This week kicked my butt. I knew it was coming, but it still owned me. Knowing the days would be long, before work I was either making couscous and farro and prepping vegetables or getting my workout in. Two dinners this week were salads — whipped together variations of chicken, spinach, some grain or other, and whatever citrus or dried fruit was in the pantry. One night I managed to sauté some chicken and roast cauliflower, but by Thursday, I had no ideas, so Wolf brought home a Costco pizza. Then Friday, I was on my own. With no grocery shopping happening either, a can of black beans saved me. I made Can You Stay for Dinner’s black bean quinoa burgers. It turned out to be the genesis of something bigger – a chicken, black bean and quinoa bake.
Posts tagged ‘whole grain’
If you need any proof that it’s possible to eat fabulously as a vegan, you only need to visit Denver. We just spent the weekend with our friends Jed and Lara there and ate at Justin Cucci’s restaurants, Linger and Root Down. Not only is Linger’s menu focused on global street food, which would be a potential disaster in less capable hands, these restaurants serve both carnivores and vegans, satisfying all parties. And Root Down makes a mean blood orange mimosa at brunch. I came back from Denver thinking about vegetarian dishes, and while I made a beefy, warms-your-soul pot of chili earlier in the week, I also roasted up a butternut squash and made a little butternut and quinoa salad with the flavors of fall.
As a cook, my grandma was a product of her generation. Raising kids in the 50s and 60s, she cooked both from scratch and from boxes and packets as convenience foods came on the scene — say chicken and dumplings, with Bisquick dumplings. Some days when I was a kid, she’d start dinner at 2 pm and other days she’d whip together a one-skillet meal in half an hour.
Green beans and tomatoes always remind me one of her one-pan dinners served over rice. She’d sauté chunks of onion with garlic and either chicken or pork in a little oil, then add canned tomatoes and some green beans, cooking until the beans were tender. Salt and pepper was the only seasoning. It was simple, and it cemented green beans and tomatoes for me. This Israeli couscous salad takes inspiration from that dish with just cooked green beans and a roasted tomato vinaigrette, brightened with a trio of herbs.
I keep the weather in other cities on my phone just to torture myself. Right now the line up is: home, Victoria, BC; San Francisco; Sydney; San Diego; Denver; and Arezzo. We went to Italy two years ago and Arezzo still hasn’t been deleted from the list. It’s in the low 90s, high 80s this week in Arezzo, just a tad too hot, but still the idea of sitting out under a pergola, looking out into a valley in Tuscany as the sun dips beneath the horizon, sipping a little pinot grigio, with a little antipasti…well, that sounds like dinner.
When I was in high school, my best friend from elementary school dated a guy called Farro. By that time, we went to different schools, so I only met him once and I think we had dinner at his family’s restaurant. Maybe my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I’m pretty sure Farro wasn’t his real name, and now that I’ve made the grain, I’m dying to know how Farro ends up being your nickname. Is it a diminutive of something like Bobby is for Robert? Or are you just nutty? Are you hard-headed? I don’t know. But unlike quinoa, which I find just ok (and not a good nickname), I like farro’s heft. That chewy bite, even after 30 or 40 minutes of cooking, with a nutty flavor – I like it. And after this salad, I’m excited to try making a risotto — a farrotto — out of it.