Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds
After christmas, I met Tonia, dear friend
and former Mizuna business partner for coffee.
We talked about New Year's resolutions
or something along those lines and she mentioned
that instead of a picking a New Year's resolution,
she likes to pick one word to focus on for the whole year.
For example, last year her word was "joy".
She was still trying to pick her word for this year.
After our coffee, I began thinking about what I wanted my word to be.
If you were to choose one word,
what word would you choose to focus on
for this year?
The word lighter kept coming to me.
Not lighter in the physical sense. Lighter as in... less stuff.
And perhaps emotionally.
Shedding things and shedding emotions
that I have stubbornly held on to - long past their expiration date.
Living creates emotional baggage.
All our experiences and interactions leave us with a huge accumulation of emotional crap.
We all know this. Often it robs us of the present.
It weighs us down and makes us heavy and sometimes even sick.
Often we have so much stuff going inside
there is no space for happiness
even if it were handed to us on a silver platter.
But how do you rid yourself of it?
On the morning of New Year's day,
after all the party favors were cleaned up and Christmas decorations were packed away,
I began what would become a mad frenzy of cleaning out my all my stuff. I started in my closet.
I got rid of a mountain of clothes. This felt so good I tackled the basement.
I proceeded to spend the day filling my car with a giant load of donations to Goodwill.
When my head hit the pillow that night I felt exhausted
but satisfied with my great start. I did feel lighter.
But the nagging question in the back of my mind remained unanswered...
how does one become lighter on the inside?
That night I had a dream. In it, I was laced up in roller skates and speeding down a huge steep hill totally out of control. I tried to slow down, but I couldn't and panic soon overtook me. I kept going faster and faster over rough road that was treacherous with gravel and full of potholes. (It must have been in Spokane.) I knew I was going to crash and be smeared along the asphalt. Then, strangely in my dream, I told myself to just close my eyes. I really have no idea why I thought this was a good idea. But for some illogical reason I did it. And then I was flying down the hill, even faster, eyes closed and to my surprise... not falling. It was amazing! I was actually having fun. I woke up totally exhilarated!
First thing in the morning, I, perhaps a little bit too excitedly told my dream to Brian, he, who does not like to talk before 10 am. And all he said was, you let go. I hadn't really thought of it that way. I guess I was just so excited about rollerskating and not falling. But ironically, this short, three word summary of my dream was a little clue towards answering the question I had been stuck on.
What does any of this have to do with cooking?
My pantry is another part of my life that is in desperate need of becoming lighter.
Its ridiculous. Embarrassing really.
It's crammed full of so many odds and ends that I really don't even know what's in there.
The problem is when I go to the grocery store,
I forget that I already have 5 partial packages of linguine stuffed in my pantry,
and of course buy a couple more. I made a pact with myself.
I am not going to buy one more thing in the bulk section,
until I use up a good portion of what I already have.
This is helpful 5 Tips to Cleaning out your Pantry.
If you need more motivation,
these photo's may help inspire you to get your pantry cleaned out and organized.
Ok, some of the photos are a little unrealistic I'll admit ....but one could dream.
So if you are still with me....
using up some of the odds and ends in my pantry was the inspiration for this recipe.
Moroccan Farro with Lacinato Kale, Pomegranate and Almonds
For those of you unfamiliar with Farro,
it is basically an ancient grain in the wheat family originating in the middle east.
It is a staple in Tuscany where it also grows, often used in salads and soups.
You could easily substitute wheat berries or rye berries in this recipe.
The leftovers also make a really nice salad the next day.
I chopped the garlic into bigger pieces, but I happen to really like garlic.
You could substitute 1/2 a diced onion instead.
Ginger is diced small, and if your ginger is really fresh,
there is really is no need to peel it.
Lacinato Kale is an heirloom variety of kale, dark in color and a little less bitter than curly kale.
It is also used quite often in Italian cooking. It is sometimes called Tuscan kale, black kale or cavolo nero. Kale belongs the Brassica family, a group oaf vegetables including cabbage, collards and brussels sprouts. Kale has a extremely high nutrient level, high in Vitamins K, A and C .
I have been trying to incorporate more and more of this wonder food into my diet.
These days, kale is available year round but its true season
is in mid-winter thru the beginning of spring, when its at its peak and tastes best.
This is because a light frost is key in sweetening its flavor.
As you may notice, the recipe is vegan. Because of the olive oil and almonds,
you will not miss meat or even cheese. It's really quite hearty and the Moroccan flavors
of cinnamon and cumin give it a nice warmth.
The easiest way to seed a pomegranate without creating a huge mess
is to score the outer skin of the pomegranate in vertical wedges with a sharp knife
( like sections of an orange only bigger).
Submerge the entire pomegranate in a bowl of cold water
and start peeling the skin off and pulling it all apart -underwater.
The seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl and skins will float.
Just remove the skins and drain.
Serve it up on a platter, a large wooden bowl ....or for a different twist
place individual servings in canning jars.
Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds
1 1/2 C Farro ( or wheat or rye berries)
3 C water
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 Cups chopped Lacinato Kale ( one bunch)
6 cloves sliced garlic
1 T fine chopped ginger
1/3 C golden raisins.
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C fresh pomegranate seeds
In a small pot bring farro, water, salt and allspice to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low and simmer for 45 min's or until farro is tender and water is mostly gone.
In the mean time, saute ginger and garlic on med low heat in 3 T Olive oil. When lightly browned add chopped kale. Cook slowly on low heat, stirring often for about 5 min. Add 1/3 C golden raisins. Let simmer on lowest setting until kale is tender ...about 15min.
Seed your pomegranate.
When farro is tender, pour it all into the sauté pan with the kale. Its ok if there is a little water still in the farro. Pour it all in. Add the salt, spices, honey, vinegar and sliced almonds. Let flavors meld for a few minutes on low heat. Just before serving toss in the fresh parsley and pomegranite.