Geez it looks like we kind of forgot to share with you the past couple weeks. What kind of friends are we?! A whirlwind basically spiraled through my life recently. Not in a bad way. I just haven’t been able to get it together. I have mountains of recipes sitting on my desk, a hard-drive full of unedited photos, and then there was tax time. It is too bad as I remember some pretty darn good meals being cooked over at Chez Us.
Remember when we mentioned a few weeks ago that there were going to be some big changes happening within the next month? Huge news! No …. not that! Lenny decided to get a physical as it had been forever and he was having some “guy issues”. No; NOT THAT! Instead, he has high cholesterol. And we are talking about the big bad, not so good, high cholesterol. A whopping 275!
He We have decided that we are going to try to control it with diet and exercise. We are both firm believers that the two go hand-in-hand, and can help a lot of issues that are going on within our bodies. Heck, I went through premature menopause using no drugs at all. Hopefully, this will work for him as well.
We feel that we eat pretty well. We watch what we cook with, not a lot of fat or creamy sauces. We always have fresh fruits and veggies around the house. We aren’t snackers. Okay, we do occasionally indulge in gooey sweetness; but, not that often. This will definitely be a challenge for both of us. I am going to reinvent the way I cook, and Lenny is going to learn to not “devour”. The doctor sent him home with a great list of foods that he should eat, and ones that he should limit. Using this list, we are going to reinvent some deliciousness, and create a whole new line-up of heart healthy recipes to share with you, our friends.
Lenny is the love of my life, and my focus as the main “cook” in the house is to to use low-saturated fats and low cholesterol foods. I want him to live a very long time. I figure the easiest way to do this is to bump up our fresh produce intact and to introduce some new but exciting grains into our diet. Lenny has decided that he will give up dairy, which is challenging as he does love his coffee with a little milk. Now we are exploring new alternatives for coffee. As well, I am going to start exploring some lean meats and some good-for-you fatty fish recipes. There will be lots of fresh herbs and the exploration of unsaturated oils and tangy vinegars as a means for making our recipes a little more exciting. Sound fun?
Since we work from home, I am always on the out-look for recipes that are great as a lunch or that can be taken into dinner. This farro and roasted broccolini does just that. Farro is a debated food product; is it a grain or a wheat? In Italy spelt is also called faro. Barley and faro are often interchanged here in the states. I would probably say it is a cousin to barley. It is healthy! I love cooking with it as it puffs up but still holds a little crunch. It will be perfect in summery salads; don’t you think?
For this dish, I cooked the farro just until it was cooked, then I cooled it off (immediately) with cold water. While the farro was cooking I roasted some veggies; roasting adds great depth and added flavor. Have you tried roasted green garlic? After patting the farro dry, I tossed it with the roasted mixture of broccolini, tomatoes, green garlic, spring-time red onions, fresh mint, and drizzled it with a creamy lemony dressing. To add a little more crunch, I sprinkled crushed pistachios over the top. I enjoyed this salad for lunch and took it to dinner by adding a lean roasted piece of fish along side it. Saying it was delicious would be an understatement. It was more like WOW!
** while we are changing our eating habits with new heart-healthy meals, never fear, there are a few gooey things that will be showing up within the next couple weeks. All planned before this announcement. Remember, you can enjoy in moderation. *smiles*
Recipe: Farro and Roasted Broccolini Salad
- 1 cup dry farro
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- olive oil
- 1 pound broccolini, tough stems removed
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 green garlic stalk
- 1 spring red onion or a small red onion
- 1/2 cup mint, minced
- 1 small lemon, juice
- 1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 425. In a saucepan add the water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the farro, give a whirl, cover with a lid, and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes. The farro will be cooked but not overly smooth, it should still have a nice little “crunch”. Immediately pour into a colander, rinse with very cold water, shake, and then pour onto some paper towels. Pat, and let dry for 20 minutes.
- Cut the broccolini into stems. Lay on a cookie sheet. Slice the green garlic into thin slices, and scatter over the broccolini. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top. Slide into the oven, set your time for 10 minutes. Slice the red onion into thin slices. Cut the tomatoes in half. After 10 minutes, sprinkle the tomatoes and spring onions over the broccolini. Roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool.
- Put the farro into a serving bowl. Slide into the fridge. In a small jar combine the good olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Screw the lid onto the top of your jar. Shake it like crazy, until creamy, about 3 minutes or until your arm falls off.
- Remove the serving bowl from the fridge. Scatter the mint leaves over the farro, add the roasted veggies, and toss (gently). If, you will be finishing the entire salad, at one sitting, then drizzle the dressing over the top. Otherwise, serve up a portion and then drizzle a little dressing over the top. Sprinkle with pistachios.
- Thank us later!