Ronnie Paul: Rough mornings and summer recipes |

Ronnie Paul: Rough mornings and summer recipes

Ronnie Paul
Ronnie Paul said that playing in the kitchen always improves her day and her recipe for an orzo-wild rice salad is one summery dish that could perk up your day.
Photo by Jeff Kane

When I talked to my friend the other day, she was a bit crabby. “Get up on the wrong side of the bed?” I asked.

“Yup,” she answered. “The side that’s against the wall.”

Here are a few other signals for a tough day ahead:

The alarm goes off at 4:11 a.m., compliments of your husband resetting the clock after last night’s power outage.

Just as you doze off, the rooster next door crows reveille.

You stumble out of bed onto the cat who’s asleep on the floor. He avenges the insult by attacking your heel. You’re out of Band-Aids.

The espresso machine steams and hisses threats like Mount Vesuvius.

It was more than a threat. Coffee grounds explode over a two-foot radius. The paper towel roll holds only one sheet.

The computer takes 45 minutes to update. Lands End is your only e-mail.

The bank calls to report suspicious activity on your credit card. Seems you just bought 350 pillowcases in Estonia.

The crunch you heard beneath your foot was your only pair of eye glasses.

The car tire is flat, causing you to miss your dermatology appointment. The next available date is in four months.

Two of these setbacks in one morning grant you permission to go back to bed and read a trashy novel — unless, considering how the morning’s going, the puppy ate it.

Playing in the kitchen always improves my day. I hope these recipes add zest to whatever kind of day you have.

Orzo-wild rice salad

Serves 4-6

This summery salad will definitely not be considered a set back.

1/2 cup raw wild rice or a wild rice blend

1 cup orzo

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped orange or yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


Whisk together:

4 tablespoons white Balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cook the rice according to directions until tender, but not mushy. When done, spread in a shallow dish and refrigerate until cold.

Cook the orzo according to directions. When done, rinse with cold water and refrigerate with the rice.

When the grains are chilled, mix them together with the marinade and the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Zucchini ribbon salad

Serves 6

If you don’t grow your own zucchini, grab a few give-aways from your neighbor.

1 pound zucchini, cut in ribbons with a vegetable peeler (a combination of gold and green zukes makes for an artful presentation).

1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup toasted walnuts

2 ounces crumbled blue cheese

3 ounces salad greens

1 medium avocado, cut in pieces

Salt and pepper


Whisk together:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

Toss the zucchini, garbanzos, and dill with the marinade and chill for a few hours.

To serve, mix the remaining ingredients together with the zuke and beans mixture, arrange in a pretty bowl, and proudly bring it to the table.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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