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Midsummer Meals with Farro, the Other Grain.....

With the exception of the flood (you can reference my previous blog post) our Summer has been lovely.  The weather has been warm (between 70 - 80 degrees F) nearly every day with minimal rain.  I've been taking advantage of the nice days and evenings and spending as much time sitting on the porch and taking in the sun.

My Peaceful Back Porch in Summer






Summer means light simple recipes.  Here I will share two recipes made with a grain which I have not used before, farro.  I really enjoyed using it and these two dishes from Blue Apron were quite delicious.  The ingredients are very similar.  One is Middle Eastern and one is Mediterranean.  But both taste so unique.  I'd make these both again.

Farro is so easy to cook and it is really hard to mess up, unlike rice or pasta.  The black beluga lentils in the mujaddara were something I had never tried and they were so tasty.  Enjoy these.  The recipes look a bit fussy and involved, but they  really are not.  I used Blue Apron's recipe almost verbatim and they use a lot of detail in the directions.


Farro and Lentil Mujaddara (serves 2)

This is a vibrant spin on the traditional Middle Eastern spiced lentil and rice dish, swapping in farro for the rice.

Ingredients:
1/2 C Semi Pearled Farro
1/2 C Black Beluga Lentils
2 Eggs
1 Sweet Onion
1/4 C Labneh Cheese (Middle Eastern strained yogurt)
3 T Roasted Almonds
1 each mini yellow and orange sweet pepper
1 Lime
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Parsley
1.5 OZ Feta Cheese
1 T Za'atar Seasoning (ground sumac, sesame seeds, salt, ground thyme, dried oregano, crushed aleppo pepper)

Directions:

  • Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high.  Once boiling, add the lentils and cook for 7 minutes.
  • Add the farro and continue to cook for 21 - 23 minutes, or until tender.  Turn off the heat.
  • Drain and thoroughly rinse under warm water and then return to pot.
  • While the lentils and farro are cooking, wash and dry the produce.
  • Peel and thinly slice the onion.  Cut of and discard the stems of the peppers.  Remove the cores and seeds, then thinly slice, lengthwise.
  • Peel and roughly chop the garlic
  • Roughly chop the almonds.  Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems.
  • Quarter the lime.
  • In a bowl, combine the labneh, the juice of 2 lime wedges, half of the za'atar seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a medium pan, heat 2 T olive oil on medium-high until hot.  Add the onion and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook,stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until softened.  
  • Add the chopped garlic and the remaining za'atar seasoning.  Cook, stirring frequently, 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.  Turn off heat.
  • Transfer the garlic and vegetables to the pot with the cooked farro and lentils.  Add the juice of the 2 remaining lime wedges.  Stir to combine, season with salt and peppers to taste.
  • Rinse the same pan and heat 2 T olive oil on medium -high again until hot.  Crack each egg into the pan, keeping separated, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, to your desired doneness.  Turn off heat.
  • Divide the seasoned labneh between 2 plates.  Spread into an even layer.  Top with the farro and vegetable mixture and then the fried eggs.  Garnish with the feta cheese (crumbled) and the chopped almonds and parsley.
Farro and Lentil Mujaddara - Photo from Blue Apron




Greek Style Farro Salad (serves 2)

Tzatziki is one of my all time favorite sauces.  It absolutely makes any gyro and it also makes this farro salad superb!

Ingredients:
1 C Semi Pearled Farro
1 Can Chickpeas
1 Cucumber
1 Zucchini
2 T Rice Vinegar
1.5 Oz Feta Cheese
1 Clove Garlic
1 each mini yellow and orange sweet pepper
4 Oz Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 Bunch Parsley
3 T Roasted Almonds
1/2 C Greek Yogurt

Directions:
  • Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  • Add farro to boiling water and cook, uncovered, 18-20 minutes or until tender.  Turn off heat.
  • Drain thoroughly and return to pot.
  • While the farro cooks, wash and dry produce.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  Spread onto a paper towel lined sheet pan.  Using a second layer of paper towels, gently pat the chickpeas dry.  Discard the paper towels and any loose chickpea skins.
  • Halve the zucchini lengthwise.  Transfer to the same sheet pan, keeping separate from chickpeas.  Drizzle both with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Arrange in an even layer, with the zucchini cut side down.
  • Roast for 18 - 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender and chickpeas are crunchy.  Transfer zucchini to a cutting board and thinly slice, crosswise.
  • Grate the cucumber on the large side of a box grater.  Transfer to a strainer and set over a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine.  Let excess water to drain without stirring, about 10 mins.
  • Halve the tomatoes.  Cut off and discard the stems of the peppers.  Remove cores and seeds.  Thinly slice into rings.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic.  Smash until it resembles a paste.
  • Roughly chop the almonds.  Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, sliced peppers, vinegar, and half of the garlic paste.  Add a drizzle of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, at least 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • While the vegetables marinate, using a spoon, press down on the cucumber to release the liquid.  Discard liquid.  
  • Please the drained cucumber in the bowl and add the yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining garlic paste.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • To the pot of cooked farro, add the cheese, crumbling before adding, the roasted chickpeas and marinated vegetables.  Drizzle with olive oil and stir  to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide the tzatziki between two plates and spread into an even layer.  Top with the finished farro mixture, the sliced zucchini, chopped almonds and chopped parsley.
Tzatziki



Greek Farro Salad





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