Hey, Is That Candy?

First of all, thank you for the ideas concerning speaking to kids about body image and ‘fat talk’ from yesterday’s post. I wish it wasn’t an issue, but sadly, even children can wrap their self-worth up in their appearance. If you haven’t, please feel free to check it out and tell me what you think!

And going from a heavy topic to a light one, I wanted to tell you about another food that the CSA exposed us to – fennel.  Are you familiar with it?  It has a bulb, stalks that look like celery, and feathery fronds, all of which are edible.  All of which taste like black licorice.

Black licorice lovers rejoice!  There is a vegetable that tastes like candy!  (Or does the candy taste like a vegetable?  Probably the latter, actually.)

I don’t like black licorice or black jelly beans, myself, but I think I am the odd one out.  The rest of our family does like that flavor, and I’m betting some of you do too. I thought I should tell you about this unusual item, so you can try it if you haven’t already done so. I make a salad with fennel that my husband enjoys.  The recipe came from a 2009 CSA newsletter.

Fennel, Beet and Orange Salad

2-3 medium beets
1 head of fennel
2 oranges
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

* Preheat oven to 400.  Remove beet tops.  Trim stems to 1″, scrub beets, rub with oil and roast until tender, about 1 hour.  Cool.
* Thinly slice fennel bulb crosswise, and saute slowly with a small amount of oil over low heat until it is nicely browned.  Remove from heat.
* Zest one orange.  Whisk balsamic with orange zest, Dijon, 2 T oil, and salt and pepper.
* Cut peels and white pith from oranges.  Cut crosswise into thin slices.
* Chop fennel stalks and reserve fronds.
* Peel cooled beets and cut into 1″ chunks.
* Toss browned fennel bulb with orange slices, beets, fennel stalks and dressing.
* Sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds to taste.

It’s pretty and light, a nice summer salad (for anyone who likes black licorice and mustard, which I don’t.  I guess I’m picky sometimes.)

image

When cooked, the flavor becomes milder. In the above salad, with raw stalks and fronds, the flavor really stands out. But a different way I prepare fennel uses only the cooked bulb, and the flavor is much different. I cut the bulb into thin slices, slowly saute in butter, then top with shredded parmesan cheese. Even picky me will eat it prepared like this.

Do you eat fennel? Just for fun, what’s your favorite color jelly bean? (Mine is probably red, definitely not black.)

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