Friday, July 12, 2024

ChezCindy: Watermelon and Pineapple Salad with Feta


This recipe for Watermelon Pineapple Salad will become a go-to dish for many summers to come.  It is delightfully refreshing, with a bit of heat from finely diced fresh jalapeno pepper, and a balance of sweet from the pineapple and watermelon, perfect for a summer get-together.  

For best results, try to serve the salad soon after assembling.  To get ahead, the recipe can be made up to the point of adding the feta and fresh mint.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then add the feta and mint, stir well and enjoy! 

Watermelon and Pineapple Salad with Feta & Mint

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 1 large lime
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1-pound fresh seedless watermelon, cut into pieces
1-pound fresh pineapple, cut into pieces
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces

In a large bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, lime zest and juice, agave, jalapeno, and salt.  Add in the chopped red onion.  Set aside to marinate for about 10 minutes.  

While the dressing is marinating, cut the watermelon and pineapple into bite-size pieces, about 1-inch.  Add the watermelon and pineapple to the dressing, tossing well to coat.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, add in the crumbled feta and torn mint leaves, tossing to combine.  Serve immediately.  

Thursday, July 4, 2024

ChezCindy: Parmesan Orzo Pasta with Black Truffle Butter


This recipe for Parmesan Orzo Pasta is one I find myself making over and over again.  I love the size and shape of the orzo pasta and how it mixes well as a support ingredient without being the star of the dish.  In this recipe, the Parmesan is the star along with the black truffle butter.  If you don't have truffle butter, you can substitute a quality salted butter such as Kerrygold, a delicious Irish butter.

Orzo is also known as "risoni" in that it resembles large grains of rice.  The rice-like shape often leads to confusion as people sometimes mistake it for rice or barley due to its appearance.  If you are not familiar with orzo, it can be found on the grocery shelf with all of the other pasta shapes.  

I have several recipes on this blog using orzo, another favorite being this one pan shrimp scampi.  But I think my all-time favorite is this orzo pasta salad.  

Parmesan Orzo Pasta with Black Truffle Butter  
1 bunch asparagus, about 10-12 stalks
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
2 tablespoons kosher salt (for the pasta water)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons black truffle butter

Serves 4

Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus.  Set aside.

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil.  Place the asparagus into the boiling water, stirring for 1 minute to blanch the asparagus.  Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the asparagus, setting the aside on towels to cool and dry.  

Return the water to a boil.  Add in salt and orzo pasta, stirring to combine.  Cook 2 minutes less than the package directions.  Drain into a colander.  Transfer the orzo to a bowl, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the pasta and set aside.  

While the orzo is cooking, cut the now cool asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces, cutting on the bias.

In an 11-inch-wide skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add in the cut asparagus and sliced garlic, stirring to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium, add in the cooked orzo, and 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring to combine.  Add in the heavy cream and butter, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes.  Off the heat, add in the 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and black truffle butter, stirring to combine.  Serve, sprinkling with the remaining tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese.