a lil al fresco

soirees

This is the perfect time of year to bring a meal outdoors… whether it be a romantic outing for two, a family style shin dig, or a fun day at the park with friends.  Here are a few great ideas for making your picnic experience a pleasurable one. Get a handle on your wines using a square tablecloth that duel purposes as your sitting blanket.  Make up a batch of memorable totes that guests can use long after the celebration. Cook up a great pasta salad sure to be a crowd favorite, and invest in the best reusable flatware made of organic bamboo.  The ants should be the only ones left off the invitation!

a_lil_al_fresco

1. Bottle Wrap, instructions included marthastewart.com, 2. DIY lunch favor bags, instructions included, stylemepretty.com, 3. orzo salad, photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com, 4. Bambu all purpose Veneerware, bambuhome.com

Greek Orzo and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette, from the kitchen of Bobby Flay, foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound orzo, cooked al dente
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for brushing shrimp
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 16 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Directions:

Combine orzo, cucumber, green onions, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Place dill, vinegar, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture and stir well to combine. Gently fold in the feta cheese.

Heat grill to high. Brush shrimp with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for approximately 2 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Divide orzo salad among 4 take-out containers or plates and top with 4 shrimp. Garnish with additional dill.

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