A Sip and a Salad

Thursday, April 29, 2010 57 comments
Scallops and Orzo Salad

I need a drink . . . 

This Noodle has been particularly tangled for the past several days, thanks to those little unexpected glitches in my daily routine that not only keep me on my toes but also occasionally throw me off-balance. I've had to rearrange my priorities several times to accommodate the unexpected, which means that more leisurely pursuits such as blogging and commenting have dropped to the bottom of my to-do list. But finally, my equilibrium seems to be returning as I finish up the last of my assignments and I look forward to sharing some new blog entries. I say that calls for a toast!  Even better, I raise a glass in relief celebration and offer it as a between-post refresher.

Earlier this month, the magnificent Diva on a Diet of Beach Eats invited all mix-master wannabe's to join her for the first Thirsty Thursday Challenge by submitting our own creative libations featuring a specified spirit or other ingredient. For this inaugural event, the booze of choice was gin. Given my past few days, I happily turned over this opportunity for liquid glory to resident mixologist, Mr. Noodle, who created a simple, satisfying quencher. But I did manage to summon enough initiative to contribute an easy and delicious summer-on-the-seaside dish. After all, it's never a good idea to imbibe on an empty stomach . . .

Calama-Ginger Sipper

Mr. Noodle will be the first to say that this is not a game-changing original drink recipe but it scores high points nonetheless. As the Diva pointed out on her Thirsty Thursday Challenge post, gin pairs wonderfully with all manner of fruit, particularly of the citrus variety. Having converted my dear husband to the sweet-tart joys of calamansi, he chose this ubiquitous Filipino fruit and a ginger-infused simple syrup to flavor his Bombay Sapphire gin.

For one drink

3 Tbsps ginger infused simple syrup
(1 cup water + 1 cup sugar + 1" piece of fresh ginger = bring to a boil until sugar dissolves; remove ginger and let cool)
1/2 oz calamansi juice (approx 2 Tbsps)
Your favorite gin
Tonic water
Slice of ginger for garnish

Fill an Old Fashioned/lowball* glass with ice and add ginger syrup and calamansi juice. Pour gin until halfway up the glass, then top with tonic water.  Garnish with a thin slice of ginger and start sipping!

(*For this presentation, Mr. Noodle strained the drink into a martini glass)

Scallops and Orzo Salad

While Mr. Noodle was busy concocting his concoction, I put together a seafood and pasta salad to complement the fresh, citrus flavors of the drink. This recipe is so simple that it really isn't one - just toss together a few ingredients and enjoy!

Yields 2 to 4 servings

1 lb scallops, poached
1 cup orzo
Red onion, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
Basil, shredded
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Lettuce leaves (I used red leaf)

To make:

Poach scallops, then drain and set aside to cool; cook orzo as directed and drain well. In a bowl, toss orzo, onion, tomatoes and cilantro with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and season with salt and pepper (amounts vary to taste). Spoon pasta and vegetable mix onto a whole lettuce leaf on a small place and top with poached scallops. Serve and enjoy!

Many thanks to the Diva on a Diet for hosting such a refreshing event! 


  • Jenn said...

    I know the feeling when some kind of unexpected glitch arises. Hope everything's back to normal.

    Wonderful salad. I still have some orzo that needs to be used up. I think scallops are in order soon and very soon. Yum!!

  • Chef E said...

    *Clink* Cheers to your progression in life, I know when I went back to school for the third time, I was so glad when it was over!

    Those scallops are perfection...I can actually taste them, I have had them so many times, feel their texture, and orzo, love orzo!

  • Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

    Cheers to you and Mr. Noodle. I love his Calama-Ginger Sipper in the martini glass. Your scallop salad is gorgeous over the red tip lettuce. I like the idea of the orzo in it, giving it a subtle bit of pasta without overwhelming it into a pasta salad.

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    Dearest Noodle, I could kiss you! You are the only one who took me up on my challenge and, wow, did you take that challenge and run with it! I'm new to calamansi, but really intrigued by your pairing of it with the gin and ginger. This looks magnificent!

    I'm tipping my tiara to you and Mr. Noodle and I thank you both for being such good sport. Rest assured, this post will be featured on Thirsty Thursday next week!

    Oh, and the scallops are love too!


  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Thank you, everyone! It's satisfying (and a relief) to finally get my tasks done. 8-)

    Angie - I do like gin & tonic cocktails: they're so refreshing! As for the scallops, I've never been able to sear scallops properly so I played it safe!

    Gera - Thank you! This salad tasted fresh and light, but was still quite hearty. 8-)

    Sonia - They were such a nice size; usually, I find only the tiny 'bay' scallops, so I snapped these up right away! They tasted soooo good.

    Doggybloggy - Have sip, take a breath, have another sip . . . you'll feel so much better!

    Jenn - Everything is definitely returning to normal - thanks! I would have scallops every week if I could afford it, but orzo is weirdly scarce around here. I can only find it at Whole Foods now . . .

    MaryMoh - Thank you! They were so good together. 8-)

    Anncoo - I wish the weather had been nicer on the evening I made this. It would've been perfect for a spring meal outdoors!

    Midge- [LOL] Salads seem to be just right for the weather, especially after all the heavy winter foods that we've been having. As for the cocktail, I'm so fortunate that my husband makes them for me! 8-)

    Chef E - Thank you! I really have enjoyed being back in school, but then again, I can't wait to be done. 8-)

    I've failed miserably at searing scallops (they just turn out pale brown and soggy), but poaching turned out so well! As for orzo, I love it, too, but for some reason, I have such a hard time find it around here - Whole Foods is my only source right now . . . 8-(

    Sam - Thank you! Both drink and dish are simple but so satisfying. 8-)

    Sandi - They are so delicious! I'd have them all the time, if I could afford it! 8-)

    5 Star - It was sweet with just a hint of spice from the ginger. Fortunately, I made extra simple syrup so my husband has promised to mix this up for me this weekend! 8-)

    Cool Lassi(e) - Thank you! We enjoyed them both. 8-)

    Kat - [LOL] I didn't take to gin right away but the herbal notes won me over! Fortunately, my husband is quite adept with other cocktail bases, so I can enjoy a variety of refreshments. 8-D

    Dawn - Definitely a couple, 'cause you know a healthy salad negates any cocktail calories! 8-P

    Diva - We are an exclusive group! I couldn't pass up on such a fun event, especially when Mr. Noodle can participate. He's already wondering what the next challenge ingredient will be . . .! If you can find calamansi, I hope you'll try it out - it's a little more tart than lime but sweeter than lemon. So delicious!

    Karen - It tasted so fresh and light but at the same time, it was hearty enough to satisfy the hubs' appetite! 8-)

    Erica - Thank you! I love orzo salad, too. As Sam commented above, it's a wonderful way to add a bit of pasta to a dish without overwhelming it. 8-)

    Penny - I know!! These larger ones are usually a bit dear in price but it was such a delicious splurge!

  • chow and chatter said...

    wow what a fab gourmet meal you guys sound like a great team, hope things slow down for you, I write the blog for an Alaskan Seafood company could I feature the scallop recipe and link to you?


    rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com

  • Caroline said...

    Nice to see you back, I miss you on Twitter :) I'm not much of a drinker but it's so nice to see you (& Mr. Noodle) use calamansi along with ginger for this gin cocktail. And your seafood salad looks very enticing, I love anything with scallops (But I should admit, at first glance I thought that was rice until after I read the recipe.) :)

  • Monet said...

    Amazingly fresh! I can't wait to give this recipe a try. My husband and I adore scallops, and we're celebrating our anniversary next week. This just might be the perfect meal for us to prepare! I enjoy your blog, thank you for sharing!

  • Chris said...

    Here via Carolina Kitchen where I saw your comment about Carolina style burgers (my favorite!).

    Great looking Orzo & Scallops, very creative.

  • Daily Spud said...

    I feel like I am hopelessly tangled myself these days - blog reading and commenting have been thoroughly neglected and, though I had every good intention of making a drink for Diva's challenge that, too, fell by the wayside. I may just have to enjoy Mr. Noodle's creation instead - along with the scallops, it sounds like summery perfection!

  • Admin said...

    Okay, not that the orzo salad didn't impress me, but I know the calamansi ginger sipper will be on my mind all weekend. Love the flavor combination. I'm quite sure that I will not be able to get calamansi around here, though. I guess key limes will have to do.

  • Sook said...

    Oh wow, scallops and orzo sound really good together! I've made orzo with shrimp and I loved it! I am sure scallops are great with orzo too! yum!

  • SKIP TO MALOU said...

    welcome back! definitely calls for a celebration... so let's drink (and eat) to that... cheers!

    the drink is intiguing me.. calamansi with ginger and gin? hmmm interesting!

  • Phyllis said...

    Mr. Noodle's calama-ginger concoction might just get me to try something different for once (my regular go-to cocktail is gin & tonic, reliable but kinda boring). Love the simple flavors in the scallop orzo salad :)

  • Dee said...

    I adore orzo salads & the fact that it has scallops makes it even better. The cocktail looks delicious. All in all one sip & sald which are winners in my book.

  • Forager said...

    mm - I'm a fan of ginger so I think I'll like this drink for sure!

    And cheers for finishing the last of your assignments! Now, bloody mary anyone?

  • Cris said...

    This calamansi is so interesting, and the drink you can make with it, wow. Does it taste or look like tangerine? Thanks sweetie, sorry I haven't been posting much, but if you would like to try the Portuguese version of my blog to practice a little it is still on. xoxo

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Taste of Beirut - Thank you! It's the kind of meal that's perfect of a warm spring dinner outdoors.

    Caroline - My tweeting has definitely suffered but I'm slowly getting back into it! After Malou sent me fresh calamansi, I've been yearning for a tree of my own. Too bad it would never survive here in MN. The orzo does look like rice, doesn't it? But so much more calories . . . 8-)

    Nora - Thanks! We enjoyed both dish and drink.

    Lisa - Thank you! I'm definitely going to keep them both in mind for future meals this season.

    Monet - Thanks! This is such a quick and easy meal with the scallops really taking center stage. Happy anniversary!

    Chris - Hello and thank you! After Sam's post reminded me of Carolina-style burgers, I'm determined to introduce my Midwest in-laws to its charms. 8-)

    SugarPlumFairy - Thanks, sweetie! I did indeed have a super weekend. 8-)

    Spud - I promise to make this cocktail (as well as the infamous Caipinoyra) when you come and visit us! Or else, we'll just have to meet up with Diva in NYC for some high-spirited spirits tasting! 8-D

    Leela - I have the same problem, but I've found a reasonable substitute in frozen pure calamansi juice. Otherwise, I have to rely on the generosity of friends in CA who have their own trees . . . so jealous . . . 8-)

    Sook - So glad you mentioned shrimp: it would make a perfect (and less expensive) substitute for scallops!

    Malou - I can't tell you how much my husband LOVED the calamansi you sent! Now, he loves to use it when he makes different cocktails. I should've called this the Marvelous Malou!

    Phyllis - Gin and tonic is always such a great refresher, but the addition of simple syrup and a citrus pop of flavor really ups the ante. Hope you give it a try! 8-D

    Dee - Thank you! I hadn't made orzo for salads in a long time when my husband reminded me of it to pair with the scallops. As for the drink, he definitely deserves all the credit!

    Mariana - Thank you! Except for the fact that I've been having trouble finding orzo now, I hope to use this pasta in more dishes. 8-)

    Forager - I'm thinking more ginger in the simple syrup for next time. I'll have that bloody mary to celebrate when I'm done with my finals! 8-)

    Bob - It is and it's so easy to make!! 8-)

    Cris - Calamansi is actually closer in size to large kumquats or mandarin orange and the flavor is like a cross between limes and orange when it's ripe. Green calamansi are more sour but either way, it's a delicious fruit!

    Thanks for reminding me about your Portuguese blog - that is a great way for me to practice! 8-D

    Hope you are well!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Phanitha - Didn't mean to skip your comment; it came in as I was typing all the others! Thanks so much - this ginger and gin cocktail is really quite refreshing with it's sweet, herby and slightly spicy flavors. 8-)

  • Lori said...

    So glad you've are feeling a bit more balanced. No doubt you worked hard and deserve that drink.

    Gin and scallops? Could this post be any more perfect for me? Not just for me, they are my hubs faves too. I will toast to these delicious recipes!

  • Juliana said...

    Wow, this ginger drink looks fabulous...I think need one now :-)
    The scallop salad looks delicious...like always love your presentation.

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    Mr Noodle is definitely producing some drinks that I would be ordering at the bar at Chez Noodle!

    I've been making a simple syrup with ginger and lime juice and zest and adding to hot water for the winter. London seems to still be straddling the line of winter and spring so hopefully soon I can use my simple syrup for something similar to this delicious sounding drink!

    Oh the scallops look fabulous too!

    A toast to you and looking forward to the upcoming posts!

  • Suzy said...

    Can't wait to try this cocktail...ginger and citrus and gin...yum! Glad to see someone else who appreciates the deliciousness of gin!

  • Lynne Daley said...

    A great looking drink. I love gin and tonic, plus ginger is my favorite flavor. The scallop salad rocks, too. Looking forward to participating in the drink challenge.

  • Brenda said...

    One of the first words I ever learned from a Philippino friend was Calamansi. I am obsessed with limes! This cocktail sounds delicious, and as I am also conveniently obsessed with scallops, the duo works! :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Wow, I never would have imagined that ginger and alcohol mix well. I will definitely try this out!


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