I haven't been bringing my "A" game to the kitchen lately. "Uninspired" isn't the right word, but it's the first word that comes to mind. I stepped on the scale this morning to reveal a three pound lighter me and thought, "How did THAT happen?" But then, yeah, thinking back I can't think of a time in the last few weeks where I actually cooked anything. I've "assembled" at best. A sandwich here. A salad there. I'm ashamed to admit that I've gone whole days on half a cibatta roll or muffin. Those days usually end with Les coming home to a sketchy mess of a wife and calling for take-out or taking over the kitchen himself.
Today, however, I'm feeling homey. My painfully neglected garden is now weeded and tended to. Laundry is going. Studio work consists of assembling and gluing pieces...something that can be done cleanly and upstairs. Today is a great day to get a little creative in the kitchen.
Well. Let's pretend for a minute that things didn't go horribly awry; that I actually FOLLOWED the recipe. Let's pretend I didn't substitute summer squash for corn. Let's also pretend the squash wasn't about 4 inches longer than it should have been, making it too tough to use raw. That I didn't double where I should have halved ingredients. Maybe envision a cucumber feta sauce that didn't resemble curdled light green cream. Even while preparing the salad, I knew it wasn't going to be very good. But in the same way you can't turn away when you're about to witness a train wreck, I couldn't stop chopping, blending. So confident was I in the failure of this recipe, that I started writing my post before the dish was even done. (Yes, maybe I've been a tad pessimistic lately.) In the end, the dish wasn't that bad. Okay, it was actually decent. My only complaint was its subtlety, which may not have happened had I not blended ALL of the cucumber and feta together for the sauce, making it a bit thin. I had to add additional feta to give the dish a little punch. Is there room for improvement? Probably. Maybe next time I'll marinate the chopped cucumbers in a little vinegar before adding them to the salad. Maybe there wants to be a little lemon in there somewhere. I'm going to share the recipe and let you decide for yourself.
Orzo and Summer Squash Salad with Cucumber Feta dressing
4 ounces of Feta
2 Cucumbers, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (just over 2 cups)
2 Tblsp of olive oil
1/2 Tblsp of water
1/2 lb of orzo pasta
2 cups summer squash chopped into 1/2 cubes and sauteed for a few minutes to soften*
1/3 cup chopped chives
Preparation for the sauce
Place all but a few tablespoons of the feta cheese, half of the cucumbers, oil and water in a food processor and process until smooth.
For the salad
Cook the orzo in a pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining feta, cucumbers, chives and summer squash. Toss with dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper and garnish with additional chives.
*The original recipe I was using called for corn, but I had summer squash from my garden to use up.