Posts Tagged ‘fennel’

A Collaborative Effort

Veggie Risotto

Though it didn’t start out that way, this week’s Meatless Monday dinner ended up being an incongruous amalgamation of several ideas and recipes.

Firstly, I wanted something relatively quick that wouldn’t heat up the kitchen too much.  That immediately put my original plan of revisiting last week’s awesome potato salad out of the running because the spuds needed to be oven roasted.

Next, I considered peas because I’d spent all that time shucking 2 quarts of them on Sunday, so I might as well use them before they went bad.

From there my mind wandered to risotto, and initially settled on a light spring pea and parmagiano version.

But before long I started to recall the delightfully nutty braised fennel I’d made courtesy of a Serious Eats recipe (initially sampled for a pared down version of the pizza minus anisette cream, which by the way makes one outstanding pie!).

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Turning Over A Greener Leaf

Sweetish Slaw

Here at Foodie And The Everyman, we’re always trying to find new ways to incorporate more healthy and environmentally responsible meals into our life.

Being virtuous ain’t easy though, and after a tough day at the office, mostly I just want to inhale a cupcake or a juicy steak.  Unfortunately, one can’t live on cake or steak alone, so every now and then I need to boost my vegetable intake to compensate for one too many edible indiscretions.

As part of that, I’ve recently adopted the idea of participating in Meatless Mondays at home.

Normally, my concept of meat-free eating is firmly rooted in either a tofu preparation, one of my hand-rolled vegetable pastas or occasionally a hearty soup.  And since the Everyman is allergic to nuts and won’t eat eggs or seafood, I am somewhat limited in the options available to me, so it seemed important to expand the vegetarian repertoire.  That it would be good for our health and also the planet are somewhat of an added bonus.

However, for the inaugural Meatless Monday, I had no tofu in the house, and I’d already packed pasta leftovers for our lunches, which meant that another pasta meal was out of the question.  Thus our first Meatless Monday supper would require a slightly more elegant solution.  After brainstorming for a little bit, I decided to concoct a veggie burger with homemade buns, mashed white beans, flax seed and piri piri sauce for a little bit of kick.  Once mixed together and grilled, the patties proved tender and delicious, if a little sloppy to eat.  Next time I’ll most definitely have to experiment with other ingredients to make the patties firmer.

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Turning Winter Into Spring (Or Why I Would Never Survive On The Atkins Diet)

Combining The Seasons

Firstly, I apologize for having such a one track mind lately, but I’ve really, really, really been enjoying messing around with the new pasta maker.  Heaven knows I already loved pasta a great deal before I started to make my own, so fresh made has only managed to amplify that passion further.

The other night I intended to finish the rest of a batch of semolina dough by trying my hand at ravioli, so I’d carefully rolled out sheets and set them aside as we waited for someone to pick up a set of keys.  I hadn’t wanted to start cooking on the off chance that we’d be sitting down to dinner just as they decided to show up, so I’d only started my prep. Of course, the visitor ended up being late, and staying much longer than expected, so by the time I got back to the pasta, most of the edges and ends were dried out and brittle.  Lesson number one with pasta; always cover the dough when you’re not working on it.  Since we’d been waiting so long to eat neither of us wanted to wait any more, so we ended up getting some takeout that night instead.  Not that it mattered at that point, because I was significantly non-plussed by the whole situation.

After we were sated, I decided to try and salvage what was left of the supple dough and work it into a pasta for the following day’s lunch.  I had a rather large bag of frozen chunks of braised oxtail in the freezer that wasn’t getting used as quickly as I would’ve liked, but given that my grocer had delivered a 5 pound bag of oxtail when I’d ordered them and I’d braised the whole lot because it sounded just as easy to do 1 pound as 5, it was understandable.  Nonetheless, I knew oxtail would form the base of the sauce.  Peering around in the fridge, I also came across the flesh of a roasted acorn squash I’d been meaning to use, and some leftover fennel fronds.  Rooting around a little bit more, I unearthed a jar of pickled ramps from last spring that astonishingly had not been opened yet.  Grabbing a tub of creme fraiche for good measure, I started tossing all of the disparate ingredients together into a pan to warm up.  In the time that it took for the sauce to heat and come together, I cut the pasta dough into rough noodles, and dunked them into the pot of boiling water.  After their quick bath, I retrieved them and tossed in the pan with the sauce.  Adding a sprinkling of chopped pickled ramps and fennel fronds to the top, I portioned it up for lunch and put it away.

The next day at lunch, as I took the first bite I marvelled at the clever combination of bi-seasonal ingredients.  Standing in for winter was the oxtail and acorn squash, giving body to an otherwise lightened dish.  The fennel fronds and ramps practically sung of springtime and the creme fraiche managed to tie everything together.  It probably wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever made in my life, but at the time in that moment, with the warm sun beaming down on me through my office window, it was pretty damn fantastic.

I would suggest you try just such a combination to help usher in spring.

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