Farro pilaf with pan-fried butterbeans

Farro pilaf and fried butterbeans

Farro pilaf and fried butterbeans

Here at The Ordinary, we’ve uncovered the secret inner-workings of society as we know it, and we’re prepared to share that discovery with you. Points. That’s right, points. We’ll get straight to the point, with a pointed argument, and if you find yourself adrift in the vagaries of the conversation and unsure of your point of sail, pick up a handy pocket map at the point of sale to guide you back to the point of no return. Which is where we are, and this is how it goes. Everybody is allotted a certain number of points to start out with, according to no criteria whatsoever. If this seems arbitrary, that’s because, in point of fact, it is. At this point I should point out that if you happen to be somebody that starts out with an obscene number of points, nothing that follows really applies to you. You can carry on as you like without penalty. Everybody else, however, starts with a certain number of points, which will be depleted or augmented according to various rules of behavior, pretty much from the first. Points well be taken away for sloppy handwriting, for tardiness, and for poor spelling. Points will be taken away for daydreaming or over-enthusiasm. We’re glad you know the answer, but you called it out of turn. Points will be subtracted. We’re pleased that you got the right solution, but you didn’t show your work. Points will be subtracted. You got the right answer and showed your work, but it was the wrong work. Points will be subtracted. Points will be taken away for creativity, unless you’ve invented some way that humans can stay more permanently and utterly attached to their computers, in which case points will be rewarded. Points will be awarded for compliance, for cleanliness, for prettiness, and for whiteness of teeth. If you have many points, it will be easier to get more points. Points will be subtracted if you’re missing part of your uniform. Points will be subtracted if your uniform is not pressed and perfect. If you run out of points, that’s very bad, and more points will be taken away from you. Since you don’t have points at this point, points will be loaned to you at a very great interest, and if it seems like you’ll never be able to pay them back, that’s because you won’t. Of course we value kindness and compassion, but they won’t be on the test, and no points will be rewarded. What’s the point of it all? That’s beside the point, it is a completely pointless question, so we’ll all just carry on, shall we?

So! I bought a can of butter beans, because they looked nice. I decided to fry them up in olive oil with some herbs, and then mix them with tomatoes at the end. So they’d stay somewhat firm – almost crispy on the edges. And I made a sort of pilaf with farro, carrots and peas to go with them. I seasoned the farro with a pre-mixed red zatar, but if you don’t have such a thing, any combination of sesame seeds, fennel seeds, sumac, cumin or coriander would work. Or just some thyme and oregano. Actually, you can’t go wrong with any sort of seasoning that you like! We ate these all together with some little boiled potatoes tossed in butter, and it was all very good together. Lovely flavors and textures. And I am now a big fan of butter beans! We had quite a bit of everything leftover the next day, so I mushed it all together to make burgers, which I fried up in a pan, topped with a slice of cheese, and ate on a bun. Yum.

Here’s Yo La Tengo, with The Point of It

And here’s a wonderful scene from Home Movies explaining the importance of points.


1 t olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried oregano
1 large carrot, peeled and cut in 1/3 inch dice
1/2 cup petit peas (frozen is fine)
1 cup farro
1 heaping t red zatar blend (or large pinch each sumac, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coriander powder and cumin powder)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 t salt
lots of black pepper
1 T butter
1 t balsamic

2 T olive oil
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
a few sprigs dried thyme
1 t rosemary, chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 T olive oil. Add the shallot, garlic and bay leaves, and cook for about a minute, until the garlic starts to brown. Add the thyme and oregano. If you’re not using a pre-blended zatar, add your sesame seeds and fennel seeds now. Stir and fry for a minute. Add the carrots. Stir and fry for a few minutes, then add the peas and the farro. Stir and fry for three or four minutes, until everything is toasty and sizzling. Add the water, stir well. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover the pan, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the water is gone and the grains are tender. Turn off the heat, and let the pot sit on the burner for another ten minutes or so. Stir in the salt, pepper, butter and balsamic.

Meanwhile… in a large skillet warm 2 T olive oil. Add the drained butter beans and the thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are crusty and crispy on the outside and hot through, maybe 8 – 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for maybe another minute, just till they slightly soften. Season well with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

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