Winter has arrived, the snow is here. We’re half ready – sweater’s in drawers, winter gear’s hidden, leaves are mid-pile, flip flops by the door, still (!); we’re not ready for the chill. But we sing Christmas songs, have been for months, beautiful, off-key renditions with lyrics sorta close to the original. Despite the holiday cheer that a loud rendition of Jingle Bells evokes, I’m trying to prolong winter for as long as possible. Greek Orzo Salad Bowl is my valiant attempt to bring the illusion of summer to the table, and it works. Close your eyes and take a bite, the summery salad will immediately transport you to a lounge chair, drink in hand, the scent of barbecue on the breeze. Greek Orzo Salad is chock-full of vegetables (as chock-full as you desire)- zucchini, summer squash, carrots, tomatoes, purple onions, colored peppers- tied together with a zippy dressing, pine nuts, and some feta cheese. And this is just the beginning. Fill your bowl with mixed greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, or any green of choice), top with orzo salad, some chick peas, juicy Greek chicken, tzatziki, fresh basil, some pita wedges or chips, maybe some kalamata olives, a drizzle of dressing, a sprinkle of more feta, perhaps some avocado? Now, doesn’t that sound like a summery bowl of yum? Dig in and you’ll be bombarded with flavor -oodles of crunch, a bit of zing, notes of basil, some tang.
For me, one of the best ways to combat winter is to pretend it’s not here. And I’ve done a marvelous job, that is until my kids want to go outside, then I’ll scramble to find the winter gear. In the meantime, we’ll forgo the soup, hold off on the stews and chili, the slow-braised meats and winter vegetables, and we’ll eat our fill of summer in a bowl. Greek Orzo Salad Bowl is infinitely customizable. You can substitute Greek chicken for Greek meatballs, gyro meat, Parmesan Chicken, lamb skewers, chicken kebabs, grilled halloumi, grilled vegetable kebabs, falafel, and the list goes on. Fill your bowl up with the toppings of your choice and wait to be transported. Do you hear the waves, can you feel the sun? As the cold settles in, Greek Orzo Salad Bowl just might stay the winter beast or at least prolong winter momentarily until you’re ready to embrace it.