I feel like I’ve been quite obsessed with fennel this year. With each trip to the grocery store, I find myself standing above the fennel section admiring their curvaceous white bulbs and often lofty stalks adorned with fresh, fragrant fronds. Seriously… who could resist? I also thoroughly enjoy prepping fennel. With each slice of the knife, a crisp, clean hit of licorice wafts up from the cutting board. Unfortunately, fennel seems to be quite the controversial vegetable. Fennel is often described as having a black licorice flavor. A flavor people usually love or hate. While fennel does have a licorice flavor, it is nothing like the strong, offensive licorice taste experienced when eating one of those vile, multicolored grannie candies. Fennel has a light, herbal licorice flavor that can be enjoyed sweet, savory, cooked or raw. Try caramelizing fennel and using as a pizza topping (here is an image of a recently made white pizza with caramelized shallots and fennel). Sliced fennel can be added to most salads and chopped fennel fronds can provide a fresh note to your favorite summer sides. This recipe for Fennel Infused Vodka features two fennel bulbs steeped for several days in vodka. The resulting infusion can be enjoyed in many ways, but my favorite is on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dab of simple syrup. Continue reading for the recipe.
I’ve already showed you how to make Saffron Aioli, the first of three utterly addicting dipping sauces found at Cafe Chloe (aka my favorite French restaurant in San Diego). This Watercress Aioli is also part of that trio of dipping sauces. Peppery watercress is blended with green onion, spicy serrano chile, bright lime juice and creamy mayo. The finished sauce is bold and packed with flavor. Enjoy this aioli with crispy French fries, fresh vegetables or as an exotic burger spread. Now you may be wondering if I am going to do a post on the third dipping sauce, a harissa ketchup. My answer… no. The third dipping sauce is simply a mixture of store bought ketchup and fiery harissa. You can usually find harissa at ethnic markets or you can try making it at home. The recipe for Watercress Aioli can be found after the jump.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I wish I had some sort of St. Patrick’s Day related recipe for you today; however, I don’t. Instead, I’m going to show you how to make the most amazing Double Celery Soup with Curried Apples and Croutons (celery is green, so somewhat St. Patty’s day related right?). Fragrant chunks of celery root are simmered with vibrant celery stalk, onions, apples, bay and thyme. Accompanied by curried apples and croutons, this hot, comforting soup is packed with flavor and texture. I’ll have to say, celery root (pictured below) is one of the ugliest ingredients I’ve ever worked with. But don’t let looks put you off, once peeled, the root gives off an unreal, fresh aroma similar to celery stalk and parsley. Continue reading for the recipe.
Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt is an elegant French appetizer that comes together in a snap. Fresh, vibrant radishes are pure heaven when swirled in creamy butter and dipped in crunchy sea salt. Now you may be thinking, is that it? My answer… yes. The butter and salt round out the spiciness of the radishes, making a perfect bite. If you are feeling ambitious, you can take this appetizer to the next level by thinly slicing the radishes and serving atop freshly baked crostini. Also, I used rainbow radishes for aesthetics, but any old radish will do. Continue reading for the recipe.
A classic Greyhound consists of just two ingredients: vodka and grapefruit juice (perhaps a lemon wedge if you fancy garnishes). My Salted Tarragon Greyhound, a twist on this refreshing classic, consists of grapefruit juice, home infused grapefruit tarragon vodka, flaky sea salt and agave nectar. The sea salt added directly to the shaker helps cut the tartness of the grapefruit without adding any additional sweetness. The finished cocktail has the perfect balance of sweet and tart with just a hint of tarragon in the background. I’ll have to mention that after giving this cocktail a vigorous shake, the chilled, frothy liquid poured from the shaker is the most lovely shade of pale pink. So beautiful. Continue reading for the recipe.
Today’s recipe is a real treat. Well… a real treat for those of you who enjoy vodka. Juicy, tart slices of ruby red grapefruit are steeped in vodka with wisps of fresh, herbal tarragon. The finished infusion is so refreshing and wonderfully fragrant. I will be posting an accompanying cocktail recipe soon; however, you could certainly enjoy this vodka on the rocks with a splash of soda water. This recipe also marks the third week of my $100 Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway. Continue reading for the recipe and giveaway details.
Dressed in a warm cherry pancetta vinaigrette, this spinach salad is packed with amazing flavor and texture. Almond-crusted goat cheese and crisp fennel make the salad a substantial side to any main course (especially a flakey white fish). The cherry flavor of the vinaigrette is not overwhelming. The cherry vinegar adds a wonderful depth of flavor that is sure to satisfy your palate. Continue for the recipe.
After last week’s Cherry Vinegar recipe, I still had several handfuls of ripe cherries sitting in my refrigerator. We’ve been having ice cream nightly this time of the year at my house, so I thought this Cherry Coulis would be the perfect accompaniment. A Coulis (pronounced “coolie”) is simply a thick sauce made from puréed and strained fruit (or vegetables). With only four ingredients, this coulis recipe is simple, quick and easily adaptable. If you don’t have cherries right now, you could try strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
If you’ve never tried making your own infusion before, then you’ll have to give this recipe a go. The process of infusing can be applied to many cooking liquids including oil, vinegar, spirits and simple syrups. With only two ingredients, this fruit-infused vinegar is delicious, complex and the perfect compliment to a fresh summer salad.
[donotprint]I find that I have a love-hate relationship with most potato salads. I love the rich, creamy (sometimes bacony) flavor of mayonnaise based potato salads; however, I hate all of the calories that come along with them. To solve this little dilemma, I have come up with two possible solutions: 1. eat mayonnaise based potato salads in moderation (difficult) or 2. prepare a potato salad that is both healthy (well… healthier) and satisfying (easy). Tossed in a lemon-olive oil dressing, this Potato Salad with Fava Beans and Fennel is crisp, colorful and refreshing. Continue reading for the recipe.[/donotprint]