Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CALIFORNIA WALNUTS: Farro with Carrots and Shallot-Walnut Gremolata

Hello! Last post I was raving about Meyer lemons and now I another California gem for you: walnuts! California Walnuts recently invited me to participate in their very first Virtual Dinner Party to help introduce their Chef Menus At Home Collection! I was so excited to be invited and especially thought it was another nice welcoming to my new home being in California. Cool fact:

  • California grows more than 99% of the country’s supply and two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade

We were asked to pick one recipe from the Chef Menus At Home Collection  and make it for the party! It was so hard for me to choose one recipe because they all looked really good! Go check out their page because it's a wonderful resource for recipes using those omega-3 heart healthy walnuts! I chose to make Aida Mollenkamp's Farro with Carrots and Shallot-Walnut Gremolata. Aida's cooking style is considered West Coast eclectic focusing on whole foods based recipes. Her new cookbook Keys To The Kitchen is an approachable technique based cookbook with over 300 original recipes. You all will have a chance to win your own copy very soon.......

If you've never used farro before this is a great chance to try it! Farro is a fantastic nutty Italian grain. I bought mine at Sur La Table when I worked there but I saw it the other day at Costco and have also seen it in the bulk section at Whole Foods. This recipe is supposed to be a side dish but we enjoyed it last night for dinner as our main dish. I loved how fresh this was and the addition of the cumin, cinnamon and shallot oil gave it such great flavor. The recipe is fairly easy to make (just make sure you get everything mise en place, meaning have all your ingredients all set to go beforehand). It is slightly time consuming but would make such a great dish to bring to a party or potluck. The fried shallots in olive oil are delicious and such a treat. The only thing I would change in the recipe is to say to use larger shallots for the ones that are going to be thinly sliced and fried. That's just because I liked them so much and wanted bigger bites of them!

I ate this for lunch and had more for dinner at night! Here's the recipe and come back soon for the giveaway and your chance to win!

Farro with Carrots and 
Shallot-Walnut Gremolata

1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro
1/4 pound haricot verts (slim green beans), cut into 1-inch lengths (about 1 cup)
1 cup olive oil
5 shallots—2 thinly sliced, 3finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
1/2 pound carrots, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Zest and juice from 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (about 4 ounces)
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat, stir in the farro, decrease heat to medium and simmer until the farro is al dente, about 20 minutes. Add the haricot verts and allow to cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and spread farro and haricot verts on a baking sheet to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat. In a bowl, toss the sliced shallots with the flour, separating them into rings. Transfer the shallots to a strainer and tap off the excess flour.
  3. Once the oil is hot -- you can test it by dropping one shallot ring in and seeing if small bubbles form on the edges --add the shallots, lower heat to medium-high, and fry, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to drain thoroughly; season lightly with salt.
  4. Pour off and reserve (in a heatproof container) all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the saucepan, return pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the remaining chopped shallots, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of the reserved shallot oil, stir in the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant. Add half of the parsley and fry briefly, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat.
  6. Combine farro, haricot verts, carrot mixture, vinegar, lemon juice, 3/4 cup of the walnuts, and 3 tablespoons of the reserved shallot oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix thoroughly.
  7. Mix together fried shallots, remaining walnuts, remaining (unfried) parsley, and lemon zest, sprinkle over the top of the farro and serve as a side or main dish!


DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by California Walnuts. I received walnuts and cookbooks for my participation in this post. All opinions expressed here are my own. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Big News......!!!

Wow, okay so I last did a post around Thanksgiving.......and it's now February! I guess you might have thought that I had stopped blogging and well, I did because certain things were happening in my life. My husband and I found out some big news right before Christmas. NO, it's not that we were pregnant however that would have been exciting too (especially now that I'm almost 30 and there are people I went to HS with that already have two children, it makes me feel really behind!). So the big new is:

  My husband got a great promotion (I'm so proud of him!) with his job and we packed up our house, put it up for sale, and drove with the cat and the dog a couple of weeks ago to CALIFORNIA! It was really crazy to leave Utah since it's the only place I've ever lived other then Alaska, which is where I grew up. I have so many fantastic memories of college at the University of Utah and then with my time performing with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, our wedding in downtown Salt Lake at Hotel Monaco, I could go on and on. Let's just say there were some tears shed as we left on our drive. They were happy tears, excited about the adventures that lie ahead for us. I really can't complain about where we got to move to. We are near the city of Sacramento but there seems to be so much to do and explore within this crazy state.

  We are just renting for now but we found a great house with a wonderful backyard for Bandit! Coming from a townhouse with no backyard it's really nice to have one and to also be in a neighborhood (it's much quieter!). I've already found some great grocery stores and Farmer's Markets. There is a year round farmer's market that I checked out last week and it was fantastic.

Bandit's new backyard! I'm in love with all of the Oak trees here!

My goodies from the Farmer's Market. Fresh roasted coffee, Jerusalem artichokes, Meyer lemons, pea shoots, and organic navel oranges. 

This area grows a ton of citrus and I've been buying a lot of it! One of the new to me grocery stores is a local chain called Raley's. When I signed up for there savings card they gave me a magazine that had some great recipes inside. I made this the first week in our new kitchen, which by the way has a gas stove! I've never used a gas stove for cooking before so that's been fun to get used to. I'll post some other citrus recipes I've made later for you all. I'm back and I'm so glad to be blogging again! The boxes are all unpacked but we have nothing on the walls yet.....that's a chore for this weekend. Change can definitely be stressful but it can also be exciting if you just look at it all as an adventure in this crazy life!

Citrus Tabbouleh

(*slightly adapted from Raley's Something Extra Magazine)

2½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cups bulgur (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 medium orange, peeled and diced 
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Garam Masala
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Prep: 15 minutes Cook/Stand: 30 minutes
Chill: 1 hour Serves: 6
1. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in bulgur and turn off heat. Cover and set aside for 25 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let cool completely.
2. Stir in onion, mint, orange, and avocado. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients; pour over bulgur and toss well. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until ready to serve. 



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