While without a kitchen this summer and not doing much baking (uh... any baking?), I made regular trips to the library to get books so I could at least read about food and baking. One cookbook that I picked up was, Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook by Leslie Mackie. It is probably an understatement to say I loved this book. I ended up renewing it three times. At that point, I realized I needed to have this book in my own culinary library.
The recipes for breads, pastries, sweets and savories will inspire you through-out an entire day in your kitchen.
Lemon-Sour Cherry Coffee Cake in the morning. Corn Chowder with Pink Potatoes & Cream at lunch. And, Salmon Paillard on Mixed Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette for dinner. These are all recipes I plan to try soon. If they're as good as the Orzo Salad with Cucumber, Peppers (Tomatoes was printed instead of Peppers; a typo, I believe), Basil & Feta I just ate, this cookbook is definitely a winner. The only change I made to this recipe was to substitute Acini di Pepe for the Orzo, a substitution I often make.
Pasta Salad with Cucumber, Peppers, Basil & Feta
adapted from the Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook by Leslie Mackie
and Andrew Cleary
Serves 4 to 6
• 1 cup walnut halves
• 1 cucumber
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 yellow bell pepper
• Kosher salt
• 1 1/2 cups dry Ancini di Pepe or Orzo pasta
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
• 1/2 cup diced scallions
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 1 1/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
• 1/3 cup Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
• Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast on center rack of oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.
3. Peel and core cucumber and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Core the red and yellow peppers and cut them into 1/2-inch square pieces. Set aside.
4. Fill a large saucepan full of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Drop in pasta and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, or until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the pasta in a colander, then cool the pasta by running cold water over the colander. Shake the colander to remove excess water and transfer the cooled pasta to a medium bowl. Toss with olive oil to keep pasta from sticking together.
5. Add the toasted walnuts, cucumber, peppers, olives, scallions, basil, parsley and feta. Drizzle in Lemon Vinaigrette and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Combine mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking as you pour in the oil. Continue whisking until the dressing has emulsified, then cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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