My favorite pasta salad, my favorite squash dish, and some yummy bread... What could be better? Tonight I made a great vegetarian meal, and I wasn't even trying to "do" vegetarian. First off, a couple of days ago, my husband came home with some summer squash -- 2 green zucchinis and 2 yellow crooknecks. Then earlier this week I discovered a box of orzo in my pantry. And since my successful try with Sour Cream Bread, I've been toying with the idea of making a yogurt bread. Put it all together, and it spelled dinner tonight.
First the bread: I found a recipe on Allrecipes for Yogurt Yeast Rolls that used 1-1/2 cups of plain, unflavored yogurt. I figured I could just shape the dough into a loaf rather than rolls. I pretty much followed the recipe except I cut the salt in half. Because salt inhibits yeast activity, I also cut the yeast in half. I let my food processor do the mixing & kneading for me. The recipe made two free-form loaves, and the bread has a nice taste & tender crumb.
While the bread was rising, I started on an orzo salad. Orzo is my absolute favorite pasta shape; I've loved it as long as I can remember. A few years ago I discovered a delicious pasta salad using orzo, and I've been making it ever since. The original recipe comes from Epicurious, but I've adjusted it to lessen the sodium content. The combination of tomatoes, basil, feta cheese, and toasted pine nuts is unbeatable. Here's the recipe with my notes:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
(I add 1 clove crushed garlic)
6 cups chicken broth (I don't use the chicken broth)
1 pound orzo
2 cups red and yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, about 1 1/2 cups (I only use about 2-3 oz. feta)
1 cup chopped fresh basil (I thinly slice the basil)
1 cup chopped green onions (I thinly slice the onions)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt (I do not add any salt) and pepper. (Cover and chill.)
Bring broth (or unsalted water) to boil in large heavy saucepan. Stir in orzo, reduce heat to medium, cover partially, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer to large wide bowl, tossing frequently until cool.
Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, and green onions into orzo. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt (I do not add any salt) and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Add pine nuts; toss. Serve at room temperature.
And finally, my absolute favorite way to fix summer squash -- Squash Patties. I love all summer squashes and have grown & purchased my share of them. I cook them all kinds of ways too, but squash patties is my all time favorite. I eat them hot & freshly fried, lukewarm, and even cold, straight from the fridge. Leftover patties don't last long because I'm always snitching them. Here's the recipe with my notes:
Summer Squash Fritters
2 cups grated raw summer squash
½ cup biscuit mix (I use Hodgson Mill Insta-Bake or my own homemade version)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup grated cheese (I use 1/4 cup grated naturally low sodium Swiss)
Minced onion to taste (I chop about 1/4 cup of whatever fresh onion I have on hand)
Salt and pepper to taste (I omit salt)
(I add about ¼ - ½ tsp. dill weed)
Mix all together in a bowl. Spoon into shallow, hot oil in a frying pan. Fry until golden on first side, turn, cook until golden on second side. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.