Recipe and Photo by GRAIN
Today’s post it a little different than usual, but I am really excited to be sharing my experience at EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival last week where I had the pleasure of attending the Food Trends and Tasting Panel.
I’m always looking for new ideas, ingredients and products to inspire me in the kitchen, so when I was invited to an evening of meeting some amazing local producers (with lots and lots of delicious samples in tow) I knew it was going to be a pretty awesome night. From Terra Breads’ Turmeric Pistachio Granola, to Turkey Sliders from Rossdown Farms, raw vegan chocolate from Zimt Chocolates, Coconut Lime Yogurt from Tree Island Yogurt and – the key to my heart- farm fresh cheeses from Farm House Natural Cheeses, I don’t think I could have picked out a better spread myself.
Last but definitely not least, I know you all love a good new recipe as much as I do, so GRAIN was kind enough to share one of their most popular recipes for their One Pan Farro with Tomatoes, Leeks & Corn (pictured above). Make sure to check it out below!
Loving food as much as I do, the mingling and eating was obviously a highlight, but the evening was about so much more than that. The panel discussion that kicked off the night was full of interesting insights and a peek behind the scenes of everything going on in the food world right now.
As the name might suggest, the event was all about food trends. But it was a bit of a different take- not just what buzz words are going to make products sell this year? Or what is the next superfood?! Although they did talk about what made for successful products and dishes last year, and what they’re hoping to see coming up, there was a large focus on what makes and breaks trends and the impact (positive and negative) that they can have on our health.
There is one trend in particular that seems to have foodies everywhere drooling right now…
Now the word “trend” in itself tends to have a negative connotation. It is often associated with something that is fleeting, or maybe latched onto for the wrong reasons. So do we really want to see this as a trend? Sarah Stewart of Juniper Kitchen & Bar explains that trends are often a reaction to something that hasn’t worked in the past…
We’re all too familiar with the disaster that was the whole “fat-free”, “low calorie” trend.
This led us to a fear of fats. Even when those fats were nourishing, delicious, what we now know to be health promoting fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Our shelves started overflowing with endless options of overly-processed, refined foods leading us further and further away from real food and our bodies even more confused and unhealthy than ever. Sarah went on to explain that the current trend of eating whole, local and quality foods as a reaction to this disaster is one that she prefers to refer to as a movement rather than a trend. Hopefully this is the start of something really good.
So, is this “trend” of eating whole local foods one that will stick? The answer from panelists, producers and the audience alike, was a huge resounding, hopeful yes! Along with supporting our local economy and environment, eating local can provide us with fresher, more nutrient dense foods, which also means more flavor and better health! Wins all around.
As far as other trends, Denise Breyley, is hopeful that by continuing to work on labeling laws, transparency and education for consumers, we won’t need to be so dependent on flashy health claims to tell us -or trick us in some cases- into what’s healthy or not. With the combination of honest, transparent information available to us and more whole foods that don’t even need a label in the first place, we would be able to make informed decisions about what we want to put into our bodies.
I have to say I am pretty jealous of Denise’s job. She is the chief forager at Whole Foods Market. Not the rummage in the forest for mushrooms type of forager- although that would be pretty cool too- she gets to seek out (and test the products of) people doing interesting things with food. Denise is dedicated to sharing the stories of where our food comes from, how it gets onto our plates, and supporting the local producers that put so much love, care and attention into sharing their amazing, quality goods.
I left the evening feeling inspired about where our food system is headed and with a few good reminders.
Eat consciously. Really listen to your body and eat what it truly needs. Make the time to truly enjoy food. Craving a fresh flaky croissant? Sit down at the café and enjoy the experience rather than stuffing half a box down in your car on the way to work.
Eat in moderation. Enjoy and appreciate good quality food rather than eating something half satisfactory in mass quantities. I guarantee a small piece of good quality brie cheese will take you a lot further than half a pack of processed plasticky cheese.
Eat food, not nutrients or health claims. Evaluate a product in its entirety, not just by the flashy words being used to market it or one ingredient that “is guaranteed to help you lose weight”.
This experience certainly made me slow down a bit and put more thought into where it is I’m getting my food, who I’m supporting and what I’m putting into my body. Another good lesson in Mindful Eating and such a good reminder that food is so much more than just fuel. It is a way to get involved in and share our culture and traditions, and enjoy the love and nourishment that good wholesome foods provide.
Recipe from eatgrain.ca
One Pan Farro with Tomatoes, Leeks & Corn
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
Hearty farro provides a delicious base for this grain salad. Serve with your favorite protein for dinner or bring as is to your next potluck! Also great as a batch prep salad for a week day lunch you’ll look forward to all week! Vegetarian, can be made vegan by subbing the parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast.
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup GRAIN Farro
- 2 cobs corn, kernels removed (or 2 cups frozen corn)
- 2 chopped leeks, whites only
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 9 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
- Up to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
- Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
- Place water and GRAIN Farro in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until beginning to get tender, about 25 minutes.
- While the Farro pre-cooks, prepare the other ingredients and set aside. At the 25 minute mark, remove the lid and add the leeks, corn, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Set a timer for 30 minutes and bring the uncovered pan (no lid necessary) up to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.
- When the timer rings, the Farro should be perfectly cooked (tender but with a meaty chew), seasoned and the cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. If needed, cook it for 5 or so additional minutes, until the Farro is more tender and all of the water is absorbed.
- Transfer to a wide serving bowl. If there’s enough leftover cooking liquid to be bothersome, simply use a slotted spoon to leave the amount you wish to behind. Drizzle Farro lightly with additional olive oil, scatter with basil and parmesan. Eat immediately. (Repeat tomorrow).
- Make it vegan by subbing nutritional yeast for the parmesan cheese
- Alternative vegetables to add or swap in: zucchini, bell peppers or patty pan squash
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Category: Lunch
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: One pan, Easy meals
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