Things I hate about winter:
It’s getting dark early. I’m cold. The laundry never seems to dry. To take the kids to and from school in torrential rain. You can’t go to the beach (well, you can go but it’s not the same). No fresh mango. Taking out Kutcher in the rain. When socks get wet through the shoes in puddles. Traffic jams. Flooding. Traffic jams due to flooding. There are always somehow coats lying around the house. Folding umbrellas. Always to remember to turn the heat on.
Things I love about winter:
Beautiful sunsets. You can eat soup every day. The vibe in the house on a rainy day when the whole family is together inside. Scarves. Boots. The possibility to see rainbow. Strawberries. Oranges. Avocado. Chestnuts. Hamin (jewish stew). The smell of rain. Cuddling under a blanket. No need to wash the car. Kids in hats. Slippers.
There are more and more rainy days. Water from the sky that wash the trees and the ground, the streams slowly begin to fill up, there is green all around, thousands shades of green. Winter has come. Even if there are still sunny days from time to time, you can’t deny it any more. We slow down, gather in our houses, with our family and close ones, the cold weather outside and the early darkness make us look for warmth. Physical warmth, warmth between people, and warmth in food – not only actual temperature but also in the ingredients themselves. I must admit I’m not a winter person. I hate when I’m cold, let me spend a day at the beach and that’s all I need, let me see my children at the beach and I’m sure there’s nothing healthier than I can give them. Still, the winter has its magic, and that too is hard to deny.
Because only in winter, when it’s cold outside, we naturally try to create the warmth inside. When the rain knocks hard on the window, there is a feeling that the whole family is more together, and it doesn’t matter if everyone are playing together some board games (oh idyll ..) or everyone are in front of their private screens (hello reality), winter gives us the chance to focus more in ourselves and the people that are close to us, to be attentive, to take the time, because there is really nowhere to hurry and what to miss. When I was little I remember the excitement I had from the first rain, for me it was the most important thing that could happen in the country that day. Today I see the same excitement with Tamar, and what a blessing it is to have children remind us that.
So next time I’m in some kind of traffic jam caused by some flooding in the city, I hope to remember that the winter, just as it came, will also pass, and soon I’ll be able to sit on the beach again and mingle sea sand in my hands, and till then, it’s kinda nice to live more slowly, filling the soul, and also the stomach, with all good things winter has to offer, and mainly wrap myself real good in warm clothes and warm people, to keep from the cold outside.
In the winter I find myself looking for salads with a different character than usual. More fulfilling, warmer, often with some kind of grains added to. This next salad is just that. At the base of the salad is farro, which is an ancient whole grain with roots from Italy, whose flavors are similar to ordinary wheat and are deeper and profound, it is also considered more healthy. I cook it in the same way as cooking whole rice. The cauliflower in the salad is scorched and short-cooked, the fennel gives the freshness to the dish, and above all the tahini lemony dressing. You can eat cold, hot, or any other temperature in between. Here is the recipe 🙂
Farro Salad with Cauliflower, Fennel and Tahini Dressing
for the salad-
1 cup farro, washed and drained
1 medium cauliflower (about 1¼ lb/600 gr), cut into small florets
1 small fennel, finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 bunch parsley (about 1/2 cup), finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups water (for cooking the farro) + 1/4 cup water (for cooking the cauliflower)
Salt and pepper
for the tahini dressing-
3 tablespoons raw tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold water
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper
1. Cooking the farro: In a small pot, on medium-high heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the farro and fry for about a minute. Add 2 cups water, salt (1/2 teaspoon at least) and black pepper, cover and bring to a boil. After boiling, lower the flame to a minimum and cook for about 45 minutes. Drain the excess water.
2. Cooking the cauliflower: Heat a wide skillet to a very high heat (heat it at least 5 minutes). After the pan is hot, place the cauliflower florets in itt and let it get a nice scorch. After about 2 minutes stir, and then let the rest of the cauliflower florets, which have not yet been charred, scorch (do it again if necessary). Reduce the heat to medium- low heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup water, stir and cover. Let the cauliflower cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like the cauliflower, stirring occasionally.
3. The tahini dressing: In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients of the sauce. The sauce is supposed to be thinner than tahini usually is.
4. Making the salad: In a large mixing bowl, place the cooked farro, charred cauliflower, finely chopped fennel, chopped parsley and pine nuts. Pour over the tahini dressing and mix well until all the salad ingredients are fully covered.
5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
• The salad can easily be used as a side dish.
• You can upscale the salad to a whole meal by adding 1 cup of cooked lentils (not the red or yellow kind). If so, adjust the tahini dressing by using 4 tablespoons of each ingredient instead of 3.