mediterranean orzo salad

A couple of years ago my sister invited me to her book club. She was hosting and wanted my help with the food, but also knows I’m the most freakish reader on the face of the earth. They were reading a book I had already read, probably a year earlier. I didn’t love it but decided to re-read it in preparation for book club. You can guess where this is going.

The most chatter the book got during that gathering was half the girls saying they hadn’t even tried to read it. Needless to say that group was not for me.

Flash forward to a couple months ago, when my neighbor invited me to the first meeting of her new book club. Now, this neighbor and I are doing that awkward thing where we’re both trying to be friends with each other without putting in so much effort to reveal that we’re really in need of new friends.

(Maybe she isn’t, but I am.)

I was nervous about attending as my last book club experience hadn’t been super positive, and because any time anyone engages me in a conversation about books the GS takes a big deep breath and his eyes go very wide like “you’re going to regret asking her that question.”

I ended up having a great time. The cool thing about this club is that rather than choosing a specific book, each month has a theme. The first one, for example, was “cover love.” You literally just choose a book based on the cover. That way you can read whatever you want, and you end up getting some good recommendations from the rest of the group. So I got some good book talk in but also the normal wine drinking and general gossip that is what a normal person wants in their book club.

And this month I offered to host! The theme is “thrillers, mysteries, detective novels.”

Should I just go ahead and invite Karin Slaughter?

It starts at 7, so I want to offer food that is appropriate for those who just want a snack with their wine, or those who haven’t eaten dinner beforehand. I figured some kind of orzo salad would be perfect for this, along with bean dip and these cookies and probably some other app/snack.

So I tested this out last night and it was very delicious

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

1 lb orzo pasta

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, rinsed and quartered

2 cups arugula

3-4 artichokes (I buy the grilled & marinated ones)

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

juice of one lemon

drizzle of olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

*optional olives

This comes together easily. Boil the pasta in heavily salted water, and while it’s still hot toss with the arugula to wilt it down.

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Add the tomatoes, artichokes, and feta.

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Make a quick dressing- equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, two cloves minced garlic, and a teaspoon of dried oregano.IMG_0142.jpg

Toss it all together, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The GS also added kalamata olives to his but olives are one of the only things I don’t eat so they were kept on the side.

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The nice thing about these dishes is that they’re good at any temperature so people can serve themselves leisurely and you don’t worry about whether it’s been sitting out. This was very delicious but I’m also considering this one or this one.

By the way, I’m using I Am Pilgrim as my book to discuss. It’s worth all 624 pages and I’m on a mission to make everyone read it.

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