Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Farro Beet Risotto

Testing recipes, using measuring cups, and taking decent pictures of food is still far away, but I am making baby steps to coming back to work. I taught my first class this weekend. It was the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish one since that's the stuff I thought I knew like the back of my hand. It was hard to believe that a few days before class as I was starting to panic about the concept of teaching again. "I don't think the part of my brain that's responsible for anything but breastfeeding and diaper changing is still alive," I told Jason. But he persuaded me that somehow I'll know what to do when the time came.

Things went surprisingly smoothly, so I guess I didn't have to panic that much. Babulya came to visit and took care of Sammy while I was shopping and making handouts on friday, and on saturday during class Sammy had whole 2 adults taking care of her (Babulya and Daddy). It reminded me of the Russian proverb "7 nannies have a kid without an eye," but since we had only 2 nannies, no harm came to Sammy.

I also made a pretty good farro risotto yesterday. This isn't exactly a recipe since I haven't measured anything when making this dish yesterday, but here is the rough idea. In case you haven't worked with farro before, it's a really delicious and easy going grain that is the ancestor of modern wheat. Unlike a traditional risotto made with rice, this one doesn't require much stirring so it's perfect for cooks with no attention span or time (just like me :) It doesn't overcook easily, so you can get that al dente texture even if the baby cried and you got a bit distracted.

For the beets:
Trim the beets and scrub really well, but don't peel. Cut into wedges, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the middle of the oven at 400F for 40 minutes or until tender. I also threw in some very finely sliced skin of preserved lemon in with the beets before roasting. They got crispy and really yummy.

For spinach:
Toast pine nuts in a medium saucepan over medium heat stirring often until golden. Remove to a bowl and reserve. Add spinach to pan and cook stirring until wilted. Add to the bowl with pine nuts and stir in golden raisins. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For farro:
Cook 1/2 red onion (or whatever onion you have) in olive oil over low heat until translucent. Rinse farro in a sieve and add to the onion. Turn up the heat to medium. Stir until farro is coated with oil. Add a little dry white wine and wait for it to absorb. Add chicken stock or water (about 3 parts liquid to 1 part farro) and cook stirring occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed and farro is cooked to your liking. I prefer it a bit al dente. Season to taste with salt and pepper and combine with roasted beets, spinach mixture, and a little butter.

Since I haven't been very good with food pictures lately, I thought I'll at least post a good picture of Sammy.

And here we are after her walk with Babulya and my jog with Jason. This was the first time we went jogging together after I gave birth, and I could actually keep up with him. He was really nice and went much slower than usual, but still, I was very excited to start working out for real.


Butta Buns said...

That looks delicious and so vibrant with the brilliant colors.

Sammy's such a doll! I love how she's punching her little fists in the air.

Terry B said...

A wonderful post, Helen! Glad to hear you rediscovering parts of you besides the fabulous mom to the fabulous Sammy part. Life is pretty darned great, isn't it? Again, a wonderful post.

joey said...

I have enjoyed your site since I first found it ... food fills the belly on awesome spring days, wonderous summer nights, fruitful fall days and cold winter evenings but ... children fill the soul. Bon appetit!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas to cook! Thanks! I love your blog! I want to share with you some new beet recipes, may be you'll have any new ideas about them!