Asparagus, Fennel & Grapefruit Salad

DSCN6378.png

I made this delicious salad, riffing off a delicious sounding salad in the Italian Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo. Her recipe served six and include oranges to which I am allergic. I miss oranges terribly as they were one of my favorite fruits and I loved citrus-based cleansers. I guess I must have already eaten my lifetime allotment of oranges because all of sudden about 10 years ago, I became terribly allergic to them. So for me, I often substitute grapefruit which oddly enough I can still eat. It’s not the same, it is not nearly so sweet, but it’s in the ballpark. And sometimes, I think it is probably even more delicious precisely because it is less sweet.

The thing to remember about cooking is that it’s like jazz while baking is like classical music. When you cook, you can extemporize. Don’t have an ingredient, use something else. Use your instincts and your taste buds. Her recipe also called for fresh parsley and I did not have any. I used the fennel fronds instead just for the color. Parsley would have been a good addition and I will make this again with parsley, but it still made a delicious salad. In fact, that I can mess around with the original recipe here and there is proof, in my opinion, of the soundness of the foundation recipe. Good recipes can tolerate a lot of fiddling.

  • 3 asparagus spears, lightly boiled or heated on low for a few minutes in microwave, until tender
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced and chopped fennel
  • 1/2 grapefruit supremed (cut segments out)
  • 4 black olives, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp of fennel fronds

Mix together in a bowl, squeeze the juice out of the leftover grapefruit, add 2 tsps of olive oil, a splash of rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

This was light, flavorful and satisfying. The olives were a surprisingly good addition, adding a satisfying bit of fattiness to the very light meal. I have loved green olives and grapefruit in salads. I thought black olives would be too mild, but they are a surprisingly good match. Asparagus is mild, which makes it a great foundation for strong flavors like fennel and grapefruit. Crunchy, light, flavorful, what more can I ask?

 

Ground Turkey Fennel Cutlets Sandwich

DSCN6370.png

It’s fun to experiment and this was a good one. I had some ground turkey that the store had overground, it was closer to meal than meat so the only thing it was suited for is meat balls or cutlets. So, that’s what I went for.

Prepare the vegetables in advance.

DSCN6361.png

Chop the vegetables in advance, mushrooms, onions, red pepper, fennel bulb and garlic

In a small pan, melt 1 tsp of butter and sauté on medium heat until tender the following veggies. Add salt and pepper.

  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh fennel
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced.

There won’t be any butter to drain. Just toss into a bowl with the following ingredients and form into small cutlets. The flax seed doesn’t add any flavor or anything. They are just a good source of antioxidants and other health benefits. Cooking releases their optimum benefits.

DSCN6365.png

Mix cooked veggies to ground turkey and saltines.

  • 12 oz ground turkey
  • 12 saltine crackers
  • 1 TBSP of flax seed
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat a skillet to medium heat with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add the cutlets to the pan and cook, turning when browned on one side. Cook until browned on both sides and then put a lid on it, setting it aside on a low heat burner while you toast the bun.

DSCN6368.png

Flip turkey cutlets after one side has browned, brown the other and then cook on low with a lid on it to cook the meat thoroughly.

1 baguette sandwich bun, sliced and toasted on a griddle.

For the mushroom sauce, use the small pan you cooked the veggies in. Melt 1 TBSP of butter. Add garlic cloves, then the mushrooms, paprika, salt and pepper. Sauté until tender and add white wine, cook it down and add sour cream.

  • 4 mushrooms sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBSP white wine
  • 2 TBSP of sour cream
  • salt and pepper

Meanwhile, chop some fresh cilantro to top the sandwich. This makes two sandwiches.  There is plenty of sauce from the mushrooms that you don’t need butter or mayonnaise on the bread.

DSCN6370

Oops, part of a cutlet broke off Add mushrooms and cilantro on one side, cutlets on the other. No mayo or butter needed because the mushroom sauce has plenty of moisture.The sandwich is so delicious, that little bit of fennel is everything. 

Pork, Pear and Grape Vinaigrette Slaw Sandwich

DSCN6349.png

One of the things I brought home from the Food Bank is a package of great sandwich rolls. They were a bit old, so I lightly toasted them to freshen, just laying them unbuttered on a cast iron griddle to toast lightly.

Meanwhile, I sliced about a half cup of cabbage and mixed it in a bowl with the Roasted Grape Vinaigrette I made last night. I chopped up the top of one fennel frond and mixed it in

After the bread was toasted, I spread some mayo on both halves. On one side, I placed several slices of Earl Grey Roast Pork. On the other side, I spread some slices of Bosc pear and the impromptu cabbage slaw.

This was delicious, there’s the savory pork, the sweet pear and the vibrant, tangy slaw all coming together. I will definitely make this again.

Fennel, Asparagus, Strawberry & Feta Salad with Grape Vinaigrette

DSCN6347

After making the Roasted Grape Vinaigrette, I was hungry for a salad. I tore up some Romaine lettuce leaves to form the base, shaved off a couple slices from a fennel bulb and chopped them up, shaved three asparagus spars with a peeler, sliced three strawberries (they were twice the length of regular strawberry) and layered it all on the lettuce. I added the Roasted Grape Vinaigrette, assed some salt and pepper and sprinkled with feta cheese (a bit more than usual because the package was so close to empty) and that was it.

The flavors are a good blend. The sweet strawberries are a delicious counter to the tangy feta, the fennel and asparagus complement each other and Romaine is always a good foundation. The vinaigrette is a perfect, sweet and tangy dressing.

Grapefruit & Fennel Salad with Grapefruit Balsamic Vinaigrette

DSCN6345.png

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green Olives
  • Grapefruit
  • Asiago Cheese (or Parmesan)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Tajín

Make dressing first. Zest a whole grapefruit, Add 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. This makes enough for three salads.

Chop six leaves of romaine lettuce and layer on the bottom of a platter. Thinly slice about 1/4 cup of fennel bulb. Dice up about 2 TBSPs of onion. Supreme half a grapefruit and layer six segments on the salad. Toss about eight olives on top. Shave a few pieces of asiago or parmesan cheese on top. I sprinkled with a bit of tajín on top to add a bit of heat and zest.

This salad is delicious. The olives and asiago add a bit of fatty creaminess to balance the astringency of the grapefruit and vinaigrette. The onions and fennel add sweetness and bite, balancing each other and the lettuce makes a solid foundation to marry all these flavors together harmoniously. It was a nearly perfect salad, I just should have made a little bit more.

 

Alaskan Cod Poached in Fennel Broth

Alaskan Cod Poached in Fennel Broth

So this was more effort than my usual meal since I actually had to make this broth before I could poach the cod, but it was so worth it. The fennel broth imparted a delicate hint of fennel, nothing overpowering and cod needs something light and delicate. It was delicious. Good thing, too, as the first time, I forgot to take the picture. So I made it for lunch the next day and took pictures but forgot to make sure they were in focus. So, 2 days later for my third meal, I finally got the pictures. While this makes one serving, the broth is usable multiple times if you strain it after using it. It should be good for four days or you can freeze it and use it to poach chicken, fish, or vegetables.

So first you make the broth. This took a little over an hour.

DSCN6118

Sauté onion, celery, carrot and fennel until they change color.

Start with 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1/2 yellow onion and half the stalks and fronds from a fennel bulb. Clean and chop into thin slices.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan to medium, add the veggies and stir. Cook until they change color then add 1/2 cup of white wine, 1 tsp of thyme, 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds, salt, pepper and the rest of the stalks and fronds, chopped up finely. Simmer.

DSCN6120

Add water and wine to the sautéed vegetables and bring to a boil, then simmer.

Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 2 cups of liquid. Cool and strain.

Heat the broth to a simmer in a small sauce pan and then put your filet in the broth to poach. Make sure it is completely covered. Like all fish, do not overcook. It will take about  7 minutes more or less, depending on the size of the filet. It should be flaky and opaque.

While the broth was heating, I made an easy little sauce for the fish. I took 3 grape tomatoes and quartered them lengthwise and put them in a dry sauce pan on high to get a tiny bit of char. Then I added 2 tsp of chopped onions, salt and pepper, and 1 tsp of butter. I cut 4 olives into slices and added them. I let it all cook until tender and the tomatoes were breaking down and added a splash of white wine.  I turned down the heat and let simmer until the fish was done.

DSCN6129

Lay down a nice sauce (tomatoes and olives) and serve with a vegetable on this side (cucumbers).

I served it with some slices of cucumber with salt, pepper and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar on the side. I laid down the sauce and placed the cod filet on top.

While the Swede in me thinks nothing in the world can compare with some torsk sautéed in butter with a bit of nutmeg, this is a delicious, light and flavorful alternative. Definitely a better use of the stalks than compost.

 

Sour Cream Slaw with Fennel

Sour Cream Cole Slaw with Fennel, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

I had company the other day and decided to make a big batch of cole slaw. I love cole slaw and am always trying to find new ways to make this favorite form of salad. Of course I started with cabbage. Using a mandoline, I cut 1/2 of a medium sized head of cabbage into thin slices. I added some salt and let it rest for an hour. After an hour, I squeezed the excess liquid out. This keeps the salad from getting watery after it is dressed.

Next I sliced one bulb of fresh fennel on the mandoline, I set the slicer blade at the thinnest option for both the cabbage and the fennel. I then peeled and sliced on carrot, switching out the triangular piece of the mandoline from flat to one that cuts matchsticks. I chopped up one half of a Spanish or red onion and added that. I shook all the ingredients together.

For the dressing, I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream and squeezed in the juice of one fresh lemon. I then added 1 TBSP of white wine vinegar, some salt and pepper and a tbsp of poppy seeds. Lastly I added a large handful of dried cranberries.

The fennel adds a great light tanginess to the hearty slaw. The dried cranberries balance the sourness of the sour cream and the choice of sour cream instead of mayonnaise made this salad much lighter and fresher tasting, perfect for a hot summer day.

This made 8-10 servings.

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Fennel & Red Cabbage Slaw and Watermelon Salad

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Red Cabbage and Fennel Slaw, Melon & Feta Salad

This was actually tossed together in minutes. I made the savory cherry sauce a few days earlier. The watermelon salad was all done ahead and I simply added the feta at the last minute. Likewise, the fennel-cabbage slaw was made ahead.

I heated a cast-iron skillet to medium high, tossed the pork chop on and let it cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes, then turned it and let if finish cooking, about another 4 minutes. The secret to good, juicy pork chops (or any meat, really) is to resist the temptation to press on it with the spatula and to let it just cook without a lot of flipping. My mom said meat lost 1/4 of its juiciness every time it was turned and I believe it.

 

Modavia Fresh Tomato Soup and Fennel Cabbage Slaw

Modavia Tomato Soup and Fennel Cabbage Slaw

I am calling this Modavia Fresh Tomato Soup because I made it while watching a show during Modavia Fashion Week. It was super easy to make. I tossed a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan with some a half an onion and a clove of garlic, chopped. After the onion softened, I added three tomatoes cut in big chunks and 1 cup of water. When they broke down, I added 1 cup of fresh basil, chopped, and put a lid on for 15 minutes. I tossed it in my Magic Bullet and pureed. It made one bowl of soup.

The Fennel Slaw recipe is from Jeff Mauro’s Sandwich King show on Food Networkm except he included parsley which I left out. I don’t much like parsley.

  • 1 1/2 cups red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced, save fronds for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper