It was a great July 4th weekend here. The weather was picture perfect, my youngest son, Nathan, turned twelve and we decided to have a big party. Parties always make me happy. I had a slightly ambitious menu and ended up cooking about 15 dishes from scratch. I had some help (thanks, Linda and Binder!) because I was going to crash and burn without it. Anyway, there were a couple of dishes which people wanted the recipes for and so I thought I would just go ahead and post them. Since I wasn't making these dishes for the blog, I didn't photograph them with my regular camera that I use for blog photos (my Canon EOS 10D with a Speedlite flash) so I just have some casual shots with my little Canon ELPH that my friend Linda took. I've blown them up the best I could so you could see the dishes.
Also, there is a new item on the blog site. It's the official Italian Dish apron, designed by my oldest son, Barry. Check it out!
And lastly, I wanted to include a photograph of my son's birthday cake. It was just too cute. It was created by a great bakery here in town, A Piece O Cake, and I thought I'd just show it to you. They have a beautiful web site where you can see all their great creations.
Orzo with Roasted Carrots
I use the Asian Orzo blend from Pappardelle's Pasta. It's a blend of lemon ginger, cayenne pepper, sesame, chive and garlic orzos. It's so pretty and looks great with the roasted carrots. The cayenne pepper orzo gives it a zing. If you've never heard of Pappardelle's Pasta, you should go to their web site and check them out.
- 3 pounds carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound orzo
- Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Cut carrots diagonally into 2 inch pieces. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots and garlic with 2 Tablespoons oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast until carrots are tender and slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Toss them and keep checking so they don't burn. Squeeze garlic from out of skins; mince to form a coarse paste and set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add salt. Stir in orzo and cook until al dente. Drain. While still hot, transfer orzo to a large bowl and toss with 2 Tablespoons oil. Let cool slightly and add roasted carrots.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together lemon zest, juice, scallions and the roasted garlic. Add dill and pour mixture over orzo. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Serve or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to one day, bringing to room temperature before serving.
Italian Potato Salad
I don't use a recipe for this, so I never make it the same way twice. This is a basic recipe for you and you can adjust anything to your liking. Personally, I like a lot of capers and parsley.
- 1 quart small red potatoes
- 2 celery stalks
- some chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 heaping Tablespoon capers packed in salt, rinsed
- salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- white wine vinegar
- 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced into wedges.
Boil the potatoes in their skins and let cool slightly. Cut into fourths.
Chop the celery into thin slices. Add the celery, chopped parsley and capers to the still warm potatoes. Toss. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil over the salad and then splash some vinegar over. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt to your liking. Place the hard boiled eggs around the salad.