So, it’s been a while since my last post due to moving, getting settled in and starting our new jobbies. So far, we LOVE Winston-Salem! The roads are confusing as heck, but we are close to lots of state parks, great hiking/running/biking trails and lots of great places to eat. The summer weather has not been quite as humid as down in the low country (don’t get it twisted, though, we’re still in the south and therefore it’s HOT!). We met some people from Dr. Matthews’s program at a cookout and had a friend from med school and his girlfriend over for dinner last night (said med school buddy happens to be gluten and diary intolerant, so I got to dabble in cooking for special needs – more on that in a post soon to come!). We also went to Hanging Rock state park and hiked 10 miles last weekend and it was gorgeous!
My in-laws (who are both retired) were awesome enough to drive down early (they’d already planned to come help us move) and help me get our new place painted before we moved all our stuff in. In case you didn’t already know, painting is a PAIN. It will literally give you pain all over your body. It’s exhausting, and tedious, and sweaty (no matter how cold the AC) and generally highly unenjoyable. I’d come up a couple of times and painted the bathrooms and master bedroom, then my in-laws and I painted the whole rest of the house. Including the living room, which is excessively tall, which my father-in-law took on all by his handy self. He also did a bunch of other handy stuff, including hanging updated lighting, etc.
Enjoy the following transformation pics (please forgive any blurryness/bad lighting – I was in a hurry to get stuff done and didn’t spend too much time making sure I took good “before” pictures):
That’s as much as I’ve got of the home improvement documentation. Mostly just painting and changing some lights. I also did Giani granite on the counter tops (a DIY counter painting kit that is supposed to emulate granite). The furniture in the master is from IKEA so Dr. Matthews and his dad spent quite a bit of time putting that together (yay actual bed frame and matching furniture!). There’s no pic, but they also hung our flat screen in the living room and made the cords invisible, which was a big-ish job and looks great!
And, since this is a blog about cooking, I will also leave you with a tasty summer recipe. The first dish I made after we moved was for a lunch bunch with some fellow residents’ wives: Gina’s orzo salad, which I discovered on Food Network’s Instagram:
Gina’s Orzo Salad
1 pound orzo
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I had horseradish mustard so I used that)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons, juiced (I took a shortcut by using the jarred stuff – 3 tablespoons is about 2 lemons’ worth)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes (I couldn’t find yellow so just used red 😦 )
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves (my basil plant was bare and Food Lion was out, so I sadly omitted this, but it would have been so good!)
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh mint leaves (I did not like the flavor of the mint in this and would omit it next time)
5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
*PS “Chiffonade” just means you roll up the leaves like a joint, then cut it up into strips
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender yet still firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain into a colander and let cool. (I ran cold water over the orzo so it would stop cooking once removed from heat.)
Whisk together the Dijon, olive oil, and lemon juice in a large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooled orzo, cherry tomatoes, almonds, red onion, green onions, basil, mint, and feta. Toss together and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.
I thought this turned out very tasty and fresh. As stated earlier, I will for sure add plenty of basil and omit the mint in the future. It did add a unique contrast of flavors, but for some reason I just don’t love the taste of fresh mint.