Eating While Standing

warm grains with cabbage and ricotta
We’ve all done it. You get home from work and you’re basically ravenous. You can’t be bothered with setting an actual place for yourself. You grab a few nuts, pour a glass of wine, break out the leftovers, and go to town. Or if you’re me last night, it goes a little something like this: You spend the late afternoon making and photographing a beautiful dish of warm grains and cabbage and time’s ticking away. You’re meeting Katie, your old high school friend, for drinks so you rush out the door. You’re wearing a pretty, flowy scarf and feeling a little like you can take on the world as you’re strolling down Divisadero towards your favorite neighborhood bar. You catch up. You laugh. You cry a little. You envy the fact that your friend has a real job (yay, Katie!). You drink maybe one more than you should considering the fact that you haven’t eaten since 11 a.m. Then you get home, pull your hair up into a high bun, break out the boxer shorts, and to the fridge you go. You find yourself sitting in a dark, quiet kitchen lit only by the security light from the building next door–tipsy and grateful for such an amazingly nourishing salad.

So while I’d love to wax on about what a lovely side dish this is and how well it would compliment pork or add to any vegetarian spread, it’s just as good in your scivvies late on a Tuesday night. I guess that says a lot.

I was drawn to this recipe because it looked like a fairly perfect dish to me. While I’m no longer a vegetarian, I cook that way most of the time and I’m a big farro fan. Yep, I’ve been in farro’s corner for a long time now. So this warm salad combines colorful cabbage, crunchy walnuts, hearty grains of your choosing (could use barley, spelt, wheat berries, or short grained brown rice) and the delightfully crumbly and slightly salty ricotta salata. It’s got a lot going for it. And I’m pretty sure you’ll love it as much as I did, whether you’re a worn-in boxer shorts or a cocktail dress kind of gal.
Farro and CabbageI’ve adapted the recipe, opting to cook the grains in chicken stock instead of water to enhance the flavor. I also used more thyme and added minced garlic. See the chart below for the proper liquid/grain ratio and cooking time for your chosen grain. Food and Wine did split up the recipe into two parts, giving you directions for making the Thyme-Scented Grains and then separate directions for the warm salad itself. I’ll do the same for ease, but just know that the former is quite common sense so don’t be overwhelmed by the length of the directions. I think this dish would be fantastic with the addition of spinach or kale as well. That’s on my to-do list next time around.

Warm Grains with Cabbage and Ricotta Salata

Warm Grains with Cabbage and Ricotta Salata

  • Yield: 6
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hr 20 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 40 mins

I’ve adapted the recipe, opting to cook the grains in chicken stock instead of water to enhance the flavor. I also used more thyme and added minced garlic. You can use any grain for this salad and the cook time will obviously vary depending on your choice (See the  chart in the Directions, below, for the proper liquid/grain ratio and cooking time for your chosen grain). I think this dish would be fantastic with the addition of spinach or kale as well. That’s on my to-do list next time around.

Adapted from: Food and Wine

Ingredients

For the Grains:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups pearled barley, farro, short-grain brown rice, spelt or wheat berries (10 oz)
1 small onion, diced
4 thyme sprigs
Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or water, if you prefer): see chart for amounts
Kosher salt

For the Salad:

1 cup walnuts (4 ounces)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 pound red cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. chopped thyme
1/4 cup water
3 cups thyme-scented grains
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

Instructions

Cook the Grains: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the grains and cook over moderate heat, stirring until lightly toasted; the grains will turn slightly opaque just before browning. Add the onion and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about five minutes. Add the chicken broth and 1 tsp. of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Fluff the grains and discard the thyme sprigs. Season the grains with salt if necessary and serve (Makes: About 4 cups)

Prepare the Salad: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate or baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes until golden and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

In a large skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and cook. Stir occasionally until the cabbage is barely wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and water, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and the water has evaporated, 20 minutes. Stir in the the Thyme-Scented Grains, ricotta salata, and toasted walnuts. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Grain Cooking Chart: For 1 1/2 cups of your chosen grain, consult this chart for amount of liquid and time:
Barley, pearled/ 3 cups liquid / 25 minutes
Farro / 3 cups / 25 minutes
Short-grain brown rice / 2 3/4 cups / 35 minutes
Spelt / 4 cups / 1hr. 25 minutes
Wheat berries / 5 cups / 2 hours

Comments

  1. Lindsey

    This looks amazing. My fiance will indeed eat it standing up! LOL. Thanks for giving me another way to get whole grains in my diet!

  2. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    Lovely post Meghan! Sounds like a fun night out that you needed and thank goodness you had the nourishing salad to eat when you got home!! I would love to come home form a night out and find that waiting for me!

  3. Asha@FSK

    Haha... that's voicing I guess what we all do! :) except I probably pick up a slice of pizza on my way! the salad is so much a better idea..!

  4. A Canadian Foodie

    What a refreshing change from the same old same old... This is absolutely a meal in a bowl - or, as you say, a side (for my carnivorous husband). I am sad that you started your lamenting so early in the week... save that kind of suffering for the weekends!
    :)
    Valerie

  5. bianca

    late night tipsy eating is what I call friday and saturday. it's a measure of true meal, if you can eat it, in the dark, in your skivvies and have a fricken ball!

  6. El

    It looks like one of those dishes that would be good at anytime or place from late at night to packed in a picnic basket. Sounds like your settling in to your new place. The photos are beautiful.

  7. Alisa

    Yum! That really makes my mouth water! I want to make something like that!

  8. Manggy

    Oh boy. That hasn't happened to me exactly as you described - usually I just hit a place for take-away. However, if I cooked as deliciously and creatively as you, I think I totally would have done it your way.

  9. Quelle

    Made this tonight with pearled barley...now I can't wait for it to get cold and eat it out of the fridge. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  10. megang

    YAY, Quelle! Glad you enjoyed it! And Lindsey: I know that you will.

    Thanks, as always, for the sweet words Mardi, El, and Valerie.

    Asha and Mangy: don't get me wrong--some bad pizza always does the trick, too!

    And Bianca: you said it, sister.

  11. Denise | Chez Danisse

    This is the best post-drinking meal I've ever seen. Sure beats cold pizza. Excellent title!

  12. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Your photos are gorgeous! I love the purples with the neutral colors. Hey, if you are gonna do a late night munch fest this is the way to go. Nice job! I love red cabbage, nuts and whole grains.

  13. Katie

    Megan! Just catching up on your blog to discover that look! I'm famous!

    That was a good outing. And this recipe looks amazing. I will try it and odds are strong that I'll consume it in the late-night-standing fashion. Love your work on this site. See you soon.

Join the Discussion

Summer Desserts

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

Whole Grain Any-Fruit Crisp

On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing. 

Read More
Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

Thick and Creamy Cherry Almond Ice Cream

This past week we've had quite a heat wave in Seattle. I've been getting into the bakery early in the mornings so as to avoid the afternoon heat + hot oven combination, and it turns out the upstairs of our new house is quite a little hot box. I bought some aggressive blinds and a new fan and am hoping both will help cool things down a bit. The wool blanket is in the linen closet for the season, and Sam's been making iced tea like it's his job. Summer has arrived! A few nights ago, the thought of actually doing much real cooking seemed a bit overwhelming, so I figured it was time to dig out the ice cream maker and get to work. I'd wanted to do something with the beautiful strawberries we have in the markets right now, but it seems every time I get a little pint it's gone before I have the chance. They are just so incredibly sweet, and it seems a shame to do anything other than eat them right out of the container, preferably while sitting on the Moroccan picnic blanket you brought back from honeymoon on the lawn in your new backyard trying not to stress out about the incredible, insurmountable number of weeds. So. Many. Weeds. But cherries: somehow the bag of cherries made it safely through the weekend, so I set about to find a great cherry ice cream recipe. 

Read More
No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

No-Fuss Hot Fudge Sauce

When you have an eight month old baby, making social plans can be hard. Especially in the evenings. When I was pregnant, I read Bringing up Bebe and one of the big premises of the book is how the French feel strongly that babies and children can fit into your lives and that you shouldn't have to change and alter everything to accommodate them. I remember reading the book and thinking: YES! Life will be just as it was, except we'll have a small baby in tow. Obviously a few things would likely be different, but I didn't want to change our routines, change the way we cooked or approached time off together, or see our friends any less. Well of course I'm the fool. Or at the very least, I'm not as French as I thought I was. Today, we very much schedule things around Oliver's nap schedule and bedtime, but thankfully we have a lot of other friends with kids who get it. Friends who make homemade cookies, own ice cream businesses, and have really great taste in music. Friends who host the kind of occasion that warrants homemade hot fudge sauce and eating dessert first.

Read More
Dating Yourself

Dating Yourself

We're back! After a restful few days in Lake George, I ended up flying home while Sam spent a little time with his family in New Jersey and a few days in New York City by himself before taking the train all the way back to Seattle (a solid four day journey). If you know Sam, this isn't surprising; he loves trains. When he's gone, I quickly revert back to my single gal days of eating veggie quesadillas for dinner (over and over) and staying up working later than I'd like. We would talk on the phone often as Sam would narrate his very full days in New York City and the stops and layovers he had while on the train. After a few days of me lamenting the fact that I wasn't there to experience it all with him, he encouraged me to ditch the quesadillas and do something special for dinner. See a movie. Go to the museum for just an hour. In short: I needed to get better at dating myself.

Read More
Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

Sara’s Peach Derby Ice Cream

I received The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon cookbook in the mail not long before we moved to our new house, and I remember lying in bed and bookmarking pages I was excited to try but also feeling overwhelmed with where to start: the truth is that this summer has been a relatively low-inspiration / low energy time in the kitchen for me. I'd been chalking it up to pregnancy but when I think back and if I'm honest with myself, my cooking style tends to be very easy and produce-driven during these warmer months. I rarely break out complicated recipes, instead relying on fresh tomatoes and corn or zucchini and homemade pesto to guide me. But last night I cracked open Sara's book and pulled out a few peaches I've had sitting on the counter, fearing their season may be nearing its end. This morning as I was making coffee, I sliced up the peaches, toasted the pecans and churned away -- having a bite (or maybe two) before getting it into the freezer to firm up. 

Read More