Farro Salad with Cauliflower and Cranberries

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Last night I made Farro Salad with Cauliflower and Cranberries, which was an excellent choice for “Sex and the City Night”:


Logan is currently at a Widespread Panic festival in the Dominican Republic for the week.* So while he’s lying on the beach during the day and noodling with a bunch of hippies at night, I’m having a lot of “me time.” To be honest, I appreciate these few days to myself (as I’ve mentioned before, I’m the smartest, funniest person I know), and I have been enjoying the extra time alone to write, contemplate my life goals, and hit the clubs wearing a “My Boyfriend is Out of Town t-shirt.” Psych! I hate clubs.

Let’s be real. Hanging out alone is great, but hanging out with friends is better. So, last night I invited some of my favorite peeps over for a girls’ night, or as Logan calls it, “Sex and the City Night.” He’s never explained why he uses this terminology, but I’m pretty sure that he pictures us drinking Cosmopolitans, talking about sex, and potentially braiding each other’s hair. This is ridiculous. I don’t even like Cosmopolitans. Or non-professionals touching my hair. Come to think of it, the concept of “Sex and the City Night” is offensive. Girls don’t just get together to gossip about men and get drunk. For all he knows, we drink sparkling water and discuss foreign policy….

IM MESSING WITH YOU GUYS. That sounds terrible, and I’m not even moderately offended. In fact, I had a lovely time with my friends last night drinking wine and talking about sex. And eating. If you are going to have a proper Sex and the City Night, there better be some good food involved. And my best bitches were served an unbeatable combo of Farro Salad with Cauliflower and Cranberries and Pounded Chicken Breasts:


It was a pretty awesome meal, and needless to say, everyone loved it…

She’s a Samantha.

This farro salad is one of my personal favorites, and I recommend you add it to your repertoire immediately. Simple, flavorful, and well-balanced, it’s one of the rare salads that works year-round. As always, this salad is idiot-proof and very pretty to look at, which makes it the perfect recipe to whip up for guests or bring to a pot-luck when you feel like showing off. Unlike quinoa, which is everywhere, farro is still a relatively highbrow and illusive whole grain. People will be so impressed with your culinary creativity!

If you are a vegetarian or vegan (hello, unexpected friends!!), farro salad with cauliflower and cranberries is a great recipe for you, since it’s hearty enough to serve on its own. As a side dish, it pairs nicely with pretty much any meat or fish, but I’m partial to serving it with pounded chicken breasts, as I did last night. Pounded chicken breasts are the world’s easiest version of chicken paillard. All you need is a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and you’re good to go. If you think that this chicken sounds boring, I am personally insulted. (And you are wrong.) I would never give you a recipe that wasn’t praise-worthy. That would just be embarrassing for me. These chicken breasts are packed with flavor, and because they are thinly pounded, you don’t have to worry about drying them out.

Pounded chicken breasts are also delightfully versatile and an excellent staple to keep in your fridge. They are delicious on top of pretty much any salad or in a sandwich with some avocado and pepper jack cheese. Top them with tomato sauce and a little mozzarella and bake them for 15 minutes for a Dude Diet-friendly version of chicken parmesan. Chop up the chicken and use it in a quesadilla or add it to your favorite pasta. There are infinite possibilities.

I want everyone to try these recipes this week. If you need someone to share them with (or you would like to hang out), don’t hesitate to get in touch. With Logan out of town, I’ll be using our railroad apartment palace as Sex and the City Headquarters for the next three days.

*Typing that sentence made me want to cry.

Farro Salad with Cauliflower and Cranberries: (Serves 4)

1 cup uncooked farro
½ head cauliflower
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ cup dried cranberries or currants
2 tbsp cup chopped Italian parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
1 shallot, minced
1/8 tsp white pepper
¼ tsp salt
Pecorino romano (optional)


Preparing your farro salad:

-Place farro in a pot with 3 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and simmer 12-15 minutes until it is tender. Strain the faro and set aside to cool.


-Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. When hot, add the cauliflower. Sauté the cauliflower until it is tender and nicely browned. This should take about 25 minutes.


-In a small bowl combine the minced shallot, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to soften the shallots and allow the flavors to combine.


-In a large bowl, combine the farro, sautéed cauliflower, cranberries, parsley, and shallot mixture. Toss well. Sprinkle with pecorino romano if you like before serving.


*I like to refrigerate this for about 30 minutes before serving, but you can serve it immediately if you must.

Pounded Chicken Breasts: (Serves 4)

1 ½ lbs thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fresh Ground Pepper


Preparing your chicken:

-Place the thinly sliced chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pound the breasts until they are about 1/8 of an inch in thickness. (You can use a rolling pin, wine bottle, etc. to do this. This is fun and an excellent way to get out aggression. But reign it in people, you don’t want to get to crazy with the pounding or you’ll make holes in the chicken.)

Not so pretty, but I know you are all partial to visual aids.

-Rub the pounded chicken breasts with 1 tbsp olive oil and season boths sides of each breast liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper.

-Heat a grill pan over medium heat until hot. (Relax, you can use a regular pan if you don’t have a grill pan.) Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for approximately 1 minute on each side. Yes, they cook this quickly.


-Remove from the pan and serve hot, at room temperature, or cold. Foolproof and delicious!


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1 Comment

  1. C.Starr on January 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Definitely a Samantha.

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