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impossibly glad

July 31 2013 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe » 9 comments

one-pan farro with tomatoesone-pan farro with tomatoes

Avery will be one year old on Friday, and it’s got me feeling very reflective.  I think back over the past 12 months, and I remember days that felt like they lasted for weeks, and weeks that flashed by in the blink of an eye.  I think about how much of the year I spent feeding Avery, and how much that has changed as the year has unfolded.  To start, I nursed her for many months, and it was a chore at times and more depleting than I could’ve imagined, but it was also an extreme privilege—one of the most basic, natural things I’ve ever done, but yet something that made me feel incredibly proud.

one-pan farro with tomatoes

I think about spooning Avery her first runny bites of oatmeal, the question in her furrowed brow and then the twinkle in her eye.  I think about how quickly that oatmeal became pureed fruits and vegetables and then bits of basically everything.  I think about how some days Avery would gobble handfuls of something I’d made her, before literally pulling the very same food out of her mouth the next day.  But, mostly, I think about how she’s game to try anything, and I hope hope hope she’ll hold on to that quality.

one-pan farro with tomatoes

I think about the hours I’ve spent pulled up in a chair next to her high chair in the corner of our dining room, while I chattered away and Avery hummed as she ate.  I picture her opening her little mouth, birdlike, to accept a bite of something, and I think about how she’s learning to say “all done” when the meal is over.  I think about the food that’s ended up on the floor, about our failed attempts to teach her to clink her sippy cup against our glasses when we say “Cheers,” and about how she’ll run her quinoa-coated hand through her hair before shooting me a devilish grin.  I think about the meals we’ve eaten in restaurants, Avery in a high chair charming the waiters and fellow diners, and I think about the picnics we’ve eaten, under shady trees and on beaches.  I think about the fresh fruit Avery has eaten out of hand in her stroller at the Seattle farmers’ markets this summer, and I think back to the Chicago markets last fall, when she’d sleep through it all as we shopped, bleary-eyed, for apples and sunflowers and squash: the same baby girl, then and now.

one-pan farro with tomatoes

I think about the cake I’ll bake Avery for her birthday, and I think about her favorite kitchen drawer, low to the ground and full of plastic containers.  I think about the tiny apron my aunt gave me as a gift before Avery was born.  I hope she’ll need that apron soon, when we can bake and cook together.  For now, though, a tiny spatula and the oatmeal canister will serve as her makeshift drum set for a while longer.

one-pan farro with tomatoes

I think, too, about the many meals that Kevin and I have eaten over the past year—about how I didn’t have the energy or the time or, frankly, the desire to cook at all during Avery’s early weeks, about how I returned to the kitchen slowly and about the triumph I felt about being back there.  I think about our first date after Avery was born—we looked at each other across the table, gleeful to be out and alone, but happily talking about our girl throughout the meal.  I think about our weekly date nights these days, and how we still feel thrilled to be out and alone, and how we continue to talk about Avery for much of the time that we’re out.

I think about the simple meals that Kevin and I have cooked and eaten together on a nightly basis, after Avery is fed, bathed, and asleep.  I think about how our evenings used to be so different, before Avery was born, and how they seemed so endless then.  Now, they’re a crush of bottle washing and pajama wrangling and lullaby singing before we finally sit down to eat.  But when we do sit down together, a peaceful calm settles over the evening.  We talk about our days and about Avery and, every single night, it makes me feel impossibly glad.

One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen/Martha Stewart Living

Serves 2-4

This is one of those simple meals that I turn to on busy weeknights.  It basically cooks itself, and—more importantly—it so, so good.  So good, in fact, that I’ve made it once a week for several weeks running.  It’s Deb from Smitten Kitchen‘s adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe that Tim also raved about over on Lottie + Doof.  When it comes to recommendations, that’s quite a trifecta, and they didn’t steer me astray.

3 cups water
1 1/2 cup semi-pearled farro
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly into quarter moons
1 large clove garlic, halved and sliced thinly
4 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more/less, to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups (loosely packed) baby arugula
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Place water and farro in a medium saucepan to presoak.  Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.  Bring uncovered pan to a boil.  Set a timer for 30 minutes and reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. When the timer rings, the farro should be perfectly cooked.  Add the arugula and parmesan; stir to combine and to wilt the arugula.

Transfer to a wide serving bowl.  Serve with additional parmesan.

9 comments so far. »
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  1. Whitney says on July 31 2013 at 12:51 pm:

    This recipe is making the rounds. I need to get it into the rotation quickly.

    Crazy that it has already been a year! Where does the time go?

    Can’t wait to see the birthday cake you are sure to whip up.

  2. Noelle says on July 31 2013 at 1:07 pm:

    I just wanted to pop in to say (a) happy early birthday to Avery, and (b) I’m so glad you are still writing after all this time. I’ve been following your blog for years (since 2008, maybe?!) and recently re-discovered it after a couple year hiatus from Google Reader, when I went to transfer all my old reading materials to Feedly this summer. Your turkey wild rice soup recipe is now one of our fall & winter staples :)

  3. Shanna says on July 31 2013 at 3:30 pm:

    As not a mom yet myself, I gobble up these kinds of reflections. I love hearing about the pain and joy of baby years and imagining what they’re like. Congratulations on one year with your girl! Sounds like it’s been a good gift.

  4. elena says on August 01 2013 at 7:12 am:

    this post made me tear up; your reflections and memories are so beautiful. thanks for sharing—congrats on one year in & happy birthday to Avery!

  5. Kate says on August 03 2013 at 4:07 am:

    Reflections are so wonderful, and I’ve done many in my son’s 19 years on Earth. Those precious baby years move so swiftly. I’m glad to see you relishing every minute.

  6. Sues says on August 05 2013 at 4:26 am:

    I love this post! I don’t have kids yet, but many of my friends are starting to and it’s making me realize just how fast time flies! Happy birthday to Avery :)

  7. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on August 08 2013 at 12:07 pm:

    Whitney: Agreed! And, I know, it seems like I’ve blinked and a year disappeared. I baked a carrot cake for A’s birthday, and she wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Glad I kept it simple! : )

    Noelle: Thank you so much for your note! I love that soup, too.

    Shanna: Thank you! And, yes, the best gift.

    elena: Thank you! (I teared up, too.)

    Kate: Thanks! I’m trying, but I wish time would slow down just a little tiny bit.

    Sues: Thanks!

  8. Diane erdahl says on August 21 2013 at 9:23 pm:

    This dish has so many layers of taste and texture, simply amazing . Great as leftovers also.

  9. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on September 10 2013 at 9:05 pm:

    Mom: Glad you enjoyed!

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