Our public library has started a new program where they host a well-known chef who presents a lecture and demonstration on cooking.  My good friend, Cayley, invited me to join her for the Tuesday lecture featuring Chef Cathy Thomas.

Cathy is very entertaining and her recipes are always tasty.

I won’t go into the details about Chef Cathy’s rich history and wonderful reputation as a fabulous cook (you can Google her) but I will share that she has a new cookbook on the market called, “Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce“.  Cathy teamed with Melissa’s (a grower of organic fruits and vegetables that provides produce to most of our local markets) in writing this book.    The recipes are delicious and really easy—necessary criteria for summer cooking.

Cathy's cookbook is available at Amazon

You will love how delicious and easy this salad is!

Mediterranean Vegetables and Orzo Salad – Yield 6 servings

  • 8 ounces orzo (rice shaped pasta)1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow crookneck squash; trimmed, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini squash; trimmed, diced
  • 1/2 large red onion; finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes or cherry, halved lengthwise


  • Minced zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley


  • 4 cups washed baby spinach or mixed baby greens
  • 1 ounce salami, cut into 1/8-inch dice (may be omitted if meatless dish is preferred)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup drained olives, such as kalamata or Nicoise

1.  Bring large pot of water to boil on high heat.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and orzo; cook until al dente.  Drain, refresh with cold water.  Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil.  Set aside.

2.  Place squash, red onion, bell pepper and tomatoes in large bowl.  Gently toss.  In small bowl or 4-cup measuring cup with handle, combine zest, juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper and parsley.  Stir to thoroughly combine.  Pour onto vegetables and toss.  Add orzo and toss.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

3.  Divide spinach between 6 small plates.  Top with vegetable-orzo mixture.  Sprinkle each serving with diced salami and crumble feta on top.  Place a small pile of olives off to the side of each salad.

and to accompany this delicious salad…

Wraps are excellent for picnics due to their compact size and portability, no soggy bread to worry about.

Tortilla Wraps with Cabbage and Sweet-Spicy Asian Dressing


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Zest of 1 orange, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes


  • 4 large tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup sno peas, strings removed, each cut into 3 lengthwise strips
  • 1/4 cup shredded, peeled daikon (Japanese radish)
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch wide lengthwise  strips
  • 4 green onions, roots trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 4-6 sprigs of cilantro (or Italian parsley if you prefer)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Place dressing ingredients in small bowl; stir to combine

2.  Spread enough dressing on one tortilla to thinly coat entire surface.  Place 1/4 of cabbage on lower half of tortilla; place 1/4 of each remaining ingredient on top of cabbage, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Roll up as tight as possible; starting at lower edge, folding over ends to (tuck in contents) half way through rolling up tortilla.  Give it a gentle push to seal.  Cut in half crosswise and place on plate.  Repeat process for remaining tortillas.

I know these recipes appear to be long but they are super easy and would be great for a picnic.  Happy Summer.