There is a small community of us who have just had a major job benefit yanked from our lives for a few months. From late August through the end of May, our boarding school community, including teachers and their families, are welcomed and encouraged to eat meals in the campus dining hall, free of charge. That means that while, yes, I write a food blog, I have been under no pressure to provide nightly dinners or very many daily lunches for this little clan of four.
Someone seasoned in boarding school life once told us, long ago, that to refuse to eat in the dining hall is like refusing a part of your paycheck. It’s not really something we can afford to do, plus not having to clean supper dishes on the reg is a perk with which I have no complaints. And I might add, contrary to some student complaint, the food isn’t half bad either.
So, while I truly enjoy and look forward to the process of planning and making food, the summer hits quickly and unexpectedly when it comes to the dining hall closing. Suddenly, every meal plan is on me. More importantly, groceries are expensive! Yet when I have just a few short months to cook daily for my family, I like to do it well.
Just as we are used to doing throughout the rest of the year, many of the summer meals around this campus are shared ones. This shrimp and orzo supper was concocted by my favorite cooking buddy, Elisa, and myself one late afternoon; children splashing in a backyard kiddie pool and cold beverages in our hands.
Cheers to remembered summer dishes and sharing new ones with friends…
…Now to shuffle the budget a smidgen in order to accomodate such frivolity!
Recipe from Elisa Hopkins
- 1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons butter (2 for orzo, 1 for shrimp)
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta (I used 1/2 cup of whole wheat orzo and 1/2 cup durum wheat semolina orzo -this is not necessary but it adds color, depth, and nutrition to this dish)
- 14.5 ounces of vegetable broth (Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt & Herbs is great)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Peel, devein, and rinse shrimp.
- Marinate in lemon juice and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
- Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and sautée until lightly browned.
- Stir in vegetable stock and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, 15 – 20 minutes (times may vary depending on what type of orzo you use – the mix I used required 15 minutes in order for the liquid to absorb)
- Set aside.
- Season shrimp with Tony Chachere’s to taste.
- Heat skillet on medium high, add 1 tablespooon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauteé shrimp for 2 – 3 minutes per side – until pink with golden hints – Do not move shrimp while they are cooking – the secret to getting them golden is leaving them alone.
- Season cooked orzo with salt and pepper.
- Mix in parmesan cheese and basil.
- Transfer to shallow bowl.
- Garnish shrimp with basil sprigs