I had been thinking about throwing a dinner party for a few days. My friend Larry being the catalyst for that (when are you going to cook again) So faced with a day of no real plans I decided that I was just going to be spontaneous and do it. I rang up my friend Evie and asked her what her and John were up to. They had already talked about going downtown to the Blues and Brews Festival by the River. We decided we would do an early dinner and head down there after that. Unfortunately Larry could not make it(I promise to bring you some left overs) and Marlana was out of town. So it was Evie, John , Me and Tanya.
Considering it was already after 12 when we came up with this brilliant plan I was suddenly in a time crunch.
Have I ever told you I HATE Wally World?? Well on a Sat at 1230pm in Hope Mills not only do I HATE it but I LOATHE it. I would have much rather just gone to Harris Teeter where I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, to shop. Where every thing is clean and neat and beautiful. Unfortunately the prices there are not always so beautiful (although for produce it is totally worth it).
By the time I got home it was nearly 230 and I still had to make the marinade for the chicken. YIKES ! I got that going right away and popped the chicken breasts in so they could do their thing. I also did a separate bag of the veggies with a little marinade also.
Next on the agenda was the Shrimp and Orzo Salad. I had seen this recipe on Barefoot Contessa yesterday and could not wait to try it! That was painless but geeze look at the time it is almost 4 and I still have cleaning to do and oh Gee I forgot the Whipped topping ...and to put out the eggs to come to room temp and ....oh man NO WAY am I going to get everything done
I have really been wanting to dazzle my friends with the Pavlova but there was just not enough time....sigh!
So at this point it is beginning to drizzle and I am not really thinking I want to wrestle with the veggies on the grill anyway. SO I get this BRILLIANT idea to use my cast iron griddle on the cook top. I do the pineapple first which goes realatively well. Then I move on to the peppers and onions for the Fajitas. About 5 mins into this the smoke detector goes off...not a big deal and CERTAINATELY not unusual. Someone thought it was a good idea to put a smoke detector in my Kitchen. Just using the broiler sets the damn thing off EVERY time. I was not any where near being done with the veggies though and fanning with a towel and turning on the ceiling fan and opening the door was not working. But OMG >>> LOOK at the time. I can't stop. I call my Son in and scream over the piercing beeps ...TAKE OUT THE BATTERIES!!!!! Well, we never did figure out how to even get it open. By the time I was finished cooking the veggies the smoke detectors in the BEDROOMS were going off. Ummm maybe next time I will do those veggies on the Grill after all and the chicken? Oh yeah, I stood in the rain and grilled them.
I can always count on my friends to be late which is good ..because dinner was NOT ready at the scheduled 5:30. But by 6 Evie and John came rolling in (Tanya was on time so I sent her back out to get ice ) and dinner was just about ready to be put on the table!
Everything was yummy and I was especially happy with the Shrimp and Orzo Salad Although I just realized I forgot the parsley. I am Definately making that again. Next time I plan on adding Sundried tomaotes and maybe some red and green peppers just to give it a little more crunch and some color. The only deviations I made from the orginal recipe is I used the Sun-dried and Tomato and basil feta(would you expect anything different from me?) and dried dill ( about 2TBS) because I did not have fresh.
Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!
Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.