|Lemon Chicken and Orzo with Roasted Vegetables|
In 1978, Ina Garten was working in the White House on nuclear energy policy. For those history buffs who was the President at the time? She saw an ad for a small store in the Hamptons and 2 months later she found herself to be the owner of The Barefoot Contessa, a 400-ft square shop selling gourmet foods that was to become celebrated for its style and delicious food. The store had been named by its original owner in tribute to the 1954 film starring Ava Gardner. Ina kept the name when she took over, as it meshed well with her idea of an "elegant but earthy" lifestyle. Ina continues to build the Barefoot Contessa traditions and brand with new cookbooks, television shows and delicious products that reflect her love of entertaining friends and family especially her husband Jeffrey. Ina's fresh, level approach to home cooking has won legions of fans...I may be her biggest...although it would hard to defend the title!!!
One of our simple pleasures in life is navigating the blogging community and participating where the feeling takes us. Our group is now well past the halfway point on the list of Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game Changers. The past ninth months have flown by as we experimented with dishes from each of the 50 influential women on "the list." Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire. There have even been a few successful bloggers on the list. We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman. This group is spearheaded by my favourite well-travelled blogger Mary of One Perfect Bite who back in June 2011 invited bloggers to travel along on a culinary journey throughout the year. It is still not too late to join in in 2012.
Mary of One Perfect Bite - Crostini with Tuna Tapenade
Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Lemon Chicken Breasts and Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
Susan of The Spice Garden - Warm French Lentils with Garlic Sauasage
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed
Heather of Girlichef - Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Chicken Pot Pie
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Seafood Gratin
Sue of View from The Great Island - Beef Bourguignon
Linda of There and Back Again- Mexican Chicken Soup and Chicken Piccata and Brown Bread
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Fruit Salad with Limoncello and Baked Blintzes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce
Nancy of Picadillo - Alis' Asian Salmon
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits - Baked Broccoli
Anne of Most Lovely Things - Chive Potato Patties
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Eggplant Gratin
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Warm Mushroom Salad
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Roasted Shrimp with Feta
Amrita of Beetle's Kitchen Escapades- Jam Thumbprint Cookies
As with all of the dishes I try from Ina's cookbooks and from her web site the two recipes chosen are packed with flavour. Light, lemony and refreshing are words that come to mind as I tasted these dishes that remind me of summer. I used some "Spring" orzo I found at Pike Place Market in Seattle to add to the roasted vegetables. The chicken breasts are simple and yet packed with flavour. Both of those dishes will be made again and again!
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
- 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
- 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
- 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.