I know we're getting close to the move when there are just a few drops left of olive oil, enough butter for the remaining two slices of bread. Half used bags of pasta, grains and nuts are waiting anxiously to see what their fate will be over the next few days. We've done this so many times now that I've gotten really good at not wasting anything. My trips to the market are quick and light, since I can now count the meals I'll be preparing in Italy on one hand.
Emptying out my cupboards, I've haphazardly created a few favorites. For breakfast, we've been enjoying a porridge made of amaranth, quinoa, millet, oats and wheat germ. I soak the grains over night and cook them the next morning in plenty of water for about 25 minutes. Then I stir in butter, cinnamon and honey, sometimes a grated apple. Even little Roman likes it, which is a huge relief since it's so rich in fiber, protein and iron. Another breakfast of gladiators.
Today for lunch, I used up our farro, celery, carrot, raisins, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and our crema di balsamico, a concentrated form of balsamic vinegar. It's wonderful drizzled over a salad for a tangy, slightly sweet dressing. Farro is an ancient type of wheat and it's very popular in Italy. In fact, Italy is one of the few countries that still grows farro. It goes in soups, salads, becomes flour used to make breadsticks, breads, pasta, even cookies and cakes.
Eleventh Hour Farro Salad
If farro is not readily available in your area, try this salad with wheat berries or brown rice. I love the combination of crunchy celery and nuts and the sweet raisins. Makes a great lunch or side dish for grilled chicken.
2 cups farro
3 carrots, grated
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
crema di balsamico
Cook the farro according to package instructions. In a large bowl, combine carrots, celery, hazelnuts, raisins, pine nuts and cooked farro (still warm). Drizzle with the balsamic cream and olive oil, salt and pepper if you like.