Raise your hand if you know what a Derecho is? Now keep it raised if you knew what it was before Friday night. I sure had never heard of it before I first heard the term on the news on Saturday morning to hear what on earth had whipped by our house on a hot Friday evening in June, but apparently it's a fast moving, long-lasting, large, violent thunderstorm and it hit with a vengeance after a day on a weekend where temperatures were well over the 100 degree mark in Virginia.
My husband and I had been out to dinner and just gotten home on Friday, and I got an email from work warning that a storm with winds up to 80 miles per hour with possible large hail was headed towards us. What? Isn't that, like, a hurricane? My nice leisurely dinner of delicious southern food at the Roosevelt Hotel seemed a thing of the past. It wasn't even cloudy at this point. Well, not much later, the email was proven correct when the skies darkened and the trees were whipping around like nobody's business. Our power flickered on and off but thankfully stayed ON, but many of our friends and neighbors weren't so fortunate. By Saturday morning we were getting reports of the damage, and it seemed like there were a lot of people with trees down and no power, with temperatures expected to be in the 100's that day. DC, as you've probably seen, got it much, much worse, and with the sweltering heat, it's just such a bad time for everyone to be out of power for an extended time. We usually get things like this during hurricane season but having this happen in June/July is so unexpected. I find myself thinking going into "hurricane storm prep/clean-up mode--buy water, batteries, fill car up with gas" but then remember , "Oh, right, this wasn't a hurricane." Oh well, now I'm stocked up for September!
The good thing from this weekend that I've noticed from Facebook and hearing snippets from friends and news stories, etc., is that everyone seemed to all work together for the most part-- those with A/C and power invited those who didn't over to stay. People shared water, ice, and generators. There were a lot of camp-outs and sleepovers going on this weekend. We had some of our friends over and had a great time grilling out and enjoying being out of the heat.
I thought of this Orzo Salad because it is a great recipe for company during the summer. It's made using a lot of herbs from the garden and pantry staples with a few fresh vegetables. It's very easy to mix up and feeds a crowd. While the salad calls for tomatoes and cucumber, I think you could easily swap them with other fresh favorite veggies such as zucchini, yellow squash or peppers, I particularly love the dressing for this salad, it's light and fresh from the lemon juice, chives, and oregano-- perfect for a summer salad.
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3- 1/2 cup extra-light olive oil (I found that I only needed 1/3 cup)
2 tbs. chopped fresh oregano
2 tbs. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) box orzo pasta, cooked and drained
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 (14-oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (6-oz.) can whole pitted black olives, drained
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Garnish: fresh oregano
1. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, chives, salt, and pepper, whisking to combine; set aside.
2. In a side bowl, combine pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, and feta cheese. Pour lemon juice mixture over pasta mixture, stirring to combine well. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Garnish with fresh oregano, if desired.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Adapted from Simply Southern 2012 by Southern Lady
Looking for more recipe ideas for the 4th? How about these:
Blueberry Pie for the 4th of July
Red, White, and Blue Confetti Blondies
Red, White, and Blue Rice Krispie Bars
Easy Peach Cobbler
Peach Raspberry Slab Pie
Strawberry Sugar Cookie Bars
Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Red Bell Pepper
Easy Peasy Warm Leak and Goat Cheese Dip
Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyere
Hot Bean and Cheese Dip
Tex-Mex Pimiento Cheese Dip