Sunday, October 30, 2011

Farro with butternut squash, walnuts, and goat cheese

Happy Fall!

Fall brings beautiful weather, colorful leaves, and autumn squash. I love acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and kabocha squash and find myself cooking with these on a daily basis. I had family and friends coming to town last week and decided this farro dish would be delicious with large roasted gulf shrimp (followed this recipe-just did the shrimp part) and a fall salad. I loved how great the goat cheese complemented the squash and how the butternut squash wasn't too soft so it stood out against the softer farro. I added a bit more balsamic vinegar with the walnut oil to make it a touch more tastier!

Farro with Butternut squash, walnuts, and goat cheese
recipe heavily adapted from 101 cookbooks

1 1/2 cup farro, rinsed and drained
2 tsp sea salt
5 cups water
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch piece
1 red onion, chopped
1 Tbs fresh thyme, minced
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, divided
3 Tbs toasted walnut oil (or you can substitute olive oil)
1 cup wanuts, toasted
1/4 cup Belle Chevre Goat Cheese, crumbled (support Alabama Goat Cheese!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Combine the farro, salt, and water in a saucepan, and cook on medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is just tender, about 30 minutes to an hour (If you are using pearled farro, the cooking time is around 30 minutes, longer for basic farro - best is to follow the directions on the back of your farro package for best results). You want to avoid overcooking the farro, it should retain its structure. Remove from heat and drain well.

When you are waiting for the farro to cook, toss the butternut squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar, and a couple of big pinches of salt. Place on a lined baking sheet, being sure that the mixture is in a single layer, cook for 20-25 minutes until the squash is tender, but not mushy. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes to brown evenly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.

Place the farro, butternut squash mixture in a large bowl and add the walnut oil, the other 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar, and the toasted walnuts. Taste for seasoning, add salt as needed. Once mixed together, add the crumbled goat cheese or you could plate your farro and garnish with the goat cheese, whichever you want!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thai Tilapia

My friend Sara always has talked about this dish, but I have never made it before. When I visited her, she made it for me and since I have returned home we have had it twice. It is one of those very easy meals to throw together. I love the ginger and curry...

Thai Tilapia
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets or other mild white fish
  • 2 stalks of broccolini
  • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • 4 lime wedges


Preheat broiler.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute.

Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute.

Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute.

Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil).

While this is simmering, place broccolini in a glass bowl and cover with a very damp paper towel. Place bowl in microwave for 4 minutes, so broccolini is steamed and tender. Cut broccolini in bite size pieces, roughly chopped.

Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sauce, rice, and lime wedges.

Remove the sauce mixture from heat; stir in cilantro and steamed broccolini.