Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How forzo I've Come

I live one block away from my old high school. I also live within walking distance to many amenities so I frequently walk past my old school on the way to the grocery, gym and pharmacy. It is a large school that occupies an entire city block, so I am usually in front of the old buildings for quite some time on these walks. Every now and then I can't help but feel a little nostalgic. I gaze at the brick structures and think what my life used to be like when I spent so much time within their walls.

As I walked back from the gym this morning my mind turned to these types of thoughts and I was reminded of how I felt about the world at the tender age of 16. I thought I had it all figured out and that there was nothing left to learn. I was arrogant and presumably all-knowing. I am sure I felt like that for several more years, but it is now at almost 30 that I completely understand how little I knew back then and what lessons I learned the hard way because of my ignorance. It is a really heavy thought and not necessarily the most light hearted reflection to have before I even started my work day.

In order to try and lighten my mood I turned my wandering thoughts to food - one of my favorite topics. And I started to reflect on how much I have learned about food, cooking and ingredients in the last 15 years as well. When I was a young student in my checkered skirt and monogrammed Peter Pan collar I was so clueless about so much of the culinary world. Sure, I loved food - but my exposure to it was minimal and I had not yet even began to tap the experiences and resources of all things foodie. I was a picky eater from a very non-adventurous food family. As I have mentioned before, my Mom was a fabulous cook but she wasn't experimental and my Dad is a creature of habit. So I liked what I knew and that wasn't that broad.

One ingredient in particular that I don't even think I knew about until college was orzo. I know my Mom didn't use it, but I also can't remember anyone else using it in their cooking or seeing it at restaraunts. I am not sure if it wasn't readily available or because I wasn't familiar with it did it just get overlooked. To me, it seems like orzo is the perfect ingredient for children as the tiny shaped pasta is very versatile and uber delicious.

I finally wrapped up my philosophical merry-go-round of thoughts with the conclusion that I have learned an astronomical amount about food and cooking in the last few years and I can't wait to tackle more!

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
Adapted from Cooking Light March 2009
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.
2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan;

sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan;

cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in juice,

shrimp and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe


Anonymous said...

When I pass our high school, I don't even remember the young girl I was when I went there. Oh where did the time go! I love orzo and like you never even heard of it until my foodie husband cooked it one night. Now I am hooked!

Your sister,


MaryBeth said...

This dish looks awesome, so simple yet big on flavor. I just printed it and will have to give a whirl.