Friday, December 2, 2011

Farro Salad with Carrots, Fennel and Dried Cranberries

Farro is one of those grains that does not get enough attention. It's perfect for soups and salads and hardy enough to satisfy as a main meal. Every time I make a farro salad I always wonder why I don’t do it the more often.

The nutty, sweet texture works particularly well with dried fruit so in keeping with the sprit of the holiday season we added dried cranberries and tossed it in a simple citrus vinaigrette.

1 cup farro
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced, then chopped, fennel
1 large tablespoon rough chopped dried cranberries

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely cupped shallots
A squeeze of meyer lemon juice and a bit of the zest

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallots and lemon juice. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated.

Rinse farro in cold water then place in a small sauce pan and cover with about 2-2/12 cups of water. Add a bit of salt (optional) to the water.

Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the grains are tender but chewy. When done, drain any extra liquid that is still in the pan.

While the farro is cooking chop the carrots, fennel and cranberries.

Add the carrots, fennel and dried cranberries to the warm farro. Toss together.

Let cool to room temperature then add the vinaigrette to taste. Toss and serve.

Makes 2 meal size portions or 4-6 small sides.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roam Artisan Burgers

So it’s a Tuesday night and you get a hankering for a burger. Well if you live in San Francisco you’re in luck. Mosey on down to Roam for one of the tastiest veggie burgers around. And it’s not a Garden or Boca burger, not that those are bad I just don’t want to eat them at a restaurant. Roam’s veggie burger patties are house made, organic, vegan and gluten free. And if that is not enough of a reason to eat a Roam veggie burger, their artisan buns are custom made at a local bakery, the pickles are made in-house and they source their produce from local farms.

And there is no shortage of great beverages. The shakes are made with organic ice cream or organic frozen yogurt and the sodas are house-made and sweetened with agave. For the grown ups there is a nice selection of micro brews and sustainably produced wines on tap.

Oh, and as a side note, for the other two days of the week when you might indulge in a beef, bison or turkey burger, all their meat is 100% grass feed and humanely raised on open pastures.

Roam Artisan Burgers
1785 Union Street (between Octavia and Gough) 
San Francisco, CA 94123

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chanterelle Pasta

This weekend I found myself the lucky recipient of a bag of fresh golden chanterelles. I know not everyone get as excited about these things as I do, but I felt like a kid on Christmas morning!

If you have not had the opportunity to cook with chanterelles, I highly recommend it. Not only are they delicious they are high in potassium, vitamin A and D, and contain amino acids that help boost the immune system and may help fight cancer, infections and rheumatoid arthritis.

These mushrooms have a delicate peppery flavor and a hardy meaty texture. I wanted to make a dish where the mushrooms would stand out as the main flavor component, so I chose fresh pasta made from scratch. Although you could use a dried or even store bought fresh pasta, taking a bit more time to make it from scratch is worth the extra effort.

I also wanted this pasta to be completely vegan. You may notice that most homemade pasta recipes include eggs, however it’s very easy to create an eggless pasta by adding semolina four.

Pasta Ingredients:
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup-1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced
2 cups chanterelles sliced- about 1/4” thick
1 clove of garlic very finely chopped
1/2 cup dry vermouth
Flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Mound flour on a large wooden cutting board.

Make a well in the center of the flour and add water a little at a time, stirring with a fork until the flour has enough liquid for the dough to come together.

The dough will be sticky, but should not be wet. Gather the dough to form a ball.

Kneed the dough for 3 minutes. Scrape up all the sticky bits from the board, then re-flour the board. Continue kneading for 3 more minutes. Dust board with flour when necessary.

The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Cover the dough with a slightly damp towel and set aside while cooking the mushrooms.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook for a few minutes until soft.

Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, cover and cook until soft and they begin to release their water- about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about minute or two. Next add the vermouth and continue to cook for another minute until the liquid reduces to about ½. Add about 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.

Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and turn off heat.

Roll out the pasta.

Run through the fettuccini blade.

Place about ½ the noodles in boiling salted water. Fresh pasta only takes about a minute- be careful not to overcook. Store the remaining uncooked noodles in the fridge- they will keep fresh for several days.

Drain the pasta- reserving some of the cooking liquid. Gently toss pasta in the pan with the mushrooms- add a few tablespoons of the reserved liquid if the pasta is dry. Serve pasta in bowls, drizzle with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil and fresh ground pepper.

Servings: 2 main course or 4 smaller servings.