A Bowl of Dinner!
By Dennis Linden
This month’s featured recipe comes from the refrigerator of Sabrina Ortiz, a member of Melissa’s Marketing Team. Meaning, Sabrina says that her ingredient list can vary depending on what happens to be in the ‘frig when preparing this spontaneous dish, which is how this recipe came about.
“Sometimes I get so occupied with the “stuff” of daily life that dinnertime would find me totally unprepared, so I would have to improvise,” explained Sabrina. “This dish came about from one of those nights searching the ‘fridge and pantry for ingredients that would make a meal. I found nothing special, just the usual eggs, garlic, butter, onions, grains and miscellaneous veggies, but the group represented a lot of necessary nutrients. So I put them all together and ended up with a filling, nourishing, flexible and healthy meal-in-a-bowl that also yields leftovers for lunch the next day!”
Quick and easy this dish certainly is! While the Farro is cooking, the rest of the fresh ingredients can be prepped and Sabrina’s process of sautéing those veggies in two stages can be started. Sabrina said that she will sometimes swap out the carrots for another vegetable or switch out the kale for another leafy green depending on her culinary mood and seasonal availability. Once cooked, the Farro needs the same amount of time to rest in its covered pot as it takes to fry up two eggs for the topping. The Farro and veggies contribute to this dish’s high nutritional value. Sabrina’s two-eggs-on-top contributes to this dish’s wickedly delightful taste!
Farro is a wonderfully flavorful grain. This writer hesitates to employee that over-used word “nutty”, but the adjective really does fit here. In fact, I’ll go one further – chewy, cashew-like with just a hint of cinnamon. It is a grain that was cultivated in ancient Egypt, nourished a conquering Roman army as it grew into an Empire and, in fact, has been a familiar staple in Italian cuisine for centuries. Today’s focus on healthy eating through whole grains has brought attention to Farro in this country. Frankly, to this writer’s palate, Farro leaves the much blander quinoa in the dust flavor-wise! BTW for fluffier Farro disregard the 2:1 cup ratio of water to grain as stated on the package. Instead cook it exactly like you would pasta – a large pot of boiling water. When the Farro is almost done, drain off all water except the last few ounces, cover the pot and let rest 5-10 minutes (while the eggs are frying)…equals quintessential fluffy-ness!
Sabrina is correct that her measures make enough to have leftovers for another meal. I assume that her culinary humility prevented her from sharing that, just like leftover spaghetti, the second time around reheating this dish is TWICE as delicious as the first! No fooling, I sautéed up the leftovers for lunch – including another fried egg – and was pleasantly wowed by the enhanced flavors that had developed overnight. This little taste surprise was a pleasant change of pace from my usual workday afternoon fare, so thank you Sabrina! In fact, next time I will make this dish a day ahead so I can enjoy a whole batch of flavorful “leftovers” the first time around!
Sabrina Ortiz has been a staff member of the Marketing Design Department for a little over a year now. Her focus is on the visual aspect of marketing Melissa’s products on the many platforms the company participates on in promoting its goods and services.
“My role here at Melissa’s has a lot to do with the visual communication of our brand, specializing in design,” described Sabrina. “My day-to-day involves anything and everything from designing packaging for our products, to creating social media content, developing product campaigns for our sales team as well as the signage for our trade shows and other promotion events. The fun, as well as challenging, thing about my job here is that every day bring on something different. The extremely fast pace of the perishable produce industry keeps me on my toes and makes every day more interesting than the last and so my work is always fresh!”
Away from the office Sabrina has many things that make up what she called “the stuff of daily life”. Firstly, there are her 2½ feline roommates – that’s residents Georgie and Jerry plus Charlie from next door who hangs out regularly. Since dogs have owners and cats have staff, Sabrina is kept busy tending to their needs i.e. demands/commands. The creative arts is also a big part of Sabrina’s interests. Lately she has been constructing mixed media collage portraits of family members and friends, then mailing them as gifts. Sabrina also fits in regular workouts and is currently trying to become a better cook.
“Health is a big concern of mine, so I keep the ol’ ticker strong with a weekly rotation of running, boxing and weight-lifting,” said Sabrina, adding. “Since my boyfriend is well-versed in his culinary craft, I have also been inspired lately to up my own skills in the kitchen. So I’m practicing by coming up with week-night dinners. Though I should enjoy the creativity of cooking, I actually much prefer baking because of the precise directions that must be followed.”
So that leaves me wondering just how much better this bowl of dinner would be if Sabrina liked to cook! Also, perhaps there’s a baking recipe submission in the future that she would like to share? In any case, I’m glad she shared this one, which gives a whole new meaning to the word “leftovers”!
Sabrina’s What’s-for-Dinner Farro Bowl
1 bag of
Melissa’s Organic Farro (6 oz.), cooked al dente (about 25 minutes)
2 TBS butter
3 cloves Melissa’s Fresh Peeled garlic
4 to 5 Melissa’s Baby Carrots, sliced at an angle with a mandolin
½ Melissa’s Italian Sweet Red Onion, sliced
1 bunch of Melissa’s Tuscan or Dino Kale
½ Melissa’s Seedless Lemon, juiced
Melissa’s Rainbow Peppercorn Spice Grinder
Shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
When Farro is about halfway cooked, heat a bit of olive oil and the butter in a large skillet, then add in the minced garlic. Cook a few minutes before adding the sliced carrots. Reduce heat to medium, cook carrots for a few minutes until softened and then mix in the sliced red onions and cook until almost translucent.
Add olive oil as needed. Reduce heat a little more and add the kale to the mix. Toss to ensure all veggies are cooked. Once veggies are cooked to desired doneness, turn off heat and add juice from half a lemon, a few pinches of salt, and a few twists of the rainbow peppercorn spice grinder and mix to coat evenly.
In another pan, cook eggs to desired doneness; sunny side up, over easy or over hard. While the eggs are cooking, start plating. First place a couple of heaping spoons of cooked Farro in a large soup bowl, then cover with the carrot and kale mixture almost to the brim of the bowl.
Plating: Place the eggs on top, add another pinch of salt and another twist of the spice grinder, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and service.