Tag Archives: Thyme

Farro with Mushrooms & Artichokes

One thing my mom has always been really good at is giving me a challenge to complete.  And alongside that, she also gifted me the genetic drive to want, nay, the need to complete every challenge to award myself the ultimate satisfaction.

So when she handed me a bag of farro and a jar of artichoke hearts, the challenge was proffered.  And I accepted.

Plus, she always offers to buy whatever other ingredients I need.  Can’t resist that offer.

Farro with Mushrooms & Artichokes Printable Recipe Card

  • 2 C cooked farro (instructions below)
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 shallots (or one small onion), diced
  • 16 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used bella, but others would work)
  • 1 small can artichoke hearts, quartered (I used the kind packed in water, not oil)
  • 1 t dried ground thyme
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 C dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)

Start off by pre-cooking the farro.  Bring two cups of water to a boil and 1 C freshly rinsed farro.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the farro is tender (about 25-30 minutes).

And farro, by the way, is delicious.  Kinda like barley, if you’ve never had it.  In fact, you can sub barley in for this recipe, or use any other grain (spelt? brown rice?  The world is your oyster).

Once the farro is nearly ready, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until translucent, then toss in the mushrooms (it’d probably be a good idea to do the mushrooms in two batches so you don’t crowd them–Julie & Julia, anyone?).  Once most of the liquid is cooked out of the mushrooms, add the remaining ingredients (including the cooked farro), and simmer on low until the rest of the liquid cooks down.

Oh, man.  Yum.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The farro gets a nice and creamy taste (without cream!), thanks to all the liquid that cooks with it.  Plus, can you really go wrong with butter, mushrooms, and white wine?

I mean, not really.  No.  The answer is no.  You can’t go wrong.

And if you were to imbibe in a refreshing glass of wine while this is bubbling away on the stove, no one could blame you.  I certainly wouldn’t.

Add some grilled tuna steaks to this meal, and you have really sealed the deal.  I’d come over for dinner.  You can invite me at lauren@fullmeasureofhappiness.com or on my Facebook page.

No, really.  Or invite Fritz over, because he’s all alone on Long Island, and probably hungry.  And Henry?  He’s definitely starving.  Always is.


Filed under Side Dishes

Herbs–Garden Edition

I planted my baby tomato plants today in a last-ditch effort to save ’em after I accidentally left them outside in direct hot burning sunlight for a full day.  They got sunburned.  Badly.  After a week of TLC, they seemed to recover somewhat, so I figured it was time for them to graduate.

Luckily it was a gray, drizzly day outside, so they weren’t subjected to more intense UV rays while they settled in their new home.

Since the rest of my herb garden is springing up tremendously well, I thought I’d give you a look-see.  We planted this herb garden all from seed last year (and basil and tomatoes from seed again this year), and the ease with which it grew has really astounded me.  Why doesn’t every cook have a garden?  I know from now on I will always have these herbs in my garden–it’s so convenient and cheap!

Maybe I did inherit some of my mom’s green thumb!

We planted some catnip in the back to fuel Henry’s hysterical addiction–it hasn’t been growing well (too sandy?) and I almost gave up hope, but today I found this:

In our herb garden, our littlest baby, basil (can’t wait for some fresh pesto!):

‘Course there’s the chives, which you’ve recently witnessed starring in a vinegar recipe (which has since turned a beautiful pink color!):

Next up, lavender!  Best use of lavender so far has been in this pork chop dry rub–different, and perfect.  I’m excited because this year the lavender is much more plentiful than last year, and up way earlier, so I’m hoping for a lot more flowers.

Can’t have an herb garden without parsley–how else is a girl to garnish everything, or make pasta puttanesca?

We have a large amount of sage, which I’ve used to great success in this garlic and sage bread or in this chicken breakfast sausage:

Of course I have one of my most-used herbs, thyme, which is perfect for any and all soups, including this corn chowder, one of my first recipes on this blog! (Please don’t laugh at the quality of that post!  I was just learning!):

I didn’t plant cilantro this year, and I was kind of sad because I’ve seen a couple of recipes lately that I wanted to try that call for it.  Imagine my joy and surprise today when I discovered some seeds from last year must have regenerated!  I was weeding and just knew I smelled cilantro. Yes!  Hello, open-faced tacos!

And mint.  Ah, mint.  I planted this solely so I could make copious amounts of mojitos all summer long.  But if plenty of fresh alcoholic drinks aren’t your thing, how about some fresh minty green iced tea (recipe coming soon to a blog near you!):

Last but not least, my precious tomatoes.  I hope you live.  I really want to eat you in chili form (pumpkin bowl or not)!

In other garden news, look who bloomed today!  First one of the year!  These irises (iris? irisi?) traveled all the way from my parent’s house two years ago:

Judging by the looks of things around the house, I think it’s rapidly approaching bedtime.  Even Henry’s tuckered out:

(Thanks Mom for the box and its pre-cat contents today!)

Another full day of studying tomorrow–and some procrastinating, I’m sure.  Speaking of which, how do you like the new blog design?  I wanted something bright and summery!


Filed under Non-food things I like

Carrot-Ginger Soup

I know that I already claimed that I made my last warm soup for the year, but I lied.  I love soup.  I’ll eat soup in the winter, in the summer, at school, after work, in a box, with a fox…

Seriously, I love soup.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  So needless to say, even though the last few days have been perfect sunny shorts and tee-shirt weather, I jumped at the chance to make soup today since it never broke 70 (and by now, it’s downright chilly!). 

When it’s gray outside, make the brightest orange soup you can inside.  It’ll cheer you and your sad studying self right up!  I found this recipe in the new cookbook I bought a while ago, and just knew it would be amazing.  So simple, so tasty, so…orange.

Carrot-Ginger Soup (adapted from You Can Trust a Skinny Cook by Allison Fishman)

  • 2 T butter
  • 3/4 lb carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (I used baby carrots.  Sweeter.  More convenient)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced
  • (1) 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 t fresh thyme leaves (7-10 short sprigs)
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 3 C chicken broth
  • 1 T chopped parsley, for the garnish

Melt the butter in a largish soup pot over medium heat.  When you are making a recipe like this, where there aren’t a million ingredients, this first step is important–and the butter will make a difference in taste.  Don’t use oil.  Embrace the butter.  Love the butter.

Be careful not to let the butter brown, and add the onion, carrots, and ginger.  Stir in the thyme leaves and salt.  Go easy on the salt–you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.  The chicken broth will also add salt, even if you are using low-sodium.

Saute for a few minutes until the veggies begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes.  Pour the broth in, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are completely cooked, roughly another 15 minutes.


Here comes the fun part.  Pour the soup in the blender and give it a whirl.

The cookbook says to take the plastic part of the lid out, so the steam doesn’t build up in the blender and explode an orange mist all over your ceiling.  I don’t want that, and I’m fairly certain you don’t want that.  Plus, you get to watch the steam make some very pretty patterns as it blends.

Once blended, pour into bowls and top with the parsley. 

The garnish gives the soup a nice bright finish, and tastes perfect with the warm carroty base.  And be prepared–that big hunk o’ ginger gives it quite a kick!  You’ll be feeling warm and fuzzy in no time.

And don’t forget to admire that beautiful color.  When shades like this are found in nature, they are made to be celebrated.

Anyhoo–I’m headed back to the jail cell that is my desk.  Only five finals and a project to go this week, then I’m visiting my sister in Boston for her birthday.  I can’t WAIT.


Filed under Soups/Stews

Lavender, Thyme, and Rosemary Dry Rub

1) Happy Π day! 

2) I wanted to bake a pie to celebrate because any self-respecting science-and-maths-loving food blogger should.

3)  But it’s midterms week…so I didn’t do that.

4)  I took two out of my seven midterms today and did well on them–but I am now completely drained and can’t possibly imagine ever studying again. 

5)  So instead, Fritz and I are watching Wedding Crashers and I’m blogging and editing pictures.

6)  We also just ate a frozen pizza for dinner.

7)  It was incredibly delicious.

8)  It wasn’t frozen when we ate it.

9)  I still have a lot of tests to go, so I should probably get this post moving along so I can hit the books again.

My mom called me a few days ago and told me she bought me a book about herbs–how to grow them, harvest them, use them, etc.  It’s pretty exciting because I started an herb garden last year, and I spotted some babies starting to grow already.

Anyway, Mom was paging through the book and reading me some of the ideas over the phone, and she mentioned a recipe for lavender syrup.  That got my brain going–I completely forgot that you can eat lavender, not just bask in the glory of its luscious smell. 

I had pork chops in the fridge, and a quick google later this dry rub was born.

Lavender, Thyme, and Rosemary Dry Rub

  • 1 t dried lavender (you can buy culinary lavender in some grocery stores if you don’t happen to have some from your herb garden)
  • 2 t dried thyme
  • 1 t dried rosemary
  • 1/4t-1/2 t salt, depending on your personal taste (start low!)
  • 1/4 t ground white pepper

Roughly crush the spices (lavender, thyme, and rosemary) in a mortar and pestle–or use a spice grinder if you want finer spices.

Dry two pork chops with paper towels, and rub the dry rub into it with your fingers on both sides.

Grill ’em up!

Our gas grill ran out of gas, so Fritz broke out the charcoal even though it was a little windy out.  I had completely forgotten how the smell of a charcoal grill is beyond amazing.  It smells like camping and fire and summer nights…


I’m off to study some more–enjoy your last few minutes of that Daylight Savings Time light.


10)  This was the best dry rub we’ve ever had.  So delicious.


Filed under Spice Mixes

Get Your Lentil On: Masoor Dahl (and drying herbs)

I love me some Indian food.  Fritz’s sister Eber bought us (well, me) a cookbook called complete indian cooking for a wedding gift and every single recipe I have made from it (and it has been quite a few) has been absolutely delicious.  I bought a couple of bags of dried lentils the other day, and I was in the mood to make something spicy yet comforting: masoor dahl.

I’ll let the book speak for itself for once:

“This spicy lentil dish…is high in nutrients as well as tasting delicious, so you can feel good about its benefits as well as enjoying its fantastic flavors.  Lentils are full of nutrients and have a high energy value.  They are rich in protein, carbohydrates, phosphorus, and iron, as well as the B vitamins.”

I love feeling good about my food, don’t you?

Masoor Dahl (adapted from complete indian cooking)

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 t cloves
  • 1/2 t freshly ground cardamom
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 C lentils
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom and fry until fragrant.  Add the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and garam masala and cook for about five minutes.

Add the lentils, stir, and cook for one minute.

 Add salt to taste and enough water to come roughly 1 1/4″ above the lentils.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about half an hour until very thick and tender.

Meanwhile, I decided that to spice these lentils up I’d serve them in a roasted green bell pepper.  Halve the pepper, throw out the seeds, and place under the broiler until tender and browned.

When the lentils are tender, stir in the lemon juice and spoon into bell peppers.  Serve immediately.

Fritz was such a big fan of this meal that I had to stick another bell pepper in the oven so he could have seconds, and then a serving to bring to school for lunch tomorrow.

Speaking of Fritz and school, he has his first patient tomorrow!  I’m so excited for him–he says he’s not even nervous anymore because he is too overwhelmed trying to remember everything he has to do.  But I’m sure he will do amazingly well.  So good luck dental class!  If I had time between now and then I’d bake you a tooth cake (oh!! tooth cake pops! what a great idea!!), but I have to go do some homework myself.

I’ll leave you with a photo essay of my new accomplishment for the day.  This morning there was frost on the ground, and I knew I had to salvage whatever I could from my herb garden before everything dies.  I have waaay too much thyme and sage, so if you live near me and would like some to dry, please let me know!

what our herb garden looked like when it had just started growing

I am going to grab a few paper bags tomorrow when I go grocery shopping to put over the hangers so dust doesn’t collect in them, so hopefully they dry well.  I’m off to do some orthopedics homework, so have a beautiful night!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian