Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter Farro Salad

I know some folks hate the snow, but I think it's absolutely beautiful outside today. Snow makes everything so serene and is the perfect excuse to cook up something nourishing! Here's the second recipe that I adore for the winter:

Winter Farro Salad
-adapted from David Lebovitz
-6 servings

1 1/2 cups of farro
1 bay leaf
2 lbs of seasonal vegetables, cubed (parsnips, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, squash)
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 lb portobello mushrooms, coarsley chopped
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 lemon
walnut oil (or another good tasting oil for dressing)
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil with a good amount of salt. Once boiling, add the farro and bay leaf. It should take 30-40 minutes to cook completely.

3. Put cubed vegetables on a baking sheet with thyme sprigs and bake for 20-30 minutes until they start to brown and can easily be pierced with a fork.

4. Sauté mushrooms and shallots with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper until brown.

5. Drain farro once it's cooked. Dress with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Toss lightly to mix ingredients.

6. Add roasted vegetables and sauteed mushrooms. Remove thyme sprigs before you add the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste and season with a bit of walnut oil on top.

Serve warm.

*If you want a bit of sweet, add craisins. That's what David Lebovitz does.
*If you have some hard cheese sitting in your fridge, shave it on top when you serve

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recipes that get me through the winter

There are the two recipes that get me through winter. Both are salads of sorts. The first recipe is a warm winter salad and is easy, and so damn tasty.

Warm Winter Salad
-adapted from Serious Eats
-serves 4- (or 2 who want some leftovers for work the next day)

Half a loaf of artisan bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
Small butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes (you can substitute sweet potatoes here, but you miss out on the creamy goodness)
1 lb of brussels sprouts cut into halves
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Good hard cheese (dry aged goat, manchego, parmesan)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Put bread cubes on a baking sheet and the squash and brussels sprouts on another
3. Drizzle olive oil over bread and vegetables and sprinkle vegetables with chopped sage
4. Add salt and pepper to taste to both baking sheets and put in the oven
5. Take out the bread cubes after 10 minutes and the vegetables after 15-20 minutes. I like to let my veggies go a bit longer to caramelize.
6. Whisk together olive oil and red wine vinegar with some salt and pepper to taste
7. Line two wide soup bowls with toasted bread
8. Layer vegetables on top
9. Sprinkle chopped shallots over the vegetables
10. Top each with some vinaigrette
11. Shave good quality cheese on top

My husband and I have been eating this almost once a week during the last two winters and we never tire of it. In fact, we always get a little excited when it's "warm winter salad night".

I can think of a bunch of variations depending on what is in your fridge:

-use walnut or hazelnut oil for the dressing
-throw some crumbled blue or goat cheese in at the end instead of shaved cheese
-throw other vegetables into the mix: parsnips and leeks come to mind as tasty choices
-throw other herbs into the mix: roast veggies with sprigs of fresh thyme on top or add fresh chopped herbs to the dressing

Most importantly, enjoy and adapt as you see fit!

For the Greener Good

Last night I went to the National Building Museum for a lecture about urban agriculture. Josh Viertel, from Slow Food USA, was particularly inspiring. His points challenged me to shift away from the idealistic nature of locavores. He was frank about the fact that there needs to be incentives created for people for this movement to move forward. Something that he spoke about caught me. He talked about the demographics of those in urban areas that are food insecure and that they are the same demographic of those who suffer most from obesity. Think about it. We all need to eat. If a community, particularly an urban area, has clear evidence of the poor distribution of food, isn't that a sign of poor distribution of jobs, healthcare, adequate housing? Some people don't need to work; some don't need health care that often; but we all need to eat.