Farro with Roasted Vegetables

This versatile vegetarian dish serves equally well as a main course or a hearty accompaniment. Substitute whatever produce you have on hand — zucchini, eggplant, cherry tomatoes and peppers in the summer or carrots, parsnips, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower and winter squash in colder months. Whatever vegetables you choose, the flavor is sure to be deep, complex and oh so good. Roasting takes any ordinary veggie and intensifies the flavors, delivering taste that’s utter magic.

Farro is an ancient wheat grain from Italy. It has a chewy, soft texture and nutty flavor when cooked. It’s worth seeking out — you’ll find it at Whole Foods and other quality markets.

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Raw Broccoli Salad with Leafy Greens, Oranges and Nuts

This versatile salad features winter broccoli and oranges. The rest is up to you. Add in tender or crunchy lettuces or other leaves like spinach, peppery arugula or vibrant red cabbage (pictured above). Roughly chopped herbs are wonderful in this mix — mint, cilantro, dill, parsley. Try some feathery fennel fronds (or shaved bulb). If you can get your hands on a few edible flowers like calendula or broccoli add them at the very last minute before serving. This salad is crunchy, bold and slightly sweet — a colorful mound of pleasure for the eyes as well as the palate.

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Broccoli Pesto Crostini

What to do when you have a hankering for nutty, garlicky pesto, but summer’s over and fresh basil’s gone until spring? Substitute something in seasonal abundance: broccoli for instance. Try folding the bright tasting spread into cooked pasta, stir into steaming Minestrone soup or smear on toasted artisan bread with walnuts and chopped kalamata olives sprinkled on top for a fabulous fall crostini. Maybe we can survive until basil season after all.

(Makes about 2 cups)


  • 3 cups, broccoli pieces (cut into small size)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (plus more for garnish)
  • 7 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 7 plus Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Chopped kalamata olives (for garnish)
  • Crusty bread toasted


  1. Place nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast until covered in golden brown spots — turning several times during cooking to prevent burning. Remove from pan to cool, and roughly chop.
  2. Boil water in a medium sized pan. Add broccoli pieces and cook until bright green — about 20 seconds only. Drain and place in an ice-water bath to halt cooking.
  3. Place cooked broccoli, 1/2 cup nuts, cheese, garlic, lemon juice and salt into a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Slowly add 7 tablespoons of olive oil through feed tube while processor is running on low speed. Add more olive oil as needed so pesto is moist. Up to 2 Tablespoons more.
  4. Spread on toasted bread and top with toasted walnuts and chopped kalamata olives.

Chinese Style Stir-fried Vegetables

(Serves 4-6)

This dish is my version of vegetable stir-fry and doesn’t really come close to the delicious dish pictured above, served up in the authentic way by my friend, Ewen – but it’ll do nicely for a start.

My  melange allows wide latitude for substitution – feel free to use vegetables you have on hand, such as bell pepper, summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas of all kinds, cabbage, bok choy and other greens.  Be sure to stir-fry each type of veggie separately – as they cook at different rates.


  • 2 or more Tbsp peanut or canola oil
  • ½ package firm tofu, drained and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup broccoli stems and floret pieces
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 6 scallions or green onion, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 large handful spinach, rinsed and stemmed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ to 1 Tbsp minced ginger root (to taste)
  • 2 cups warm vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp dry Chinese wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp sugar or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil


  1. Mix last 5 ingredients together (stock-sesame oil).  Set aside – keeping slightly warm.
  2. If desired, pan-fry the tofu cubes very gently in a bit of oil in a hot wok.  Turn to fry on all sides until golden.  Remove from wok and drain on paper towel.  Set aside.
  3. Reheat wok and add a bit of oil.  Stir-fry carrots, mushrooms and broccoli, separately, one type of vegetable at a time (to ensure even cooking).  Remove from pan, set aside in a large bowl, then cook the next.
  4. Add more oil to the wok, then quickly stir-fry green onions, garlic and ginger root together.  Quickly add the reserved cooked vegetables, bean sprouts, tofu (pan-fried or un-cooked) and spinach.  Stir-fry until spinach is just wilted.
  5. Pour the reserved liquid over the vegetables and toss lightly.  Serve over pan-fried noodles.