Shaved Fennel Salad

Thanks to a friend talking about a lovely summer evening dinner, I dusted off Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day. I love discovering ways to eat things I love, that fit within my family's tastes. It can be very rare, especially with fennel. This was a great dinner on the side of pan roasted chicken.

I highly recommend this recipe. I am always grateful when I get to use my mandolin :-)
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Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

A trip to Carver Orchards proved to be fruitful. I was allowed to pick the flowers off the zucchini plants, which is rare...since ultimately each flower is an unrealized zucchini. This is what makes them so wonderful. I got hooked on these circa June 2007 in a little vegetarian restaurant in San Lorenzo neighbourhood of Rome, Arancia Blu. We didn't realize from the review that brought us there that it was a vegetarian restaurant (since we generally like to have a broader choice of proteins), but for some reason it remains one of the more memorable in Rome.
4 tbsp ricotta
zest of 1 lime
chopped fennel "dill"
1 smashed clove of garlic
sea salt

Mix the ingredients together and carefully fill the zucchini blossoms. I've heard a lot of recipes call for removing the pistil inside the flower, but I leave it intact.

Enjoy fresh or deep fried in thin batter; as we did, but you have to eat these immediately, thus no pictures ;-).

Pancetta Waffles

It was sad to see pancetta just laying in the fridge...it needed to be used. I baked it into the waffles this morning - think bacon-flavored waffle.

2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 vegetable oil
4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups of milk
1/2 vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
8 slices of pancetta

Mix all the ingredients (except the pancetta) together until smooth. Place a slice of pancetta onto a greased waffle iron, and ladle the batter on top. Close the waffle iron and cook until golden brown.

P.S. It's been proving more difficult to take pictures lately. ;)


Home-Brewed Iced Darjeeling

A little gift to self of the Bodum ice tea brew pitcher.  It was too pretty to resist.

Mussles in Wheat Beer

2 lbs Pei mussels
4 tbsp butter
2 tomatoes
1 lemon
4 cloves garlic
3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
1 bottle Hoegaarden White Ale
salt + pepper

Clean the mussels, keep only the closed ones. In a large stock pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add crushed garlic cloves. After about 30 seconds, add in the tomatoes and lemon (if you want a sweeter broth, remove the lemon skin), both cut into wedges. Cook for a minute or so, while stirring. Add in the beer and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn heat to high. Allow the broth to start to bubble. Throw in all your mussels (I am itching to add a pun here, but I won't). Close with lid and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Serve immediately with a grilled crostini.

Watermelon and Feta Salad

I've seen this combination recommended frequently, but honestly didn't expect to like it. It was an experiment as usual. Surprisingly, it was awesome. Very light, refreshing and a good balance of sweet and savory.

1/2 medium sized watermelon, cubed
5 oz mild goat milk feta cheese, crumbled
6 mint leaves, chiffonade
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Combine watermelon, feta, mint and onion. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic, and pour over the salad. No salt or pepper needed.


Veal Stuffed with Caramelized Onions, Apples and Goat Cheese

4 thin veal steaks
1 large vidallia onion
4 tbsp white vinegar
1 jar (4oz) apple sauce
1 large apple
4 oz goat cheese
lemon thyme
olive oil

Marinate, sliced half circles of onion in vinegar with some salt to taste for 5 hours (this can be done overnight).  Drain off the vinegar, lay onions on paper towels to dry. 

In a pan, caramelize the onions in olive oil until golden.  Add in pealed, cored apple slices about 1/2 inch in size.  Roast on medium heat until the apples are just beginning to soften.  Remove from heat, add apple sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Season the steaks and split the filling among them.  Add a sprig of lemon thyme and about 1oz of goat cheese to each.  Roll the veal around the stuffing and secure with bamboo skewers.  Spray with olive oil and carefully place on a hot grill.  Flip after 2-3 minutes.  Continue for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.  Remove from heat. Serve with balsamic reduction.