Quinoa, farro and red pepper croquettes
Hello, Ordinary friends! It’s been a little while, and I’ll tell you why. I gave myself a short sabbatical to finish my novel! And now I think it’s finished! What a strange feeling. Finishing a story feels like a real sense of completion, a real end to something, and usually leaves me feeling a little bit weepy. Finishing a novel is just confusing. It’s so sprawling, and I started it nearly half a year ago, and all the characters have been alive in my head so long. Also I don’t really have a sense of it–I don’t have a sense if it would make sense to anybody else. I know it’s strange, but it’s not strange in a cool and calculated way, it’s just strange like I’m strange. I just don’t know! I feel like I want Ezra Pound to be the first person to read it, but he’s dead and he was a fascist, and he’d say, “Girl, you stole one of my lines!” Yeah. Any way, there I was feeling very happy but all confused about it, and we went for a bike ride on the canal and passed a writer friend who yelled, “Happy birthday!” And I realize that’s what it felt like, it felt like giving birth to this thing that’s been growing in my head for such a long while, and is now mewling and puking and still demanding attention and keeping me up all night. The bike ride was part of Malcolm’s plan for our perfect first-day-off-together-as-a-family in ages. Since he’s my son every part of the plan involved meals. We were going to go for a bike ride to the next town and get egg sandwiches, then go for a hike with a picnic, then come home and make a nice dinner. On the bike ride I stayed behind Isaac who cried, “Not too close, I’m afraid of heights and I have a lot of fears!” And I said, I have a lot of fears, too, but I promise I’m not going to bump into you. As ever, Isaac talked as if his voice kept his feet peddling–nonstop. He live-reported the whole event. “That was a fun ride!” “It’s still a fun ride.” “Yeah, but so far, so good!” And then he started talking about time. He couldn’t believe how quickly we rode four miles. Four miles! It was like no time had passed at all! But remember last year when he was slower and had a different bike? And this bridge is 150 years old, and that’s almost as old as our country, which is not that old but is actually a very long time. And isn’t everything going so fast? So fast. And then on the hike part of the day, Malcolm had a little black book and he was writing all of his good ideas in it. And he’s going to have a whole collection of books full of ideas, and he’ll lock them in a crate. When he has kids, if they want to know how to do something, like make a giant papier maché dog head, they’ll look it up in his book. And they’ll find so many good ideas that they’ll never be bored. What a strange day it’s been, warm and bewilderingly bright and ridiculously springtime-fragrant bee-buzzing and full of memories for ourselves and our children and our children’s children.
I made a meal with quinoa and farro cooked together as a side dish, and the next day I mixed it up with roasted red peppers, hazelnuts and some smoked gouda to make croquettes. I really think that quinoa makes the best croquettes–crispy and flavorful. These smelled like bacon when they were cooking!! We at them with tortillas, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and this wonderful hazelnut rosemary sauce.
Here’s Two Soldiers by Monroe Gevedon and Family (1937!) for Memorial Day.
Farro & Red quinoa
1 T butter or olive oil
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano (or whatever herbs you like)
1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup farro
In a medium-sized saucepan warm the butter or olive oil and herbs. Add the quinoa and farro and stir and toast for a minute or two. Add 2 cups water and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about ten minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another five or ten minutes until all the water is cooked off. Turn off the burner but leave the pan on for a little while. Season with butter, salt and pepper.
1 1/2 cups roasted red peppers, chopped
2 cups farro and quinoa, as prepared above
1 cup mixed grated smoked gouda, sharp cheddar and mozzarella
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 t rosemary chopped
1 t smoked paprika
salt and lots of pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 and lightly coat a large baking sheet with olive oil.
In a food processor process the red peppers briefly until they’re chopped. Add everything else and process until everything is coarse and crumbly and combined. Form into small patties and place on the oiled sheet, turning them over so that both sides get lightly coated with oil.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until they’re brown and crispy.
HAZELNUT- ROSEMARY SAUCE
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 piece whole wheat bread
2 T olive oil
1 t balsamic
1 t green peppercorns
1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
1 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper
Process everything in a food processor until fairly smooth. Add just enough water to make a velvety sauce, as thin or thick as you like it. Mine was about the consistency of heavy cream. Taste for salt/balsamic.