It is the heart that makes a man rich. Henry Ward Beecher
This meal was so easy and so good I couldn’t help but share it here on the blog for all of you. It’s a winner from a time perspective for sure, as a few simple tasks in preparation can have you feeling pretty darned happy you’ve got the ingredients on hand when the clock strikes dinnertime after a hectic workday. I’ve used Farro here, as it’s being re-discovered by many for its beautiful nutty bite and high protein content. It makes a seriously satisfying base your favourite grain bowls, which is why I just had to share it with you.
Also called Emmer, Farro is a beautiful ancient wheat strain, prized for its genetic similarity to the very first wheat cultivated by ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Farro once dominated the fields of the Near East, northern Africa and ancient Europe until early Roman times when farmers crossed wheat species to produce modern strains like durum. Its survival as a popular wheat strain in Italy is partially due to its symbiotic relationship with Arborio rice grown in the country’s north – rice farmers plant Farro as a protective winter cover for their rice fields. As it is now being enjoyed by many whole food enthusiasts, it sadly can still be tough to find in grocery stores – and most of the brands you’ll find offer product that has been par-boiled and sourced from far-away Italy. I use organically grown Canadian Farro, but of course you can use whatever you can get your hands on. You won’t be disappointed.
In other news, I’ve made yet another aesthetic change to the site (new header) as I find myself feeling more and more grounded, and as a result – feeling more and more available to spread my focus again (though co-operating a new business keeps me pretty darned engaged). This means a very organic return to the very reason I started this blog, to talking about real things and sharing more recipes for real life. I’m feeling much more in the driver’s seat these days, instead of rolling around with a depleted tank during the somewhat frenetic days, weeks, and months I’m looking back on. It’s pretty scary to realize that if left unchecked, unintentionally nurtured habits and counter-productive thought patterns can grab a foothold and literally carry on forever. Without taking the time for awareness, reflection, and real talk with real people, you might not even realize that patterns have developed as we all get caught in the chase. Running on auto-pilot just isn’t a thing we do here in this house, and I for one am not content to let maturity (read: I’m becoming acutely aware of the possible effects of getting older) mean stagnancy in any way. I’ve learned so much about compromise these past few years and how we really are the only ones that can control our own lives. It’s all about making choices, and understanding the impact of those choices on your life. Nothing is permanent which is the beautiful thing – and shit storms come and go. When the time comes and you’re ready, you can always re-structure things to accommodate a new reality, and forge ahead at creating whatever you want to manifest next. I encourage anyone who wants to feel more in control to look long and hard at not what you want to gain, but at just what needs to be let go. A million thank you’s for being here, and for reading this…..never mind jumping on this delicious recipe, STAT 😉 xo
Farro Bowl with Shiitakes + Winter Greens:
~ adapted from Kimchi Mom
1 cup cooked Farro
4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 brussels sprouts, halved and shredded
2 leaves curly kale, stemmed and chopped
1 egg (locals can get these delivered from Urban Digs)
olive oil for cooking
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced (about 1 heaping tbsp)
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely minced cilantro
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
salt to taste (check out this smoked sea salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co.)
To pre-cook, the Farro, follow the package instructions. Cooked Farro can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Have it on hand to make a new creation every night, or just eat this.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the chopped shallot, and let sit for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. The sauce is ready to use right away, but it’s best if you can allow the mixture to sit for a few hours to allow the flavours to meld together.
When ready to prepare, place the cooked Farro in a medium saucepan and add a few tbsp of water. Heat, covered on low heat while you cook the remaining ingredients. Heat a skillet and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Cook the sliced mushrooms until brown, and remove from heat and set aside. Next, add some more oil and cook the kale and brussels sprouts for 2 minutes or so, until bright green and just softened. Remove and set aside. Heat the pan one more time with oil and add the egg, cooking as desired.
To serve, place the hot Farro into a serving bowl and add the mushrooms, greens, and egg on top. Spoon the sauce generously over the top, add salt and black pepper as desired and enjoy. This recipe serves one – simply multiply depending on who you are expecting at the table!