Sunday, April 5, 2009

So 'Farro' away, but as close as the 'Peep' flys...

The title is just the poet and bad comic coming out, and the fact that we are so far from each other in many ways. Only with all this technology can we blog or twitter and minutes later know exactly what the other is doing!

I try as often as I can to read as many blog and foodbuzz sites as one can in a day. One of my favorites (so many) is Lisa @ Lisa Is Cooking. Her photography is beautiful, her cookbook collection could far out weight mine, at least from what she mentions. She made something recently that I realized I had not made at all. A dish with Farro Risotto (many restaurants use this name). One of the many things on my blog is I do not try and do Italian. Why? I live in New Jersey, and they already do it wonderfully!

Right after I saw her post I emailed a chef friend who owns an Italian restaurant in Princeton, and asked if he could recommend a good brand of farro. He said that it was not on his menu any more, and joked that it left a bad taste in his mouth. I asked why, and he said it was because his old partner's name was Farro. I had a good laugh. This was still something I had to try cooking for myself. I love barley, and all the other grains out there...

Emails come in from companies wanting me to promote their products, and if I feel it is something I want to represent; then I say yes. Turns out two promotions were not so farro from making my wishes come true. One's label was in Italian, like a liqueur we brought back from Italy not to long ago, and I cannot remember my Italian; so I cannot even tell you what either or the directions say. Anyone read Italian out there? The De Rosario line of truffle oil is organically infused, and not as pricey as most. They evidently are trying break into the market in my area and asked me for some help.

'What a ham this peep is...I guess it heard about how good truffle oil was, or is he up to something?'

Jennifer @ Savor The Thyme is having this 'Peep Contest', and we have always enjoy seeing them around Easter each year. Just include a Peep into your blog post, and then send it on over to her at her with all the details. You have until midnight tonight to get them in!

Farro, an ancient grain, has long been loved in Italy because it has a delicious nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is enjoying a resurgence among chefs worldwide. Spelt's "nutty" flavor has long been popular in Europe, where it is also known as "Farro" (Italy) and "Dinkle" (Germany). In Roman times it was "Farrum", and origins can be traced back early Mesopotamia, and was feed to the legions. Grain was easy to transport and could be eaten for any meal. Eggs were added for protein. Spelt (Triticum spelta) is an ancient and distant cousin to modern wheat (Triticum aestivum). Spelt is one of the oldest of cultivated grains, preceded only by Emmer and eikorn. Reading the information it says that Farro is the mother of all grains including rice, barley, wheat and rye; this will be added to my 'rice' education I have been working on the past weeks.

When you are searching for farro, look for this type, Farro Perlato, as the hull has already been removed and there is no need for a long soaking. This grain does however continue to absorb liquid, and that is why I choose to let it cool before adding my infused oil mixture to season it further.

Farro Salad-

Truffle oil is loved in my house for sure! I decided to go with a salad that would include- pre-cooked farro, chopped portabello mushrooms, onions, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and thyme infused into the oil overnight; then tossed it into the farro once it cools a bit. I took some bone in ribye and removed one of the bones with a bit of meat still on; took it and browned it well and used it for my stock. After making a beef stock reduction with mushrooms, onions, garlic, and herbs I pan seared the portioned beef (salt/pepper to taste); then poured the reduction over the ribeye portions and baked in a hot oven (top rack) for another twelve to fifteen minutes like we did in the restaurant when they are thick cut. The ribeye comes out on the medium-rare side.

Plate a small portion of steak over the farro and spoon a bit of the reduction left in the pan over the top.

CONSUMER ALERT: Turns out farro was not the only present inside my package. You should always rinse, and I am sure most of you do, packaged grains, lentils, etc. This is what was at the bottom of my soaking bowl. Hubby said a little extra iron wouldn't hurt, and also I was thinking that after a few thousand more packages of grain orders were filled; that machine must have gone kaput!

'Word soon spread and the legion of Peeps arrive to feast off a plate of that little guy listens and works fast!'