birthday dinner: farro and a fresh spring salad

Birthdays are my favorite. They hold such joy and evoke beautiful things like gifts, love notes and good food. Growing up, our family always made our birthdays into large productions. We were conditioned at an early age to expect great things on our special day. Although I feel bad for those responsible for the birthday plans in my adult life (because it’s truly hard to live up to the expected hype) I would not trade those celebrations for anything. My mother however, has resigned to the quieter variations. I’m not sure if that’s due to the fact that it’s more fun for her to dote on us, or if it’s that she is trying to divert attention from her age. She doesn’t want all of her friends to find out that she has been 29 for the last 24 years. They’d be jealous.

This year, Mom’s request was a steak dinner with just the girls. We honored her request and hosted a small dinner, just the four of us, on my sister’s deck in the middle of the forest. It was wonderfully simple and I hope, the perfect way to show our love for her.

serves 6-8

This dish is one you should commit to memory. The method is simple, and allows for customization, as most things do. This particular preparation has a great bite, feels substantial and has a little kick to it.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup farro
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you’d like it spicier)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock, or enough to just cover
  • 2 cups torn curly kale
  • salt


  1. Heat the oil in a medium sized skillet until almost smoking. Sauté the onions with a little salt until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and stir in to combine. Pour in the farro and spread out evenly around the pan. Cook until the farro is toasted and turning a deeper shade of brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 more minutes.
  2. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the wine is evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice just until the farro is covered. Add the kale, pushing it into the mixture with a spoon to submerge it. Bring to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as desired.
  3. About these ads

    April 20, 2011. quick and easy, sides, vegetarian, Whole Wheat.


  1. Mom replied:

    My beautiful loving daughters and a wonderful dinner on the the deck with sound of rushing water….resigned?? How about nurturing,joyful,and full of laughter ( wow that glass door was CLEAN!)

    Love you!!!

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      Hahaha! Mom, that was so funny!! I’m glad you had fun!

      • laura replied:

        Yes that sliding glass door was super clean!! Bahahahah!! funniest thing I have ever seen!!!

  2. Sandi Hall replied:

    Sooooo …. I am suppose to be writing responses to some emails I have acquired over the last week ….. not only do I find myself nosing around your entire website …. I have just tied the bow to my apron and am on my way to do some unexpected cooking. I am going to do a test run with some wheat pasta since I don’t have farro … going to add it to my next Whole Foods shopping list! Pop, went the cork to my dry white wine …. might as well enjoy a glass while I am cooking!

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      Sandi! I’m so glad I am giving you a good distraction. I always think it’s best to cook with wine you’ll drink. I did the same thing! It makes cooking even more fun. :)

  3. healthyandlazy replied:

    Just found your blog – love this recipe!

    I’ve never tried cooking Farro, but it sounds both manageable and delicious! I’ll have to give it a shot soon.

    (Also, not to be nosy, but it sounds like mom may have walked into a sliding glass door)

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      You are absolutely right! Farro is manageable and Mom DID run into a sliding glass door! Funniest part of the evening!! :)

  4. veggiegrettie replied:

    This looks great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 197 other followers