The Awkward Olive Does Lunch: the joy of déjeuner. Easy orzo salad with smoked salmon and lemon

Awkward Olive Does Lunch: The joy of déjeuner.

Awkward Olive Does Lunch: The joy of déjeuner.

 

When I first announced that I was changing jobs one of my friends asked me “Does this mean that you are going to have more of a fashion focus on your blog?” To which I kind of had to laugh a little bit. Though my life is definitely headed in a more fashion forward direction, I realized that now I have a lot more time to cook for myself at home, and also cooking is going to become much more of a necessity. Gone are the days of eating anywhere between 5-10 meals at Red Hills Market, gone are the days of “oh I didn’t have time to get groceries, I’ll just go to work 30 minutes early and grab a bite.” Instead, I’m embracing the brown bag lunch mentality.

Though I’m sure my daily social media outlets are going to shift a little more towards fashion and a little less on food, I feel as though my blogging efforts might swing the other way, as cooking at home and feeding myself are suddenly a much larger part of my daily routine.  Also with gardening season just getting underway, and the start of the local Farmer’s Market in a few short weeks, I’ve decided to add a monthly or perhaps bi-weekly installment on the blog entitled “The Awkward Olive Does Lunch: the joy of déjeuner”  which will explore some of my lunch making and packing adventures, and hopefully be inspiring to those of you packing your own lunches from time to time.  Because let’s face it, sometimes lunch requires a little inspiration…

This past weekend I accidentally spent my entire grocery budget for the week on Quin candy.  Le Sigh. #sorrynotsorry  I’ve been savoring the cherry cola gumdrops all week, trying to convince myself that living off  of candy and water seems like a kind of magical lifestyle choice. (not really… but kind of really. )  So as I was planning out my lunches for the week I had to turn to my pantry and get a little creative.

All the Gumdrops and Dreams come Chew

All the Gumdrops and Dreams come Chew

Stopped into Sprinklefingers to stock up on all the Quin Candy Goodness

Stopped into Sprinklefingers to stock up on all the Quin Candy Goodness

This time of year I start to crave bright flavors like asparagus and lemon, simple sauces, and satisfying dishes that are a little on the lighter side. The weather last week was mostly beautiful, and I found myself eating breakfast, and sometimes lunch and dinner out on the back patio soaking up little bits of Spring. My herb garden is starting to come alive, and right now the chives are really prolific, so as I was riffling through the pantry trying to come up with a make-ahead, packable, last me all week dish that didn’t require a trip to the grocery store (which I think will be a re-occurring theme on  AODL) I was trying to be inspired by the light and bright flavors that I’ve been craving.

The Chives, going nuts

The Chives, going nuts

 

The Answer: Easy orzo salad with  smoked salmon and lemon.

 

Ingredients:

  •  Orzo pasta
  • 1  6 oz can of smoked salmon
  • 1 bunch of fresh chives
  • 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
  • Crème Fraiche
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional : Jacobsen Salt Co. Lemon Zest Salt.

 

  • Cook the Orzo according to package directions. I never measure Orzo, just eyeball how big of a salad you want to make, and call it a day.
  • While the pasta is cooking, wash and dice the chives and then put them in a large mixing bowl with the salmon.
  • Zest the lemon, and place the zest in a small bowl.   Juice ½ of the lemon and set juice aside.
  • When the orzo has reached it’s desired done-ness, strain and rinse with cold water.  Give it a light drizzling of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together, and continue to let cool.  Once the pasta has thoroughly cooled  add it to the bowl with the chives and salmon, and add in the lemon juice.
  • Add 1-2  large spoonful’s of crème fraiche to the lemon zest and mix together before incorporating in with the rest of the salad.  Add olive oil, and salt and pepper and mix together.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to let the flavors meld.
  • When ready to serve, or when packing for a lunch, add a light drizzling of olive oil, a dollop  of plane crème fraiche, and a sprinkling of  the lemon zest salt.
orzo salad with smoked salmon and lemon

orzo salad with smoked salmon and lemon

This salad was everything that I was craving last week.  The crème fraiche was a wonderful addition, because it added a little je ne sais quoi  to the salad without making it too heavy.  (I realize that you might not have a tub of crème fraiche sitting in the fridge… but this time of year you should! Its full fat dairy at its finest. You could also probably make the salad without it, but as I said, it’s the je ne sais quoi factor) The lemon and the chive pair beautifully, and the smoked salmon adds a bit of protein and healthy fat to keep you satiated throughout the day. It was the perfect packable lunch salad, and one I’ll definitely make again.

Also, as a side note, the Lemon Zest Salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. was pretty much made for this dish. I have it listed as an optional ingredient, but  do yourself a favor, and seriously consider it a secret ingredient for success.

Jacobsen Salt Lemon Zest

 

 

 

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