Monday, April 1, 2013

Taco Farro

http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2013/04/taco-farro.html
When I was a kid, back when a spade was called a spade in the breakfast cereal realm, there was a cereal called Sugar Smacks.  A jumping frog would do a double 'low five' with kids and their outstretched hands would then be filled with a bowl of cereal.  I'm sure I ate it, though my favorite aptly named cereal was Sugar Pops.  When my family would go camping and get those individual serving cereal boxes [which have increased in size since then, I observe] I always schemed to get the Sugar Pops over the Sugar Smacks or the Sugar Frosted Flakes, though really any of them were a rare treat. 
This memory has nothing to do with tonight's dinner except for one thing:  cooked farro looks exactly like Sugar Smacks to me.  I'm tempted to coat it in a honey glaze, bake it like granola, and call it DIY Homemade Whole Grain Sugar Smacks.  But my kids did not get the we-want-to-eat-breakfast-cereal gene, so I'll leave that to someone else.  
Some time between my non Sugar Pops-filled childhood and present day, I saw a post about cooking with farro.  Recently I saw another one, and put farro on the Trader Joe's shopping list.  An hour after returning from the store with my lil blue bag of farro I saw this farro salad with sun dried tomato, spinach, and cashews.  Since I'd already thawed leftover taco meat for dinner, I decided to switch it up and make Taco Farro instead.

As I mentioned, I bought the little blue bag of precooked farro from Trader Joe's.  The Nutrition Facts state that it serves 3, and the bag is so small I had some concerns.  However, once cooked (10 to 12 minutes in a pot of beef broth for me, since this is not a vegetarian dish--that will come on Wednesday) the farro swelled to 5 cups of cooked grain which was way more than enough for the four of us.
[If I cared to, I'd insert my observation here about the increase in size of single serving cereal boxes, paired with the observation that 1 2/3 cups of cooked farro is a huge serving size.  Just sayin'.]

I learned of the technique (combining leftover taco meat with a cooked grain, and salsa, to make a repurposed leftover meal) from my friend Lee-Ann.  When I stretch a pound of ground meat with my CSA veggies and refried beans, the four of us eat about half the concoction the first night, so we always have leftovers.  Thanks to Lee-Ann we all look forward to this re-purposed dish--it's delicious.  I am making it here with farro, but you're welcome to substitute any kind of cooked rice, or branch out to quinoa, barley, amaranth, bulgur, or whatever floats your boat.

What I love about this dish is how easily customizable it is for each member of the family.  I cooked one skillet of food, and everyone got to fix their meal their way.  Here's a shot of each of our plates:
http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2013/04/taco-farro.html
Can you guess which are parent plates and which are kid plates?





















http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2013/04/taco-farro.html

http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2013/04/taco-farro.html

Taco Farro

2 1/2 cups leftover taco meat (how I make mine, here)
5 cups cooked farro
1 1/2 cups salsa of your choice

optional toppings:
shredded lettuce
red kidney beans
chopped red onion
chopped bell peppers
olives
shredded cheese
sour cream
lime or any flavor tortilla chips

In a large skillet (I used my 12 inch cast iron) preheat a turn of oil over medium heat.  Add leftover taco meat and heat, about 5 minutes.  Dump cooked cooled farro (or grain of your choice) on top. Add salsa.  Stir to combine thoroughly and heat through, another 5-8 minutes.  Serve with the toppings of your choice.  How easy is that?  Thanks, Lee-Ann!

This post has joined the Clever Chicks Blog Hop over at The Chicken Chick, What's Cookin' Wednesday at Buns In My Oven, the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up at Gastronomical Sovereignty, What's In The Box at In Her Chucks, Taste and Tell Thursdays, and the Farm Girl Blog Fest at Let This Mind Be In You.


Farm Fresh Feasts Behind The Scenes:  I toted the tray of ingredients out to the driveway for a sec to get some decent light on a gray day!  I'm happy for the arrival of Spring--makes chasing the light a bit easier.  Perhaps Spring is finally here to stay for a while?

http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2013/04/taco-farro.html

23 comments:

  1. I love that you took the ingredients outside for a picture! :)

    I've never tried farro, but this looks like a good way for me to get started with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beth,
      Trying to find decent light in my kitchen during dinner prep is the bane of my food blogging existence!
      Farro's kinda fun, I must say. I hope you try it!
      Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I love Farro. I have yet to try the quick cooking kind from TJ's but it sure sounds easy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alyssa,
      The TJ's farro could not be easier, though it sure makes an ample amount.
      Thanks!

      Delete
  3. okay Kirsten I am going to admit to having never had farro before. Okay so its a grain. What does it taste like. I need to know before I attempt to try it. Funny story about the sugar coated cereals and the tiny boxes that you could pour the milk right into it and eat right out of the box.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marlene,
      It tastes nutty, earthy . . . not with an overwhelming flavor, but more flavor than (to me) rice--the taco flavor sure came through in this dish.
      Let me know if you try it!

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the colors on this dish are beautiful. I love them, and it absolutely looks like Sugar Smacks, and now I'm nostalgic for the good old days of mini cereal boxes. Those sugary ones were special treats for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meghan,
      Gets me nostalgic as well, but Underwood Chicken Spread is my real nostalgic food.
      So you'll be blogging about the homemade DIY Sugar Smacks then? Excellent, thanks!

      Delete
  6. This looks so insanely delicious!!! Huge farro fan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz,
      It was insanely delicious, for each member of the family (which I really loved).

      Thanks!

      Delete
  7. This looks so interesting! I love taco salads with the taco spiced ground beef, and I grew up having my mom's version. It did not include farro, though. Such a neat idea you have! I've actually never tried farro, though I think I should. Giada has a recipe for a mac and cheese but with farro instead of macaroni, I'm wanting to try it. Thanks for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie,
      I'm crazy about trying to stretch meat, and this is just one more way. But it works, so what the heck?!
      Mac and cheese sounds intriguing, please let me know how that turns out.
      Thanks!

      Delete
  8. I have been seeing farro more and more often. I haven't tried it yet, but I will! It is basically an heirloom (really, ancient) variety of wheat. Love the pics of your family's plates. We do lots of meals that way at our house too! Love the idea of stretching taco meat with farro or another grain.

    I so relate to the Sugar Smacks/Pops story. Those little boxes were treats for us too. I always wondered why they included plain Rice Krispies and Raisin Bran with the "good" cereals. :) When I was a kid I told myself I would buy sugar cereals when I was an adult. Full-size ones too! Sadly, now that I am an adult, I gravitate toward plain oatmeal, Grape-Nuts with Raisin Bran for a treat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah,
      I can see a kid saying "full-size ones, too!" . . . that's awesome.
      I wish my kids got the cereal-eating gene, but they love their muffins. And bacon.
      Of course the blog would be boring if they did crave cereal . . .

      Thanks!

      Delete
  9. I wondered why your food was sitting in the driveway! I love farro and I've been using it quite often since discovering that Trader Joe's carries it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lydia,
      That TJs bag of farro seems so small to me, but wow does it make a ton of grain!
      Thanks!

      Delete
  10. HAHAHAHAHA - how much do i love that you piled everything up on a tray and took it outside??? XO!

    also, pinning so i can make this for dinna' lata'.

    thank you so much for sharing your post with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up! I hope to see you again this week with more seasonal & real food posts. xo, kristy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristy,
      I will do most anything to get decent photos for my readers! I'm just glad there's no snow anymore so my 'run outside and take a photo and run back inside' technique doesn't result in chilly toes.

      Delete
  11. What an awesome idea! I love farro and this is a great way to change up the flavors a bit.

    Thanks for sharing and linking up.

    PS: LOVE the behind the scenes shot. It was worth it for a bit of natural light :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather,
      I'm just starting with farro (and I'm gonna be thrilled when the spell checker gets going with it too) how do you like it best?
      I'm taking a 30 days to better food photography class this month, online, and after I complete an exercise I step back and take a behind the scenes shot so I (and you) know what I tried. They are up on the FFF FB page if you want to peek.
      Thanks for hosting!

      Delete