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Mushroom Asparagus Farro by My Kitchen Love


 

We first connected with Samantha of My Kitchen Love over Instagram, as we traded thoughts on quality ingredients and our mutual love of Bernie's amazing Canadian grown Farro. Samantha's got a killer eye for taking food pics, and her blog and Instagram feed is full of amazing recipes that will satisfy the hungriest of families {this Farro recipe gets devoured by her kids on the daily}. She kindly shared her recipe with us, and we're so happy to pass it on to all of you! Enjoy a quick Q&A with this amazing mom, wife, and talented cook - along with her delicious savoury breakfast recipe. Thank you for sharing with us Samantha! 

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Q&A WITH SAMANTHA OF MY KITCHEN LOVE 

What do you do for your day job? 
I'm a Food Blogger, Stylist and Photographer over at www.mykitchenlove.com and I post scrumptious photos at @mykitchenlove. I try to make everyday family recipes into extraordinary ones. I'm also a stay-at-home mom of 3 very young girls, 3 year old twins and an 11 month old. 

What drives your for passion for food?
Wanting to share food that should not only fill you up, but transport you to a place of delight and satisfaction. I find tremendous joy in trying to find those moments. Big events and humble moments often include food and I enjoy cooking for all and any occasion that bring family and friends together. Discovering food with my kids has been an amazing experience so far and I'm enjoying each piece of the discovery with them  - even when I have to clean up all the food the baby threw on the floor ;)

How did you start blogging? 
My sister-in-law was on my case about it for quite some time (Hi Amanda!). I succumbed to peer pressure when my twins were born as I was looking for something creative to do while they napped and slept. My Kitchen Love was born as that creative outlet. 

Greatest food memory? 
Standing on a chair at my Nana's stove learning to make stuffing from scratch one Thanksgiving many years ago while my Pa walked by to give me a nod of encouragement and calling me "Lass". 

How has your home cooking evolved as part of your interest in creating beautiful images + recipes? 
I've had to simplify meals without losing interest - in flavours, textures, and ingredients. Being curious about how to properly balance a dish while making meals as nutritiously dense as possible for my family has played a big part. I've had to work hard at my photography and I find I'm still learning everyday - about food, photography, what gets people going, and so on. The fact that I hardly ever repeat a recipe in my home cooking probably helps since I don't have a rotation of dishes for lunches and dinners. 

What is the number one most used ingredient in your kitchen? 
Garlic and onions. I love them and will work them in any way I can. And since one of my 3 year olds has named her stuffed dog "Garlic" I'd wager I talk about it a lot too. ;) 

What is the biggest challenge you face when sourcing ingredients?
Quality and keeping it local. Since almost all the food I blog about is shared in our family I'm often not looking for unusual ingredients.

What is the kitchen tool you can’t live without? 
My Japanese knives. They were wedding presents (from way before I got into food) and they make chopping satisfying. Which is probably a weird response, but the truth. 

What do you eat for breakfast?
We have a list of simple dishes (from scrambled eggs to cereal) that I've written out for my husband and he rotates through them every weekday. I'm usually busy with our baby in the mornings so I currently don't make weekday breakfasts. On the weekends I tend to make more elaborate brunch-like dishes such as baked eggs. If I'm on my own with the kids a smoothie to make sure I'm "eating" something nutritious. And coffee, always coffee. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give someone who is new to more plant-based eating? 
Variety is key. Not only with ingredients, but also with how you use that ingredient. A fine example is cauliflower and its versatility. Puréed, roasted (whole or pieces), grated, steamed, grilled, seared, etc. The list could go on for its uses and so many vegetables (and fruits) are like that. Herbs and spices take a dish from bland to wow in a nano second. Freezing fresh herbs is a great way to prevent food waste and to have fresh herbs on hand when you're in a pinch. 

Who is your biggest influencer?
For photography I adore "What's Gaby Cooking" and "Dennis the Prescott", food styling has to be my mentor Joey Armstrong (a local food photographer), and I love the weekday meals column in "Bon Appétit" magazine for recipe development inspiration and everyday meals to cook for my family.

What do you do to re-charge? 
Exercise. I love the spin classes at Eastwood Cycle based here in Vancouver and when my knee injury cooperates, nothing clears my head like a big run in the fresh air. Oh and a glass of wine in a hot bath. Let's get real.  

Favorite food city?
Don't make me choose!! Every city. They all have something unique to offer. It takes time to research it and make reservations, but it's worth it. The last food city I visited was San Fransisco and it was fantastic. 

Have you always cooked with grains and legumes like you do now?
Ha! I was brought up with potatoes at almost every meal so no, definitely not. I have always loved barley, lentils, and chickpeas however so incorporating them into family meals now is easy for me. I love changing the texture to surprise my family, like baking quinoa or making crispy chickpeas.  

What is your current favorite grain to work with?
My current grain love affair has to be with Farro. It has a wonderful nutty texture and is perfectly chewy. It pairs perfectly with mushrooms and hazelnuts, which brings out Farro's earthy flavours. It's also the grain my kids love the most currently which makes dinnertime a breeze when I make it. 

We feel grateful to have the support of so many amazing cooking enthusiasts in our city. What are some other noteworthy local personalities making a difference in the way you cook? Why? 
I like the way Jennifer Pillion (@Foodess) cooks from her home and her heart. She cooks a lot of foods that come from her background as well as her husband's. Plus, her kids are pretty adorable too. Her posts are encouraging me to tackle some of the recipes that my Nana made me as a child as well as some of the Latvian Classics my husband remembers from his youth. 

I enjoy Emily Wright's (author of Well Fed, Flat Broke) ability to have so much humour and wit in her writing. Mostly because I want to always find cooking and blogging fun and enjoyable - there's no better way to do that than with humour. 

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Mushroom Asparagus Farro 

2 cups dry GRAIN Farro
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
200 grams mushrooms, halved if large Button or Cremini
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 lbs asparagus, chopped into ½” long pieces
½ cup vegetable or mushroom broth
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
¼ cup mixed chopped herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, dill, chives, etc.

Lemon Garlic Yogurt: 

½ cup thick Greek yogurt
zest and juice from ½ lemon
½ tsp finely minced garlic
salt and pepper

Prepare Farro according to package directions. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes before stirring. Add shallot and thyme sprigs and cook for 2-3 minutes until shallots begin to soften. Add garlic and season skillet with salt and pepper. Add asparagus pieces as well as broth. Cook for 5-7 minutes until liquid is reduced and asparagus is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and cooked Farro. Taste and season lightly with salt and pepper (if needed). Top with chopped herbs.

In a small bowl mix together Greek yogurt, zest and juice from ½ lemon, and minced garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve Farro mixture with a dollop of yogurt on top.


Purchase our GRAIN Farro for this recipe here. 

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Samantha blogs about making everyday family meals extraordinary over at My Kitchen Love and posts scrumptious photos at @MyKitchenLove. She's a mom, wife, and always hungry. 

 


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