For this dish, use whole farro, in which the grain’s germ and bran have been retained. It has a nutty flavor and delicately chewy texture, and some brands cook in as little as 20 minutes, making it one of the fastest-cooking whole grains. (Ours took 30 minutes.)
The simplest cooking method is best: Just boil in salted water for about 20-30 minutes until tender and drain well. Warm farro can be tossed with sautéed aromatics, olive oil and herbs for a simple but satisfying side dish such as this one. It went wonderfully with our Shawarma Chicken.
We were fresh out of mint, so in lieu of making an extra trip to the grocery store, we just substituted two tablespoons of fresh oregano, which was one of the herbs in our main chicken entrée.
Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add farro and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until grains are tender with a slight chew, 20-30 minutes. Drain farro, return to now empty pot, and cover to keep warm.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, until shimmering. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and slightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cooked farro, stirring frequently until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley, mint, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Waste not want not, right? I occasionally have leftover buttermilk and wanted to figure out how to use up some of the remainder before spoilage occurs. Not one to consume most baked goods, I discarded any notion of making buttermilk pancakes or the like. But salads we eat, so The Mr. immediately thought about concocting a buttermilk ranch dressing (which BTW is also great with crudités, chips or even wings!)
At first glance you may cringe at the lengthy list of ingredients—luckily most are staple pantry items. All of the herbs we had growing in our garden, but they are easy enough to obtain from a local farmer’s market or the grocery store (or your neighbor’s garden??).
This version was found on garlicandzest.com but actually hails from a Chicago restaurant, The Publican. It’s cool, creamy, tangy, garlicky and, honestly, good enough to eat straight from the jar—but please use a spoon. Once you’ve made ranch dressing from scratch, you may never go back.
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, cayenne, Dijon, sugar, fish sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, chives, tarragon and oregano. Whisk together until smooth and creamy.
Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer the dressing to a glass container with a lid such as a canning jar, and refrigerate for several hours so the flavors can marry and the dressing thickens. Serve over salad or with crudite.
Dressing will keep up to one week in the refrigerator.
Pistachios are a borderline addiction for me (although I’m usually not picky when it comes to nuts of any sort). In fact, whenever we stop at Costco’s, it’s pretty likely we’ll pick up a 1.5-pound bag of the shelled, roasted/salted variety.
Did you know Sicily is famous for its pistachios, as well as for ricotta cheese? In this recipe, Milk Street blends the two, along with fresh basil and chives, to create a simple pesto to toss with al dente pasta.
There’s no need to grate the Parmesan—simply cut it into chunks and toss the pieces into the blender. The pesto is good on a wide variety of pasta shapes, but the hollow centers and surface ridges of rigatoni do a particularly good job of gripping the rich, creamy sauce. We used rotini whose spirals also made an easy job of grasping that sauce.
Milk Street advises NOT to use toasted or roasted pistachios because they claim, in this case, raw pistachios are best. Their bright color and natural sweetness lend a vibrant, full-flavored pesto. Well, as I mentioned, we had the roasted salted pistachios and went ahead and used them.
Now don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water before draining the pasta. You’ll need some of the starchy seasoned liquid to thin out the pesto.
¾ cup raw pistachios, plus 2 Tbsp. finely chopped pistachios
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 oz. Parmesan cheese (without rind), cut into 4 or 5 pieces
½ cup lightly packed fresh basil
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh chives
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
In a blender, combine the ricotta, the whole pistachios, oil, Parmesan, basil, chives, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and blend until creamy, about 1 minute; the pesto should have a consistency similar to yogurt.
Pour the pesto over the pasta and stir, adding more reserved pasta water as needed so the sauce coats the noodles. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with the chopped pistachios.
Once again we found an interesting recipe from Milk Street with an odd combination of ingredients, this time for a turkey burger. Mayonnaise and plenty of herbs turn ground turkey into these moist, pillowy, flavorful patties. For the panade—a hydrating binding mixture of dairy and breadcrumbs—use creamy mayonnaise and crisp panko along with fresh mint, cilantro and scallions. Unusual, right?
For an extra layer of flavor, more herbs and mayonnaise are stirred together with lime juice for a simple topping. Spread the panade directly on the bun halves, not the burgers. The flavor and texture of these burgers are best when made with ground dark meat turkey, but if you prefer, ground breast meat works, too.
Parmesan cheese adds a salty-savory note. Now if you’re cutting back on carbs, you could serve the burgers sandwiched between bibb or Boston lettuce leaves spread with the herbed mayonnaise, in place of a bun.
For mine, I took it one step further and added a thin slice of heirloom tomato and a round of provolone cheese. I waited until the burgers came out of the pan and onto the grate, topped one of them with the cheese, and covered it with a rounded lid for the 5-minute resting period. The provolone was slightly melty, but not oozing off of the meat.
Oven-roasted rosemary fires made a nice accompaniment.
NOTE: Chilling helps the patties hold together during cooking, so don’t forget to refrigerate the burgers for at least 15 minutes beforehand.
6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
1 lb. ground dark meat turkey
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
4 hamburger buns, toasted
Line a plate with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine the panko, 5 tablespoons of the mayonnaise, ¼ cup each of the mint and cilantro, the scallion whites, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl, then add the turkey, ¼ cup water and the cheese. Mix with your hands, form into four ½-inch-thick patties, then set on the prepared plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the remaining 5 tablespoons mayonnaise, the remaining ¼ cup each mint and cilantro, the scallion greens, the lime juice and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until beginning to smoke. Add the patties, reduce to medium and cook until well browned on the bottoms, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the second sides are well browned and the centers reach 165°F. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the cut sides of each bun with some of the mayonnaise mixture. Sandwich the burgers in the buns and serve with any remaining mayonnaise on the side.