28 September 2008

**Orzo** for Ovarian Cancer

Orzo with Zucchini, Dill and Feta

This is a post that is full of information but mentions many of the things that are dear to my heart. I hope that you take the time to read this post thoroughly and have a chance to visit each of these sites that I feature here. So get comfortable, adjust your chair...this may take a while.

If you have followed my blog for a while you have heard of my love for all things Greek. This started years ago in the 80's when as a young bride we visited a Greek restaurant in Penticton, British Columbia. I had never tried Greek food before that enchanted evening, but, my husband was a pro with a Greek uncle in Montreal. We sat in an outdoor courtyard with a warm evening breeze, white washed walls and some excellent Greek wine and my love affair started there and then and has grown to a fever pitch.

To fast track... two years ago I was lucky enough to travel to Greece for a 5 week sojourn...8 days of which was spent at Keartisanal with Aglaia Kremezi and her husband Costas Moraitis. Aglaia is a Julia Child winning cookbook author and writes for several publications as well. Each morning we gathered as a group to pick fresh herbs, tender grape leaves, lemons, zucchini blossoms and seasonal vegetables from Aglaia's extensive gardens to prepare a sumptuous lunch. In Aglaias style.... what was available in the garden dictated what was on the menu.

Some days we would linger over a glass of wine under the arbour and enjoy our efforts; and other days we would venture to a secluded beach where we barbecued freshly caught fish. We hiked many of the ancient trails from one end of the island to the other with a botany lesson thrown in here and there. If you enjoy seafood, immersing yourself in a different culture and instant friendships this is the place for you. One of Aglaia's newest ventures is her web site Aglaia's Table . Their latest accolade is from Korby Kummer of The Atlantic who has written about his experiences at their cooking school here.

One of the dishes we prepared at the cooking school featured orzo. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta that lends itself to many different adaptations. What follows is Aglaia's recipe for orzo which utilizes fennel or dill, zucchini and lemons from her garden. "It’s foolproof, and can be adapted to any number of vegetables you find at the farmer’s market or (overgrown) in your garden. It shows how crumbled feta becomes a thick, creamy sauce that absorbs and amplifies the other flavours of this dish and what a difference the two cornerstones of Greek cooking, olive oil and lemons, can make to a seemingly familiar dish." This amazing dish can be served as a side or as all important main dish like a risotto. It is indescribably good!!!!!! Thank you Aglaia for allowing me to feature your recipe here. It brings back many wonderful memories of my time on Kea with you, Costas, Kostis, Marcie, the kids and Pope and Melek!!!!

I am submitting this recipe with Aglaia's permission to a very important event O for Ovarian Cancer (as a food that begins with the letter "O") from Jenn, Sara and Michelle. It is imperative that we get the message out about this disease. Knowledge is power!!!!!!!Ovarian cancer is of course a disease of women but all forms of cancer inflict our loved ones every day. Yesterday the world lost Paul Newman.

O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen and Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, Jenn of The Leftover Queen, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are asking you to donate to the:

Ovarian Cancer Research Fundand then, out of the goodness of your hearts and to be eligible for the OFoods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest, please do the following:

Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato) and include this entire text box in the post;OR if you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word about the event and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

AND then send your post url [along with a photo (100 x 100) if you’ve made a recipe] to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on September 30, 2008.We will post a roundup and announce prize winners on October 3.

Prizes:1 Recipe Prize for best “O food” concoction: $50 gift certificate to Amazon;1 Awareness Prize for only publicizing event: Copy of Dolce Italiano cookbook.———

From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,650 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. in 2008 and about 15,520 women will die from the disease.The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.In spite of this patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.Please donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and help spread the word!

**Orzo with Zucchini, Dill and Feta**

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup olive oil
4 - 5 cloves of peeled and thinly sliced garlic
4 cups diced or grated zucchini or yellow squash
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb orzo (apprimately 2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated or shredded lemon zest
1-1 1/2 cups feta cheese, mashed
fennel fronds, fresh dill or mint

To serve six as a main course or eight as a side dish, heat chicken or vegetable broth or, if you don’t have broth, water. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add 4 or 5 cloves of peeled and thinly sliced garlic and four cups of diced or grated zucchini or yellow squash. Sauté, stirring, for 10 minutes over medium-high heat; the squash will exude a good deal of liquid. Add 1/2 cup of white wine, a pound of orzo, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir to coat the pasta with oil. Pour in three cups of broth and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more liquid as needed. The pasta can be al dente, for the risotto effect, or cooked completely through, as you like.

Remove the cooked orzo from the heat and add freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated or shredded lemon zest, and 1 -1/2 cups of feta cheese, mashed with a fork (and now: magic sauce). Buy the least salty feta you can find and save some of the crumbs for garnish. Snip over the risotto whatever combination you like of fennel fronds, fresh dill, and mint. Let the garden tell you how to season an irresistibly Greek, and simple, dish.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. What a beautiful post! I visited Greece once and fell in love with that wonderful country as well as it's delicious food!

    Your Orzo dish looks scrumptious! Delightful!



  2. What a lovely dish, Val! I posted my O Foods post yesterday, but it's far less impressive.

  3. Your love of Greek food is infectious Val...I really love the flavours of this orzo and it certainly is a worthy entry for this event. I was saddened to hear about Paul Newman.

  4. This orzo looks delish!

  5. Lovely post! Great of you to join in and spread the word- we need to join together to prevent and cure.
    Love the orzo- really yummy!

  6. What a great cause Val and such a great idea! Beautiful dish.

  7. A great post Val. Cancer is such a terrible thing, which sadly seems to affect us all in one way or another.

  8. What a lovely dish! I am a big fan of orzo. I often use it instead of rice. I love the creamy, cheesy sauce you made. It really looks and sounds fab!

  9. What a lovely post Val. You got married really young Val. Such wonderful flavours in the orzo which I would like to make. I was sad to hear about Paul Newman as well.

  10. I like this great post. I learn something today. Also that orzo is beautiful.

  11. What a great post, Valli! Thanks so much for the beautiful history of your passionate love affair with Greek cuisine - one day I hope to make it to that cooking school!

    Thanks also for participating in O Foods!

  12. I just visited your blog for the first time. The photo on top is dreamlike. Nice post I like orzo :-)

  13. What a fantastic dish to submit to the event. I am sure I would just love this. I always enjoy visiting your blog.

  14. I love this dish...simplicity wins out again. I'm going to have to incorporate this as a side dish soon.

  15. Great post Val, and for a great cause. Your orzo was a perfect choice!

  16. I still have to try Orzo, and after reading your post I should do it soon... your dish looks so mouthwatering :D

    You do have a love affair with Greece, there's not a single post where you don't mention it... you should travel again to Greece and stop in Spain on your way there ;D

    I'm sad for Paul Newman's death too.

  17. Ahh, good idea. I'll be thinking of something to make.

    I always wondered how you got started on Greek food. I haven't been lucky enough to visit a Greek restaurant.

  18. Val this is really a tremendous post your passion and joy and respect for others shines through. Thank you this one.

  19. I love orzo!!! It looks like an orzo risotto!

  20. This is a wonderful recipe to help raise awareness for such a horrible disease. Ovarian cancer has disrupted my family tree for generations, and I'm all for silencing this horrible disease so no one else has deal with this awful suffering.

  21. Fabulous!!!! Please make sure you've sent the link to this post and a photo to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]come in order to be eligible for a prize and to be included in the round-up! If you've already done so, you're all set!

    Thanks so much for participating with this wonderful dish :)

  22. Great post, Val. I just love feta and dill and orzo, of course. This looks delicious.


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