Winter Farro Salad (V)

Hi guys, it’s Emily, here to share another guest post! I was first introduced to farro last spring while studying abroad in Italy. During the colder months, we had soup for lunch almost every day. It was the perfect thing to warm us up after site visits in the rain (which happened a lot). As the weather warmed up though, we switched to salads. One day, after a long morning of running around Rome looking at all of the antiquity (life was rough, guys), my classmates and I were famished. You can imagine the joy we felt when we had farro salad made with cherry tomatoes, arugula, mozzarella, and basil dressing for lunch that day. It was fresh yet filling, and I have never been so sad to see a lunch end.

When I came home I made it my mission recreate this perfect food. Maybe when it gets warmer out I will share my version of that salad with you (*hint* *cough* hey Becca!). Thus began my extensive experimentation with possibility of grain salads. Farro, wheat berries, wild rice, quinoa, millet, and other hearty grains are perfect for showcasing seasonal vegetables and flavorful dressings. Even better, they only improve as they sit and the flavors get to know each other.During the warmer months, these types of dishes are perfect for barbecues and light lunches. They can be made ahead and are great at room temperature. Once the weather began to cool off though, I stopped making grain salads. I poked around for recipes that utilized winter flavors, but never really found anything that struck me. This was until I was gifted David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen over the holidays. His wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate fit the bill. During a season that is ruled by hearty stews and anything with tomato sauce and loads of cheese, this salad is much needed. Now, I love stuffed shells probably more than the average person, but sometimes I just need something a little brighter and lighter. I made this for dinner one night as a side to a roasted chicken. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t eating it out of the bowl with the serving spoon while the chicken cooked. The next day, I mixed some with shredded leftover chicken and brought it to work for lunch. Everyone was jealous.

Winter Farro Salad (Serves 6 to 8; barely adapted from My Paris Kitchen)

1 c. uncooked semi-pearled farro
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 pounds mixed root vegetables (I used carrots, parsnips, and turnips) and winter squash
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
4 cups coarsely chopped radicchio
1/2 c. chopped parsley
seeds from 1 pomegranate (I use this method to remove them)
fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1/4 c. olive oil

Cook the Farro: Rinse farro and put in a large saucepan. Add bay leaf and cover with water. Cook until tender according to packaging instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Remove bay leaf and place farro in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Roast the Veggies: Preheat oven to 375o F. Peel vegetables and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in ovenproof dish (I used a large pyrex pan). Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until fork tender, about 35 min. Spread radicchio over vegetables and return to the oven for another few minutes, until the radicchio is wilted.

Make the Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake until combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Put it All Together: Put vegetables in bowl with farro and stir together. Toss with dressing. I like to use about two thirds of it to start, taste, and adjust to my liking. You can always add more dressing, but you can’t take it away. Any extra is good on a salad tomorrow. Gently toss in parsley, pomegranate seeds, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few grinds of pepper.

Breakfasts, Snacks


BBBB (Brown Butter Berry Buttermilk) Muffins

Hi everyone! It’s Emily, here to share another guest post. Muffins are tricky little things. They are essentially unfrosted cupcakes. Yet somehow, they have been fooling moms and dads for decades that they are a breakfast food. Now, I have no problems with this. Sometimes it seems like I am on personal quest to set the world record for most cake consumed in a lifetime. The real reason I exercise is to make more room for cake in my life so as to achieve this goal. Cake is my main food group and I would like to thank muffins for being a part of it. When coming up with this recipe, I did try to make these muffins more ‘breakfasty’ for those of you into that sort of thing. I threw in a little whole-wheat flour, cut back on the sugar, and threw in a ton of fruit. And, sticking with my #1 baking philosophy, anything can be improved by brown butter. This imparts a warm, nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the freshness of the tart berries.


1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

2/3 c. raw sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature

1 1/2 T. milk, at room temperature

8 T. (1 stick) butter, browned and cooled (see note below*)

1 1/2 c. berries of your choice, fresh or frozen, do not thaw (I used a frozen berry mix)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a twelve-cup muffin tin. I find that doing this rather than using muffin liners yields a more golden and puffy muffin.

Combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, raw sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and milk. Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the brown butter. Gently fold in the berries. Be careful not to overmix or you will have tough muffins.

Using a 1/3 c. measuring cup, divide the batter evenly in the muffin tin. If you wanted to top with sanding sugar or streusel, now is the time. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. Muffins will keep in an airtight container for a week. I like to keep them in the freezer, take one out before going to bed, and enjoy in the morning.

*To brown the butter – Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a medium skillet over medium heat. A light bottomed skillet is better, but not necessary. Swirl the pan occasionally. The butter will foam and make popping noises. This is normal. Keep a close eye on the butter and continue to swirl, you do not want the butter to burn. It will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will begin to appear on the bottom of the pan. Once the bits take on an amber color, remove the pan from the stove and immediately pour it into a bowl, bits included. Allow it to cool.

Main Dishes


Quick Weeknight Dinner: Zucchini and Sundried Tomato Pasta

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Emily’s back to share a delicious and easy pasta dish- a perfect one bowl dinner! 

Surprise! You all didn’t know that my diet extends beyond desserts/bread, did you? Recently, I surfaced from what can only be described as a 4-month pasta coma, or a semester in Italy. I was eating pasta 5 days a week at minimum and it was awesome. You could say I learned a thing or two about eating and making good pasta. What makes Italian food so good is its simplicity. Nothing is too complicated to make and the fresh ingredients really stand out. I recommend splurging a little and using high quality pasta. With so few ingredients, the pasta is not just a vehicle for sauce, but an important part of the dish. Trust me, it makes a difference. This is a quick and easy weeknight dinner, taking around 30 minutes to throw together. I hope you like it as much as I do.


olive oil

1/2 large onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

4 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced into half-inch pieces

1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, sliced

1/4 t. crushed red pepper



1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used spinach pappardelle)

1/2 c. grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

1 t. fresh basil, julienned

Cook the pasta according to the packaging directions. You want it to be al dente, or firm to the bite. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the zucchini and sundried tomatoes. Cook until the zucchini is tender. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked pasta directly to the pan along with the cheese and basil, using the reserved pasta water to loosen everything up. Serve with more cheese (if you think you have enough, add a little more).

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Emily’s back to share some delicious looking bread!

Guest Post: Herbed Focaccia

Do you guys remember that Dutch Oven Bread I made earlier this summer? Lets call that my gateway bread. Not only is baking your own bread easy and rewarding, you automatically seem more impressive when you tell someone that you bake your own bread. Honestly, it would probably make a really good opening line for making friends, running for president, etc. “Hi my name is (your name here), and I bake my own bread.” Now I can’t really speak for anyone else, but if someone said that to me they would have my love (or vote).

This focaccia recipe is great because you can pretty much flavor it with whatever you want. I went with basic rosemary and sea salt. However, it would also be good with sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese or caramelized onions. Make your bread how you like it. And feel free to eat the whole loaf. I won’t tell anyone.


Herbed Focaccia (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)

– 1 medium russet potato (about 8 oz.), peeled and cut into large chunks

– 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour

– 1/2 cup olive oil

– 1 envelope rapid-rise yeast

– 1 1/4 tsp salt plus extra for sprinkling

– 2 tbsp fresh rosemary coarsely chopped (or another herb of your choice i.e. sage)

Boil the potato in water until it can be easily pierced by a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove the potato from the water using a slotted spoon. IMPORTANT: you will be using some of the leftover potato water so do not drain it in a colander. Measure out one cup of the water and set aside to cool until its temperature reads 110 degrees. You don’t want it to be too hot or you will kill the yeast. Grate the potato on the large holes of a box grater. You are looking have about 1 cup of lightly packed potato.

*for this next part I did everything in my food processor using a dough blade, but I’m sure it would work using a stand mixer and a dough hook*

Combine the cooked potato, 3 1/2 cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons of the oil, yeast, and salt in the food processor. While the process continues to run, add the reserved potato cooking water through the chute. Mix until the dough comes together.

Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Add the remaining flour if it is sticky. Form a smooth round ball.

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and with a damp cloth towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Coat an 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup more oil. Using wet hands, press the dough into the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top dough with a little oil and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in size, 45 to 75 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Dimple the dough with wet fingertips, then drizzle and sprinkle with the rosemary (or other herb) and coarse salt. You could even crack some black pepper on top here. Be creative! Make this your dream bread!

Bake until the focaccia bottom is golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the focaccia to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.



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Guest Post/Mini Post: Grated Chocolate Cake

Spices and Spatulas readers, meet Katie! Katie is so wonderful that she will watch me bake for hours and not complain for a minute, and even if the thing she watched me bake for hours isn’t that great, she doesn’t leave/scream. She’s perfect. And now she’s baking on her own, which REALLY makes me happy. I wish I lived in DC with her so I could’ve had a chance to try this cake!

Hey everyone! This is my first (of hopefully many) post for this blog, probably for good reason. I’m not much of a baker or chef. While Becca aspires to be Betty Crocker (or Draper, I’m sure she’d be fine with either), I aspire to bake WITH Betty Crocker. Which is exactly what I did for this! It was my first time baking since St. Patrick’s Day, but I was leaving my internship and wanted to give them a thank you gift. This cake is perfect for that, if you’re like me and not so good in the kitchen. Since it’s from a mix it’s relatively easy and pretty much guaranteed to be good on the first try, as long as you don’t burn it, which I actually did a bit. It still tasted great, and the old ladies I worked with this summer loved it.

The recipe comes from “The Cake Mix Doctor,” by Anne Byrn.

-1 box of yellow cake mix (I actually did use Betty Crocker)

-1 small box instant vanilla pudding

-4 eggs

-1 cup of vegetable oil

-1 cup of milk

-1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

-1 german chocolate bar, grated* (to be honest I didn’t know what “german chocolate” was—I just got a semi-sweet 4 oz. chocolate bar which worked great!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray a bundt pan with a nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the cake mix and the pudding. Add the eggs, oil, milk and beat for about 4 minutes. Fold in the chocolate chips and grated chocolate. Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45-55 min (my gas oven baked it in about 45). Let it cool in the pan for 15 min before flipping onto cooling rack or serving dish. Lightly sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

*Important note! Though this recipe is incredibly easy and yields one of the tastiest, most moist cakes you will ever eat, grating the chocolate was a HUGE time suck for me. I only have a cheese grater, as I was living alone this summer in my first apartment and don’t have a ton of appliances. You definitely need it to make the cake not just a typical chocolate chip cake, but look up alternative ways to grate the chocolate. Seriously it took me about 2 hours and almost drove me insane. (Note from Becca: An easy way to grate chocolate is to freeze the chocolate and use the grating disk on a food processor, or place a room temperature chocolate bar broken in to a few pieces and then process until grated)

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Sides, Snacks

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Welcome to yet another new section on the blog: the Guest Post! For anyone who’s been living under a rock and doesn’t get this concept, don’t freak out, it’s just someone who’s not me doing something cute with food/DIYs. Readers of Spices and Spatulas, meet Emily. She doesn’t have a blog of her own, but like me, she spends the majority of her time making delicious baked goods (she’s actually helped me on a great many posts here in the past) so you can definitely trust her on this recipe. You can read a recipe from the birthday brunch I threw her here. Now, onto the post!


Guest Post: Dutch Oven Bread

“How do you tell how good bread is without tasting it? Not the smell, not the look, but the sound of the crust. Listen.” –Colette, Ratatouille

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Do you remember this scene from Ratatouille? If you don’t, go watch it immediately. The sound of the crust as she squeezes the loaf of bread is probably one of the most delightful sounds in the world. I will gladly admit to squeezing every loaf of bread at the grocery store to find the one with the best crust. A crusty crust (does that make sense?) is the ultimate sign of good bread.

This recipe allows you to achieve this without needing to leave your home. By baking the bread in the dutch oven, the steam is trapped, helping to make your crust extra crusty and delicious. It also makes your kitchen smell excellent. This was my first time baking bread, ever. It was incredible. If I can do it, you can do it.


Dutch Oven Bread (Adapted from the Food Coma Blog and the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)– 1 package active dry yeast

– 1 1/3 cup warm water (you will want it to be around 110 oF so that you don’t kill the yeast)

– a pinch or two of sugar

– 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

– 2 teaspoons salt

– vegetable oil

Activate the yeast by mixing it with the warm water and sugar until dissolved. Allow it to sit while you assemble the rest of your ingredients. In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Stir in water/yeast mixture until you form a loose dough. I just used my hands to do this, but if you have an electric mixer with a dough hook that will work too. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. Place your dough ball in a large bowl that has been lightly coated with oil, cover with a damp cloth, and allow it to rise for 2 hours (or until it doubles in size).

On a lightly floured surface, knead your risen dough 15 times (try not to use the flour in excess or your bread will be dry). Return the dough to the bowl and let it rise for another hour until doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 400 oF with your empty dutch oven inside (putting your bread in a warm vessel allows a beautiful crust to develop on the bottom). Turn your dough ball out onto a large sheet of parchment paper. When your oven in heated, take out the dutch oven and carefully use the parchment paper to lower it in. Use a sharp knife to score the top of the dough.

Cover the dutch oven with the lid and return it to the oven. After 20 minutes remove the lid and continue to bake your bread for another 20-30 minutes, it should take on a deep, golden hue. If you want to get technical, the internal temperature should register 210 oF. If you don’t, when you knock the loaf, it should sound hollow because of all the wonderful air bubbles that you created.

I know this looks like a lot of directions, but I promise this is not difficult and so worth the time. Good luck not eating the whole loaf in one sitting.