As I was planning my deck party, I knew I wanted to serve something easy to prepare and seasonal. The first thing that comes to mind for me is orzo. It's a dish that's so easy to customize depending on your individual taste and what you have on hand. My mom loves it with roasted zucchini, mushrooms, tomatos, feta cheese and pine nuts. My version had parmesean cheese, tomatos and basil.
Here's the recipe:Tomato Basil Orzo
2 cups uncooked orzo (You can find this in the pasta section of your grocery store, look near the weird-shaped pastas like gnocci.)
1/2 cup pine nuts (You can find these in the baking aisle or with the nuts).
1/2 cup basil leaves (It is so ridiculously easy to grow basil. Seriously, if you have a brown thumb, this is the plant for you. You can even coax it to live through the winter inside.)
1-2 cups cherry tomatos (I usually use what I get from our CSA or in a package at the store)
3/4 cup parmesean cheese
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus additional for pasta.
1. Cook your orzo according to the package. Drain and toss olive oil on top to keep it from sticking. Set aside.
2. Halve the tomatos, chop the basil.
3. In a dry skillet, brown the pine nuts, stirring frequently. (They are easy to burn.)
4. Toss the olive oil, tomatos, pine nuts, basil and parmesean cheese into the orzo. season with salt and pepper.
Try this recipe, or customize it by omitting the parmesean cheese in favor of feta. I also like it with roasted vegetables, but didn't have any on hand.
I also drew inspiration for the food from this lovely website, Sunday Suppers. They had beautiful photos from a recent Italian meal that included lavender lemonade. Here's their recipe:
courtesy of Sunday Suppers
Two cups sugar
Five sprigs of lavender with stems and buds, plus more to garnish glasses
Ten lemons (will make about two cups fresh lemon juice)
Four limes (makes about 1/2 cup fresh lime juice)
Bring one gallon water and sugar to boil. Remove from heat and add the lavender sprigs, lemon and lime juices. Let it cool, strain and chill. Garnish with additional lavender.
Tomato bruschetta with ricotta cheese
For the ricotta
I had intentions of making homemade ricotta cheese for this party. That got ditched about noon, along with plans for homemade crackers. Sometimes you have to be practical. Anyway, storebought whole ricotta cheese was an excellent second choice.
1 cup storebought ricotta cheese
1/3 cup fancy olive oil
red chile powder for garnish
For the bruschetta
2 big tomatos
handful if basil leaves
These appetizers were super easy and super delicious