Lemon Feta Orzo with Shrimp

June 19, 2011

The problem with developing an interest in food is that little by little one becomes a food snob. You might swear it will never happen, but the transition is very slow, barely noticeable at first. You find you start to get a little pickier. Then you find yourself completely turning down things because they just aren’t up to your standards. That’s when you realize it.

I’m a food snob.

It may not be in the traditional sense. I don’t need fancy caviar and champagne, but I do want authentic Asian cuisine and microbrews.

I think it started with coffee. There was a day when I would drink that stuff that is produced affordably for the masses at conferences or in the typical office setting just so I could have my coffee. Now, no thanks. I’d rather go without than suffer through a mediocre cup.

Then it moved on to cheese. While it doesn’t have to be imported, I definitely would prefer a small scale creamery making authentic varieties. At the very least, I have to buy it by the block and shred it myself. That being said, I haven’t been to France yet, so I have a feeling things may only get worse.

The latest addition to my food snobbery list is pasta. Once I made homemade pasta I was sold that the time invested is completely worth the final result. I rarely have the desire to buy and boil up dried pasta. However, some of those fancy shapes and sizes are a bit too difficult for home production, for me anyway.

Orzo is the first one that comes to mind. I love orzo and I’m just not sure I would have the talent or patience to make all those little pieces!

So okay, maybe I’m not as snobby as I thought, but I am starting to get the impression that in certain situations my standards are a bit high. I guess that’s just more reason to travel for the best and make the rest!

Lemon Feta Orzo with Shrimp

1 lb orzo, cooked to al dente
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions, sliced (greens reserved)
20 to 25 shrimp, thawed if frozen
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup black olives, sliced
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp black pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, deep skillet (a wok works well) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp, the juice of half the lemon and the zest of half the lemon. Cook until the shrimp just begin to turn opaque, or if already cooked, just until they start to heat through.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet. Stir in the olives, and feta. Continue to cook until the shrimp is cooked or heated through. Remove from heat. Add the remaining tbsp of oil, the juice and zest of the other half of lemon, the reserved onion greens (scallions), parsley and pepper. Stir to combine all ingredients. Serves 4 to 5.

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  • Peggy June 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I only just experienced orzo recently, but I’m sold! It’s such an interesting pasta and this dish sounds absolutely delicious too!

    And on the food snobbishness, I can totally relate. I’m definitely that way with vegetables and certain proteins!

  • Joy June 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Food snobs have the most fun! Especially when they are snbs for the taste, not the status!

  • lesley lifting life June 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Ha, I think I definitely have my own food snob tendencies too 🙂

    In other news, this orzo looks so delicious!

  • Joanne June 20, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Oh I definitely know what you mean! Most restaurant food tastes so not good to me lately, I think because I realize that I can make most of it myself for less money…and it will be better for me and will taste better. Same for cheese. Once you go good cheese, you can’t ever go back.

    I still haven’t conceded on orzo yet. Although I suspect some day…

    This dish looks so good! Lemon and feta were made for each other.

  • Andrea June 20, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Mmmm I love orzo! I’m totally a food snob. “Oh I’m sorry that beef isn’t from around here and wasn’t massaged daily with an oatmeal bath? I’ll pass thanks.” 😉

    This dish looks so pretty and very summery!

  • kat June 20, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I totally know what you mean…we even went as far as to bring a turkey to Memphis for Thanksgiving because we were afraid of what my parents would buy!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance June 20, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I have no idea how you’d even make orzo – what attachment is THAT for the pasta crank machine? And I totally am with you on the coffee.

  • Lori June 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Peggy – It’s fairly new to me too. It works so well, in pasta salad type dishes!

    Joy – Love it. Totally for taste, not status!

    Lesley – So glad I’m not alone! 🙂

    Joanne – We are the same way. It has to be ethnic or really unique or it’s just not worth it.

    Andrea – Massaged with an oatmeal bath! Ha! You crack me up!

    kat – We considered that last year and just might do it this year! Especially now that we know so many great pastured turkey producers from the area.

    Michelle – Ha, ha! I have just been picturing myself rolling a zillion in my fingers. No thanks!

  • Eliana June 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I am a proud food snob. It’s that once you have great food you just can’t go back. And I don’t think I could settle for anything less. Since I have yet to try making my own orzo at home I am going to have to settle for the store-bought so that I can enjoy this dish. It looks amazing.

  • OysterCulture June 25, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I have a healthy interest in food and I am not sure I’m a food snob, sure I can be picky, but I think its because I’ve educated myself to realize what good food is that I can appreciate the difference.

    When I think of snobs, and I do not count you in that category its people that go for the priciest items and not ones with a curiosity to explore new experiences – take that bone marrow for instance. I’d say the people that I think of as food snobs would not step into a restaurant like that as it does not meet their criteria and they’re really missing out.