By Chef Deborah Lieder
Anytime we start something new, there is a certain protocol we have to follow in order to allow it to become a habit or bring it into being. This is why it is never recommended to partake in a fad diet, or anything that promotes instant gratification. It will fade, just like our enthusiasm and we will end up letting ourselves down, making it harder to try again. Much of the disconnect when it comes to cooking is the simple fact we don’t know what to do with the food we have in front of us. Sure, maybe the basics are covered; roasted meat, steamed veggies, boiled pasta. Yet, expanding our knowledge of cooking techniques can not only improve our skills in the kitchen, but will offer flavorful meals that are both cost-effective and healthful.
Learning to braise bone-in cuts of meat or your favorite vegetables in stock, salting the water you boil your pasta in, properly roasting vegetables at the right temperature so you get that crisp delicious taste, are all techniques used by professional chefs. It adds flavor in a way we would never think of, especially if the art of cooking was never taught to us. As we impart these techniques, it ends up saving time in the kitchen. Our culture is so filled with things to do, time has become so precious. Scheduling 1-2 days out of the week to cook, food prep, getting family/friends involved, all saves on time, and can add an element of fun and community to every day.
It is safe to say that we receive higher quality food at a cheaper price point when cooking from home. Yes, it takes time and intention, just like everything else in life. But it also gives our body the proper nourishment it needs. This is what sets the tone for the habits we are trying to solidify, and we need to be the ones to support our goals. Tuning in, connects us to the ebb and flow, recognizing that things are ever-evolving, never staying in the same place for too long. It is important to have a firm, healthy foundation, one that supports change while keeping us grounded in our self. Learning to dance with life in relation to this evolution, allows obstacles and resistance lift, because we end up working with the flow instead of against it.
Roasted Vegetable and Farro Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
Vegetables to Roast – choose 3+ – 1 crown broccoli, ½ head cauliflower, 4 ea. Table carrot, 2 ea. onion, 3 ea. zucchini, 1 pound mushroom, ½ butternut squash, 1 ea. Fennel, ½ pint grape tomato, etc.
Salt and Pepper
2 c. Farro
1/3 c. White Balsamic
1 c. Olive Oil
1 t. Mustard
1 t. Onion powder
1 t. Garlic Powder
1 T. Oregano, dried leaf
Salt and Pepper
Greens: Arugula, Spring Mix, Romaine
Added Protein (optional): chicken, turkey, beef, garbanzo bean, seared tempeh, etc.
Additional Toppings: Toasted nuts, dried cherries, dried figs, goat cheese, apple, orange segments, etc.
Heat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan, fill halfway with water, salt, and bring to a boil. Add farro, reduce heat to a simmer for 15-40 minutes, depending on what type of farro you use, see instructions. Farro should be tender and chewy yet al-dente.
Meanwhile, toss vegetables with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread out evenly on sheet pan and roast for 20-30 minutes depending on vegetable. Keep an eye on hot spots in the oven, stirring the veggies or rotating the pan halfway through.
For dressing, in blender add balsamic, mustard, honey, onion powder and garlic powder. Place lid on, turn up the speed to high, and slowly drizzle in olive oil until dressing emulsifies. Add oregano, salt and pepper, and lightly blend.
In large bowl, toss roasted vegetables with farro and dressing. If using proteins and greens, add in now. Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper where needed. Enjoy!