Saturday, March 3, 2012

Eat Those Greens

I can't always be eating butter and sugar.  I'd like to... but I can't survive on just that.  Paula Deen should know what I'm talking about.

My thighs love the days I eat green things.  Things with vibrant colors = happy thighs.  We want our thighs happy, so we can eat the butter and sugar later.  It's all about balance (and justification).  

Also, I've resolved to not post crappy sub-par pictures of food here.  These are pictures that have bad lighting/poorly-set food/ugly bite marks (I totally don't ever take those last ones , but I thought I'd let you know I would save you from them, should they ever happen).  

When it came time to make this pasta salad, I had several things working against a potential blog posting:

1. I had company (my dad and step mom) coming over, and time was an issue.  Everything takes twice as long when you're photographing it, and I didn't want to feed them at midnight.

2. It was dark.  Do you have any idea how disgusting food looks when light with conventional overhead incandescent lighting?  Revolting, much???

3. I just didn't think anyone would want to read about healthy things.  I was wrong.  So wrong.  Not only do you want to read about healthy things, but you want to read about THIS recipe.  You all practically screamed for it.  When the time comes, I promise I'll make it up to you and take gorgeous shots of it for you.  I may even reference this blog.  YOU DON'T KNOW.

So instead of giving you pictures of beautifully sliced avocado, green pilly piles of broccoli, and gently tossed orzo pasta, I give you...

Cori loved the pasta.  She gave it two thumbs up.  Eat your greens, kids!

My wonderful dad, Bill.  Bill was just about to post on Facebook how much he LOVED it, and how he couldn't believe it was broccoli pesto.  Who'd have thunk it??

Kim...  Kim just wanted to wear this hat.  (Actually, she loved the pasta so much she wanted the recipe, which Cori lovingly wrote out, word for word, for her)  Nice hat, Kim!

Aaaaand then we all played UNO, while we finished off the wine.  This is what you could call Post-Broccoli Pesto Comas.  You'll get this face when you eat your greens.  

Um... I've no idea what is going on with my hair.

So do something good for your thighs.  Nay... for yourself.  Let's be the people we want our doctors to believe we are.  Then later we can all get back to what this blog is really about - butter and sugar.

Broccoli and Avocado Orzo Pasta Salad

fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo pasta
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and short stems
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted 
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup creme fraiche 
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed

Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt the water generously.  Cook the orzo pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain again.  

In a large pot with a lid, bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil.  Place all of the broccoli in the pot and cover, cooking for just 1 minute.  You want it to be bright green and still have crunch.  Quickly drain the broccoli and give it a quick cold water rinse to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

In a food processor, combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, garlic, most of the pine nuts, the parmesan, the lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Pulse briefly to break down the broccoli to a find chop.  With the blender running, drizzle in the EVOO until the mixture is smooth, then add the creme fraiche the same way.  

Right before you service, toss the remaining broccoli and orzo together in a serving dish.  Fold in the pesto and lemon zest, adding more salt or lemon juice to taste.  Top with the cubed avocado and remaining pine nuts.  Devour.

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