Chapter 13 — Room Temperature Accompaniments

I worked a party today — someone’s Rosh Hashana celebration. As I was walking along my local Rittenhouse Square Saturday farmers’ market picking just picked apples for the apple and honey dipping, it occurred to me how there is nothing about apples and honey in the book.  It occurred to me how much more I have to share about Rosh Hashana entertaining than I was able to include in At Home. That’s where the blog and At Home Online, the companion website, come in.  When the book is printed, it’s printed. Printing again is a big deal. But the blog and website will be alive and available to grow. The blog will be available to all, but At Home Online will only be available to those of you who buy the book.

Section 5 is all about Accompaniments. Accompaniments are like that supporting actor in a great film that steals the scene from the star. And At Home offers you 62 accompaniments to upstage your dinner star. There are three chapters within Section 5 and it starts with Chapter 13 — Room Temperature Accompaniments with 21 recipes.

I love Pascal and love each and every one of his illustrations in At Home. But this one – a culinary David vs Goliath — is among my favorites and it illustrates today’s preview recipe. Check out the look of determination Pascal was able to convey in little Orzo.

Picture 4

Orzo Salad with Roasted Corn& Summer Squash
With its flattened-rice shape, orzo is a wonderful pasta for a salad. Here, roasted corn kernels burst with surprising sweetness, while an ample sprinkling of chopped parsley gives the salad a fresh green flavor.

do ahead Salad can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Toss to redistribute dressing and bring to room temperature before serving.

3 ears corn, husked and cleaned
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups 1⁄2-inch cubed zucchini
2 cups 1⁄2-inch cubed summer squash
3⁄4 cup chopped red onion
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-pound box orzo
11⁄2 teaspoons salt, divided
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

1 Preheat oven to 400º.
2 Fill a pot with water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Add orzo and cook until tender but firm, about 7-10 minutes. Drain orzo and allow it to cool.
3 Use a knife to cut corn from cobs. Discard cobs. Toss corn with garlic and 2 tablespoons oil and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fragrant and lightly browned, about 25 minutes, checking at least once to make sure corn is not too brown. Remove sheet from oven and allow corn to cool.
4 In a large bowl, combine orzo, corn, zucchini, summer squash, red onion, parsley, red wine vinegar, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir to distribute ingredients evenly.

serves 8

Room Temperature, as Opposed to Cold
Warmth releases flavors. Cold foods are less flavorful. Most foods that are not meant to be hot are best served at room temperature rather than cold. The ideal for such foods is for no refrigeration at all. Refrigeration tightens the texture and traps moisture. But this is not always possible, especially with food safety standards. A gentle reheating helps after something has been refrigerated. If you’re serving food from the refrigerator, take it out several hours ahead. There are exceptions: Salads are best cold, as are ceviches. Cold foods have a refreshing quality, but even sushi is better if you let some of the chill fade.

Tomorrow: Chapter 14 — Vegetables & Beans. After tomorrow, five chapters left to preview and five days until At Home ships from Kentucky.

Note: I will be speaking all about At Home — book and companion website — at the Free Library on Thursday, October 15 beginning at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there.


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