By NEMS Daily Journal
and Orzo Salad
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Good olive oil (a bit more than 1⁄2 cup)
3⁄4 pound orzo pasta
Juice of 3 lemons
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16- to 18-count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 teaspoon dried dill
1⁄4 cup red onion, finely diced
4 miniature cucumbers, sliced 1⁄4-inch thick
11⁄2 cups feta cheese
1⁄2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats up, fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and a splash of olive oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.
Whisk together lemon juice, 1⁄2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over hot pasta and stir well.
Meanwhile, place shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Do not overcook.
Add shrimp to orzo and then add scallions, dill, onion and cucumber. Toss well and taste. Adjust seasonings. Add feta cheese and pine nuts. Stir carefully.
You may refrigerate this dish overnight to let flavors blend. Allow the salad to come to room temp before serving and adjust seasonings again.
Kalamata Olive Pesto
2 to 3 garlic cloves
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1⁄2 cup toasted pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Mince garlic cloves and put in a food processor and pulse. Add olives and basil and pulse again. Add pine nuts and pepper and pulse until blended. With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Pulse until well blended and smooth.
The pesto may be served over hot pasta. It is also delicious when used with olive oil as a dipping sauce for warm bread.
Frozen Mocha Pie
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped pretzels
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1⁄2 gallon coffee-flavored ice cream, softened
For the crust, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut, pecans, pretzels and brown sugar. Add melted butter and mix well. Press mixture in a 10-inch metal pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray, using the back of a spoon to create a firm and even crust. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.
For the filling, pack the cooled crust with the softened ice cream and freeze until firm. Slice the pie and garnish with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a splash of Kahlua.
Makes 8 servings.
Simple Shrimp Bisque
11⁄2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1⁄4 cup brandy
1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
6 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can of heavy cream
1 soup can of half-and-half
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine shrimp, brandy and thyme in a bowl and marinate for 30 minutes. Sauté green onions in butter over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add shrimp mixture and sauté shrimp briefly. In a bowl, mix the soups and creams well. Add to the shrimp mixture. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook until heated through and shrimp are fully cooked. Do not let the soup boil. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with crostini or warm French bread.
Makes 6 servings.
Not Your Mama’s Meatballs
2 pounds Black Angus ground round
2 slices white bread
1⁄2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup onion, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
Adjust oven rack for broiling and preheat oven to broil.
Place ground round in a large bowl for a few minutes to take the chill off the meat.
Meanwhile, place bread in a small bowl and pour milk over the bread. Let bread soak in milk for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, onion, Parmesan, salt, pepper and egg to the ground meat and mix together with a fork.
Remove bread from milk and gently squeeze excess milk out of bread. Break the bread apart with your fingers and add to the meat mixture.
Take about 1⁄4 cup of mixture and form into a ball, taking care not to compress the meat too firmly or meatballs will be dense. Place meatballs on broiler pan coated with cooking spray and broil for about 10 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so until done.
Serve the meatballs with your marinara sauce and use leftovers in meatball sandwiches.
Makes 10 large meatballs.