Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now that I am trying to post again, I have updated the "In Season" list, as well as "My Top Five Farmer's Market Picks". The "In Season" list is a general list of what is available in California. Most everything on it I found at my local market. I am going to try and post 2-3 times a month, at least. My daughter is becoming more independent everyday, so cooking is getting easier again. As much as I love food, I love my daughter more, and I had to let something go for awhile (it had to be the blog). Thanks everyone for coming back!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Carrot-Apple-Fennel Salad with Walnuts

One of my most favorite autumn vegetables (as if they all are not my favorite) is fennel. I think fennel is the best in autumn, even though you can get it year round in mild climates. When raw, it is crisp and refreshing with a licorice like scent and flavor. When sliced paper thin, it's crunch really adds a wonderful texture to salads. My husband and I actually love just plain raw fennel salads dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil and some parsley, delicious! It is also wonderful cooked too. If someone tells me they don't like fennel, I make them some simple roast fennel and they take back their words every time. When cooked, it will lose much of it's licorice like flavor.

In this salad, paper thin fennel slices are combined with sliced apples and shredded carrots for a beautiful, colorful combination. I add raw walnuts for a little nuttiness and extra fat (the walnuts can be toasted, but their omega-3 fatty acids will be damaged in the process). A simple dressing and some fresh herbs is all this salad needs to finish it off. I like to use the fennel's fronds as an herb, so if you buy your fennel with the stalks on, save the fronds for an herb and the stalks for vegetable stock.

This salad is great with any white fish, chicken, or even pork, or along side a tomato chickpea stew.

Sorry, no picture today, the camera is acting up and I can't get it to work. I will post one later if possible.

Carrot-Apple-Fennel Salad with Walnuts

Serves 4-6
 Autumn

-2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
-1 sweet, crisp apple (such as Gala)
-1 bulb fennel, fronds removed and reserved
-2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1 tablespoon agave nectar
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon chopped parsley
-1 tablespoon chopped fennel frond
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
-Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Place the shredded carrots into a large bowl and set aside.
Quarter the apple lengthwise and cut out the core. Halve the fennel bulb and cut out the core. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the apple and fennel thinly and add to the bowl with the carrots. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice over the vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl whisk together the agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, and fennel frond. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Add in the walnuts. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice if necessary.