30 July 2008

Lentil & Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

So, as you can see by the title, this dish doesn't really scream SUMMERTIME! Not only do you actually have to turn the oven ON but you also have to preheat said oven to a seriously roasting temp of 400 degrees. However, my dear (vegetarian) friend just had a beautiful, sweet baby and specifically requested this dish when I offered to bring dinner...and who am I to tell a post-partum babymama 'No'?

I first made this salad for a cooking club a couple of years ago because I was dying for a reason to try farro, a grain I'd only recently discovered at the time. As it turned out, the farro, as tasty as it was, ended up as that afterthought (aftertaste?) to the deliciousness of the earthy vegetables, creamy lentils and zippy vinaigrette.
Unfortunately I didn't write down the recipe after I created the dish 2 years ago so this time I had to rely on taste memory.
Thankfully, it turned out well, even with a last minute, random raddichio addition. And my dear (vegetarian) friend swooned over it, which is the ultimate reward.

Lentil and Farro Salad w/ Roasted Veggies

1 cup french lentils
1 cup farro* (or barley, or hard red winter wheat)
5 carrots, peeled and quartered
15-20 cremini mushrooms, halved, stems removed,
2-3 T olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium leeks, halved and thinly sliced
3 T parsley, minced
1/2 medium head raddichio, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice from half of a lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 1 T olive oil
1 T minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Toss peeled, quartered carrots and halved cremini mushrooms (15 or so?) with olive oil, S&P
2) Roast at 400 degrees until soft and slightly browned (the mushies will take less time than the carrots).
3) Let veggies cool and dice into small cubes.
4) While the veggies are roasting, cook 1 cup french lentils for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Strain and rinse under cool water to stop cooking.
5) Cook 1 cup farro as you would rice but do not over cook. It should still have a little bite to it. Rinse under cool water.
6) Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, 1 T thyme and olive oil. Season with S&P.
10) Combine the roasted veggies, grains, lentils, parsley, leeks and radicchio. Toss mixture with enough of the dressing to coat everything. Let sit at room temp for about 20 min. Stir again to see if you need to add more dressing. Add more if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate, stirring frequently and adding more dressing as needed.
Stir before serving. (I also think this salad is best when it's brought to room temperature before serving, but this is optional.)

*I just made this recipe again for a different new-mama-friend of mine and used a combination of barley and hard red winter wheat. It was so deliciously nutty that I almost liked it better than with just the farro!

23 July 2008


Now that my sweet monkey-girl is nearly 8 months old (GASP!!!) she is enjoying all of the wonderfulness that is SOLID FOOD. Determined to raise a child who appreciates at least some of the virtues of veggies we started with two very verde "first foods" (after introducing the usual suspects of baby cereal, sweet potato and banana), PEAS and AVOCADO. What could be more nutritious than one of nature's perfect foods, avocado, which is CHOCK FULL of things like folic acid, phytonutrients, lutein, beta-carotene, and the nutritional superstars essential fatty acids (GOOOOO OMEGAS!!!)....all mashed up and mixed with mild, also green, pureed sweet peas?

Best of all, if you have already made the frozen puree o' peas it's MUY easy. Not to mention the fact that it feels so squishy and squeezy between teeny fingers!

2 cubes pureed peas, thawed (See Note!)
1/4 avocado

Stir/mash/smoosh the thawed peas with the avocado and serve! Easy Peas-y!

Note: To make pureed pea cubes I just steam a bag of frozen organic peas with a little water and puree the heck out of them with my stick blender. Divide puree evenly into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, pop them out and store them, in the freezer, in a labeled zip-loc bag.