Sunday, September 22, 2013

SKC: Honey and Harissa Farro Salad

SKC: Honey and harissa farro saladMade Sept. 2, 2013, repeated Sept. 21.

This was my first time cooking farro, so I don't know if the stuff I used (from the DeKalb Farmers Market) is typical or not. It needed a lot less than the 4 cups of liquid called for in the recipe--I may have poured off 2 cups when I drained it.

Next up: roasted parsnips and carrots, cut into 1-1.5" batons for easier eating. On my second version I used a lot more carrots than the 1/2 pound called for (to 1 pound of parsnips), as I had them available and liked the root veggies in the salad. More is good...

The dressing is olive oil, lemon juice as the acid, a bit of honey, and harissa, cumin, and salt for flavor. I swapped smoked paprika for the cumin--it only called for a pinch in any case. Second time around I upped the harissa from 1/2 tsp to about 2 tsp, which for this harissa gives the salad a little heat. I may have upped the amount of farro a bit as well so the dressing is covering more grain and veggies than the recipe called for.

The grain, veggies, and dressing get combined, then you stir in feta, mint, and parsley. Second time around I didn't walk out to the garden to see if any parsley is still hanging on (it hasn't liked the very wet summer in Atlanta, at least in my garden) or pick the mint, though I'll probably add those before the week is out. My plan is to take this to work for lunch this week.

Saved out a bit for younger niece without the feta on round 1. She liked it (I seem to recall she even came back for some of the with-feta leftovers). The with-feta version was excellent. Witness the quick repeat on the recipe!

SKC: Olive oil ricotta cake with muscadine coulis

DSCN9482I've been cooking pretty steadily from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook...but not managing to blog about the results. Clearly I need that external pressure of a baking group which expects a new post every Monday. Oh, well.

Instead of tackling the backlog, I'll report on tonight's effort: this very nice 'everyday' cake, lightly lemon-flavored, a riff on a yogurt cake but with ricotta. One bowl and a whisk--as it's an oil cake, there was no heavy beating needed. My only variation from the recipe was to use muscadine grapes instead of Concords. Muscadines are nicely Southern, and besides, there weren't any Concords at the DeKalb Farmer's Market today.

DSCN9474The only issue I had was with the coulis, which didn't thicken at all. (I think it should have, or at least the picture makes it appear so.) The recipe barely cooks the Concord grapes with a 3-minute simmer, but my huge muscadines needed more like 15 minutes to soften. I strained the seeds and skins out, cooled the result, but got this very thin sauce--nice taste, but a little lacking aesthetically. I've now boiled it down some more in the microwave and will see what it looks like when it cools again. Googling on the pectin content of various grapes doesn't give any indication that Concords and muscadines are different, so maybe I"m misinterpreting the picture and the term 'coulis', or maybe I did something wrong.

No matter: it's a very nice cake and sauce, and I'll return to the recipe to try some of the variations mentioned.