Monday, August 3, 2015

Everything Salad

Everything at the Olive Bar anyway. Just kidding. I do love the olive bar. A couple grocery stores in the city have fantastic olive bars and I am totally like a crack addict when I go in there and grab a plastic tub and start shoveling olives into it. I almost never stop at one tub. Sometimes I get in trouble at home........

Hey, I love olives of all kinds. At the olive bar I can make my own mix of any kind of olive that's on the bar that day, plus whatever other delicious tidbits are hanging around- marinated mozzarella pearls, pickled baby pattypan squash, cubes of feta cheese or provolone, even Peppadews. I am absolutely smitten with Peppadews. A friend introduced me to these guys about ten years ago and I have been munching them, stuffing them, chopping and adding to dishes ever since. They are a bright red little round pepper with a sweet hot flavor that's just fantastic. Love em stuffed with goat cheese or Boursin. Yum.

Pasta salads are always popular around here and so are salads with grains. Naturally I happen to love that little pasta that looks like a grain- orzo. I love orzo in salads. Yes, it's just a pasta shape but it fools my brain into thinking it's nutty and toasty like a grain. So ya, I think it's nutty and toasty. It's just a shape and size that I really like and it fools my brain into thinking I'm eating something really good for me (not that pasta isn't.....)

Why "Everything" salad? Short version- I went to the big store in the city, bought lots of fresh produce, couldn't decide which ones to toss in my salad bowl so I decided to use everything. Clever, huh? Freshly cooked orzo, a couple summer squashes, chopped bell peppers, chopped scallions and more go into this colorful- and delicious- summer salad. It's a great side dish with dinner or a lunch entree. Let's make some.

Everything Salad

1 package orzo
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow summer squash
big handful cherry tomatoes
small bunch scallions
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/4 cup chopped Peppadews
1/4 cup chopped mixed olives
1/3 cup chopped bell peppers (I used green, yellow and red)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar*
palmfull herbs of choice**
salt and pepper
small log goat cheese (or feta if you prefer)

*I used my own infused vinegar to make the dressing. I used chive blossom. Use any vinegar you like.

** I used thyme, parsley, chervil and chives plus a big pinch of Montreal Steak Seasoning

Get a big pot of salty water going for the orzo.

Quarter the zucchini and summer squash lengthwise and cut into slices. Place in large salad bowl. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and throw them in the bowl. Slice the scallions- in the bowl with them also. Cut the sugar snap peas in half, I did on the diagonal for an interesting look, and in the bowl. Add the Peppadews, olives and chopped bell peppers. Toss veggies to mix.

In a jar with a screw top lid combine the oil, vinegar and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Pop the lid on and shake it up. Set aside.

When the orzo is done cooking, drain thoroughly; rinse in cold water and drain again. Add to the bowl with the veggies and toss. Pour dressing over and toss again. Break up the cheese with a fork and sprinkle over. Toss to coat. Chill or serve immediately.

It is deeeeelicious. I made this batch kind of late one evening so I'd have lunch for the next few days at work, and I had to sneak a bowl for a bedtime snack. The orzo is so delicious coated with the dressing and slightly melted mooshy goat cheese. The veggies are crispy- those sugar snap peas- wow, what a sweet bite they add. The olives are salty and briney and delicious and those Peppadews- yum!! You have to try this salad- just use whatever vegetables you have and what you like. Make it yours!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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