Recipe Of The Month

Raw farro. But just wait… it gets exciting. Seriously.

A couple weekends ago I brunched at one of my favorite french cafés in Nashville. The chef was fresh out of her steel-cut oatmeal, leaving me to forage through the menu for more exotic fare. I ended up stepping way out on the wild side – what other options do you have when the oatmeal is gone? And ordered the Farrosotto. Next to the name in funky script were the listed ingredients: Mushrooms. I’d heard of them. Butternut squash, butter; check, check. But when I came across the word ‘farro’, I had to involve the waitress. She described it as an ancient grain that is similar to barley and spelt, yet has its own distinct rich and nutty flavor. It was calling out to me in a desperate little voice from the menu, Give me a chance! Give me a chance! And a well-deserving chance it got, hence, the following recipe: (please note this a different recipe from the restaurant’s, but great nonetheless. I made if for myself the other night. Would go amazing with salmon). Note: You can find farro at Whole Foods and online. Comment if you can find it at other brick and mortar stores.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of asparagus (8-10 depending on thikness)
1 1/2 cups farro (10 ounces)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (fresh if possible) 2 teaspoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Slice the asparagus in approximately 1 inch lengths. Slice them diagonally for presentation. Cook the cut asparagus over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until slightly softened (not mushy), about 5 minutes. Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat it with the oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the water, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until absorbed between additions. The farro is done when it is al dente and suspended in the thick, creamy liquid, about 25 minutes total. If you have a friend who wants to come over and talk, this is a great time for chatting, because there’s little else you can do while stirring.

3. Stir in the yogurt, the cheese and butter and simmer until the risotto has thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve. (note: you can use vegetable or chicken broth instead of the water for even more flavor – or use half stock/half water. As well, chopped walnuts taste great in this dish).

4. Serve alongside Salmon and perhaps a side of Broccoli or another green vegetable.

Feel free to comment below if you’ve got any great recipe ideas, especially if you’ve used farro in any other creative ways!

What I’m Reading and Loving

I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, and I can only imagine how true this is for people who have little ones to tend to from dawn to dusk, and then probably, still, from dusk to dawn. I got the slightest taste of this today when I took three of my favorite six children in all of Nashville over to my house for a fun snow day – even though there was no snow (from this winter on I shall start referring to them as “flake days” maybe). At any rate, I got no writing done. I got no reading done. How could I when there were shoes to tie and games of Hangman to play; when The Incredible Mr. Limpet was playing in my living room? I wouldn’t trade the day for anything, but if I had  – absolutely had – to trade it for a day of reading, this is what I’d have in my hands…

First off, Mark Batterson’s new book Primal: Recovering The Lost Soul Of Christianity. I’m almost done and it is a must-read. (My dad is an amazing guy and has pastored for over 35 years and read more books than I can imagine; he puts Primal in his top five.) Here is why I love it as well: This book shows the reality of the Gospel, it doesn’t just talk about it or define it.

You can tell from Mark’s stories and humility that Jesus is making an enormous impact on him personally, in his multiple congregation locations in D.C. and across the world. I don’t know what your soul is longing for right now, but mine is desperate to see Jesus alive and active in my life and the lives of those around me. And, yes, I do see Him in many ways, but I’m always so encouraged and impassioned when I encounter first-hand, or read about, people who are experiencing him undeniably. Mark does not give us a hard to digest, how-to book. He brings us back to the basic, yet unfathomable, command of Jesus to love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Have I sold you?

Second book I am finding equally powerful is Dallas Willard’s, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings On Discipleship. I am devouring this book for much the same reasons I am loving Primal, mainly because it is all about having a real, life-consuming relationship with Jesus. Not just having Him as a religious side-dish. It’s about the truth and transformation of being an apprentice of Jesus’s, and loving others enough to teach them about who He is and how He calls us to live: Life to the fullest.

Okay, so these are my two faves right now. The big question is “What Are You Reading And Loving?” (When the kids are asleep, of course.)

Cranford Series

Okay, so has anyone caught the Cranford Series which originally aired on the BBC and most recently on Masterpiece Theatre? It is true I never thought that a) I would be doing anything even remotely close to writing a blog and b) if I were to do something like, say blog, I never thought it would include the words Masterpiece and Theatre. But, let me tell you, I have absolutely loved this series! (Based on the original book by Elizabeth Gaskill).

Now, if you are into faced paced, quick cuts, high intensity, this is not the mini-series for you. But if you are into exquisite writing, compelling acting and moving storylines you will love this. I so enjoyed slowing down and entering the simple but intensely profound and rich lives of the 1800’s. The language and vocabulary were stretching and the weaving of lives inspiring. Plus, the personalities and dynamics of the women are just too perfect. The whole thing made me want to drink more tea and maybe – just maybe – wear a bonnet at some point in my life.

Just thought I would share something that was – trying desperately to think of another word besides ‘wholesome’ – incredibly wholesome (ahhh, there’s just not another word), while not sacrificing storyline, plot or acting. Rent this series if you’re up for it!

Important Ruth Study Update (Part II)

We just got several studies into the store today so feel free to order from there. If you have a particularly large order, email us at info@livingroomseries and we will help you get what you need as soon as possible. Thanks! -April

Hey Everyone. Just wanted to give you all an update on the Ruth Study since we have been getting so many inquiries. It is currently out of stock but we should have plenty available in the next week or so. We are so sorry for this inconvenience and would love to help those beginning the study by sending you the first two weeks in a PDF file so you can stay on track. If this would be of help to you, please email us at and we’ll email it to you right away.

As well, if you’re looking for the study please check with your local LifeWay Store because many of the stores still have plenty of copies.

Also, we’ve still got some Ruth CD’s. So if you’re in need of those you can order from the store or download from iTunes. Thanks everyone and please let us know if we can send you the first two weeks of Ruth via email.