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farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messflipping through "Whole Grain Mornings" by Megan Gordon // the first messfarro breakfast bowl ingredients // the first mess
Lately, I’m really into daily devotion, as opposed to yearly resolutions. Also, I didn’t make that up myself. I saw it on the sign outside of a church down the road from my house last week, all covered in snow and ice.  Mark was driving, and I read it as we whizzed on by, everything a blur except for that sharp line of guidance in neon. “Oh! That’s really great.” I made a note of it.

There weren’t a lot of spare moments for contemplation or general downtime in the four months leading into the eve of this year. There are lines of reasoning for that harried period of time, a few of them more ridiculous than others now that I have a shred of hindsight. But I caught a bit of a break over the holidays and legitimately spent one of those days shuttling to three different Target stores on the hunt for highly specific Christmas decorations that were now 70% off. You know, for our festive aesthetic enjoyment an entire year from now. I am awesome at self-crazy-making and as much as I recognize this dumbfounding capability, this is going to be the year that it stops.

On new year’s eve, we thought it would be fun to spend the night at the house, our house. We have an operational heating system, running water, a beautiful plant from a lovely friend, and a bed in its right place with cozy sheets (but not much else at this point), so it seemed like the right way to greet a new calendar year. I got some beers from the brewery down the road from my parents’ place, packed my favourite pyjamas into the overnight bag, and we were on our way as the sun began its exit. The mature trees were all stark against the reds, oranges, creamy yellow, and cold, deep-sea blue when my favourite Tom Waits song came on the radio. Whenever the stereo shuffles onto it, the smile of distinctly felt ease creeps up on my face, I lean back a bit, and stare out the window with a new glance, one of truer awareness for what surrounds. Then Mark starts doing his best Tom Waits impression and I laugh so hard/start yelling “Noooooo!” half-disapprovingly because he’s co-opting my moment of car travel serenity.

This time, my eyes started misting up at the end, the relevance and surprising weight of it all. The notion that you can build up your own personal hell with ease, taking the path of no surrender to madness despite knowing better, the startling transience of our lives here, and that you can find refuge and stillness by finally seeing the love and varied semblances of “home” that are all around you. It was a moment of clarity that caught me off guard.

There was no well-planned dinner or restaurant reservation, no champagne, not a stitch of sequins in my wardrobe that night, and no grandiose proclamations or gestures either. We stepped out for some Tsingtao’s and noodles, and then followed that up with more beers in our jams watching Parts Unknown. We barely made it to midnight before passing out, but it was perfect. Amidst the boxes and mess, our work-in-progress home was flooded with warm light and laughter. Those moments of relief were arrived at with surprising ease too.

So I’m working on greater appreciation and overall life improvement on a day-to-day basis now. I don’t poison myself with guilt over enjoying a coffee (or three) in the morning like I used to. I’m mentally pumping myself up on the idea of saying no to anything that diminishes a self-determined value of my work. I’m trying to communicate better with the man I have the privilege of sharing a life with. I’m listening, like really listening, with less pre-conceived notions. I’m valiantly trying to use less paper towels. And I’m making time for breakfast.

Megan Gordon’s book, Whole Grain Mornings, arrived in the post around Christmas time and I loved it as soon as I took a 3 minute glance through its pages. I’ve always appreciated the calm and grounded tone of her blog, A Sweet Spoonful, and she drives home the importance of mornings with her granola guru ways. The book’s arrival at my doorstep in the crush of the holidays was rather timely to say the least. It’s all laid out by season and the varying paces of life–the mornings that flash by on the way to work, the brunches that see us entertaining loved ones into the afternoon, and the days to slow down and savour every drop of that quiet early light. Simply put, it’s my kind of book. It’s personal in a way that’s relatable, all tying back to those deeply felt seasonal shifts. I’ve been eyeing the banana walnut baked oatmeal, the pear hazelnut oat muffins, the nutty millet breakfast cookies, and the whole grain gingerbread. For now, I’ve been playing around with the savoury inspiration. This bowl is a mix of her greens + grains scramble and the California barley bowl with lemon yogurt sauce. Farro is one of my favourite grains because of the delightful chew. I add some “scrambled” chickpeas with scallions + turmeric, and top the whole heap of it off with some pickled jalapeños, ripe avocado, sesames, and a creamy lemony sunflower-based sauce. Along with the myriad of daily devotions going on, it’s my new favourite thing. Maybe make it yours too?

Wishing everyone all the good things for this year. Thanks, as always, for your kindness in this space. xo

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messturmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messfarro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messall done // the first mess
farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas, avocado, and sunflower lemon sauce

Inspired by Megan Gordon’s Whole Grain Mornings
serves: 2
notes: I take a pasta-ish approach to cooking farro–I just rinse it under cold water, drop it in a medium saucepan and cover it with a bunch of fresh water. I bring it to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, or until it’s cooked through, but still slightly chewy. You can add more water as it cooks if necessary. Once it’s done and I’ve drained it, I pour a good bit of extra virgin olive oil on top and coat all the grains in it to keep them from clumping up.

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for at least an hour
juice + zest of 1 lemon + extra for serving if you like
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
4 scallions, sliced, white + green parts separated
1 1/2 cups cooked farro (using the cooking method described in the notes above)
grapeseed oil (or other heat-tolerant oil)
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2-1 tsp ground turmeric
sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled + diced
pickled jalapeños
salt + pepper (I like Vege-Sal or Herbamare for this)

In a blender, combine the sunflower seeds, lemon zest, juice, dijon salt, pepper and a splash of water to get the blade moving. Mix it on high until a smooth sauce-like consistency forms. Add as much water as you like to make the sauce veer towards thick or thin, depending on your preference. Check it for seasoning and scrape the sauce into a jar or small bowl. Stir in a fat pinch of the sliced scallion greens and set aside.

Portion the cooked farro into two bowls.

In a sauté pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium. Mash the chickpeas up with a fork, leaving some of them whole. Add the sliced white parts of the scallions and the turmeric to the pan. Stir them around until the scallions are slightly soft and the raw edge from the turmeric has faded. Add the mashed chickpeas and season the mix with salt and pepper. “Scramble” the mix in the pan until everything is hot. Stir in some of the scallion greens at the end.

Divide the chickpea scramble between the two bowls of farro. Top bowls with the sunflower lemon sauce. Garnish both with the extra scallions, diced avocado, pickled jalapeños, sesame seeds, and some extra ground black pepper.

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Kathryn08/01/2014 - 5:04 am

I’m so excited for this book to arrive – I can tell it’s going to be my favourite thing ever. I love this savoury take on breakfasting too; I never thought I’d be the kind of person to want anything other than a muffin in the morning but I’m finding more and more that the idea of proper grains + veggies is appealing. Happy new year Laura, looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for you xo

Melissa08/01/2014 - 5:51 am

What a wonderful take on a savoury breakfast. I will be bookmarking this recipe to make. Gorgeous photography too.

Brianne08/01/2014 - 9:43 am

I have to get a hold of this book. Everything I’ve heard about it sounds great! After a crazy holiday apart, my husband and I stayed in on New Year’s Eve. We, too, went out for noodles without any sparkle. Afterwards we watched some movie at home in our sweats while drinking champagne. I fell asleep at 11, but he woke me up at 11:50 so we could ring in the new year together. It was wonderful. I love your outlook on the new year; it’s so inspiring. Best to you!

Ali @ Inspiralized08/01/2014 - 9:44 am

This is absolutely incredible! I want this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Karolina08/01/2014 - 9:51 am

OMG!! I am doing this for my tomorrow breakfast. I have a whole jar of farro sitting on my kitchen shelf and I never knew how should I use it. I like your version very mush. Can I make it in advance? (say in the evening, to take it to work the next day?)

Tessa08/01/2014 - 10:42 am

I love your use of the avocado skin (peel?)with the lemon as a little garnish/prop–very creative.

shanna mallon08/01/2014 - 11:22 am

daily devotion. YES. I want that, too.

la domestique08/01/2014 - 11:27 am

I’m a breakfast-loving person and this bowl looks like a great way to start the day! Here’s to a mega-fantastic 2014!

Christine08/01/2014 - 1:34 pm

This all sounds delicious, and I think you’re a genius with the sauce. Thanks for the reminder to savour those quieter moments and take a step back perspective-wise :)

Laura Wright08/01/2014 - 1:53 pm

Hi Karolina, You could definitely assemble the bowl the night before and just heat it up in the morning and top it off with your avocado, sesames and sauce. And if you’re cool with a room temperature kind of thing, by all means throw everything together the night before.
-L

Ashley08/01/2014 - 4:48 pm

So lovely, in thoughts, words, and pictures. As your posts always are.

Sherrie | With Food + Love08/01/2014 - 8:14 pm

Laura -

Super gorgeous photos on this one. I actually own that same vintage red + white pot! I have a blue + white too, they’re the prefect props.

So much love!
SHERRIE

Lindsey08/01/2014 - 8:18 pm

I totally hear you on the whole not making resolutions thing. Sounds like you and yours had a quiet and lovely celebration together – those are the best!

This scramble is super! I love the idea of making a breakfast with chickpeas + turmeric + scallions! I’m also all over the sunflower cream,that’s def going on the must-make list!

sara forte08/01/2014 - 8:45 pm

first off, your writing is so sweet and wonderful. Love all of it, but especially the day at a time sort of devotion. I find that to be way more practical and worth sticking to as opposed to larger, vague goals that I seldom revisit until I return to that same binder the following Dec. 30thish. I’m on board. Also. You never cease to amaze me, Laura. Scrambled chickpeas. Of course. I love eggs HOWEVER this is genius and I am so impressed with your continued creativity, my friend.

Sally - My Custard Pie09/01/2014 - 12:30 am

Hopped over here from My Darling Lemon Thyme and so glad I did. Love your photographs, writing and recipes but most of all your approach to life. Balanced…and a bit messy. Will be visiting often.

Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)09/01/2014 - 8:10 am

“The mature trees were all stark against the reds, oranges, creamy yellow, and cold, deep-sea blue when my favourite Tom Waits song came on the radio. Whenever the stereo shuffles onto it, the smile of distinctly felt ease creeps up on my face, I lean back a bit, and stare out the window with a new glance, one of truer awareness for what surrounds. Then Mark starts doing his best Tom Waits impression and I laugh so hard/start yelling “Noooooo!” half-disapprovingly because he’s co-opting my moment of car travel serenity.”

This. Just, this.

We’re on a hella similar musical plane, and that just makes me smile.

Amanda09/01/2014 - 1:56 pm

I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now, but this post resonated so much with me I had to comment. A) I love that Tom Waits song and B) the line about creating your own personal hell with ease despite knowing better just is so true. It’s amazing how we can recognize the false starts and sometimes choose not to mitigate the damage. But things have a way of righting themselves, as you felt and saw. This meal is a great reflection of that. Thanks for showing such a true reflection of yourself here on your blog. Best, A

Megan09/01/2014 - 2:25 pm

This looks just lovely, and I am liking your outlook resolutions or lack thereof. We all could use a break from our own judgment from time to time :)

I made resolutions but smart ones. There are two not that east- visiting Wild Wild West and seeing bridges from The Bridges of Madison County. But so far so good, I do it day by day and it seems to work. Thank you for the tip about book, I am always looking for morning inspirations :) Happy New Year!

Amy09/01/2014 - 6:48 pm

Gorgeous photos per usual! I love a good savory breakfast. Curious, why do you soak the seeds?

Jenn Radford09/01/2014 - 7:50 pm

This looks amazing. I’m hugely into breakfast, so this book sounds right up my alley! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us readers in 2014. All the best

Laura Wright10/01/2014 - 12:25 am

Hi Amy! I soak the seeds just to soften them up a bit before they hit the blender. Makes for a creamier dressing in the end.
-L

Megan Gordon10/01/2014 - 12:40 am

Such a beautiful post and I’m so glad you’re making the recipes your own — I think this savory bowl really lends itself to that. Leftover grains + little bits you’re excited about in the fridge = new breakfast inspiration. Gorgeous photos, as always. Happiest of weekends to you! ~Megan

Emma Galloway10/01/2014 - 4:04 am

Your New Years eve sounded absolutely perfect. As does this bowl of goodness, scrambled chickpeas?! Brilliant xx

Jacqui10/01/2014 - 12:23 pm

Scrambled chickpeas! Such a great idea! I love a good savory breakfast, but it usually includes eggs, this will be a nice switch. Here’s to a less “creating personal hell” year ; )

[…] about as sexy as oatmeal ever looks, folks. Then I’ll probably have to try Laura’s spin on the farro bowl and prepare some saucy tomato poached eggs for brunch once I’m settled into my new house. I. […]

hannah10/01/2014 - 9:45 pm

This looks DELICIOUS, I’d actually love it as a cosy dinner. I’d love to see you veganise some of those recipes linked above – would you just add a flax egg to the cookies?
Also, do you fancy sharing that persimmon smoothie? I Loooooove persimmons but have never blended one, do you just throw it in with some dates? do you peel it?
Thank you for sharing and wishing you such a happy new year, I love your blog and every word that you write and look forward to following your adventures!

Teri11/01/2014 - 11:19 pm

um, the list of ingredients doesn’t seem to have farro. (not that I have any, what is it and what can I substitute, please) and thank you for the second paragraph of your essay. I needed that… very very much.

Megan12/01/2014 - 1:39 pm

As someone who can rarely handle a sweet breakfast but is getting a bit sick of eggs and bagels w/ cream cheese, this looks AMAZING. And the further I got in the pictures the more I realized: I have almost all of these ingredients in my pantry right now, but never would have thought of combining them. It was as if you knew and were writing just for me!

On that note, though: one of the things I’m missing is dijon mustard. Would you have any recommendations for a substitute/alternative cream sauce? Last time I had a similar problem I made a maple chili curry yogurt, but I feel like that would be too heavy for this.

(Note: I’m very much a beginner homechef. I’m still learning a lot about flavor pairings, often through a lengthy trial and error process, as I over-zealously make things up as I go. I was quite surprised when the aforementioned yogurt turned out semi-decent.)

Laura Wright12/01/2014 - 2:22 pm

Hi Teri, sorry about that confusion. I added the amount of farro into the recipe, and just to let you know–it’s a grain similar in body/texture to wheat berries or whole grain spelt. You can use any cooked grain you like in its place (quinoa, millet, bulgur etc)
-L

Laura Wright12/01/2014 - 2:24 pm

Hi Megan, in the cookbook I was working from, the author actually recommends a simple sauce of yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped chives/green onions for this bowl. So maybe you could do something like that?
-L

Steph13/01/2014 - 3:18 am

That bowl of goodness looks so vibrant and inviting, I have never tried farro, but think I should :)

Emily | The Guest House13/01/2014 - 10:56 am

I am always, ALWAYS, looking for new good savoury breakfast ideas. This is one I’ve never thought of before so thank you!

Brian @ A Thought For Food13/01/2014 - 11:38 am

Well… this is going on my must make list. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Laura Wright13/01/2014 - 1:04 pm

Hi Hannah,
For the millet cookies, I think I would sub mashed ripe banana for the egg and up the baking powder in the recipe to a full teaspoon. And for the persimmon smoothie, I just used a chopped ripe persimmon (peel and all), a couple chopped figs, 3 pitted dates, some vanilla, the juice of a couple oranges and some coconut yogurt. The pectin in the persimmon made it pretty thick so just be aware of that if you make it :)
-L

Allyssa14/01/2014 - 12:22 pm

That breakfast looks delicious! I love your blog, by the way. :)

Kristie Eccleston15/01/2014 - 8:42 pm

I’m new here and WOW! I can’t get over the photography of the food. I mean I can’t wait to try some of these recipes but I was drawn in by the photos!

The Rose Journals17/01/2014 - 1:36 am

Every time I come on your blog I’m swept away with the originality. Seriously, you be killin it. So blessed for you! :):)

T18/01/2014 - 3:52 pm

Beauty. I am going to try think with black rice to make it gluten-free!

SouthernSpoonBelle19/01/2014 - 12:35 am

Savory breakfasts have unexpectedly become one of my favorite weekend habits– really looking forward to trying this combination. Happy 2014 to y’all, and, as always, thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful food!

Monica21/01/2014 - 6:03 pm

Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! It’s already become a favorite. Made exactly as written, the only change we made was adding fresh serrano chiles as garnish. The sunflower butter was a great surprise — excellent vegan ‘yogurt.’ Thanks for the great tips for cooking farro.

Georgia09/02/2014 - 8:30 pm

There is no way I’m not making this

Lindsey17/02/2014 - 10:17 pm

I have been a bacon and eggs for breakfast kind of girl for a long time. And even though I won’t be giving up bacon and eggs for good anytime soon, this has become my new everyday breakfast. So easy to throw together in the morning when everything is made up ahead of time, so satisfying and feel good. The jalapenos just send this over the awesome edge for me.

Kayla01/04/2014 - 12:10 pm

Scrambled chickpeas with greens has been my go-to lunch lately thanks to this post! I absolutely love it. I add a big spoonful of tahini right before taking the scramble off the heat and stir it around so it binds a little – adds just the right amount of creaminess.

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