Dan and I adopted Mabel about three weeks ago and I have to say I haven’t given all that much thought to cooking. I’ve baked a few loaves of pumpkin bread, tested some recipes in the great new Jamie Oliver cookbook, made many cups of coffee and tea. We’ve eaten, and eaten well, but I’ve got my eye on that adorably scruffy face, not on what's on my plate.
All we can do is talk about this little dog. Was she good on her walk? How many pees? Did she eat her supper? All of it? How did she act around the dog walker? Did she sit on command, or did she dig in her little heels and refuse? Oh, having a dog is so wonderful. Especially after almost a year of (sometimes) desperate searching at (sometimes) sketchy New York City animal shelters.
When you get a dog, you feel very popular. People want to come by and meet it. Nice people, anyway. (Ahem.) But like I said, my mind hasn’t been oriented toward dinner parties. So when our friend Martha came over for dinner a few Sunday nights ago I went for old reliable: roasted chicken, the little black dress of dinner parties.
Like a black dress, you can accessorize a roasted bird in countless ways – a bread salad, some roasted or mashed vegetables, with pesto or harissa or gravy. I served mine with a fall-inspired farro salad that is equally tasty on its own. We happily ate the leftovers for lunch.
Fall farro salad
You can easily switch up the ingredients in this salad. Roasted beets, cauliflower, carrots and even crunchy diced apples would be nice.
(Serves 4 to 6 people)
12 oz. farro
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1 small butternut squash, peeled, sliced and cut into 1-inch cubes.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard (or rainbow chard), washed and sliced into 1-inch strips (leave the chard slightly damp)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cook the farro according to package directions (in salted, boiling water for about 20 minutes). While the farro is cooking, place the squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.
When the farro is tender but still slightly chewy, drain it into a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and cook the garlic until golden. Add the chard and saute, stirring often, until it is tender. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the parsley, mustard, red wine vinegar. Whisk in the 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the farro, squash, walnuts and chard. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve at room temperature.