The other day, on my two-hour drive from Charlotte, NC to Mt. Airy (a small town that’s most famous for being the inspiration for Andy Griffith’s Mayberry), I was mulling over my plan for Maine Roots’ weekly recipe and it dawned on me exactly why my favorite cookbook is Recipes from the Maine Kitchen – and why I’m so certain I’ll come to love my new cookbook, Maine Home Cooking, nearly as much. It’s simple, really, and practical – as Mainers tend to be – the recipes in both books reflect these realities about the people that use them. The recipes themselves are straight forward, and deceptive in that they are as delicious as they are simple.
The orzo, feta, and shellfish recipe I selected from Maine Home Cooking is a perfect example. The recipe list is brief, but open ended – so a more adventurous cook can add as they like:
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 lb. shellfish
- 4 oz. feta cheese (I added closer to 6, because I love feta)
- 5 or 6 scallions, or 1 shallot, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
The recipe serves 4 and can be found on page 140-141 of the cookbook. Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Mix together the cooked orzo, shellfish, feta, vegetables, and salt and pepper.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the feta is melted and bubbly. The results were excellent! I loved the dish, although I would add more veggies next time (I only added peas this time). Nick really enjoyed it – I could tell he meant it, because while he always compliments my cooking – there’s a different degree of enthusiasm when he truly loves something (for example, lasagna).
I’ve also been told there are not enough pictures of the chef herself! Here is a shot of me – including champagne and a thumbs up – in our NC kitchen, but wearing my Christmas gift from my brother – a shirt from The Bag at Sugarloaf!