In Motion


I’ve learned something about myself this week: I’m a neurotic packer. I don’t think this is a new trait, I think I’ve just now come to realize it. I’ve been putting off the huge task of packing up this apartment but the time has come to get down to business. I started by packing things that I wouldn’t really notice were gone: ski stuff, summer clothes, cookbooks I know I won’t use over the next two weeks. Then I take those boxes and put them in the back of the closet so I don’t have to look at them–this way, everything continues to look in perfect order. Just so.


Well guess what? You can only put so many boxes in the closet and things can only look in relative order for so long. Eventually you have to actually pack all of your books and the contents of the kitchen cupboards. You have to pack your favorite coffee mugs, rain boots, desk files and linens. So I’ve officially taken the dive into disorderly-chaotic-packing mode. Now I’m tripping over boxes and newspapers. Two boxes have become a brand new coffee table, one a handy foot rest under the kitchen table. I’m embracing it. It’s all in motion now.

And as part of that, I’m trying to clean out my pantry so we’re not loading jars of grains and beans and dried fruit into the U-Haul next weekend. And that’s how this hearty, warm cereal came to be. It’s only slightly sweet and combines farro, coconut milk, and a little honey–all topped with almonds, dried cherries and coconut flakes.

With all of the packing and goodbyes, I can’t imagine that this next week will be filled with much notable cooking or baking but I’ll be sure to check in with, at the very least, a photo or two. In the meantime, if you have any packing advice or recipes you love that will use up pantry goods in a flash, I’m all ears. Happy almost weekend to you.

Warm Farro Salad with Coconut, Almonds and Cherries

Warm Farro Salad with Coconut, Almonds and Cherries

  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 40 mins

The nice thing about this recipe is its versatility: you can use any fruits and nuts you like or have on hand, really. I also prefer my morning cereals without much sweetness, so feel free to add a bit more honey if you prefer. As breakfasts go, this cereal is on the richer side as the farro is actually cooked in coconut milk. If you’d prefer a lighter version, you can  use all water–you’ll still have some of the coconut flavor from the toasted flakes on top.

Ingredients

1/2 cup farro
1 cup water
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1 tablespoon honey
pinch salt
1/4 cup dried cherries

Instructions

Soak cherries in warm water for five minutes to soften them. Drain and discard water.

Bring the water, coconut milk and salt to a simmer and whisk in the farro. Return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer  for 35 to 40 minutes, or until farro has absorbed most of the moisture.

While hot cereal is cooking, preheat oven to 325 F. Toast almond slices and coconut chips for 5 minutes or until fragrant and golden.

Once the farro is cooked, add honey. Portion into two small bowls and top with toasted coconut, almonds and dried cherries.  If you’d like top with a drizzle of honey.  Serve immediately.

Comments

  1. sara

    I have something almost exactly the same but with pom seeds instead of dried fruit in the cookbook, love it :) The drawback of having a project like this in process forever, is that I swear to you a very close version of every recipe, since written, has shown up in a blog or magazine. Old news now! All to say, I think coconut milk is so good on morning grains, really makes it rich tasting. Good luck to you and the move, possibly my least favorite process ever. But oh the joy of a new house with someone you adore? nothing sweeter.

    1. megang

      Sara: Isn't that always the way?! I remember a weird spree where Deb from Smitten Kitchen was posting what I'd planned on posting the day before I was planning to quite a few times in a row... great minds I guess, yes? I am so, so excited to catch a glimpse of that book of yours. You and Heidi both fall in the same camp for me: you just cook the way I cook (most of the time ... with the exception of tarts and ice cream, of course) and I so look forward to adding your book to my weekly rotation of inspiration. Happy weekend, my friend.

  2. Janet

    No goodbyes!! Only "see ya in Seattle's!"

    Packing sucks. Wait, I have a solution: don't move!

    I kid, I kid (kind of). It will all come together, as it sounds like it's starting to. This sounds way delicious. Feel free to make it for me when I come visit. ;)

  3. Amy

    Ah this looks perfect, exactly exactly my favorite flavors and textures when it comes to breakfast time. I will be trying it out soon. In the meantime... good luck with this final stretch home before (wondeful!) seattle!

  4. tea_austen

    Oh, the pain of packing—but you have such good things waiting for you at the other end!

    xox

  5. Danielle

    You're going to need many more bowls of this to sustain you through the marathon of packing, but it will be all worth it in the end :) See you soon xo

  6. Christa

    My goodness, that looks delicious!

  7. betty

    packing is a huge pain but I find it quite relaxing, anyways this looks delicious and I never thought about using farro with these ingredients

    1. megang

      Thank you, Amanda! Have a wonderful weekend!

    2. megang

      Amanda: Thank you so much. Always nice to see your comments and encouragement. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. ~m

  8. tracy

    oh man...that coconut milk drippage....seductive!

    i'm such a crazy packer. i want everything to fit perfectly into each box and i take my sweet ass time. when i'm wrapping up all my kitchen stuff i love to look at everything and inspect it...and admire my collection.

    then it's so much fun unpacking a kitchen...only for the fact that it's like you open up little gifts of your favorite items.

    see you soon!

  9. Sara Mendez

    This looks so good! I really want to make this!

  10. Lauren

    Farro + Coconut milk= AMAZING- Full PROOF morning satisfaction! Can I even get crazy and put coconut butter on top!!!??? I think I might :)

    1. megang

      Hi Lauren! Of course you can -- did you know Trader Joe's sells coconut oil now? My best discovery this week! Enjoy.

  11. Stacy

    That looks like a perfect and utterly soothing breakfast for a time of motion and change! Best of luck with the transition.

  12. Jill

    I'm a post late on this, but congratulations on your move! Reading stuff like this makes me a little fidgety, as I've been in the same apt for 8 years and the same job for 12. But there's something to be said for finding a spot that keeps you pretty happy for that long, too, I suppose.

    This recipe you posted here looks delicious, as always. Congrats again!

    1. megang

      Jill: Thank you! I envy you for being in the same apt for 8 years and the same job for 12! I feel fidgety b/c I can't seem to do either, so I suppose the grass is always greener, yes?

  13. Chez Us

    I am crazy with packing as well. I like each box organized and labeled so I know exactly what is in it - just incase I decide I need something during the craziness. I do love - purging while packing. It is liberating to finally get rid of things that I know I won't use in the new place, especially if I haven't even thought of them in the past.

    Cannot wait to see the new house - and to enjoy a bowl of morning bliss.

    1. megang

      @Chez Us: I cannot wait for you to see it, too. Have I mentioned we have a guest room??? xox, and see you soooooon

  14. Kimberly

    This looks divine, and I am so excited about your move - as I have done the same thing (moving from Vancouver BC to Seattle 12 years ago) and know the joy of melding two lives into one.
    Best of luck in the next few busy weeks,
    K.

  15. nicole

    made this last night and ended up having it for dessert. It was great. I used dates, coconut, crystallized ginger and toasted pecans. I would probably use a little less coconut milk as I found it a bit sweet, but everyone else thought it was perfect. Didn't use the honey.

  16. LindySez

    I found this recipe looking for some new ideas for using Farro and I really think this sounds like it would be great for dessert or for breakfast. That said, wondered why you threw away the cherry soaking water rather than use it as a part of the cooking water? Anyway, moving is my nightmare so I do hope yours went smoothly.

    Cheers

  17. Kate

    Sounds delicious. Could you make this the night before and refrigerate, or would it be too mushy the next day?

    1. megang

      Hi, Kate-
      Oh absolutely you can do this in advance. You may need a little extra liquid when you're reheating to loosen it up, but it's delicious the next day. Enjoy! ~Megan

Join the Discussion

Leave a Reply to Christa Cancel reply

Winter Comfort Food

Winter Morning Porridge

Winter Morning Porridge

I intended on baking holiday cookies to share with you today, but when I sat down to brainstorm all I could think about, truly, was the morning porridge I've been making and how that's really what I wanted to send you away with. The holiday season always seems to zoom on by at its own clip with little regard for how most of us wish it would just slow down, and this year feels like no exception. We got our tree last week and I've been making a point to sit in the living room and admire the twinkle as much as possible. I have lofty goals of snowflakes and gingerbread men and stringing cranberries and popcorn, but I'm also trying to get comfortable with the fact that everything may not get done, and that sitting amongst the twinkle is really the most important. That and a warm breakfast before the day spins into gear. This multi-grain porridge has proved to be a saving grace on busy weekday mornings, and it reheats beautifully so I've been making a big pot and bringing it to work with some extra chopped almonds and fresh pomegranate seeds. While cookies are certainly on the horizon, I think I'll have this recipe to thank for getting us through the busy days ahead. 

Read More
Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine).  Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).

Read More
Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard

If I asked you about what you like to cook at home when the week gets busy, I'm willing to bet it might be something simple. While there are countless websites and blogs and innumerable resources to find any kind of recipe we may crave, it's often the simple, repetitive dishes that we've either grown up with or come to love that call to us when cooking (or life in general) seems overwhelming or when we're feeling depleted. While my go-to is typically breakfast burritos or whole grain bowls, this Curried Cauliflower Couscous with Chickpeas and Chard would make one very fine, very doable house meal on rotation. The adaptations are endless, and its made from largely pantry ingredients. I never thought I'd hop on the cauliflower "rice" bandwagon, but I have to say after making it a few times, I get the hype. 

Read More
Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.

Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.

Read More
Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Tart with a Cornmeal Millet Crust

Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Tart with a Cornmeal Millet Crust

It's been a uniformly gray and rainy week in Seattle, and I'd planned on making a big pot of salmon chowder to have for the weekend, but then the new issue of Bon Appetit landed on my doorstep with that inviting "Pies for Dinner" cover, and I started to think about how long it's been since I made my very favorite recipe from my cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings. I'm often asked at book events which recipe I love most, and it's a tough one to answer because I have favorites for different moods or occasions, but I'd say that this savory tart is right up there. The cornmeal millet crust is one of my party tricks; when we need a quick brunch recipe, this is what I pull out of my back pocket because it's so simple and delicious. This is a no-roll, no fuss crust with a slightly sandy, crumbly texture thanks to the cornmeal, and a delightful crunch from the millet. In the past, I've used the crust and custard recipe as the base for any number of fillings: on The Kitchn last year, I did a version with greens and gruyere, and I teach cooking classes that often include a version heavy on local mushrooms and shallot. So if you are not keen on salmon or have some vegetables you're looking to use up this week, feel free to fold in whatever is inspiring you right now. Sometimes at this point in winter that can be hard, so hopefully this recipe may help a little. 

Read More