come on!!! You have now totally uncovered yourself...not only do you have the most beautiful table, but you serve wonderful food. I gained back one whole jean size just reading!!!

Oh, thought of you on my new post...there is something in it I think for past all the horrible grammar, etc.
Love you girl

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? Why didn't anybody tell me before I went on a special WW soup all day? Geez. ;) No, but seriously, I'm STARVING and this looks very good. I just heard my stomach complaining. ;)
Always good stopping by, Debbie.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, I just noticed the last line in your previous post. hahahaha I've deactivated mine at my quiet page too.
Two pathetic and needy souls in blogland. Don't worry, I have a funny feeling we're not alone. ;)

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh YUM, and the best part is that it can be made the night before! I bet they raved about your kitchen redo!


Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh. my. goodness!! That looks sooooo delicious, Debbie. Thank you for sharing it and I DO hope you will share that strawberry beauty, too!! YUM! blessings ~ tanna

kitty said...

The salad looks so delish, Debbie, and so colorful and pretty, too. Now about that cake...when is it making it's debut on your blog?? Yum to all!

bj said...

Well, darlin' MUST post that dessert looks and sounds amazing. The salad is one I plan to make for Mr. Sweet and I and I will keep ALL the dessert for moi. (shame on me....actually, I really will share it. :))

Canton was so stinkin' fun....when I can get all my "stuff" together, I'll be posting....:)

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I believe there needs to be time to eat are right motherhood triumphs bloghood

Angel @ Finding The Inspiring said...

Well, how about that! I celebrated National No Diet Day without even knowing it. :)

That Orzo salad is right up my alley. Can't wait to make it! And the cake too whenever you decide to share the recipe. No pressure...

BTW, thanks for your kind comments over at my place. I just read them this morning after being away for a few days. It's always good to hear from you.


Alycia Nichols said...

I had no idea it was National No Diet Day, but I sure ate as if I did!!! Oh, wait....that's EVERY day!!! :-) Fun post, Debbie! And please move over...I need room for my chair beside you in front of the fridge!

Denise said...

Farm sister praising both dishes. As a matter of fact, I'm planning on preparing the salad for my family when everyone is home this weekend. I know my daughters will absolutely LOVE it. You need to share the cake recipe,too. Everyone will be shocked by how easy it is to prepare.

Great luncheon the other day. The food was fabulous and I had a wonderful time.

Debbiedoo's said...

National diet day, I sure like the way you think. Oh my that cake looks divine. I love orzo fact I have not made it in a while.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Since I"m just now reading this on Wednesday I am proclaiming today to be a no diet day! :)

Delish. Love it all!

Shanee @ LivingLifeSouthernStyle said...

Okay, listen up, this is the only time I will ever say this...I'm a liberal! Liberal eater that is, lol. This looks yummy. I just found 3 boxes of orzo last night and told Mini to hit Pinterest for inspiration to move this stuff. Can't wait to give this a try as well as that delicious looking cake if you share the recipe (hint, hint). Hope your luncheon went well.

Creations By Cindy said...

The salad is a must try! Looks so yummy! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Mary said...

Your salad looks wonderful Debbie! Toss, nibble, repeat are my favorite steps in a recipe, National No Diet Day or not! Looking forward to a slice (or two :) of your beautiful cake!


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