Archive for ‘Fennel’

June 3, 2011

Friday Night Grill | Copper River Salmon

I think this stuff is fantastic.

Only available from mid-May to mid-June, this fish tastes nothing like a farm-raised salmon.  This is a fish that’s done some work swimming.  Tonight, Hades seasoned it with salt and pepper and a few drops of olive oil.  He grilled it outside on an oak plank covered with fennel fronds, parsley and tarragon.  A drizzle of tahini dressing (2 T tahini, 2 T olive oil, 1 T balsalmic, 1 T crème fraîche, 1 t lemon juice, pinch of brown sugar and S&P) finished off the fish before serving.   I added a cous cous with orange water, cumin, tomatoes and backyard mint as the side.

We didn’t even break a sweat.

Playlist included Many of Horror, by Biffy Clyro.

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May 4, 2011

Ivory Coast via Brussels | Salmon with Saffron Tumeric Cream

I’ll admit to a slight amount of jet lag.  By slight I mean passing out after dinner and waking up at four the next morning.

So I haven’t really blogged dinner in as timely a manner as I’d like; but there you go.

This lovely dish was inspired by a restaurant we happened upon in Brussels the first night we were there.  It was called Hemispheres and it was an ode to the southern hemisphere in all it’s diversity.  From Indian curries to tagines, the menu ran the gamut. The sauce on the salmon was heavenly.  I almost thought there was coconut in it, but it was simply the combination of cream with the deeply yellow colored spices that evoked that sweetness.

This salmon dish could be done in any manner of ways.  In fact, why even use salmon?  Try it with

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February 3, 2011

Icepocalypse: The Dinner | Italian Sausages with White Beans

Everyone had been told to batten down the hatches, so we did.  Buying a whopping two days worth of dinners and lunches at once.  Persephone is a daily grocery shopper.  It is somewhat a product of my Europhile nature, as well as, and perhaps more importantly,  a morning activity with Cherub.  The life of a SAHG (stay at home goddess) is nothing, if not glamorous.  Besides, who knows what I will want to cook for dinner?  I just can’t muster a week’s menu.  I applaud those who can, but…  Oh!  Excuse me, this was a major digression.  Perhaps it’s the lack of adult conversation as well.  Ahem.  Moving on.

There are few things that seem to go better together with a fennel spiced sausage than some simple creamy white beans.  Not the kind from a can; the kind that take a couple of hours on very low heat, simmering with olive oil, garlic, carrots, bay, thyme.  Polenta comes in a very close second for me.  Those beans, paired with sausages braised with onions and served on top of a bit of cabbage with fried capers, make for a bowl of sustenance good enough to fend off any nasty old ice storm.  And the leftovers are perfect for tea the next day.

White Beans with Italian Sausages and Cabbage, serves three, with leftovers

For the beans:

1 16 oz bag of dried white beans, (Cannellini or Great Northern)

1 slice of bacon, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

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January 30, 2011

Hangover Cure | Migas

Do not get the wrong idea: Persephone is not hung over.  She doesn’t get hung over.  Let’s just get that straight first.  But I do know that this is a malady that occasionally affects those fashionable folks who enjoy a nice meal with a few (extra) glasses of wine.

A sturdy, spicy breakfast lunch the next morning midday with a good strong bit of coffee is just what Persephone thinks you need, if you’re one of those fashionable folks.  And the refreshing thing about this is that you can be as creative as you like (or as creative as your refrigerator allows). The only basics you need are pork, eggs and tortillas.

For the migas this morning, it was a mash-up between a Spanish version that’s heavy on the pork products and the Tex-Mex version that’s heavy on the tortillas.  Typically the Spanish version uses breadcrumbs, but we have nine zillion corn tortillas in the fridge so there you have it.

To get started, I fried up some chorizo that was sliced into thick chunks, and a few slices of bacon that had been chopped into five or six pieces.  While this was frying over slowish heat, I soaked some corn tortillas in water that was seasoned with salt, some slices of jalapeno, and smashed garlic.  I also chopped up a couple of tiny potatoes and some fennel tops that we had in the fridge.  I whisked a couple of eggs together and added in a handful of watercress that was feeling lonely.   When the bacon and chorizo was just about crisp, I drained the tortillas and dried them then sliced them into thin strips.  I tipped in the tortillas, potatoes and fennel and let it cook a few minutes until most had crisped a bit (not too much, mind you) then added in the eggs and cress.  Stir and cook until the eggs are the consistency you like then divide into bowls and top with a bit of chopped cilantro.

This is pretty seasonal right now, but certainly in the warmer months, you might add tomatoes or kernels of  summer corn instead of the fennel and potatoes.  There’s also a plethora of cheese choices you can add to this everything from cojita and queso fresco (my favorite) to the shredded four cheese blends you get at the store (not so much my favorite, but entirely do-able).

Make sure you set a bottle of sriracha on the table for those that need a bit more help waking up and facing the day.

Playlist included Help, I’m Alive, by Metric.

January 13, 2011

Winter Kitchen | Zuppa di Cavoli

Every winter kitchen needs a good, sturdy soup.  This zuppa, made with lacinato kale, pancetta and fennel, is amazingly versatile.  The leftovers even result in perfect little hors d’oeuvres.  Who knew?

While this recipe contains the classic French base (i.e., carrot, onion, celery), the ingredients are cooked slightly differently than most other soups I make resulting in a surprisingly different flavor.  Regional and cultural differences in cooking techniques really get me going.  This is because I am a food nerd, but again, you all know this.  You don’t have to be, though, to enjoy this truly delicious Italian soup.

Zuppa di Cavoli, Four Ways, Inspired by Flavors of Tuscany

1 c dried canneloni beans (you could use canned, but I wouldn’t recommend it)

Small bunch of thyme

3 oz pancetta chopped (you could substitute bacon)

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped

1 rib of celery chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small bulb of fennel, trimmed of  stalks and root end, thinly sliced

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