Farro Salad with Winter Fruits, Pistachios, and Ginger (Food and Wine)

Farro with winter fruit and pistachios

Glamorous Desk Lunch

Hello, welcome to the first weeks of 2015. This is the time when we can barely park at the gym (“I WAS HERE ALL DECEMBER, PEOPLE!” I complain, imagining my “comes all year” parking space of honor), when our Facebook feeds are flooded with detoxes and cleanses and apple cider vinegar shots, when we take all our leftover candy to work and try to pawn it off on our coworkers.

We have eaten, drank, and been merry and we are now filled with cheese and regret.

I have always had no luck following a cleanse. I tried the Bon Appetit’s food lover’s cleanse last year. I made a delicious steak with chimichurri and sweet potato fries. I cleansed for two days and somehow gained two pounds.

I tried the now defunct Whole Living Magazine Cleanse the year prior, abandoning dairy, wheat, peanuts, corn and everything tasty, pretty much. I lasted a little longer, two weeks, but someone brought cheese to my house and I have no willpower when it comes to cheese. It was delicious and I’m not sorry.

THIS YEAR I am admiring cleanses from afar while sipping coffee and looking at smoothie and salad recipes. I am, however, trying to bring lunches to work from home instead of jaunting to the downstairs cafe every day and spending $7 on an only decent Chicken Caesar wrap I can make at home for not $7.

This Farro Salad is a really nice compromise recipe, cleanse friendly and take to work friendly. It’s a vegan salad, with fruits and farro and stuff. It has good for you things like ginger and mint and citrus.

You can make it on Sunday, before the week starts and take it to work for three days. You can try to make it on a Tuesday night for the rest of the week. I did both, and my Sunday salad turned out much better because I measured everything and didn’t lazily just squeeze oranges and lemons into a bowl then try to fish out the seeds.

This salad is delightfully not-bland. The citrus zest and juice gives it a bright flavor, having both mint and cilantro give it a much-needed zip, the ginger gives it a spice, and the farro is delightfully chewy and nutty. If you do make this to take this to work, I recommend adding all the ingredients together except the cilantro and pistachios. Take them in separate baggies and sprinkle them on top when you go to eat the salad.

I recommend making this exactly as written, maybe adding different dried fruits or nuts if you must. You could easily swap out farro for quinoa if you wanted to make it gluten-free. All the herbs and seasonings are essential and should be fresh.

Farro Salad with Winter Fruit, Pistachios and Ginger

(Recipe by Annie Somerville, Food and Wine, January 2012)

Notes:

  • Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro is the perfect size for this recipe and saves you 15 minutes.
  • I’ve found that it keeps for three days, which is fine. You will not want to eat it for lunch any more than that, as good as it is.
  • I’ve left out the scallions each time, woops. I bet they’d be really tasty. You should add them.
  • I’ve ended up using 2 tablespoons of cilantro with each serving because I really love cilantro.

Ingredients:

  •  Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups farro (10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried sour cherries
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the farro and simmer over moderate heat until al dente, about 35 minutes. Drain well, shaking off the excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, ginger and oil and whisk to blend. Season with salt.
  3. Add the warm farro to the dressing along with the raisins and cherries and toss well. Let stand until the farro is almost cool. Just before serving, fold in the scallions, pistachios, mint and cilantro and season with salt.
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A Tale of Terror and Bravery – Corn, Zucchini, and Red Pepper Salad with Feta

Corn and zucchini salad with red pepper and feta

Some chopped  fresh veggies

I have debated the merits of including the descriptions of BUGS IN MY FOOD before a tasty recipe, but all other descriptions of this salad pale in comparison to the True Tale of Terror. So, please keep in mind as you read: “Nature is terrible but this corn salad is delicious.”

This is the story of how I almost died, but was the most courageous girl in the world and managed to finish this corn salad despite the extreme terror and agony I suffered.

THERE I WAS, innocently shucking corn for a corn salad. I peeled back the husk, only to see the world’s LARGEST WORM lunge at me from the corn kernels.

death worm

ACTUAL SIZE OF CORN DEATH WORM

 

I screamed and threw the corn into the trash can, then retreated into the furthest corner of the kitchen. Needing to share my terror, I called Christopher, who was driving back from Target.

“Hello?” he said.

“AUUUGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” I said, bravely, in the calmest tones despite the abject terror before me.

“WHAT’S WRONG!?!” he said, flooring the gas, assuming I was the victim of a stabbing.

“WORM! CORN! AUGH! WORM!”

“That’s – that’s it?” he said, obviously not understanding the sheer terror I had bravely faced.

“IT’S IN THE TRASH CAN WAITING TO ATTACK. TAKE IT AWAY. TAKE IT AWAY.” I said, calmly and rationally, with pure survivor instincts.

He hung up on me, obviously needing to focus on driving speedily to come to my side to fight the Death Worm Beast. I tweeted about my harrowing experience, as one does.

When he finally arrived, not appreciating the ongoing threat, Christopher removed the corn from the trash and examined the worm. I had not expected to face my enemy again so soon. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! IT’S GOING TO ATTACK.”

He assured me it was not, but returned it to the trash can. After shucking the rest of the corn and examining the rest for unwelcome guests, the Corn Death Worm and its corresponding corn cob were whisked away to Trash Land.

I, the picture of bravery, knew now what must be done. I must finish the corn salad.

SO. This corn salad, WORM FREE, is absolutely delicious. The dressing is tangy, the vegetables crisp, and the feta cheese creamy. I started out using a recipe from Bon Appetit, but changed up a few of the ingredients along the way. OBVIOUSLY there was less corn than originally planned. I cut down the amount of zucchini because there really is so much raw zucchini one can take. I added a diced red pepper  for crispness and sweetness. I also upped the amount of feta cheese, because if there’s one thingI know, it’s that there is never such a thing as too much cheese.

You should definitely make this salad. You should also definitely check your corn at the store for unwanted intruders.

 

corn and zucchini salad with red peppers and feta

corn salad of bravery

Corn, Zucchini, and Red Pepper Salad with Feta

(Adapted from this recipe by Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

  • 3 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces of feta, crumbled

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the corn in the boiling water for three minutes until bright yellow, remove from water and let cool. Once cooled, cut the kernels from the cob.
  2. Meanwhile, using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini lengthwise, forming thin strips.
  3. Combine the corn kernels, zuchinni slices, red pepper, basil, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with feta.

 

 

Portlandia Cookbook – Summer Market Salad with Jalapeno Dressing

Portlandia summer market salad with jalepeno dressing

Portlandia is a delightful show with a combination of absurdity (the CSA fruit that turned into a spaceship!) mixed with true to life moments about life in Hipsterland or just Portland, Oregon. The show has a special place in my heart particularly because of the episode where they watched every single episode of Battlestar Galactica back to back, forsaking their jobs, sleep, showering, and all other things, AND THEN GAIUS BALTAR SHOWS UP.

I have lived that life (minus the appearance of one of my favorite characters in my house to watch the show with me, sigh). This is Christopher and I when we watched an entire season of BSG in one weekend:

Three weeks of my senior year

 

Although I thoroughly enjoy the show, the last thing I expected to see in Food and Wine’s July issue was a recipe from the Portlandia Cookbook.  Apparently, this is a real thing, to be released October 28, 2014. You can pre-order or creep on it here, if you wish.

I was supremely skeptical of what sounded like a gimmick cookbook, but the recipe for this Summer Market Salad sounded delicious and simple. What can I say, I’m a sucker for anything with jalapeno, cilantro, and lime.

It’s really really good, you guys. The elements of the salad – the slightly charred corn, sweet with a hint of smoky, the tomatoes, the sugar snap peas – are all sweet, while the dressing is spicy and tangy.

This is a super easy salad to throw together, and it manages to capture the essence of the summer farmer’s market. You grill the corn and jalapeno, on a real grill or a grill pan, then use it to make a quick dressing with lime juice and cilantro. You toss the dressing with heirloom tomatoes, sugar snap peas, scallions, and the remaining corn. The recipe says it takes 45 minutes, but it only took me 35. The only thing I would change is to add an extra ear of corn to the salad.

I was making this as my main, so I grilled a quick chili lime marinated chicken breast to add some protein and heft to the salad. If you want to do the same, I’ve included my marinade recipe below.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if this is what the recipes are going to be like, I’m actually excited about the Portlandia Cookbook.

 

 

Chili Lime Chicken Marinade

(An Allison Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bag. Add the chicken breasts. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Brush a grill pan with canola oil. Place the chicken breasts on the heated grill pan, and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium high heat, flipping halfway during cooking. The length of time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Summer Market Salad with Jalapeno Dressing  

(Food and Wine, July 2014) Recipe by Graci Parisi

My Notes:

  • Seriously, use an extra ear of corn.
  • If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can probably use a blender. I did have a mini food processor, so this is untested.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked (EDITOR’S NOTE, USE TWO. You won’t regret it!)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound mixed heirloom tomatoes—halved, quartered or sliced, depending on size
  • 2 ounces sugar snap peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Directions:

  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and brush the grate or pan with canola oil. Lightly brush the jalapeño and corn with canola oil and grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Peel, seed and chop the jalapeño. Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob.
  2. In a mini processor, combine the 2 tablespoons of canola oil with the olive oil, lime juice, scallion whites, chopped cilantro, jalapeño and half of the grilled corn kernels. Pulse until a chunky dressing forms. Season with salt.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the snap peas, scallion greens, the remaining corn and half of the dressing. Toss to coat and transfer to a serving platter. Spoon the remaining dressing over the salad and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  4. MAKE AHEAD:  The jalapeño dressing can be refrigerated overnight.