Miss Congeniality

Sunday, April 23, 2017
It's hard to photograph beige food.

No matter what you do when you photograph it, it just looks ... beige. And that's a real shame when it comes to a recipe that tastes as amazing as this one.

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I discovered how delicious farro is, and how easy it is to prepare. So this recipe for farro risotto with roasted cauliflower and gruyere was next on my list to try. If anything, I like it even better, despite its rather pale and timid appearance.

So think about this meal as the equivalent of the wallflower at a party. It may not be the recipe that makes you do a double-take, but it just might make you happy for the rest of your life.

Cauliflower and Gruyere Farro Risotto
(from Eats Well With Others)


1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 Tbsp olive oil (first amount)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil (second amount)
1 shallot, diced
2 cups farro
5-6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups gruyere, grated


Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread the cauliflower on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and coat in 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until browned and crispy, tossing once halfway through. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and saute for 3-4 minutes, seasoning with a pinch of salt. Stir in the farro and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups of broth to the pot, and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the water has evaporated. Add the remaining broth 1 cup at a time, only adding more when the previous batch has just evaporated, stirring frequently, until farro is tender. (Test after you've stirred in 5 cups of broth - you may not need to add more.)

Stir in the cauliflower and the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Banana Muffins

Sunday, April 16, 2017

I've made these muffins many times but didn't post them until now, probably because everyone has their own favourite banana muffin recipe. But I think this one is so good, it's worth checking out.

Since I have bananas in the house most of the time, I've made many a muffin to use the overripe ones. But I was usually disappointed - so often, the finished product relied on add-ins like chocolate chips for flavour. It took me a long time, and many false starts, before I found a recipe that I thought was a keeper. The three bananas in the mix provide a ton of flavour; pecans are a nice (but not necessary) addition.

And although the original recipe called for a streusel topping, these muffins don't require any dressing up. Simple enough for breakfast, delicious enough for dessert, these banana muffins are perfect for any occasion, or no occasion at all.

Banana Muffins
(adapted from Hidden Ponies)

1 egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (note: you can substitute half of this amount with whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners (unless you're using a silicone pan, in which case liners aren't necessary).

Whisk egg, bananas and butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir until just combined. If you're adding pecans, add them in and stir just to combine.

Spoon mixture into muffin pan (makes 10 - 12 muffins, depending on how big the bananas were). Bake for 17 - 20 minutes or until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

A farro story

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Every once in a while I post a recipe that I've been waiting to try for ages, and this is one of those. I first bookmarked it in late 2014, and I've kept it on my must-try list since. I'm not sure why it took me so long to make it, except I'd never cooked with farro before.  (For the record, it's super-easy.)

I finally made the salad this week, and it was more than worth the wait. The original recipe called for brie, which would also be nice, but I loved the way the gruyere stood up to the other strong flavours. If you don't have farro in your cupboard, barley would be a nice substitute. And feel free to use whatever combination of roasted vegetables you like best. In other words, this is a really easy recipe to play around with - but next time I make it, I won't change a thing.

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Red Onion and Gruyere
(adapted from Eats Well With Others)


3 cups water
1 cup farro, rinsed (note: barley would also be nice)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium red onion, diced
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
3/4 cup diced gruyere
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the olive oil, butternut squash, red onion and carrots. Season to taste with salt. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until tender.

In the meantime, bring water and farro to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 25 - 30 minutes or until farro is cooked. Drain excess water.

When the vegetables are roasted, toss them with the farro, sage and gruyere. Season to taste with salt and fresh pepper.