Friday, April 29, 2011

Chai Infused Black Bean & Hominy Orzo Pasta Salad

This dish was to tea-licious that I made it on two different occasions in the last two weeks. I created it for my freind's birthday celebration where it recieved such rave reviews that I made a again for the BYBA, Boulder Youth Body Alliance, post DC event.

Before I give you this amazing recipe I should explain a little more about the BYBA, not just because I am on the board, but because it truely is such an amazing orgainization. Founded by Carmen Cool, the BYBA gives teens all the tools and support they need to find the path to celebrate their bodies as vessels that contain their amazing spirits, instead of feeling “trapped” in bodies that don’t fit some externally-imposed norm of “perfection.” The teens that make up the BYBA are Boulder High & Fairview kids that are dedicated to helping their peers build self confidence.

A couple weeks ago Carmen tookl 10 of the kids to DC to speak in front of a congressional briefing on the FREED Act -- the first comprehensive eating disorders legislation to be introduced in Congress, with initiatives in research, prevention, and treatment. This event was featured on Channel 4, you can click on this link if you are interested in viewing the segment: BYBA Goes to DC.

Anyhow, we hosted a post-DC event so the teens can share what they learned, do a slideshow of their pictures, and connect with the community that supports this work. Jared Polis, CO congressman, and many others attended the event. And I was of course responsible for feeding everybody. A generously delicious food donation from the MED, a local Boulder restaurant, and my Orzo pasta salad were served.

This easy to make Chai Infused Black Bean &
Hominy Orzo Pasta Salad is a winner for any event. You can make it up to 1-2 days before, just keep it in the fridge.

• 2 cups
orzo pasta
• 3
Chai Tea Bags (I used Gevalia's Spiced Chai, but you can use any tea)
• 3 TBS Olive Oil plus 1/3 cup
• 1 medium white onion, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp cumin powder
• 1 tsp cayenne powder
• 1 tsp coriander
• 1 jalapeno, diced (for extra spice don't seed)
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
• 1 can
hominy, drained and rinsed (Hominy is dried maize kernels which have been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization.)
• 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
• ¾ cups feta cheese, crumbled
• ½ cup almond slivers (optional)
• 2 TBS Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
• Salt & Pepper to taste

Almond Pesto Drizzle (Optional)
• 3 garlic cloves
• 2 handfuls fresh parsley leaves
• 2 scallions, ends cut
• Optional : 1 serrano, seeded (if you like is spicy)
• ½ cup almonds
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• ¾ - 1 cup almond oil

1. Bring 4 cups salted water to boil. Add orzo pasta and chai tea, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes (al dente).
2. Remove tea bags. Strain orzo, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid, (note: this liquid will be starchy and will add flavor, help bring the dish together and keep the orzo separated), rinse with cold water and drain. Place in a large bowl. Mix in the reserved cooking liquid and 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large wok, heat 2 TBS olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and sweat onions, garlic, cumin, cayenne, coriander, and jalapeno for about 2-3 minutes, until the onions are translucent and smells fragrant. Add red pepper and let cook for another 1 minute. Add the hominy and 1 more TBS olive oil. Mix together and cook for 3-4 minutes. Mix in the black beans, turn off heat and let cool. (Note this mixture is delicious without the orzo)
4. Optional: Almond Pesto Drizzle – place all ingredients except for the almond oil in a food processor or blender and blend. Slowly add the oil. Puree until smooth yet still a little chunky.
5. Assemble salad by combining the black bean and hominy mixture with the orzo. Add the feta, almonds and garnish with fresh parsley. Season with salt & pepper. Drizzle the almond pesto and or serve on the side.

This salad is a MUST TRY at your next event...Let me know how it is...

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