Friday, January 21, 2011

The sun makes all the difference…

…doesn't it? Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend—frolic in the sunshine if you can.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Farro: Morning, noon and …

I love trying new whole grains. A had farro—a type of hulled wheat popular in Italy—for the first time back  in 2009. I enjoyed it and cooked it regularly for a little while, but then it slipped back to the dark shadows of the pantry. I was motivated to have it again by an article in the February issue of Martha Stewart about swapping out your breakfast oatmeal with some other healthy grains like barley, quinoa, millet or cornmeal. There's a really handy grid with the different grains and their cooking times, and a variety of preparations and toppings. I've been making the farro option for four days straight and it's addictive.

Breakfast Farro
via Martha Stewart
Serves 4.
3 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup farro

Top with:
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup honey
1 banana, sliced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 dried cranberries or other dried fruit
Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in farro and return to the boil. Lower heat and cover tightly. Simmer for 45 minutes (add more water if it is absorbed to soon). Let stand covered for five minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with desired toppings. For a creamier texture: Use 5 cups of water and stir often throughout cooking, 35 to 40 minutes. 

I've been using the less creamy method so that I can do other things while waiting for it to cook and not touch the pot. The result is a chewy, nutty grain with a nice bite. Yum! I make just one serving (3/4 cup water, pinch of salt and 1/4 cup farro), but earlier in the week I made a full batch and removed about half the farro twenty minutes into the cooking time. I stored it away and made the recipe below for lunch the next day.

Toasted Farro with Greens and Tahini
Serves 4.
3/4 cup farro
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 packed cups baby turnip greens or spinach, chopped
1/2 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pomegranate molasses, for drizzling (optional)

(If your farro is already cooked, skip to the next paragraph.) In a saucepan, cover the farro with water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until just tender, 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until chilled.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of water with the tahini and olive oil.

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the farro in a thin even layer and cook over high heat, stirring once, until a toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and the greens and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the greens are just tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the tahini mixture and remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt. Transfer the farro to a bowl, drizzle with pomegranate molasses (I didn't have those, though I'm sure it would be a tasty addition!) and serve. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Video: Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity

Wow! A beautiful, funny, inspiring talk on nurturing creativity by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Whether you loved the book or hated it, listen to these words about being an artist and finding inspiration and motivation. I may have to start listening to this every morning! Thank goodness for the TED.(via Poppytalk)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Logo Love: Two Beags Barking

Here's a little logo I recently finished for photographer Rachel Philipson's new pet portrait blog, Two Beags Barking. She has two beagles — Sydney and Beag — who are brother and sister and cute as can be. Rachel is also working on a line of greeting cards that would fall under this name as well. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thai Chicken Sauté

Fast, fast, fast! That's the secret to this recipe — it's packed with flavor, yet really quick to prepare. Okay, you might be thinking, "Enough with the chicken recipes, already," but let me jot this one down real quick and then maybe we'll move on to some variety later this week. I'm thinking some interesting hearty and healthy grain treats, like farro or millet. In the meantime…

Thai Chicken Saute
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders or breasts sliced into thin strips
1 Tb  cornstarch
1 Tb  fish sauce
3 Tb plus 1 tsp canola oil, divided
1 cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 Tb Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
1 Tb sugar
1 Tb fresh lime juice
2 Tb chopped fresh cilantro
4 lime wedges

Toss chicken with cornstarch and fish sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove chicken from pan. 

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add onion, garlic, and ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until cooked through. Stir in coconut milk, Sriracha, sugar, and juice; cook 45 seconds or until thoroughly heated. 

Serve over jasmine rice with lime wedges and a generous sprinkling of cilantro.