Saturday, July 19, 2008

Family Dinner

Liam didn't eat the whole thing all by himself, but he wanted to. We were blessed and lucky to have (almost) Will's entire immediate family to dinner: his mother and father, sister and her daughter. Only his brother-in-law couldn't make it. And, my parents were here too (that's my mother feeding Liam). The best thing we ate was grilled vegetable salad (first bowl).

Here's how it goes. First, all the prep: (1) Cook about 8 oz of orzo pasta. Drain well, rinse, toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside. (2) Slice up 1 or 2 zucchini or summer squash and 1 or 2 red or yellow peppers. You're going to grill them and then chop them, so plan accordingly when you slice. Set aside. (3) Chop up 1 or 2 tomatoes, the best you can find. I also seed them, which helps the salad not be too wet. Set aside. (4) Clean about 1 pound of shrimp (you're going to grill these too). Set aside. (5) Chop up about 8 oz of whole milk fresh mozzarella. I bet other cheeses would be good too, but I haven't tried any yet. I'm thinking a lightly smoked cheese would be good ,or a manchego cheese crumbled. Set the chopped up cheese aside. Make the dressing, mix up: at least 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and 3 tablespoons store bought basil pesto. That's it for the prep.

Now, cook. (1) Mix the shrimp with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the dressing and set aside. You want them to marinate for 3o minutes or so, not much longer because the lime juice will start to cook them. (2) Heat the grill. (3) Brush the peppers and zucchini slices with some of the dressing. (4) Grill the peppers and zucchini and the shrimp.

Finally, assemble. (1) Chop up the grilled veg. Mix them and the grilled shrimp with the orzo pasta you cooked before. (2) Add the tomatoes and the cheese and about 1/4 cup (or more if you like it) chopped up fresh basil. (I roll up the leaves and cut it into thin ribbons, which I must have seen on TV or something.) (3) Add the rest of the dressing. Mix it all up well. That's it.

You can make this up 2 hours or so ahead of time, maybe more (although I haven't tried that). Keep it cold if it is going to sit around too long, serve at room temperature. We love this because it really tastes good and it's pretty much all cooked -- Will isn't supposed to eat too many uncooked vegetables because of the anti-rejection, immune suppression medication he takes. I got this recipe from Bon Appetite magazine, I think the May or June issue from this year; I think it's the first recipe from them I've really liked in a long time.

Best of all, Liam was so tired after all that playing and eating that he when straight to sleep, no fuss at all. Hope you all are having many joyful family dinners this summer.

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