Monday, August 18, 2008


For seven days, I have committed to chronicling all of my meals here. This is Day Six.

I'm suffering. It's all very melodramatic, really. This entire food diary experiment has caused some of this suffering of course (there's nothing quite like confessing one's sins publicly to keep one humble, you know), but truly the greatest source of pain and anguish has come in the form of an innocuous container of orzo. Remember on Monday when I made Orzo with Tuna, Garbanzos and Herbs? Well, I doubled the recipe since we had eight people at the dinner table that evening, but it turns out that was entirely unnecessary, and there were MONGO amounts of leftovers. While normally I love having leftovers around, because that gives us something to eat for lunches, I tend to get sick of any particular dish after eating it for, oh you know, every day for an entire stinking week.

It was Sunday afternoon before I finally ate the last of it. I hope to never see it again.

The thing is though, when I planned last week's menu, I assumed we would have no leftovers on Monday night, so it didn't strike me as a particularly bad idea when I penciled in Mediterranean Orzo for Saturday night's dinner. See, I hadn't anticipated reaching the third level of orzo salad burnout by then.

But reach it, I did. And now I have (oh, woe is me) leftovers from the second orzo dish in the fridge, just waiting for me to nibble on it for the next, I don't know, five or six days. This is what burnout looks like, my friends. And it ain't pretty.

Saturday's Food Diary:

BREAKFAST: 1 cup of Cafe Choco Andes coffee with organic vanilla soymilk (I was in such a hurry to get to the Saturday morning farmer's market that I failed to pour myself a second cup; more suffering ensued as a result); it should also be noted that I forgot to actually EAT breakfast on my way out the door - I'm telling you, the market rules my life

MID-MORNING REDEMPTION: big honking bowl of Banana Nut Rainforest Crisp cereal with organic unsweetened soymilk; homemade cappuccino made with Cafe Choco Andes coffee and organic vanilla soymilk

LUNCH: another dadgum bowl of that Orzo with Tuna, Garbanzos and Herbs (woe, I tell you, woe)

LATE AFTERNOON ADDICTION: my second homemade cappuccino of the day

DINNER: Roasted Pepper Panino made with peppers and basil from my mother's garden and onions from the farmer's market (recipe below); and the spectactularly badly-planned yet incredibly tasty and wonderfully-textured Mediterranean Orzo using locally-produced feta cheese that I obtained through Athens Locally Grown, and shallots from the farmer's market (recipe below)

EVENING SNACK: one of the yummy, chubby homemade dark chocolate chip and pecan cookies that my sister-in-law made

LATE EVENING ADDICTION: one measly Edy's Strawberry Fruit Bar (and now I have come to the indisputable conclusion that one is most assuredly not enough)


HUMBLE ROASTED PEPPER PANINO (makes four sandwiches)
I developed this recipe for a contest, which I did not win - hence the word 'humble'
  • Red bell pepper (1 large or 2 small)
  • Poblano pepper (2 medium sized)
  • 4 oz crumbled gorgonzola or feta cheese
  • 1 Tbs butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices rustic artisan bread (like Italian sandwich bread or ciabatta), sliced fairly thickly
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced thickly
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • approximately 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Roast the peppers over a gas stovetop flame or under the oven broiler until charred, turning so that peppers are blackened all over. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let steam for about 10 minutes, until skin is loosened. Peel and discard charred skin, discard stem and seeds, and slice peppers into strips.
  2. In a food processor, blend the cheese, butter and mustard until creamy and spreadable.
  3. Spread the cheese mixture on each slice of bread (one side only).
  4. Arrange the pepper strips, onion slices and basil leaves on half of the slices of bread, and top sandwiches with remaining bread slices (cheese sides facing in, of course).
  5. Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat; brush one side of each sandwich with olive oil. Cook sandwiches, oiled side down, until golden brown and heated through, then brush other side with oil, flip sandwiches over, and cook until other side is golden brown.


MEDITERRANEAN ORZO SALAD (serves 4 as a main-course salad, or 6 to 8 as a side dish, adapted from AJC Food Section)

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta (I prefer the whole-wheat kind)
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, chopped
  • 16 oz cooked chickpeas (or one 15-oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes (if not using oil-packed, then add a little extra olive oil to the salad)
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • juice of 1 to 2 lemons, to taste
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, or more to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot of boiling, heavily salted water, cook the orzo for 8-10 minutes, until al dente.
  2. While orzo is cooking, combine the sliced shallot and spinach and large bowl. When orzo has been drained, immediately toss with the shallot and spinach to wilt the vegetables.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and add more lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper if needed.

No comments: