Posts Tagged ‘fennel’

Photo by  Andrew Scrivani of NY Times

Photo by Andrew Scrivani of NY Times

The frost has left the ground, the daffodils, hyacinths and forsythia are all in bloom BUT we’re still a ways from seeing any of the grand summer fruits and vegetables. ūüė¶

What to do when you’re hungering for some greens and a hot meal on a cool (almost cold) night?¬† I adapted this recipe from one I saw in the NY Times.¬† I dumbed it down a bit for myself to make it easier and quicker and it worked just fine.¬† It has the warm triumvirate of Tunisian spices – coriander, cumin and caraway.



1 15oz can of small white beans

1 large onion

4 large garlic cloves; 2 crushed, 2 minced

1 tsp of coriander seeds  ( I used crushed)

1 tsp of caraway seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds ( I used crushed)

2 TBS EV olive oil

1 large fennel bulb, cored, diced, fronds chopped and reserved for garnish

Salt to taste

1 tsp paprika or Aleppo pepper

1 lg jalapeno, minced (about 2 TBS)* I substituted harissa sauce which I had in refrigerator

2 TBS tomato paste ( I put the rest of the can in a small plastic bag, flattened it and put in freezer)

1# (large bunch) Collard greens ( I used pre-washed and cut bag)

1 large bunch cilantro, chopped – about 1 cup and some for garnish

2 TBS minced preserved lemon (optional)

Cooked grains or couscous for serving (optional)


Cut onion in half; cut one of the halves in half and chop the rest. Set aside chopped onion and put the quarters in a pot with the drained beans.  Add 5 cups of water (6 if serving over grains) and the crushed garlic and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Let simmer for about 30 minutes and remove garlic and onion and discard.

Meanwhile in small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, toast corriander, cumin and caraway seeds together just till they begin to release their aroma, 2-3 minutes. * I only put the caraway seeds in the pan. Transfer to spice mill. * I didn’t have my spice mill so I smashed the seeds with a hammer. Put aside.

Heat oil over medium heat in large heavy skillet (I used my braising pan) and add remaining onion. Cook stirring till tender, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, diced fennel and generous pinch of salt and cook another 5 minutes, until fennel has softened slightly.  Stir into beans* (since I was using braising pan, I added the beans and liquid to the braising pan). Add the ground spices, paprika, jalepeno if using or your substitute, and tomato paste and return to simmer. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile, stem and wash collard greens (so much easier to use bagged) Cut into 1/2″ strips.¬† If you have bought bagged and cut, then just slice in some semblance of strips.¬† Add collards to beans and vegetables. Bring back to a simmer and cover and simmer 15-30 minutes until greens are tender.¬† Stir in cilantro and chopped fennel fronds, simmer another 5 minutes.

**Ladle into wide soup bowls and if using preserved lemon, place a a tsp on each serving.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and fennel and serve.  I cooked some farro and put a portion in the bottom of the bowl before adding the stew. Or you can serve grains on the side.

Recipe from Martha Rose Schulman – NY Times

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Tuscan Whole Wheat Pasta

Tuscan Whole Wheat Pasta

Saturday night supper was pretty damn good if I say so myself.¬†¬† I didn’t think I would jump on the all things Tuscan are good bandwagon, but I seem to hitching a ride here and there.¬† Last week, Wegman’s sent out their Menu Magazine and the theme of this Fall edition is Mediterranean Fresh Italian – The Flavors of Tuscany/Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.¬† I’m sure everyone of you has read and heard about this diet, it has been around for years.¬†

The Mediterranean Diet is about eating more fruits and veggies, whole grains, seafood, a glass of wine, and good fats-like olive oil.  Pasta, dairy and meat are part of it too, but with smaller portions Рmore like side dishes than main courses.  It all sounded fine until they got to the pasta being a side dish instead of the main course.  So, much like practicing Cafeteria Catholicism where one picks and chooses which ideologies and Vatican rulings they will adhere to, I decided to follow the recipe for this delicious vegetarian pasta dish BUT of course it was the main course.

Tuscan Whole Wheat Pasta

2 TBS olive oil

2 Leeks  or 8oz. pkg. finely chopped

2 Cloves of garlic, minced

1 Medium fennel bulb, cleaned, trimmed, cored, 1/2 ” dice

2 Jars of Wegman’s Tuscan tomato sauce*

1 lb Whole Wheat Penne Rigate**

1/2 tsp salt

1 Bag of Baby Arugula (5oz)

4 TBS of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Heat oil in braising pan on MED heat, add leeks and garlic.  Cook, stirring about 2 minutes until translucent.  Add fennel, reduce heat to LOW.  Cook 10 minutes until softened.  Add sauce, stir.  Let simmer 5 minutes.

Add cooked pasta, 1 cup of reserved pasta water and salt.   Simmer 2-3 minutes.  Add arugula, toss and top with Parmigano-Reggiano cheese.

Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with extra grated cheese.

This is recipe is from Wegman’s Menu Magazine

* Wegman’s sells Tuscan sauce in a 17 oz. jar.¬† I purchased 1 jar as it is a little pricey;¬† The ingredients are basically tomatoes, onion, basil.¬† It is darker than most jarred sauces which I think may be because it is cooked down to a richer sauce.¬† I bought a jar of Chunky Marinara (twice the size, half the cost).¬† I used half of the Marinara sauce and added a little more basil.

**¬†The recipe calls for Whole Wheat pasta so I thought “okay I’ll try it because maybe the sauce has enough flavor to overcome the cardboard taste and texture of whole wheat pastas.¬† WRONG!¬†¬† I know it’s healthier but that pasta is dismal tasting.¬† I can only imagine how fantastic this dish would have been with a nice Barilla penne.¬† Never again….


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This was a very good Tasty Tidbits Tuesday – we just finished dinner and it was delicious and as my husband put it “very interesting, very unusual and it tastes delicious too and I’ve never tasted anything like it”.

Last night Angela and Seth joined us for some wine and apps on the porch.¬† It was a warm evening and since it’s getting dark so early these days, we scattered candles all around giving the porch a soft and inviting atmosphere.¬† We sat and talked for quite some time drinking most of the bottle of Malbec they brought.¬† Angela brought us a bag of Heirloom cherry tomatoes that one of her customers from the bakery brought her!¬† It was an Ocean Grove food chain lol.¬† Turns out Angela is not really fond of tomatoes, there’s something about the consistency that she doesn’t like – all the better for me who LOVES tomatoes, JERSEY TOMATOES and even better FREE JERSEY HEIRLOOM TOMATOES.

I popped a few in my mouth, God they were like candy and there were a lot.¬† I started to think about what I could make with them.¬† This morning I saw just how many tomatoes there were and decided to leave some on Michael’ s porch (hope he found them when he got home tonight) and left some watermelon on Angela’s porch – the food chain continues….

Tonight I made Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel Sauce with linguine, well actually half linguine and half whole grain spaghetti.  It was so good, I plan to make it again soon.



1 Fennel bulb cut up

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, half of them halved ( I gave away too many, so I chopped up half of medium tomato)

1/4 cup white wine

3 TBS olive oil

5 sprigs of Thyme (I didn’t have any, so I used dried thyme leaves )

pinch of sugar* (I didn’t use any, the tomatoes were sweet enough)

Coarse salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, toss together the fennel, tomatoes, wine, oil and thyme.¬† Add a pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, stirring occasionally until fennel softens and pan juices thicken, 35-40 minutes, maybe less.

I reserved a full cup of the pasta water and used it to create the sauce.¬† I didn’t have a lot of pan juices and some of it burned along the edges of the pan.

Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food – November 2009

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Fennel CDC

Fennel CDC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG! This dish is so simple yet the flavors were deliciously complex. ¬†I could not stop eating it last night and I will be making it again soon. ¬†I think it’s ¬†a dish to serve to company, Peter thought otherwise. ¬†He said he loved the taste but felt it didn’t have enough substance. MMMMmmmm I thought about that and then decided he wasn’t the person to judge a pasta dish like this one because he would never order a pasta with an alfredo sauce, or spaghetti carbonara, or linguine aglio e olio. ¬† ¬† ¬†For him, pasta has sausage, meatballs or vegetables or clams or mussels.

My cousin Janet (I like to call her Janie) ¬†gave me this recipe. ¬†When I was making it, I realized that the directions mentioned butter but I hadn’t written butter in the ingredient list – what to do? ¬†I went online of course and found a recipe that was almost identical to hers minus the¬†native seasoning,¬†which is a blend of herbs produced by a company founded by ¬†her sister (my cousin) and her husband.

Thanks Janet.

Here it is:

1 lb of Farfalle or Penne

A slab of pancetta about 3″ by 1/2″ – diced – you can also buy pancetta already diced in a package

1 bulb of fennel – chopped including fronds

1 TBS dried fennel seeds

1/2 cup of cream or half & half – I used about 3/4 cup

1-2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 onion chopped – I used a whole small one

3 TBS unsalted butter

grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Saute pancetta in sweet butter till crisp, add garlic, onion, fennel, fennel seeds to pan.  I used a braising pan.  Stir frequently till all is soft .  Cover pan.  

Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss with mixture.  Add the cream.  Sprinkle liberally with grated cheese.


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Image via Wikipedia

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

I‘m sure you heard the news around Thanksgiving that 94% of all Americans having Thanksgiving Dinner had turkey as the main course.¬† Not so with Christmas!¬† It seems that besides turkey (yes some people replicate their Thanksgiving Day dinner one month later), roast beef, crown roast of pork, baked ham (spiral, pineapple decorated etc) all vie for the center of the table.¬† Whatever you choose, I think you’ll like this simple flavorful salad.

It’s light, crisp, colorful, healthy and easy to make.¬† You can slice the oranges and fennel the day before (in between wrapping presents), refrigerate separately covered with plastic wrap.

1 TBS white-wine vinegar

2 TBS olive oil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

5 navel oranges

3-4 fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds total), ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced, crosswise, plus 1/4 cup roughly chopped fennel fronds (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil, season with salt and pepper.

Using a sharp knife, slice off both ends of each orange.  Following the curve of the fruit, cut away the peel and white pith. Halve orange from top to bottom; thinly slice crosswise.  Transfer oranges along with any juices that have accumulated on work surface. to bowl with dressing.  Add fennel and if desired, fronds. Toss to combine.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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If you read yesterday’s blog you know we had a special tuna salad for lunch on Saturday.¬† I had made this tuna dish once and Trish tasted it and has made it her own now.¬† As the days get hotter and more humid,¬† this is the dish you want to serve for a summer supper.¬† Pair it with a loaf of crusty Italian bread and a side of some summer vegetable.¬† Corn on the cob is the obvious easy choice, however, a plate of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers sprinkled with sea salt is healthier and doesn’t add more carbs.

Tuna Fennel & White Bean Salad

1 head of fennel

1 7oz can tuna in olive oil

1 16oz can Cannelini beans rinsed and drained

3 TBS of lemon juice

3 TBS olive oil

zest of one lemon

2-3 TBS lightly chopped Italian parsley

Med red onion chopped

Fennel fronds for garnish

Drain the tuna and reserve the oil, add olive oil to make 3 TBS.   Flake the tuna in a large bowl. Rinse and drain the beans and add to the tuna.  You can either dice the fennel or slice very thinly on a mandolin. Prepare the red onion in the same manner (diced or sliced) an add the fennel and onion into the tuna bean mixture.  Add the oil, lemon juice, parsley and lemon zest, toss to mix.  Garnish with fennel fronds.  Mangia e buon appetitto!

In this photo  sliced black olives were added.

Tuscan Tuna and White Bean salad, summer supper dish

Italian Tuna, Cannelini Bean and Fennel Salad

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