Have I mentioned purple is my favorite color? Like the deep plum color? This farro salad is not only delicious but also like really beautify. The caramelized red onions and bursting roasted grapes are perfectly nestled with creamy goat cheese and whole grains. I love hearty grain salads, especially this time of year. They make a great holiday meal contribution because they serve well at room temperature and can be made in advanced and transported easily.
We hosted Thanksgiving this past week. I LOVE hosting, maybe a little too much. I tend to get carried away, never quite get everything I had planned done, but it somehow always comes together. My parents flew out from California and we had a handful of friends share the Thanksgiving meal with us. It was my 5th vegetarian thanksgiving to date, and my 10th thanksgiving with my husband! Our first thanksgiving, in 2008, was eaten on hot pink microwavable plastic plates in my dorm room. I'm pretty sure all we had was turkey, mashed potatoes, and jello but we felt soooo sophisticated with our red wine we weren't legally able to even drink. We've upgraded out thanksgiving-game significantly since then, and have spent each year following in a different place with different people. We try to make thanksgiving about gratitude and inclusion.
I've started playing Christmas music about 30 seconds after we finished the meal on Thanksgiving day. Every year I think Christmas could not come at a better time. I tend to get the winter blues this time of year and the lights, christmas music, and holiday gift buying always seem to energize me from the inside out.
Serves 4-6, or more as a side
1 cup uncooked farro (I use the Trader Joes brand)
2 cups water (or stock)
1 bay leaf
1 dried chile de arbol (optional)
1 large red onion
a couple sprigs of fresh thyme
1 pound red seedless grapes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
chile flakes, to taste (I used 1/2 regular flakes, 1/2 urfa chile flakes)
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 oz goat cheese
large handful baby kale (or arugula)
salt & pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan bring the water and farro to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 25-30 minutes (though this will depend on the type of farro you use - see package for specific timing) until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, season with salt, and let cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment. Slice the red onion in half, then cut the onion in half moon slices about 1/2 inch thick. Scatter the onions on the sheet pan and top with fresh thyme springs then drizzle lightly with grapeseed oil, and a liberal dusting of salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, toss, then top with the grapes and another light drizzle of oil. Return to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the onions are deeply caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Pour the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and chile flakes over the farro and toss. Top with pine nuts, goat cheese, baby kale, and onion and grape mixture. Toss well and enjoy!
I have been super MIA. This time of year I seem to get so sucked into laziness as the days get shorter and the sun and warmth disappear. This makes it particularly hard to snap a photo of dinner when dinner is a bowl of roasted veggies we eat at 9pm.
With my husband and I both in grad school (me full time, him part time) and both working (him full time, me part time) we often find ourselves home late only to look at each other and almost simultaneously say "wanna order sweetgreen". Maybe I am SUPER basic, but I freaking love sweetgreen. Something about being able to order a hardy, filling salad that's comparable to something homemade feels like such an easy satisfying choice.
And being the total creature of habit that I am, despite going to sweetgreen maybe 20 + times I order the same thing literally every time: The Harvest Bowl no chicken. Sometimes I add tofu, sometimes I add falafel, sometimes I add nothing but it's so damn good on it's own.
With thanksgiving coming, I knew I wanted to recreate my beloved salad at home. I spruced it up with pomegranates and used warm roasted butternut instead of the cold sweet potato slices and it is everything. Prepping all of the different elements takes some time - which is part of what makes sweetgreen so damn tempting for folks who are busy, but it is worth the effort if you have some extra time. And because kale is basically the most badass green you can totally eat the leftovers the next day without them getting soggy! This will for sure be on our thanksgiving table this year!
Serves 4 as a large meal, or 8-10 as an appetizer/side
Inspired by: sweetgreen
1 small butternut squash
1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large pomegranate (or about 3/4 cup arils)
1 large bunch of kale (~10-12 oz), de-ribbed and thinly chopped
1 large honeycrisp apple, cored and diced into large cubes
3 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Meanwhile peel the butternut, then slice in half and discard the stringy center and seeds (or toast them with olive oil and salt for a tasty snack). Dice the butternut and then toss the cubes with oil and a liberal amount of salt. Bake the butternut for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned, tossing halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly as you assemble the rest of the salad.
Make the rice. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 50 minutes (or per the instructions on your rice container).
Slice open the pomegranate and remove the seeds. I find the easiest way to do this is to quarter the pomegranate then submerge one quarter at a time in a large bowl of water. Underwater carefully tear away the pith, removing the rubies. The rubies will float to the top of the water and the pith will fall to the bottom!
Roast the almonds. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees (alternately you could roast the almonds in a small toaster oven - that's usually what I do). Toss almonds with olive oil and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until almond skins begin to crack and turn a dark brown color (watch carefully so they don't burn). You want to bring them right to the edge of burnt so they are crunchy and extremely fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a airtight jar (I use a mason) and shake until combined. Pour about half of the dressing over the kale and using your hands, massage the kale and dressing together for a good 3 minutes until the kale becomes limp and the pile decreases in size. Top with the roasted squash, wild rice, pomegranate seeds, almonds, goat cheese, and apple. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, toss and serve!
Can you believe it's September already? It seems crazy that in a world where we humans assert so much control over so many things we have zero control when it comes to the seasons. They will change, no matter what we do. The sun will rise and set in time with it's yearly pattern and the days will get shorter before they get longer, so let's not fight it. Maybe I'm telling myself that. I always have trouble getting excited about Fall in Chicago because it's soooooo fleeting here. I feel like it lasts a week and then it's just dark and cold and I feel sad.
The first winter here was the hardest. It felt the darkest. In two weeks we trade in this little apartment with the world's smallest windows and worst view for a high-rise with a patio and massive windows with a view I honestly never thought Nate and I would be able to afford. How did we spring it? Well, the new kitchen is a bit retro. And we don't have dishwasher... We're actually not heart broken over it. Because NATURAL LIGHT!! Also, it's just the two of us (for now). Did I mention we have a PATIO! Like all to ourselves! DREAMS DO COME TRUE. I plan on eating every meal on our patio until the first snowflakes fall and the thought of it is making the anxiety I feel with boxes all around me feel worth it.
But onto this bread! We had this focaccia bread from the Division Street Farmer's Market in Chicago last summer. I knew immediately that I'd need to recreate it. The roast poblanos and corn with sharp cheddar made an incredible combination and because we have about a million of them right now I added cherry tomatoes. I originally wanted to call this "Summer Harvest Focaccia" because that's basically what it is: one big final summer celebration. I love summer so much.
Makes 1 13x18 inch Focaccia
Adapted from: Bread, Toast, Crumbs
For the dough:
3 cups (384g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (128g) white whole wheat flour (or sub more AP flour)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups warm water
For the toppings:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 large poblanos
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (from about 3 cobbs)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water and stir until a cohesive dough forms. Cover and set in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper then top with the poblanos. Set the broiler of your oven to high and broiler the poblanos, until the skin is chard and bubbly. You'll want to check the poblanos every 3-5 minutes, and rotate them often until all sides are evenly charred. Mine cooked for about 15 minutes total. Then remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled peel the poblano skin from the pepper and discard it along with the seeds. It's easiest to do this in the sink under running water. Finely chop the poblanos then set aside.
When the dough has risen fully, line a 13x18 inch sheet pan with parchment then top with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Use a two forks to deflate the dough, scape it from the edges of the bowl to form a ball, then transfer it onto the parchment paper. Roll the dough in the oil to coat, then let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven to 425 degrees F and set the rack to the middle of the oven.
With lightly greased hands, stretch the dough to the width and length of the baking sheet. Then using your fingers press dimples into the dough surface. If the dough stretches back, let it rest for another 5 minutes or so, then stretch again. Top the dough with cheddar, poblanos, corn, and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with finishing salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on the top.