Friday, January 1, 2016

In the mood for a healthy breakfast

Coconut Breakfast Farro with Spiced Oranges and Coconut Cream: Start Your Morning and Your New Year Right!







When I was a kid, my dad always made breakfast on Christmas morning: Sara Lee coffee cake, bacon, scrambled eggs, and of course, coffee.  My dad makes the best coffee.  This little tradition has carried over into my and my brother's adult lives; I always make something festive for Christmas breakfast, and this year, after telling his girlfriend about the coffee cake ritual, she made a homemade coffee cake with streusel topping.  I find that so cute.





New Year's morning is not at all like Christmas morning.  Brian and I are usually hungover (or at least, I am.  Brian doesn't seem to get hangovers), I usually wake up way late, and because we've spent the last month indulging, the last thing I want to make is a big, holiday breakfast.




This year was a little different.  We didn't drink and I woke up early (well, the dogs woke me up early).  But I am a little tired of all the indulging, even though we've kept it in check this year.

I recently saw this pin, which lead me to this recipe, which lead me to this blog, written by a Canadian lass who makes and blogs gorgeous vegetarian recipes.  The recipe, citrus with a spiced vanilla syrup, bewitched me.  Spiced vanilla syrup, you say!  Citrus!  What a lovely combo!



I also had it in my head to make a porridge, like this.  In terms of porridge ingredients, I had quinoa, brown rice, oats, farro, and kamut on hand.  I turned to my ever-reliable Pinterest, and found this broken farro porridge recipe from Blogging Over Thyme, which has you blitz your farro to dust in a food processor or blender.  It... didn't so much work for me.  I guess my blades aren't sharp enough or my appliances aren't strong enough.  I didn't so much end up with powdered farro as I did just regular farro.  So I went with that.



While the farro was cooking, I made a spiced vanilla syrup that I then used to poach slices of orange.  I simmered green cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, and allspice with sugar and water until thickened slightly and reduced by about a third.  I added the sliced up oranges and simmered for about fifteen minutes until the liquid was reduced by about a quarter and the oranges were soft and starting to fall apart.






Since I'd failed to make farro porridge, I wanted the farro to be interesting so I added some unsweetened shredded coconut about ten minutes before the farro was finished cooking, just to soften it.




That looks like a king's ransom in vanilla beans, but don't worry, I don't go around putting 15 vanilla beans in every dish.  See, two or three year ago, I ordered bulk vanilla beans from Beanilla.  I think I ended up paying about $1 per bean, which isn't cheap but it's loads cheaper than buying beans at the grocery store (maybe $6+ per bean?).  Using this recipe, I used 14 vanilla beans, split between two bottles (one vodka, one whiskey) to make vanilla extract.  After I'd used both bottles of extract, I was left with those 14 beans.  Most of their flavor had been leeched out, which is, of course, the whole point of an extract.  You extract the flavor.  But the beans still had some life in them, and throwing them away seemed too tragic.  I'm not cheap, but I really hate waste.  So, I left the beans to dry on a paper towel for a few days, and then stuck them all in a large mason jar that I then filled up with sugar.  I gave it a good shake, and viola!  Vanilla sugar.  Because the vanilla beans weren't all that strong, there wasn't much point in refilling the sugar after I'd used it, so I decided to take these lovely, hard-working vanilla beans, and give them one final task: this spiced syrup.  I'm telling you, I got my money's worth out of those beans.




Breakfast Coconut Farro with Poached Oranges

Vegan and Gluten-Free
Serves two

Ingredients:

1/2 cup farro
2 cups water
pinch kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 oranges, zested
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
3 green cardamom pods
3 allspice berries
1 star anise
2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1/2 can coconut milk


Prepare the farro: bring 2 cups water to the boil, add pinch of salt, and farro.  Reduce to simmer and cook until al dente, about 40 minutes.  In the last 10 minutes, add coconut.

Prepare the syrup and oranges: zest the oranges and add zest, cardamom, allspice, anise, and cinnamon to a saucepan with 2 cups water.  Bring to a simmer.  Add sugar and bring back to a simmer.  Keep on a low simmer until reduced by a third, about 15 minutes.  Add vanilla and simmer for another minute or so, just to burn off the alcohol.  Remove syrup from the heat and strain into a heat safe bowl or glass measuring cup.  Discard cinnamon sticks, etc.  Return syrup to the saucepan and add oranges.  Continue gently simmering until oranges are soft and starting to fall apart, about 7 minutes.

To serve: spoon the coconut farrow into your bowl, and add some poached oranges.  Add a spoonful of syrup to the 1/2 can coconut milk and stir to combine.  Drizzle over the top.  Enjoy!