Monday, June 20, 2016

J9'S COOKBOOK CLUB- Summer Sides and Apps

Do you love to read cookbooks and try new recipes? Want to talk about your triumphs and disasters and exchange advice and culinary ideas? Then join me this summer on August 25th at 7:00 pm for a new twist on book discussion:  J9's Books for Cooks Book Club.

The theme will be Summer Sides and Appetizers. All you have to do is find a cookbook from our vast cookbook collection and make the recipe of your choice. Then come in with the book and a sample of your creation and share your thoughts and ideas. If you need help finding the perfect recipe, just ask one of our librarians or use the book list of suggestions to help you.

In the spirit of my new cookbook club, I decided to get started on some ideas to support the theme. One of my all time favorite recipes is from Ina Garten. I know, I seem to always fall back on a recipe from Ina but if you've ever tried any of her recipes, you would know why.

Orzo with roasted vegetables is a full of flavor, easy to make crowd pleaser. And you can serve it at room temperature which is a plus when you are having a big party and you have limited space in your refrigerator. Grilled vegetables with orzo, feta, pine nuts and basil. So liight and refreshing and goes with almost anything at an outdoor barbecue or summer get together. It is also quite versatile. Sometimes I add zucchini or double the amount of vegetables and it comes out delicious every time!


1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4 inch diced
1 red bell pepper - 1 inch diced
1 yellow bell peppers - 1 inch diced
1 red onion peeled and 1 inch diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 pound orzo
4 scallions minced 
1/4 cup pignoli nuts toasted  ( I omit sometimes if I don't have them on hand )
3/4 pound feta cheese - 1/2 inch diced not crumbled
15 fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade


1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the eggplant, peppers, onion and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula. 

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling water for 7-9 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 and then add the scallions, pignolis, feta and basil. Check the seasonings and serve at room temperature. 



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