Posts tagged ‘farro’

August 15, 2012

Cajun Spiced Farro and Cauliflower Pilaf

Birthday cake…this is not. This is more like a fridge clean out -slash- way of using up some odds and ends of leftovers situation. Cooked black beans, one corn cob, half a head of cauliflower and some shredded kale – all tied together with my guiltiest spice-blend pleasure: Cajun seasoning.

This wasn’t a well thought-out dish, but it’s a perfect example of my no-wasting, often experimental lunchtime cooking.

Have you heard about this whole “ricing” of cauliflower thing? I think its main selling point is as a low-carb/low-cal substitute for rice. My regular diet is neither of those things, but I was curious – so I took to the food processor.

The idea is to get your cauliflower chopped up so finely (but not too finely) that it becomes rice-like in texture. Then you use it like you would rice – as a bed for a stir-fry or in a pilaf like this one here. I would recommend applying some heat to the chopped cauliflower along with a little olive oil and seasoning, otherwise it’s straight up dry and bland.

Since I had some farro lying around, I added it for some chewy good-for-you grain-ness. But you could leave it out altogether or swap it for quinoa, barley, wheat berries or brown rice.

This pilaf is a total texture party with a great kick to it. It’s perfect as a side for some grilled salmon, chicken or beef. Or, just serve up a bowl with a poached egg on top and some lashings of hot sauce for a good time.

In related news, I’m thinking about changing my middle name to “put an egg on top”. It’s my favorite remedy to magically turn a salad or side into a meal. Poof!

I would also really like to name a pet Oprah, but we can talk about that another time.

Cajun Spiced Farro and Cauliflower Pilaf
– 1/2 cup dry farro (you will have leftover)
– 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
– olive oil
– 1 shallot, finely chopped
– 1/3 cup diced red pepper
– 1/3 cup corn kernels either fresh or frozen and thawed
– 2 cups “riced” cauliflower
– 1/3 cup cooked black beans
– 2 cups of kale, shredded or finely chopped
– salt, to taste
– a handful of cilantro chopped, to serve
– fresh lime, to serve

To cook Cajun farro: place 1/2 cup farro, 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes until the grains are tender and chewy. Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Set aside. Can be made without Cajun seasoning

To rice cauliflower: roughly chop a half a head of cauliflower and place in the food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower is chopped into small pieces the size of rice.

In a large pan with high sides, heat a splash of olive oil over a medium high heat, add shallot and cook, stirring for 2 minutes until softened.

Add red pepper and corn kernels and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the corn is browned in parts.

Add remaining seasoning and riced cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the cauliflower has softened.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in black beans and kale and cook covered until kale is wilted – about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup farro. Season with salt as needed.

Top with cilantro and a spritz of lime. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature. Keeps for a few days in the fridge.

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July 31, 2012

Pea and Zucchini Farro Salad

There are some things that I really wish I was interested in. Like cricket, football or the stock market.

This is mostly because I like to have something to say about everything, but when these topics are brought up…I’ve got nothin’.

I also really wish I was into astrology. Like, actually believed in it.

I’ve tried…I started reading my Astrology Zone forecast at the beginning of the month and have managed to find some tenuous links between what was predicted for me and my fellow lionesses and what has actually happened. But my trusty internal skeptic is kind of a loud-mouthed biatch.

I am, however, beginning to fully buy this Mercury in retrograde business.

For the past few weeks I’ve been seriously struggling in the inspiration and writing departments. While this is probably due to a number of other, more earthly things, I’m going to go ahead and blame it on an astrological issue.

If you’re looking to make excuses for your poor communication skills over the past few weeks, read more about this MIR beast here or here.

Something good that’s come out of these chilly July days is my daily reinvention of the warm salad.

Healthy, satisfying and endlessly adaptable – it makes the perfect lunch or slack dinner if you’ve got access to a large skillet. I’ve been using lots of warm grains, wilt-able greens (like kale and spinach), and quick cooking vegetables (like corn, zucchini and snow peas.)

This salad was one of my favorites – a nod to the summer weather in the northern hemisphere with the zucchini and peas, but served on the warm side to keep me toasty on cool Sydney winter days. If fresh peas aren’t an option, frozen work fine too.

It’s a simple combination, but the Parmesan and a generous amount cracked pepper really give it that extra (boom boom) pow.

Put an egg on it to make it a dang fine meal.

Pea and Zucchini Farro Salad

- 1 cup cooked farro
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 medium zucchini, grated on a box grater
– 1 cup shelled peas (or frozen and thawed)
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
– salt, to taste
– a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper

To cook farro: place 1 cup farro in a pot with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered for about 15-20 minutes until tender and little chewy. Remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.

If using fresh peas, blanch them first in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and run under cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add grated zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes until the zucchini is heated through and softened. Stir in peas and cook for 1 minutes.

Stir in farro. If the farro is room temperature or cold, cook for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.

Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and heaps of cracked pepper. Serve warm, at room temp or cold.

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