Tag Archives: Fennel

Sea Salt Fennel Chips

Fritz and I did a ridiculous amount of shopping today.  Something about cool weather just makes me want to spend all of our money as fast as humanly possible–combine that with the fact that we redeemed some points from our credit cards that we forgot about (thanks Cait and Jeff for the reminder!) for $250, and it was a done deal. 

It was only through sheer willpower that I didn’t go adopt a fluffy orange kitten.  Next year, Lauren.  Next year.  Maybe as a graduation present?

Since we are good kids, most of the points money will go towards our new iPhones and phone plans, but I did get an amazingly cute dress from Gap for $12, some clothes for Fritz, and the making for a DIY project (a light over our kitchen table).

If that wasn’t enough, my BFF’s mom called to say she was cleaning out her DVD collection, and she just handed us tons of DVDs to look through and claim for our own–it was like Christmas in September!  Thanks, Liz!

Clearly, not much cooking happened today…but I did find a few minutes to make fennel chips.

Sea Salt Fennel Chips

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1-2 t olive oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Trim the stalks off the fennel (you can save or toss, I don’t care!), and cut off the ends.  Divide each bulb in half, then peel the leaves from the core.  Toss them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

When baking chips from veggies, it’s best to be conservative with the salt.  The leaves shrink as they dessicate, and the salt taste can quickly become overpowering if you were too heavy-handed.

Remember, you can always add salt, but you can’t taketh away.

Bake on the middle rack, stirring them occasionally, until dry.  You will probably have to remove the smaller leaves before the thickest ones are done, otherwise they will burn.  It should take about 20 minutes to a half an hour.

I actually couldn’t resist tasting them as I checked on them, and didn’t finish baking them because they were just so good as is.  With some moisture still in the middle of the big ones, they tasted kind of like fennel fries rather than chips.

Delicious either way.

Baked veggie chips are also great with kale or chard–see here for the recipe.

Baking the chips was a really great way to make the strong anise taste of fennel a lot more mild.  You could still taste it, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

And yesterday I went apple picking with Fritz and some really lovely ladies:

We ate apple cider donuts, apple cider, and of course, tasted about a million apples on the orchard.  I plan on making apple butter using what we picked, but since I’ve never made it before I want need to find a recipe I like that doesn’t add pounds of sugar.  Any suggestions?

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Filed under Snacks

Fennel Gratin

Things are a bit lazy around these parts:

We had a nice long gym session this morning (I did what felt like at least 3,326,359,644 split squats–my quads have never burned so much in my life), ran a bunch of errands, and come home just in time for lunch.  I was leafing through some cookbooks yesterday and found something that looked really promising–fennel gratin.

After hearing a lot about fennel, I bought a giant bulb a few months ago and tried grilling it–and I wasn’t a huge fan.  Just that weird licorice taste I don’t like that much.  Needless to say, when I received three little bulbs in my CSA box this week, I got a little nervous.  So what’s a girl to do with a vegetable she’s not too sure about?

Cover it in cheese.

Fennel Gratin (from Allison Fishman’s You Can Trust A Skinny Cook–serves 4)

  • 2 medium or 3 small bulbs fennel, cut into thin wedges (I also used the stalks, sliced into small circles)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 C shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1-2 T grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wash the fennel and slice it into wedges by cutting the bulbs in half lengthwise, then into wedges from there.  I also sliced the stalks at this point.  Place into a baking dish (I used a 9″ pie pan) and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cover with foil and place into the oven until the fennel is softened, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove the foil and roast for another 15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.

Remove the dish from the oven and preheat the broiler.  Sprinkle the top with cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is bubbling and golden, about 3-5 minutes.

Oh gosh, this smelled so good.  The scary fennel taste went from straight-up black licorice (ew) to a slightly oniony, sweet and nutty flavor.

I was so wrong about fennel.  Fritz and I ate this entire dish for lunch (it’s okay–only 110 calories per serving, ya know), and I could have gone for more.  This is the perfect side dish for any fancy dinner (hello, Thanksgiving!).

The best part was obviously the cheese, but I am pleasantly surprised to be able to tell you that I have been converted over to fennelism.  You should try it!

Fritz also managed to capture this handsome guy perched out on our deck.  We have a nice blue jay couple that hangs out in our backyard, accompanied by the duck couple that frequents our pond.  Guess the animals can just tell that love is in the air around here.

And on another exciting note, by popular request, I’m trying out a new feature: printable recipe cards.  I’m putting it here for now, but in the future they’ll be located by the recipe title.  Let me know if they work, and what you’d like to see changed about them!

 Fennel Gratin Printable Recipe Card

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Filed under Side Dishes

Meatless Monday: Grilled Tomatoes and Miso Salad Dressing

I think I forgot to mention on my last post how excited I was to be featured on FoodPress last week!  It was awesome and also really weird/exciting to see how many people were reading my blog–that I presumably don’t know.  Yay!

Today is Meatless Monday, but because we are headed home to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving break tomorrow, it was a Meatless-And-We-Have-To-Eat-All-The-Leftovers-Before-We-Go-Monday.  Which ended up really well–we grilled some veggies, and had a bit of leftover soup and some fennel and cucumber salad with miso dressing.  I love when a leftover day surprises me by being delicious along with efficient.

Grilled Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T parmesan cheese each half

This is a very easy side dish: halve the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese, and grill on medium-high heat (cover closed) for about 15 minutes until soft and blackened, rotated once 90 degrees.  Coming from a girl who refused to eat tomatoes for the majority of her life, you can trust me when I say these are delicious.

As promised, I tried a new vegetable this weekend:

Fennel!  I decided to try putting into an Asian-style salad, because I was craving raw veggies and I wanted to try a miso dressing.  However, I tried a bite of uncooked fennel and it was…not my favorite.  Yeckk–licorice!

I knew I’d have to cook it.  Fritz wasn’t home and (I’m ashamed to admit this) I don’t know exactly how to work our gas grill.  I tried to turn it on but I got scared that it was going to blow up in my face when I couldn’t get the ignite button to work (Fritz told me later it’s broken) and I could smell gas pouring out all around me.  I decided to go with the stove top.

You can use all the parts of the buffalo fennel, but I decided to use the bulb.  I cut it into four thick slices and sautéed it in a dash of olive oil.  Once it was cooked, I cut out the core and sliced the rest for my salad.  Other salad ingredients were iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and grated carrots.

To top it off, I tried a miso dressing.

Miso Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 C white miso
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 T citrus champagne vinegar
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 T tahini

Combine all the ingredients (don’t add extra salt!), and whisk until blended.  You can add water until it is the consistency you like.

I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of the salad, but generally I don’t like salad much anyway (wouldn’t life be so much easier if it was my favorite food?).  I wanted to get rid of some iceberg lettuce we had, though ideally I’d rather use any other lettuce, especially baby greens or spinach.  I don’t like what my high school friend used to call “lettuce bones” in iceberg lettuce.  The fennel was significantly more delicious after I cooked it–sweeter and more like a mild onion, with only a hint of licorice.  I can definitely see myself using it to top turkey burgers or in place of onions in some recipes.  It just didn’t blow me away the way I’d hoped.

The miso dressing was good–salty, but not overwhelming.  I think I’d really love it in a spinach salad!  I have some left that I’m going to bring home and test out on my little sister, Jordi.  She’s a connoisseur of all things Asian, so I’ll let you know what the experts say.

On a happier note, I wrapped all the Christmas presents for my family to leave at home during Thanksgiving–Fritz and I will be in Canada visiting his parents this year and I won’t get another chance to drop ’em off.  Impressed?

Henry thought they were for him.  And his belly.

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Filed under Sauces, Side Dishes