I began Saturday with the intention of taking a little fall hike – the weather was beautiful, the sky was bright… the ground was still muddy from the aftermath of Irene and continued rain this week. About 100 feet into the hike, we had to turn back around – my relatively new Nikes were already a muddy mess. Ah well… what is a girl to do after walking 100 steps?! Shop and eat. We made a trip over to Stuvesant Plaza and grabbed lunch at one of my favorite spots – Bountiful Bread. I ordered the usual – roasted Portobello salad, with cranberries, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Mmm. Make it – it’s easy, or go and order it, equally as easy, but in all reality I make this on my own all the time and it’s the perfect fall salad.
Decided to do a night out for dinner with some friends – and BOOM – the food was amazing. We went to the New World Bistro in Albany. We had our own giant wooden table, and felt very special about it.
Our first order of the night included cucumber gin cocktails, a margarita, and something along the lines of a grapefruit Italian stallion. We swapped sips and the verdict for all was good – so good that round two followed soon.
For appe-teas-ers, we ordered the calamari, which has the perfect spicy kick, seared tuna, mini sliders, and butternut bisque. Hands down, the butternut bisque takes the cake. There was an extra special sweet flavor from the addition of some liquor, and I will be attempting to recreate this sometime next week. Post to follow!
For dinner, we ordered a few different things, but my favorite was the no crash brown rice risotto, filled with sautéed mushrooms. We decided to go big with the dinner course and order a bottle of wine. We chose the African Spice Route “Chakalaka” – “boom” was heard around the table, which means we really enjoyed it.
I decided to make use of a Sunday football afternoon. Football Sunday’s mean cooking for me, and football for B. I decided to use this time to prep my lunch for the week. No microwave at work so trying to get creative with some cold lunch salads. This week – orzo pasta salad with grape tomatoes, artichokes, cannellini beans, dressed with a lemon basil oil.
1 ½ cups of orzo, which yields about 3 cups of cooked orzo
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups grape tomatoes
1 cup of artichoke hearts marinated in oil, chopped
1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
For the lemon basil oil:
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of oil from artichoke hearts
1 garlic clove
1 lemon, juiced
- Cook orzo according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine orzo, grape tomatoes, cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese.
- In a small food processor, combine basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, oil from the artichoke hearts, and lemon. Blend until you see a liquid dressing. Pour over the orzo salad and stir until well incorporated.
- Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Don’t be afraid to drizzle some additional olive oil over top. Store in airtight containers and serve chilled or at room temperature.