The Broad Fork Cookbook Review & Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets

Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

I was so thrilled to get this new cookbook, The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson. It read it's focus is recipes that implement the abundance of fresh produce delivered by a CSA (community supported agriculture). "I get a CSA box!", I excited thought to myself. This will be a terrific cookbook. A solution to the frequent, "What do I do with this?" head-scratching that sometimes accompanies the privilege of subscribing to a CSA. 

Perhaps my expectations were just a bit too high and a wee bit premature. 

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

The cookbook is divided by season and subcategorized by ingredient which I think is really fun and quite useful. Hugh writes, "This is a vegetable-centric guide to seasonal offerings." I feel I must begrudgingly disagree with him.

Yes, it's no shock that this is not a vegan let alone a vegetarian cookbook (I honestly kind of expected it to be vegetarian...) With a subtitle like, Recipes for the wide world of vegetables and fruits, I think this cookbook is a disappointingly misleading for those of us that are truly vegetable-centric (ie plant-based). Of course all the recipes do have plants (don't most?) but I didn't find the vegetables to the star of the show, as hinted. Doesn't it seem like that should be the point?

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

Some of Hugh's recipes include a few obscure ingredients (Espelette pepper, Manchego cheese, sorghum molasses, malt vinegar, Hungarian chile). He often doesn't provide any weights (grams or ounces) alongside his measurements (how much is exactly 2 cups of dates?). Many recipes require the home cook to make some little recipe on another page to be incorporated into this recipe. I know this is a common phenomenon, but it also happens to be a personal pet peeve of mine. There is no way I'm going to delve into making the preserved lemon on page blankety-blank to add to the gremolata in the recipe I'm trying to make. It just won't happen. You can't make me. 

In this cookbook, there are many...meat-centric recipes. More than vegetable-focused ones I should think. Pan-roasted pork tenderloin with sorghum and roasted apples / duck breast with indian eggplant pickle, / grilled pork belly with persimmons and spicy soy vinaigrette, turkey, andouille shrimp / collard greens gumbo, just to name a few. The plants definitely seem to take a backseat, no? Good luck substituting tempeh, seitan, and soy in all of those! And don't even get me started on the octopus in this cookbook! I daresay almost heaved the book across the room in sheer fright of the sight; a tangle of purple tentacles occupying an entire photo page.* Seriously what is that?

                                             *footnote: I have a most unusual, not to mention unsound, phobia of octopus tentacles so this would probably be a grave overreaction for most.

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.
Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

Perhaps I'm just jaded from all the wonderful, legitimate plant-based cookbooks I've had the pleasure of reviewing. The Broad Fork wasn't a total letdown (maybe I've been to severe in my review). I did vastly appreciate that half the book wasn't an appreciation of "what's in my pantry" or "here's how to chop a carrot" chapters. I know how to stock my pantry and use a knife, thank you. I don't need a 325 page instructional on what a potato peeler is and how to use it. 

My favorite part of this book is that almost every produce chapter includes a recipe to either make said produce into a long-term storage item or just use up a lot of that fruit or vegetable. As a consequence, there's a lot of pickling recipes...but also apple butter, purees, jams, etc. 

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

If you're not vegan, this is a pretty neat cookbook that will definitely stretch you outside your comfort zone of creativity in the kitchen. A good thing! However, if you are vegan I recommend passing on this one. There's hidden jewels of unique recipes that can be adapted but I'm not sure if it's worth rifling through the meat and animal-laden recipes to find and salvage them. 

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.
Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

I had to look through the cookbook twice to finally find a meal I could make. Hugh's farro and beet salad. It was honestly one of the only dishes that I wouldn't have had to meddle with too much and yet, there are too many adaptations I made to to even list. Regarding both the ingredients and the recipe flow. Also, my salad looked absolutely nothing like his; this gave me a good chortle for some reason. Leave it to me to take his beautiful masterpiece (I'd hang it on my wall..) and work it into the dreaded burgundy blob you see below! 

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

However, that burgundy blob is one of the best things I've ever tasted. Enough said. You need to make this syrupy salad.

Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets

Recipe by Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

Yield: 6 side dish servings

Ingredients

  • 16 (10 oz) pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup farro, dry
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stems discarded
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 5 (1 .5 lbs beetroot trimmed) medium beets with their greens, scrubbed clean
  • 1 tbsp red miso
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/3 cup large-flake nutritional yeast

Cooking Directions

  1. Add the dates, salt, crushed red pepper, and vinegar to a small saucepan. Pour in just enough water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until the dates are tender. When done, strain out the dates and reduce the vinegar liquid over medium-high heat for about 5-8 minutes until it has reduced by half. Mash the dates with the back of a wooden spoon and set both the dates and the liquid aside.
  2. While the dates cook, heat the butter over medium in a large soup pot. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the dry farro and cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the thyme leaves and 1 cup of water; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in another 1 cup of water and cook an additional 5 minutes. Scoop out about ¼ cup of the hot water and whisk the miso paste into it. Set aside.
  3. While the farro simmers, clean the beets and cut off the greens. Remove the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems and slice the leaves into ribbons. Using a mandolin, slice enough beet to fill ½ cup (about 1 beet). Set aside. Small dice the remaining beets and set aside.
  4. Add the diced beets (do not add the shaved beets yet), greens, and the remaining 2 cups of water. Over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, cook the farro for about 20-30 minutes until the water has evaporated and the farro is tender.
  5. Stir in the shaved beets, reduced vinegar liquid, mashed dates, and miso, as well as the remaining ingredients. Mix to combine and serve hot!
Produce On Parade - The Broad Fork Cookbook review and a recipe for Balsamic Farro Salad w/ Dates & Beets - Sweet and savory with salty notes from the miso, this tangy-balsamic farro salad is studded with tender beets, mashed Medjool dates, and fresh herbs. It's a unique and stunningly delicious flavor profile. A perfect side dish and the tastiest way to use up all those beets! Heavily adapted from The Broad Fork cookbook.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. Find The Broad Fork on Amazon.com.

*DISCLAIMER*  PRODUCE ON PARADE IS A PERSONAL BLOG WRITTEN AND EDITED BY MYSELF ONLY, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. MY REVIEWS ARE COMPLETELY BASED ON MY OWN OPINION OF THE PRODUCT REVIEWED. THESE PRODUCTS WERE SUPPLIED TO ME AS GIFTS TO TEST AND REVIEW. OTHERWISE, IF I MENTION A COMPANY BY NAME AND THERE IS NO DISCLAIMER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST, I AM MERELY WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING I LIKE, PURCHASE AND/OR USE. THE FACT THAT I DO RECEIVE A PRODUCT AS A GIFT TO TEST AND REVIEW, WILL NEVER POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THE CONTENT MADE IN THIS POST.

Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets & Delicata Squash

Stressful times call for your favorite recipe to help ease distress. This is mine. I make many versions of this spiced lentil soup and this one did not disappoint. 

I did take half a second to ponder the decision of putting delicata squash into soup. It was aging rapidly though and I knew I had to use it as soon as possible. If it was an epic fail, well, that would be okay I decided.

Delicata squash in soup is absolutely amazing. The roasted meat is tender and sweet, while the peel is just slightly chewy and caramelized. It's a really wonderful addition. The roasted beets in the soup dyed it a deep magenta, the longer it sat. I'm going to be putting delicata in all my soups now!

Produce On Parade - Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Squash & Delicata Squash - This is one of my favorite soups. Based with creamy coconut milk, red lentils mingle with roasted beets and caramelized delicata squash. Spiced with tantalizing aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society. Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive province of any one culture or community of people.
— Cesar Chavez
Produce On Parade - Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Squash & Delicata Squash - This is one of my favorite soups. Based with creamy coconut milk, red lentils mingle with roasted beets and caramelized delicata squash. Spiced with tantalizing aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

You need this soup in your life. Maybe as a dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas? It would be perfect! 

Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets & Delicata Squash


Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Beets & Delicata Squash
By

This is one of my favorite soups. Based with creamy coconut milk, red lentils mingle with roasted beets and caramelized delicata squash. Spiced with tantalizing aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Notes: Feel free to leave out the beets if you’re anti-beets. Any lentil can be used to the cooking time may need to be increased if not using red lentils.

Ingredients
  • 2 medium whole beets, scrubbed and ends trimmed
  • 1 delicata squash, washed and diced
  • ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I like unrefined)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 15 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Wrap the whole, scrubbed beets loosely in tinfoil. Place on a baking sheet. Toss the diced squash in olive oil and scatter on the same baking sheet. Roast at 400 F for about 30 minutes. Stir the squash at 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, transfer the squash to bowl for later and turn over the beets. Allow the beets to cook for an additional 15-30 minutes, until fork tender. Remove when done and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, bring the lentils and vegetable broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Make sure to watch it or it could boil over. Reduce to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then, remove from heat.
  3. In a medium frying pan, heat the coconut oil over low. Add the onion and garlic and sauté a few minutes. Next, add in the turmeric through and including the nutmeg, stirring well and scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onion begins to brown.
  4. Once lentils are done, add the coconut milk through and including the salt to the lentils and broth. Also, add the squash and the onion mixture. When the beets are cooled, dice and add to the soup. Stir well to combine.
  5. Serve hot, garnished with broccoli sprouts like me (if you wish!)

  6. Prep time:
    Cook time:
    Total time:
    Yield: 6 servings
Produce On Parade - Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Squash & Delicata Squash - This is one of my favorite soups. Based with creamy coconut milk, red lentils mingle with roasted beets and caramelized delicata squash. Spiced with tantalizing aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Produce On Parade - Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Squash & Delicata Squash - This is one of my favorite soups. Based with creamy coconut milk, red lentils mingle with roasted beets and caramelized delicata squash. Spiced with tantalizing aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Look who's all snuggled up like a bug in a rug! Bob doesn't appreciate the crashing wind. Still not a single flake of snow. I'll keep you updated. I heard on the news, it'll be a new record for southcentral Alaska in November for snowfall...or lack thereof. So depressing, you guys.

Good Deed of The Day

This story is insane. The cast of Walking Dead is apparently so completely grossed out by all the fake bloody flesh, gore, and cannibalism on the show that the entire cast is going vegan and vegetarian! Check out the whole store here

Dutch Word of The Day

Insane --> krankzinnig (crank-zin-igh)

Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
— Dalai Lama

Guess what?? I'm back and so happy to share this little space with you again! However, this week won't offer any respite from the busyness and excitement that is my absolute existence right now. With this crazy tornado of wonderful, big life moments and teeny pesky nuisances that've got me whipping about, the recipes for the next few days will be quick to prepare and most importantly, easy, and fairly hands-off too. 

The first morning I was back, I went to the store in the bleak, early hours before work to get coffee creamer. Duh. Forget food, I need just need vanilla soy creamer to survive apparently. Let me tell you what. That is the best time to go to the store. It's totally stocked, there's no one around except other tired, zombiesc, antisocial people like myself who don't want anything to do with anyone else. And...I found the most gorgeous organic beets with their luscious, velvety greens still attached! Jackpot! My little hands couldn't snatch them up fast enough!

In a rare moment of clarity, I decided to dress the beets and their greens in an quick, miso balsamic reduction and pepper them with warm and crunchy walnuts. This humble dish is a nutritional powerhouse that will hopefully catapult me into the chaos that's lurking in the future and help me battle the wretched and regrettable four hour time difference between Alaska and Ohio. My bedtime is now 6pm sharp (instead of the usual 10pm). It's all I can do to walk to my car on my way out of work with my eyes actually open as I'm just about asleep! A day off when we got back would have been most helpful. Lesson learned.

Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

I love, love, love beets and I'll eat them pretty much anyway at all, but this dish was absolutely, incredibly delicious! A new favorite way to eat up those red little gems...and their greens too! 

print recipe
Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
An easy and impressive side dish. Layered, sliced steamed beets are adorned with crunchy walnuts and their own sauteed greens, then drizzled with a miso balsamic reduction. NOTE: Beet greens tend to age very quickly, so be sure to try to use the day they are purchased.
Ingredients
  • 4 medium red beets, with greens
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown onion, diced small
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 heaping cup of walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. miso paste (I like red)
Instructions
First, prepare your steamer to steam the beets.Cut off the leaves of the beets, leaving about one inch attached to the top of the beet. Scrub the beets very well and place whole in the prepared steamer for about 30-60 minutes. My beets only took 30 minutes, but time will vary depending on the size. Remove when fork tender and allow to cool.In a very large rimmed frying pan, heat the walnut oil over medium-low. Add the garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, and walnuts. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to brown. Meanwhile, wash the beet greens. Rip off the stems to discard (or feed to a furry companion) and tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a towel. Add to the frying pan and sauté for an additional 5 minutes until wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat and allow to rest until the beets are done steaming. In a microwave safe 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or medium bowl), heat the vinegar for 1 minute. Then, continue in 30 second intervals until about half has evaporated. Be sure to allow the microwave to actually stop in between the intervals. Careful not to let it burn! This should only take about 2 minutes total. Remove from the microwave and allow to cool until the beets are ready, then whisk in the miso paste. When the beets are done steaming and have cooled slightly, cut off the top and the end bit, and then slice. You can peel them if you like but I prefer not to. To serve, arrange one sliced beet in a small bowl. Top with ¼ of the cooked greens and drizzle with a little of the miso vinegar glaze. A little goes a long way!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

German Word of The Day

Balsamic --> balsamisch (bah-zal-misch)

Good Deed of The Day

Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean? Have we seriously learned nothing? Help urge Secretary Jewell to say no to offshore oil drilling in these remote waters that provide critical habitat for polar bears, whales, walrus and more, who are already suffering the effects of climate change!