fennel Tag

With the weather getting warmer it seemed the perfect time to cook some simple food that can be good on its own, be packed for a veg heavy picnic, or work as the anchor for food off the grill.

Dandelion & Kale Caesar
This salad is perfect for packing because the hearty greens actually improve after being dressed, becoming more supple and absorbing the dressing. For this reason we make the tonnato creamier than regular caesar dressing. (*Tonnato is an Italian condiment often made with tuna, anchovies, olive oil, and mayonnaise or egg.)

Ingredients
1/2 bunch kale, cut into quarter inch ribbons, bottom stems removed
1 bunch dandelion, cut every two inches, bottom stems removed
1 6oz can of tuna, drained
1 yolk
1 oz white wine vinegar
.5 oz grated pecorino cheese, with more to garnish
1 tablespoon water
1 garlic clove
3 oz olive oil
salt and pepper
anchovy filets
crusty bread to serve

Place the yolk, grated cheese, vinegar, water, garlic, and half the tuna in a blender. Blend on medium speed until smooth, then stream the oil in. Season with salt and pepper. Place the greens and remaining tuna in a bowl, and dress well, seasoning aggressively with black pepper and salt. Place a piece of well toasted crusty bread on each plate or container you are using and place the dressed salad on top of it. Sprinkle some extra cheese and place over a few anchovy filets.

Genovese Pasta Salad

In Genoa, where basil pesto comes from, they enjoy their pasta with beans and potato. It’s delicious, but rather than hot, it makes a great salad (even better when the first cherry tomatoes come). Just like the Genovese, you can cook everything in one pot.

Ingredients
8 oz Orecchiette, or your favorite short pasta
1 bunch basil
1/4 bunch parsley
1 bunch garlic scapes, ends and flower heads trimmed
1 oz grated pecorino
1 clove garlic, crushed
1.5 oz sunflower seeds
4 oz olive oil
4 small potatoes, quartered
1/2 quart green or wax beans, trimmed
1/2 lemon

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt aggressively. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the label. With 8 minutes to go, add the potato. With 1 minute to go, add the beans. Drain well and dress the pasta and vegetables in a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Heat a cast iron pan to smoking and place the scapes in. Add a shot of oil and let them char one minute, resist the temptation to move them, then turn, and let char another minute. Remove to a board, and let cool, then chop finely. Add the scapes, herbs, garlic, cheese, and seeds to a food processor. Blend thoroughly, then stream in the oil. Season with salt and dress the pasta and vegetables with it. Squeeze the lemon through and dress as soon as possible to eating.

Grilled Cucumber and Fennel, tahini dressing

Grilling cucumber brings out the vegetale notes, and makes it more nuanced, and somehow juicy, and the fennel adds good sweetness. Keeping the vegetables in large pieces helps them hold up.

Ingredients
1 cucumber, peeled
2 fennel bulbs
1 clove garlic, grated
2 Tbs. tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 bunch of dill, chopped fine
2 Tbs. water
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably from Coddiwomple Canning
2 oz olive oil
Sumac to garnish

In a bowl place the tahini and stream the olive oil in while continuously whisking. Next, add the lemon juice, and then the water until you reach the desired consistency. Add the grated garlic, paprika, and dill and season with salt. Cut off the fennel stalks and reserve for future use. Cut ends off the bulbs, then in half, and remove the out leaves. Cut the core out of the bulb in a ‘V’, leaving enough that the bulb stays intact. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise, then slice away some of the seedy core to make a flat surface. Cut those pieces in half horizontally. Rub the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt. On a very hot grill, place the cucumber seed side down for one or two minutes until charred but still mostly raw. Remove and cool. Place the fennel cut side down on a less hot section, and cook until well grilled, and about half cooked. Remove and cool. Dress a plate with the tahini and place the vegetables over top. Give a liberal sprinkle of sumac and serve.

Minestrone

The first time my aunt went to visit our family in Italy each of our great aunts served her minestrone. More than 40 years later she refuses to eat it. I don’t suffer from the same affliction. Soup like this is restorative, and a great way to use the odds and ends left over from your CSA, plus the trimmings in broth, extra which can always be stored in the fridge for up to one week and frozen for no more than three months. We would serve it with a side of crusty bread or focaccia and a ball of mozzarella or burrata for a perfect lunch.

Ingredients
2 quarts vegetable broth (recipe below)
1 onion, small diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 fennel stalks, sliced
1 squash, diced
1 cup peeled tomato and their juice, lightly crushed
1 cup dried beans, cooked ahead
1 cup kale, finely sliced
6 small potatoes, cut in half
1/4 bunch parsley, chopped
ground chili or chili sauce

In an instant pot, place all the trims from the vegetables for the week. Add a touch of oil and salt and turn on sauté . When you smell a bit of burning, and this is good!, add two quarts of water, seal, and pressure cook for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the vegetable bits in a heavy bottom pot until fragrant, then add the water and simmer for 70 minutes. Then strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.

Sweat the onion and garlic on medium heat in some olive oil until translucent. Add a pinch of salt now, and every time you add an ingredient, to build the layers. Next add the fennel, and cook for one minute. Then the squash, potato, and kale, cooking until the kale starts to wilt. Then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to your liking, and garnish with a splash of oil and some chili.

Palmer Marinelli is the Executive Director of Roughwood Table, an organization that uses heirlooms seed saving to shine a light on local foodways. Originally from Washington Crossing, he has been cooking locally for almost 20 years. 

P1016499Greens are probably the best food to add to our diets to improve nutrition. They provide cancer-fighting vitamins & minerals, the fiber we need for heart & digestive health, & assistance to our body’s detoxification processes. They’re also really easy to add to our meals; a great way to start is by simply adding a handful of chopped up greens to whatever you’re cooking — sauces, salads, soups, stir-fries, casseroles, just about everything! Another great strategy for getting more greens into our diets is to keep a green side on-hand; make the recipe below to serve with your meals throughout the week!

This recipe also makes use of two super flavorful ingredients that we’ve been finding on our shares lately, garlic scapes & fennel. Scapes have been called a “vegetable, aromatic & even herb all in one,” & I would also put fennel in that unique (& delicious) category.  Both fennel & scapes also give us a nutritional boost with fiber, antioxidants, & phytonutrients.

Add your favorite plant-based protein to make the this dish heartier & more complete — chickpeas, seitan, or quinoa would be tasty.  You can also enjoy this recipe hot or cold.  Eat immediately after preparing as a hot side dish, or let cool & use as an ingredient in a whole grain wrap or mixed into a green salad.

Sautéed Greens with Scapes & Fennel

P1016502

Ingredients
1 tbs cooking oil
5 garlic scapes, sliced
1 fennel bulb & stems, sliced up to fronds
1/2-cup white wine or broth
6-8 cups kale, chard, &/or collards, stripped from stems & chopped
1 tbs red wine or balsamic vinegar
Nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese, & sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions
Heat oil, scapes, & fennel in skillet until veggies are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add wine or broth & stir in greens until coated evenly. Allow greens to reduce about 5-7 minutes, stirring often & adding additional wine or broth if needed. Remove pan from heat & toss with vinegar. Serve with optional toppings.

Post & photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, health counselor, & co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating & living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com

BeetsBeets are a staple veggie at the farm, making an appearance both at the beginning & end of the season each year. Like many root vegetables, beets have lots of vitamins & minerals, including those that help grow red blood cells (folate) & those that that help build sturdy & strong bones (manganese). Also like many root vegetables, much of the nutrition in beets lives in or near the skin, so skip the peeler & simply scrub them clean before eating.

Enjoy beets raw & cooked: Use slices of raw beets in a veggie dip or hummus, or dice them up small & add them to a green, grain or pasta salad. Use a grater to shred raw beets for slaws or to use in breads, muffins & even cookies! Of course, the sweetest way to eat beets is by roasting them. The simple recipe below combines beets with another CSA staple, kohlrabi. You can serve this dish as is, or use it as a base for a more hearty meal:

  • Serve chilled & topped with cooked quinoa & plain yogurt (pictured below)
  • Mix in chickpeas or black soy beans
  • Use as a pita filling with hummus
  • Top with plain yogurt or sour cream & minced chives
  • Serve on top of a chopped green salad
  • Combine with a cooked whole grain (brown rice, bulgur, farro, etc.)
  • Top with sunflower or sesame seeds

Roasted Beets & Kohlrabi with Fennel
BeetsIngredients
8 beets
8 kohlrabi
3 fennel
1-1/2 tablespoons grapeseed or other high-heat cooking oil
salt & pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Trim tops off beets, scrub clean & dice. Trim, peel & dice kohlrabi. Slice fennel bulbs & stems, up to fronds. Toss beets, kohlrabi & fennel with a bit of grapeseed oil, salt & pepper.

Place vegetables in a baking dish, cover & bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with a little more salt & pepper, stir, recover & return to the oven. Bake until just tender, about 20 more minutes.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

This week marks the official beginning of fall, and both the weather and veggies seem to agree with the calendar. This is a perfect soup for the transitioning season. It is rich and creamy without being too heavy. When roasted, fennel becomes deeply sweet (totally different from the crisp and refreshing taste of raw fennel) and leeks develop a wonderful caramelized flavor. Celeriac lends body and depth to this creamy soup. A touch of tangy blue cheese and crunchy chickpea crackers make it complete.

Roasted Fennel and Leek Soup

Cut off most of the green parts of 2 fennel bulbs and 3 leeks (save a few of the fennel fronds for garnish). Slice the leeks in half long-ways and run the layers under water to remove grit. Chop fennel bulbs and leeks into 1-inch chunks.

Cut away the ugly outside of  1 celeriac and chop into 1/2-inch chunks. Combine with fennel and leeks and toss with a sprinkle of salt and enough olive oil to coat. Spread veggies in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes (stirring once or twice) until they begin to brown and caramelize.

When the veggies are done roasting, combine them with 4 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder. Heat until milk is hot, but do not boil. When heated through, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with chickpea crackers (recipe below), crumbled blue cheese, and a sprinkle of chopped fennel frond for an added touch of the gourmet.

Gluten-Free Chickpea Flour Crackers

Combine 1 cup chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds2 teaspoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Slowly stir in 1/4 cup water until a thick dough is formed. Roll dough out into a thin layer (1/8 inch or so) on a cutting board and cut into cracker-sized pieces. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown and crisp (I did this at the same time I was roasting the veggies).

This recipe is easily adaptable–replace fennel seeds with chopped herbs, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, etc. Cut into thinner strips for a salad garnish, or into wedges for dipping into hummus or spinach dip.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, fresh food enthusiast, and budding food blogger. She also writes for the Digging Deep Campaign as well as for her personal blog, Growing Things.

Roasted and fresh fennelFennel is a spice commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Both the bulb and fronds of the versatile fennel can be used, and it’s enjoyed both raw and cooked. Fennel is a very good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese, but its real star power comes from its unique combination of phytonutrients. Like radicchio, kale, and Swiss chard, the phytonutrients in fennel gives it “strong antioxidant activity.”

We’ve posted a few recipes here on the blog that feature fennel. It’s used raw in a crunchy and bright Escarole Salad with Fennel and Orange recipe, and it’s used cooked in a sweet Caramelized Fennel and Onions recipe. The couscous salad recipe below feature roasted fennel and capitalizes on its Mediterranean roots, while also including several other items from this week’s share (Swiss chard, Walla Wall onion, cucumber, and basil; sweet peppers will be in the share soon). It makes for a great addition to any potluck, picnic, or brunch table!

References and recommended links:

Couscous fennel salad ingredients

Roasted Fennel Couscous Salad

Ingredients
Dressing:
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 1 lemon
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 tbs agave
1/4 cup olive oil

Salad:
2 cups whole wheat couscous
3 cups water
1/4 tsp tumeric
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
1/3 cup fennel fronds, chopped
2 red, yellow and/or orange sweet peppers, diced
1/2 cup Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves sliced very thinly, chiffonade-style
1/2 cup Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup dried Turkish figs, sliced
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, sliced
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup pistachio kernels, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
zest from 1 orange

Method
In a saucepan boil water. Add turmeric and couscous. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit covered for 10 minutes, and then fluff with a fork to break up any clumps of couscous.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spread fennel onto a baking sheet, lightly spray with grapeseed oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until edges begin to brown and bulbs begin to soften, about 15 minutes.*

Soak the raisins in warm water until they’re plumped up, about 15 minutes.

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the couscous and fennel with the remaining salad ingredients and stir to combine. Toss the dressing with the salad until until all the dressing is absorbed.

* Note: Make an extra batch of roasted fennel while you have the oven on!  Roasted fennel is a yummy addition to just about any green salad or grain dish.  It also sits atop a pizza or in a quiche very well.  Most simply, it’s tasty as is.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

According to Ayurvedic tradition, every meal should contain all six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. Leaving one out will leave us unbalanced and under-nourished. Have you ever felt unsatisfied at the end of a meal, even though you are completely full? You were probably missing one of these key tastes.

We obviously don’t have a problem getting in the sweet and salty, but I know I shy away from the bitter. However, bitter foods have tremendous health benefits. They have a drying and cooling effect on our bodies (and what could be better in the recent heat and humidity?). They cleanse and detoxify our immune systems. They also help to manage food cravings.

I have to admit, I’ve been nay saying escarole for a while now – its bitter taste didn’t appeal to me and with so many other vegetables to choose from, it has been easy to leave escarole off the plate. But this week, I was reminded of the Ayurvedic taste-balancing philosophy, and was inspired to face my escarole fears.

Typically, escarole is eaten cooked, which diminishes its bitterness, but I couldn’t bear the thought of preparing a hot dish in this weather. This salad balances the bitterness of escarole with sweet fennel and oranges, pungent chive blossom vinegar, and rich olive oil.

Escarole Salad with Fennel and Orange

Chop or tear the leaves of one head of escarole, removing any yellowed outer leaves, much like you would a head of lettuce.

Cut off the stalks and bottoms of three bulbs of fennel, thinly slicing the bulbs across their width. To supreme (a fancy chef word for section) two oranges, first peel them with a paring knife, making sure to remove the white pith. Holding an orange over a bowl to catch the juice, slice between the white membranes of each segment, lifting the slice of orange out with the knife.  Save the juice and toss orange segments with the fennel and escarole.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together reserved orange juice with two tablespoons chive blossom vinegar*, ¼ cup olive oil, one teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over salad and toss.  

*To make this simple infused vinegar, stuff a jar full of cleaned chive blossoms. Pour distilled white vinegar over the blossoms and leave to steep for at least one week. If you don’t have it or can’t make it, replace the vinegar in the salad recipe with white wine vinegar and add a sprinkle of chopped spring onions or whole chive blossoms to the salad.

Text and photography by Kate Darlington – Blooming Glen Farm second year intern, Colorado native, and food lover. 

With this simple variation to the standard caramelized onion, you can add a new dimension of flavor to your usual pasta or pizza dishes. I spread some goat cheese on a piece of toasted fig bread and topped it with the caramelized fennel and onion mixture–a great appetizer or hors d’oeuvre idea. The anise flavor of the fennel is mellowed and sweetened by the touch of brown sugar and honey at the end.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium high heat. Thinly slice 1 yellow onion and 2 bulbs of fennel and toss in with sizzling butter. Salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn down to medium low heat and sprinkle some brown sugar over the mixture to help caramelize. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the onions and fennel are a deep golden brown.

Finish with a drizzle of honey and ENJOY!

Recipe and photos by Jana Smart- Blooming Glen Farm employee and frequent creator of creative recipes using farm fresh seasonal ingredients. Check out more of her recipes on her food blog http://www.agrarianeats.blogspot.com/

Edamame: the Japanese name literally means “twig bean” (eda = “twig” + mame = “bean”) and refers to these young green soybeans grown on a twig-like branch. This very delicious and nutritious kid-friendly snack is very simple to prepare: the pods are boiled in water or steamed, until they soften. The most common preparation uses natural coarse sea salt for taste. The salt may either be dissolved in the boiling water before adding the soybean pods, or added after the pods have been cooked. Boiled soybean pods are usually served after cooling, but can also be served hot. Either squeeze the beans out with your fingers or slide them out of the pod with your teeth, getting a nice taste of the salt (the pod is a little tough and fibrous, so you don’t want to eat it). This popular snack is great with a cold beer! 

CSA share, week 10.

Chef Rich Baringer of Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service braved last Friday’s thunderstorms and joined us again for a cooking demo during CSA pick-up. He had another wonderful assortment of recipes. Two of my favorites featured cantaloupes, which return to the share this week, and another crowd favorite featured grilled fennel.

Grilled Honey Mint Cantaloupe 

First, preheat your grill to medium-low. Then, heat 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup honey together in a saucepan.  Once melted, stir in 1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped and a dash of cayenne pepper, if desired.

Next, take 1 cantaloupe, seeded and cut into 8-12 wedges and place melon wedges on a sheet pan and brush with sauce. 

Rub grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil and place melon on grates (basted side down). Grill until lightly marked and softened, about 2-4 minutes. (The smell will be heavenly!)

Cantaloupe wedges on the grill.

Baste tops of melon with sauce and flip to grill on other side, another 2-4 minutes.

Remove melon from grill and allow to cool slightly.  Cut melon off of rind and into bite-size pieces; place in serving bowl.  Drizzle with remaining sauce before serving.

Cantaloupe Guacamole

Combine the following ingredients, and serve with tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or steak: 2 ripe avocados, peeled and roughly mashed, ½ ripe cantaloupe, cut off of the rind and finely diced, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced, 1 teaspoon jalapeno (or more to taste), seeded and minced, ½ a 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed, 2 teaspoon lime juice (or more to taste), ¼ teaspoon salt (or more to taste).

Grilled Fennel from the Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen

Use 4 small or 2 large fennel bulbs (1 ½-2 lbs). Cut each bulb lengthwise into ½” wide slices through the narrow side.

Combine in a large nonreactive bowl and whisk to mix: 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 small shallots, minced and 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon or basil, chopped.  Add the fennel and toss to coat thoroughly.  Cover and let marinate for 2 hours, not necessarily in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill to high. When ready to cook, remove the fennel slices from the marinade, arrange on the hot grate, and grill, turning with tongs until just tender, 8-16 minutes in all, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Chop into bite-size pieces, if desired.  Toss grilled fennel with remaining marinade and serve warm or at room temperature.

Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.