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Something magical happens when you bring together a group of friends and add food.  Last week I witnessed this kind of magic when I joined five friends at a casual dinner gathering.  As busy working women with full lives, it’s hard to get us all together in the same room, but when we do get the opportunity, we revel in it.

With vegetarians in our group, I was worried our food choices would be limited, especially as I considered what my contribution to dinner might be.  I decided on a farro salad that could be served warm or chilled and whose subtle flavors wouldn’t overpower the other meal components.  It was a hit, as our host served it alongside her varied menu of chard with colorful bell peppers, broccoli with meaty mushrooms, roasted carrots and leeks, and polenta cakes.

With wine pouring and a fire roaring, we laughed, cried and enjoyed several courses of soul-satisfying dishes with company — as every meal should be enjoyed.

“Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it is shared.”
― Jesse Browner

Orange-scented Farro with Figs & Pistachios
Serves 4-6

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Ingredients:
3 cups cooked farro
¼ cup fruity white balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons agave
½ cup golden raisins, chopped
½ cup dried figs, chopped
1 cup finely chopped red onion (one medium onion)
1 cup finely chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 orange, zest only
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
In a small saucepan, whisk the vinegar, orange juice, and agave. Bring to a boil and add the chopped raisins and figs. Turn off the heat and let the fruit steep in the juice and vinegar mixture for 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss farro with red onion, celery, olive oil, citrus zest and juice, pistachios and parsley.  Mix in the fruit-vinegar mixture, and add the salt, then pepper to taste.   

Let the salad stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving, to allow the flavors mix and soak into the grain.

Serve warm, or let chill and serve cold.

-Karen


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