Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Farro Breakfast Bowl

Farro Breakfast Bowl (3)

Farro is an ancient grain from Rome. Its delicious nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture remind me of a lot of barley. Up until recently, you couldn’t get your hands on it anywhere! Now, it’s readily available in your local grocery store.

I’m showing two pictures of my Farro Breakfast Bowls, one topped with an egg, and one without. Steve and I have a difference of opinion about eggs. I’m not even sure if “opinion” is even the right word. I’m no fan of the fried egg, to be fair, eggs are a big part of any breakfast and Steve loves them, that’s the reason for the two pictures.

Anyway, this is my Farro Breakfast Bowl, it’s easy to make while combining great flavor, color, and texture. Here’s how this dish comes together.

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Shoepeg Corn

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mint

Chives (2)

Sweet Basil (2)

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Farro-Breakfast-Bowl-3

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sautèpan, 1 (4-quart) saucepot with a tight-fitting lid.

Ingredients:
1 cup of uncooked Farro
3 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 pound of Italian chicken sausage, casings removed (substitute pork or turkey Italian sausage)
1 heaping cup of frozen white shoepeg corn, thawed
1 cup of diced red bell pepper, 1-inch dice
1 cup of diced yellow bell pepper, 1-inch dice
1 cup of diced onion, 1-inch diced
1/2 cup of carrots, 1-inch dice
1 tablespoon (3 cloves) of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Pistachios, roughly chopped (optional)
7 ounces of Feta cheese, cubed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese,  freshly grated
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh chives, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
1 fried egg (optional), cooked to the temperature of your choosing)

Directions For Farro:
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Feel free to use either water or unsalted chicken stock for cooking the Farro. In place of the butter, I substitute olive oil.

Tip: Cook the sausage and Farro at the same time.

Directions:
Start by rinsing and draining the Farro using a mesh sieve. In a 4-quart saucepot bring the chicken stock and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt up to a rolling boil. Add the Farro, stir to combine. Simmer the Farro as if you are cooking pasta. Once the Farro is al dente, 15 to 20 minutes, drain any remaining liquid through a mesh sieve.

Next, in a large sautè pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Using a wooden spoon start by breaking up the sausage. Turn and toss the sausage allowing it to brown on all sides or until the sausage is complete brown with no pink spots, around 10 minutes.

Add the onion, garlic, diced peppers and carrots to the pan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and continue cooking until vegetables become tender another 7 to 10 minutes.

Don’t worry about the sausage bits sticking to the bottom of the pan because once the vegetables are added, they’ll release their water allowing those bits to be released.

Using the back of a wooden spoon, scrape as much of those brown bits off the bottom of the pan, that’s all flavor!

Transfer the cooked Farro and shoepeg corn to a large mixing bowl. Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked sausage and vegetable mixture to the bowl. Next, add the pistachios (optional), Parmesan cheese, cubed feta, and fresh herbs, then toss together.

Ladle the Farro mixture into a serving bowl and top with a fried egg (optional).

Serve hot!

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Brown And Wild Rice Medley

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Taking help from your local grocery store is not something you should ever feel guilty about. For weeknight meals, I’ll use the grocery store as my sous chef.  I’m always taking advantage of, what I call, “short cuts”. There’s nothing better than adding a few great ingredients to quick-cooking rice to make it into something special. This is my Brown And Wild Rice Medley.

“Minute Rice” has come out with a brown and wild rice variety, in single-serving cups. Basically, the rice is ready to serve in sealed cups.

For this dish, I’m using a store-bought fresh Cantina-style salsa. I absolutely love this variety of salsa so it’s a staple in my house. This is a side dish that pairs great with chicken, pork, or fish.

Cilantro

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Stuffing (2)

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Cilantro

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, serving bowl, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 (4.4-ounce) cups of ready-to-serve Minute Rice, Brown and Wild Rice
1 15-ounce can of black beans, reduced sodium, drained and rinsed
1 11-ounce can of shoepeg white corn, drained and rinsed
1 plum tomato, seeded and finely diced
1/2 a green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 a white Spanish onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon of  Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh Cantina-style (restaurant-style) salsa (14-ounce container available in most produce departments of local grocery stores)
2 tablespoons of cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions:
Drain and rinse the black beans and shoepeg corn Seed and dice the plum tomato. Chop the cilantro.

Follow the directions for the rice. Pull (or cut) the film and remove it from the cup. Place the cup in the microwave and heat on high for 1 1/2 minutes (cooking time for 2 cups).

Important:  Remove the cups carefully, from the microwave, taking hold of the cup from the side using an oven mitt or potholder.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, the diced onions, green peppers, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Cook the vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the cooked ready-to-serve rice.

Next, add the drained and rinsed, black beans and shoepeg corn. Continue stirring allowing the vegetables to warm through for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salsa, stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat, add in the chopped cilantro.

Serve my Brown And Wild Rice Medley warm or at room temperature.

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Homemade Chili

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There are times when I crave a bowl of my Homemade Chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe, I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoepeg corn is small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding a moderate amount of black beans to chili.

Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are dried smoked Poblano peppers. They’re a mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili.

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Limes

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Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo Peppers (1)

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Shoepeg Corn

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Ground Sirloin

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili’s always better the second day well, that’s when I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little Homemade Chili, Pico de Gallo, Chunky-Style Guacamole, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven with a lid, 10-cup food processor, 3-quart saucepan, 2 small mixing bowls

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 ancho chiles, reconstituted and puréed (yields 1/2 cup of ancho purée)
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 (7-ounce) jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers, packed in adobo, seeded and minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large onion, diced
2 (28-ounce) cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 (10.5-ounce) can of beef consommé
2 cups of beef stock, unsalted
1 (15-ounce) can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) package of frozen shoepeg corn, thawed

Toppings:
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
guacamole
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

Directions:
Start by reconstituting the dried ancho chilies. Fill a 3-quart saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the peppers to the hot water and allow them to soften/reconstitute for 30 minutes.
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili.

In the meantime dice the green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, mince the garlic, and seed and mince a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers. Another ingredient is, I’ve puréed Piquillo peppers and puréed using a food processor then transfer the Piquillo puré to a bowl. I’ve drained and rinsed the black and kidney beans. Thawed the shoepeg white corn.

Next, remove the stems and seeds before adding them to the food processor. Add 1/2 cup (if needed add a 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency) of the cooking liquid to the processor. Pulse until peppers are puréed. After the ancho chilies have been processed, transfer to a bowl, and set aside. then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili, beef broth, beef consomme, and the San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices for the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a real depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper. I like to arrange all the spices on a large plate as seen above.

Using a heavy Dutch oven pot over medium heat, start with vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is combined with the spices, add the Chipotle pepper purée, again, stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, the meat for another 10 minutes, or until the meat is brown and cooked through.

Next, add all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, the tomato paste. Continue stirring all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon, start breaking them up. Add the beef consommé and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, allow everything to come up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn, simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some Chunky-Style Guacamole! There you have it my Homemade Chili.

Mexican-Style Corn On The Cob

Chunky-Style Guacamole

Pico De Gallo

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