Marinated fennel and grapefruit salad

April 10, 2013 § 23 Comments

fennel grapefruit salad serving

I have been having an absolute love affair with raw fennel lately.  Every night and/or every time I’m at the market my little conversation with myself goes, “what kind of vegetable should we have with dinner?  Broccoli?  Nah.  Cabbage? Not today.  Kale?  Meh.  Ooh, how about a salad with shaved fennel.  Oh, yes that sounds perfect.”  And it keeps happening.  Over and over.  So what if I just ate a whole bulb?  More fennel please.

It could just be one of my recent cravings.  Or perhaps it’s because it’s the closest we’re getting to spring here right now.  Still.  (Not talking about the weather. I’m not talking about the weather.  I’ll just put on another sweater, and not mention the weather.)  But, on the whole, I’d say the jag started with this salad.

sliced fennel for grapefruit saladleftover fennel fronds

Fennel salad with burrata?  Sign me up, and then give me seconds!  Anything that includes buratta tends to be my dream meal.  But, the fennel, with its sleek coat of lemon and olive oil and the icy cool of mint leaves was no second fiddle to the burrata’s main act (or what I thought would be the main act, before I sat down to eat).

And, that, in sum, is why I can’t stop eating fennel.  I mean, a) I get to use my mandoline, which is always an exciting process because you flirt with losing your fingertips but then get parchment thin delicate sheets of fennel, all in a noodle-like tangle, out of the deal.  And then, b) the 15 minute waiting period where the fennel bathes in a lemony dressing ever so slightly softens its crunch and freshens its flavor with the brightness of the lemon – both in juice and zest form – bolstering the anise notes of the vegetable.  I fall for lemon-in-both-juice-and-zest-form’s show every time.

This salad, with grapefruit and curds of soft goat cheese is my most recent use of lemony fennel.  There is nothing new about combining fennel’s sweetness with the juicy bittersweet of grapefruit.  I feel like I have seen it in many a restaurant in past years at this very time of year, the transition time where we start picking up spring while still trailing a few threads of winter along with us.  (Once I even had it as a fennel grapefruit salad with pine nuts and chunks of salted brittle candy.  That was pretty tasty.)  But, look at the word “marinated” there.  Marinated makes it different!  And new! « Read the rest of this entry »

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Mushroom and chevre frittata and scenes from a Saturday

April 15, 2012 § 16 Comments

Yesterday we traveled up along Massachusetts’ North Shore brimming with purpose.  Brimming also with coffee because that is a central element of a Saturday morning in this household.  We were on our way to visit Turkey Shore Distillery, to learn more about the distilling process and to pick the owner’s brain of everything he knows.

But first came a requisite stop along the beach for a walk and a picnic.  We wiggled our toes in the sand, waded brashly into the water (followed by an expeditious exit back onto the shore), and enthusiastically dug holes.  Well, some of us dug holes.  Some of us stayed on the sidelines and cheered.

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Warm fall slaw, with goat cheese

October 24, 2011 § 16 Comments

What is it with this time of year anyways?  It’s so, I don’t know, distinctive, I guess.  Not that other times of the year aren’t, but fall feels more ephemeral and therefore somehow stands out from the hot days of mid-summer, the frigid days of mid-winter, or the muddy days of spring.  All of which last long enough to wear you out, at least slightly.

Fall manages never to outstay its welcome.  It’s like a favorite uncle, or other cooky relative, who blows in and out, full of color and liveliness, and who never sticks around long enough to grate on you.  But, perhaps you never really get to know them either.

Fall tends to be a bit of a yearning season for me.  A busy, yet philosophical season.  And beyond a doubt, the most nostalgic season (which is saying something since I am, as a general rule, nostalgic!).  I think of the line in that goofy movie “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character says that fall makes her want to buy a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.

Except, for me, when the weather becomes as bracing and clear as it was this morning, I find what I want to do is go door to door and sell folios full of static cling window decorations shaped like skeletons and bats and pumpkins and turkeys.

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Tartine with goat cheese and confit tomatoes

August 28, 2011 § 12 Comments

Hoo-wee, we are having some weather out there.  The wind and rain are battering my windows like ill-intentioned thugs trying to get in.  The potted plants and deck furniture have the look of a bunch of cast-aways where they’re clustered, near the entryway, but I think they’re giving me looks of thankfulness – ‘thank you for not leaving us out there!’  And, for perhaps the first time ever, I’m feeling rather glad we don’t have any large trees growing right next to our apartment building.

I’m so thankful that the hurricane had calmed somewhat, into a tropical storm, by the time it came to visit us this far north.  We still have power and water (knock on wood), so I cannot complain one bit.  It’s still nothing to mess with though.  Hunkering is the only word to describe what the city is doing.

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BLC-squared (bacon, lettuce, chevre, and cherries)

July 5, 2011 § 20 Comments

I have a new favorite summertime treat.  And – almost unbelievably – it’s not ice cream!  It’s a sandwich.  It’s an amazing sandwich.

But before I get to that, will you bear with me while I ramble more generally about cherries for a little bit?  Oh good.

I have a list of things that make summer summer.  It’s a list that’s pretty much just inside my head.  Its length is indeterminate and its contents ever shifting.  But, it only shifts around the edges.  There are some core elements that stay the same.

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A happy hour beet and fig tart

June 21, 2011 § 26 Comments

Is it just me, or does the advent of summer put you the mood for happy hour too? Potentially even a daily happy hour. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? 😉

I suppose that, technically, happy hours are called happy because of the inclusion of alcohol, but I think they’re happy in so many other ways. It’s a celebration of porches or patios! And evening breezes! And of the fact that you can laze about for an hour (or two) after work, enjoying some ridiculously buttery cheeses and crisp breads and a little glass of wine, and it will still be light out when you get around to dinner!

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