It’s a bit unconventional but I want to get out of the way a few housekeeping matters before we jump into today’s post.
Also, I’m excited and a bit flustered to report that the first printing of the book has all been spoken for and it seems that it is harder and harder to get a copy (we actually have a few signed copies left in our shop). I’m sorry for the inconvenience. The second print-run is on its way. In fact, my books are sitting on a boat off the coast of LA. Let’s hope the labor disputes find a happy resolution and we can get back to having the books in stock. In the meantime, thank you so much for sharing images, words and recipes from the book. It makes me beyond happy to see the words, stories and food from three years of hard work out in the world and doing exactly what I hoped it would; inspiring. Thank you.
Okay. Done with that.
We’ve been away from our home more than usual. Attending parties, dinners and book signings all the while sharing our heart for the book and eager to talk to people about why I wrote it and the result of creating the pages you read in Date Night In. Every bit of it has been encouraging and beautiful (well, except for my crazy insecurities and fears throughout it all) and I thank you for the continued support through conversations, emails, texts, and messages scattered throughout the Internet.
While it all has been wonderful and I am thrilled with the response from the book I have missed the kitchen and really, I have missed feeding you all. What it always comes back to for me is the table and putting something on the table that inspires, that satisfies and starts a conversation.
To be honest, I am a bit tired of trying to sell you stuff; the book, the cookies and quite frankly, me. As proud as I am about all of those things I have missed simply coming here and offering you a recipe that I’ve come to love. A recipe that I made and felt it worthy of living in these pages. I am so eager to feed again.
I’m not going to stop talking about the book, however. Or more accurately, I am not going to stop talking about dating my husband, because at the heart of it all, why I want to shout at the top of my lungs standing at the peak of the highest mountain about it is because in it lives a message that I want people to hear. One of love, intention, commitment, and fried chicken.
But right now, let’s sit at the table and eat this salad. It’s the sort of meal that balances those eaten away from home. It’s hearty yet light. Sweet but also savory. A touch spicy, a bit tart, crunchy and chewy, bright and deep. It is comfortable and unfussy. Perfect for easing back into a routine. For settling back to the table. Pull up a chair, it is my joy to feed you.
Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad
1 cup farro
2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon harissa (more to taste)
juice and zest from 1 small lemon (more or less to tase)
1/4 cup pistachios lightly toasted
5 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta
salt, to taste
Cook the farro until just tender but still has a bit of bite.
Drain and cool.
In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the fennel and sprinkle in the sugar.
Cook until the fennel is tender and deeply caramelized; copper in color, about 5 to 7 minutes over medium high heat.
In a large bowl add the farro, caramelized fennel, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, harissa and lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.
Toss the farro with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
If you are making this in advance, reserve the mint leaves until just ready to serve as they tend to turn black when cut.