Search Results for: farro

Broiled Salmon with Mushrooms and Farro – Inspired by Lyfe Chef Art Smith

Broiled salmon with mushrooms and Farro TBTAM

One of the highlights of my visit to the Medicine X Conference in Palo Alto in September, in addition to my poster presentation and meeting all the amazing e-patients, docs and tech gurus there, was dinner at Lyfe Kitchen.

Founded by former McDonalds CEO Mike Roberts, Lyfe (which stands for Love Your Food Everyday) is the first of a growing chain of healthy, pretty fast food franchises that “put sustainability, our planet and our employees first”.

As soon as I entered Lyfe, I was hooked.

There was a gorgeous live herb garden forming the centerpiece of the place and lending a deliciously fresh scent to the room.

Lyfe herb garden

The food itself was healthy and varied, with plenty of veggie, vegan, low fat and gluten free options on the menu created by Chef Art Smith, who you may know as Oprahs personal chef.  Smith, who himself lost over 100 pounds after being diagnosed with diabetes, has kept dishes under 600 cals, low in saturated fat and sodium, and high in fiber and protein.

Service was faster than a traditional sit down restaurant – diners line up at the counter and place their orders, then sit down with a pager that alerts the servers where they are and when their food is ready. Prices were moderate,  but not cheap, which is to be expected if local food sources are being used and employees treated like human beings.

On to the food – The edamame hummus was delicious. (I have the recipe and will post it soon)

Lyfe edamame dip

as were the flatbread

Lfye pizza

the grilled fish

Lyfe salmon

the veggie burger and the sweet potato fries.

Lyfe burger

Smith’s cookbook Healthy Comfort was on sale at Lyfe, so I picked up a copy for inspiration and dinner ideas.

I’m excited to see healthy food making it closer to the masses and look forward to the day when Lyfe makes it to NYC. If they do, they’ll find some real competition here in the Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidian, an even faster growing chain that serves delicious, organic and healthy food.

(Recipe after the jump) Continue Reading

Blackened Shrimp with Citrus and Roasted Fennel

It’s been quite a long hiatus from blogging, and I for one am glad it’s over.

Nothing special made me stop blogging, just the overwhelming business of life and work. It’s a good life, but one that for the past year or two has lost the balance between work and private life that I seem to have achieved when I was blogging more frequently.

At any rate, things in general have settled down a bit and I find myself actually having free time again to write. And so the blog is back!

What’s new, you ask?

Well, I am about 30 pounds thinner, that’s one big thing.  Nothing magic or amazing, just a food delivery diet that let someone else do the work for me. I still have at least another 40 pounds to go, but decided to see if I could take myself there without the crutch of a delivery diet. And so, I’m on a mission to find a stable of light and healthy but delicious meals that I can begin to incorporate into our life and my diet. It’s only week two of this new on-my-own diet and I am pleased to tell you I have found one amazing dinner that I know I’ll be making over and over again.

Try it, and I predict you will be too.

Blackened Shrimp with Citrus and Roasted Fennel

This recipe is a modification from a recipe found in Cooking Light, a magazine I highly recommend for anyone, not just dieters, who is looking for great recipes. The recipe written here is with my modifications, mostly made to accommodate my larder, which did not at the time include fresh herbs or more than one shallot. I also made my own rice/grain mix. (The original recipe called for a box mix.).

Next time I will add an additional fennel bulb – found myself wanting more! You could also add a few more shrimp when serving 4, as this only gives about 7 per person. Farro would make a nice alternative to rice.


  • 2 oranges
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs with stalks (about 7 oz. each)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large shallot, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into quarters

For Shrimp:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on

For Rice-Grain mix

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used a red/white quinoa blend)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Reserved orange rind


Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

Grate one orange to equal 1 teaspoon rind; reserve for use in the rice/quinoa mix. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Remove stalks from fennel; chop fronds to equal 2 tablespoons and reserve for garnish. (Save the stalks for future use in a salad, broth, meat braise or fish dish.) Cut fennel bulbs into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Combine orange slices, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, shallots, garlic, onion and fennel wedges on a rimmed baking sheet, spreading them out in a single layer to cook. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes or until fennel is tender and lightly charred.

While veggies are cooking, make the rice/quinoa mix.

Cook the rice: Rinse rice well under cold running water; drain. Boil 3/4 cup water in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a small pot till shimmering. Add rice and salt, stirring well while sauteing over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, till slightly toasted. Add the boiling water, cover and simmer over a low heat until done.

Cook the quinoa: Rinse quinoa well under cold running water. Add to saucepan with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until done.

While rice and quinoa are cooking, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, thyme, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper in a small bowl. Toss with shrimp, being sure it is evenly coated with the spice mixture. Hold in the fridge if veggies and rice mix are not yet done. (You’ll be cooking up the shrimp at the last minute before serving.)

Toss cooked rice and cooked Quinoa in serving bowl with the reserved orange rind. Cover to keep warm while shrimp cooks.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes, tossing frequently, or until done. Arrange fennel orange mix on serving platter. Top with shrimp and garnish with fennel fronds.

Serves 4. Shrimp/fennel/orange mix has 141 cals per serving. Adding 1/2 cup cooked rice/quinoa brings it to 428 cals per serving.

Einkorn No Knead Artisan Bread (and a primer on ancient wheat)

All wheat is not the same.

What we now call wheat is actually the product of hybridization and cross breeding of wheat species to increase crop yields, ease harvesting, decrease costs and scale up production. As a result, where there were once just 5 or so species of wheat, there are now literally thousands, which genetically, may be virtually unrecognizable to ancient grains from which they are descended.

Allow me to introduce these so-called ancient grains to you now:

  1. Einkorn Wheat (14 chromosomes / Diploid): The first known wheat ever cultivated by humans (circa 3300 BC in Europe) is Einkorn Wheat, which has just 14 chromosomes (diploid) and has a hull. Einkorn has great flavor, and has higher lipid, protein, vit E, lutein and carotenoids that modern bread wheat, and may be better tolerated by those with gluten sensitivities. (But not Celiacs, who should avoid all wheat, ancient or otherwise).
  2. Emmer and Duram Wheat (28 chromosomes / Tetrapoloid): About 10,000 years ago, Emmer Wheat appeared in the Middle East, as a product of natural cross breeding of Einkorn with wild goat grass (Aegelops speltoides). Emmer is a hulled wheat, has a lower glycemic index and is higher in protein and anti-oxidents than typical bread wheat. Some varieties may be lower in minerals than bread flour. Durum wheat is a domesticated form of emmer used for pasta and is a naked wheat (no hull).
  3. Ancient Bread Wheat and Spelt (42 Chromosomes / Hexaploid): Sometime before biblical times, it is thought that Emmer bred naturally with a durum wheat grass called Aegrolops squarosa to yield Triticium aestivum, a higher yield and better baking species that we call “bread wheat”. It is a naked wheat (no hull). Spelt is another hexaploid species that probably formed a little later than bread wheat, and has a hull.  Spelt has similar gluten, and is higher in protein, lipids, and unsaturated fatty acids and minerals when compared to bread flour. It is lower in fiber than bread wheat, and I am told that it does not make as good a bread.

The hexaploid bread flour species are genetically pliable, having 42 chromosomes with thousands of genes available for natural selection and breeding by man. Still, by the mid 18th century, only 5 species of bread flour were being grown in Europe, and until the mid-20th century, most bread flour was pretty similar.

But beginning in the latter part of the 20th century, aggressive modern breeding practices began that created literally thousands of different varieties of hexaploid bread and durum wheat. Much of the breeding was done to improve crop yields and battle environmental scourges such as drought and pests. Some have made wheat easier to process, but dependent on man-made assistance from pesticides and irrigation. Still other breeding may have been done to improve the nutritional content of wheat. But virtually none of the new wheat varieties was ever tested in humans before introduction into the food supply.

While we know how these species perform on the farm and in the wild, what we don’t necessarily know is how they may affect the humans who ingest them. The question now being asked by many is this – In selecting for things like crop yield, harvest ease and bakeability, have we created wheat species with genetic and nutritional profiles that are unfriendly to our bodies? We are not just talking gluten sensitivity here. We are talking glycemic index, fat and protein content, vitamin and mineral profile. Not to mention the effects of the additives food manufacturers add to baked goods to improve shelf life, taste and other qualities that will increase their appeal to consumers.  Many of us are asking if the symptoms we experience such as bloating, weight gain, skin rashes, headaches, allergies, joint pains – in the absence of identifiable disease – may in fact be the result of sensitivities to the proteins found in modern wheat.

Not everyone is waiting for answers. Instead, they are turning back to the ancient grains nature created before modern man got his mitts into Triticum’s genetic pool. American farmers are belatedly joining their Eupropean counterparts in growing Einkorn, Emmer and Spelt, as the demand from consumers for these grains begins to rise. Some of us are enjoying using Farro – the wheat berries of Einkorn, Spelt and Emmer – in salads and side dishes. Others are using the flours of these wheat species to make their own breads and pastas. The anecdotal evidence seems mixed on whether or not there are really any health benefits to using ancient wheats. We know they cannot be used by those with true gluten allergy.

My interest in the ancient grains comes from reading Wheat Belly, cardiologist William Davis’s program for eliminating wheat from the diet to lose weight. I’m still reading it, and have not tried his program – if I do, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, like many, I see no reason not to try these ancient grains. Farro for sure has already won me over.

This recipe is my attempt at seeing what kind of no-knead bread I can coax from Einkorn flour.



Readers of this blog know well my enthusiasm for Jim Lahey’s No knead bread making techniques, made famous by Mark Bittman of the NY Times. (If you don’t, stop right now and go to my previous posts about this technique, and learn it first before trying this recipe.) For this Einkorn bread loaf, I used a recipe from Jovial Foods, makers and distributor of Einkorn Flour.

It was an interesting experience. Einkorn flour has an almost baby powder-like silkiness and consistency, and is clearly a more moist and fatty flour than standard issue modern bread flour. One needs to use 5 cups of flour to get a similar size loaf to Lahey’s, and this flour ain’t cheap. The dough is much stickier and harder to work with, so make sure your board is well floured and use a dough scraper rather than your hands when forming the bread round.

The Jovial bakers do not use Lahey’s cloth technique (probably because the dough is so wet), or let the dough rise a second time before baking. I did both, and next time will avoid since it really was a mess, and the Jovial chefs state it is not necessary.

The results?

First and foremost, there is no such thing as a not delicious home made bread, and this was no exception. The bread is flavorful, moist and dense with a hard crust, and it is just lovely toasted.

But I have to say that it disappoints when compared to the incredible results I get with Lahey’s technique using regular flour. The crumb structure is more cake than bread-like, and I miss the big air pockets and incredible crunch that regular bread flour gives.

I’m going to give it one more try, avoiding the second rise and cutting back a bit on water (which I admit I upped a bit to get the dough to look more like Lahey’s.) The recipe below is exactly as I will make it next.



  • 5 cups (600 g) of Jovial Einkorn Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 g) dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt
  • 1¾ cups (410 g) of warm water


  1. Whisk flour, salt and yeast together in a large mixing bowl (Do not use a glass bowl, as the dough will darken if exposed to light).
  2. Add water and combine using a wooden spoon or spatula (dough will be wet).
  3. When the flour is incorporated, push down sides of dough and flatten the top.
  4. Cover the bowl with a large plate and let rise for 12-14 hours.
  5. In the last half hour of the rise, preheat a covered ceramic or cast iron Ditch Oven in the oven to 500°F.
  6. Turn out the dough on a heavily floured work surface. Using a dough scraper, fold the dough ala’ Lahey (See video here), nudging and tucking the dough into around shape.
  7. Plop the dough right into the pot, cover, lower the heat to 450 degrees fahrenheit and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes to darken the crust.
  8. Lift the loaf out of the dish and place on a cooling rack.
  9. Let cool for at least one hour before slicing.
More Einkorn Links

Seared Scallops with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Seared Scallops in Mushroom Cream Sauce

An elegant and actually quite easy preparation from Emeril Legasse. The sauce has cream, but lemon used in the scallops lightens the flavor considerably.  (Half and Half would probably work just as well as the cream if you want to lighten it calorie wise as well.)

Mr TBTAM prepared this last week – it was so good,we used the leftover sauce, seared a few more scallops the following night and had it again.  The sauce can be made a bit ahead, making it an easy dish to serve company.

We had it with Farro and brussels sprouts. Made for a real pretty plate.  Recipe here.

Shallots, Farro and Brussels Sprouts