Posts Tagged fennel

Mexican-Inspired Meal

This meal may not have been the prettiest color, but it had plenty of good flavor.  I received four beautiful jalapeno peppers in one of my CSA deliveries, and I thought to myself, “What can I possibly do with four jalapenos?”.  I decided that roasting them and pairing them with polenta would be good, and the rest of the meal developed from there.  I was going to make just the polenta and slaw, but while I was at the Mexican market I came across some prepared nopales, and I had to have them.

You can roast jalapeno peppers just like you would roast a red bell pepper.  There are various methods, but since I don’t have a gas stove I usually broil the peppers in the oven until they are blackened on all sides, then put them in a bag or covered bowl to let the skin loosen.  It was difficult to get the skin off and seed them, but not too daunting.

Polenta with Roasted Jalapenos and Black Beans

Roasting and seeding the jalapenos gets rid of most of the heat.  What little heat is left effectively spreads through this whole dish.

1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
3 roasted jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded and sliced
1 15.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)
sea salt to taste

1. Place the polenta, broth and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.
2. Reduce the heat to medium low.  As the polenta starts to thicken, add the remaining ingredients and whisk frequently.
3. The polenta is ready to serve when it is thick and difficult to whisk.  Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 338.13
Calories From Fat (2%) 8.08
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.91g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 154.75mg 6%
Potassium 252.14mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 69.83g 23%
Fiber 12.89g 52%
Sugar 0.36g
Protein 11.84g 24%

Fennel Slaw with Salsa Vinaigrette

1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly, fronds chopped
1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded
large carrot, shredded
Dressing:
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 scallion, green & white parts, chopped
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt

1. Place the fennel, cabbage and carrot in a large bowl and toss to combine.
2. Place all dressing ingredients (tomato through salt) in a blender, and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Pour most of the dressing over the slaw and stir to coat.  Add the rest of the dressing if needed.  Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 104.85
Calories From Fat (32%) 33.83
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.85g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.54g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 423.92mg 18%
Potassium 719.31mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 17.16g 6%
Fiber 6.39g 26%
Sugar 6.67g
Protein 3.27g 7%

Nopales are really kind of awesome.  I had never seen or heard of them until I moved to California and started noticing them in Mexican groceries.  They’re literally a cactus pad.  You can buy the whole, prickly pad and prepare it yourself, but I prefer to buy them already cleaned and diced.  To see how they’re prepared, check out this site or this video.  Somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as the guy in the video makes it look!  Nopales taste and feel kind of similar to green beans, albeit a little slimy, and they’re pretty good for you.

Spice-Roasted Nopales

4 cups prepared diced nopales
1 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
dash of cayenne
small amount of oil, just to coat
pinch of salt

I didn’t take procedure notes for this recipe, but my best guess is that I combined the ingredients and roasted at 425F for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

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And For My Next Post…Here’s a Bunch of Food.

There’s always a bad reason for not blogging, but here’s a good one:  My internet didn’t work for two weeks!  But I’m back now, and what better thing to do than post a whole bunch of random food and get caught up?  Some of this stuff dates from last October.  Eep!  I’ll jump right in.

Ginger Cashew Tofu from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, with fried quinoa

Salad with chickpeas, sauerkraut, crackers and “special sauce” dressing

Whole wheat pasta with cooked beets and beet greens.  Turned the whole thing red!

Pizza burrito!  Leftover pizza toppings wrapped up and served with pizza sauce.

These potatoes were sold as “teeny tiny potatoes” at Trader Joe’s.  How cute!  Roasted whole, with broccoli & tofu scramble.

Roasted Fennel Salad from Veganomicon – test run before Thanksgiving.

Amaranth porridge with apples and pecans

Tempeh Tetrazzini, adapted from a magazine recipe.  Was tasty but dry.

Teriyaki tofu and veggies with red quinoa

This was a total clean-out-the-fridge dinner before I left to visit family for Christmas:  sauteed cabbage and carrots with shredded bleu Sheese and brown rice.  It sounds weird, but it worked well enough.

Shells n’ cheese n’ Tofurkey.  Mom was making mac n’ cheese with leftover ham for the rest of the family, and she made the white sauce with Earth Balance and soy milk so that I could partake too.  I added shredded Follow Your Heart cheese, cooked shells, diced Tofurkey slices that needed to be used up, and some spinach so I could pretend that it was slightly healthy.

“Special Tofu” with peanut sauce and jasmine rice, from Royal Orchid restaurant in Ocala, Florida.  Beautiful and delicious.

Fried rice with red cabbage and baked tofu

Braised red cabbage and carrots

Roasted root veggies with greens and tahini sauce

Tofu scramble and an English muffin to scoop it up

Butternut squash stuffed with rice, kale and vegan sausage, served with mushrooms.  This was super tasty.

When the weather started warming up, we decided to grill twice in one weekend.  For this plate, I bought every vegetable worthy of grilling – baby squashes, radicchio, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic scapes.  We also had some grilled toast and drizzled everything with balsamic reduction.

The next day it was a little more simple – store bought baked tofu, a marinated portobello, brown rice with carrots and hijiki, and steamed veggies with gomasio.

Hot and sour cabbage stir fry with noodles and cilantro

For this tofu scramble, I crisped some diced potatoes first then added the tofu and other ingredients, and finished it with fresh dill.

Savory amaranth with broccoli and pecans

Pasta with parsley pesto, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic-roasted veggies

Crunchy salad with black eyed peas, hemp seeds and spicy apple cider vinegar dressing

Teriyaki tofu bowl with short grain brown rice, raw red cabbage, steamed broccoli, green onion and extra teriyaki sauce

Gardein Crispy Tenders!  I bought these to try when I had a coupon, and I LOVE them.  They’d be good with any sauce, but they were especially good straight out of the oven with warm marinara.  The only problem with these guys is that I could easily eat the whole package at once.

Seasoned mashed fava beans with red bell pepper on Ezekiel toast for breakfast.

Springtime brown rice risotto with fresh peas, aspragus and dill

For a light side to go with the risotto, I dry-roasted some cauliflower that was liberally seasoned with a dry rub mix.

Ahhhhhhh, I feel better having purged my unposted photos a little!  Hope you enjoyed it too.

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Special Stromboli & Caesar Salad

First, my most recent CSA delivery.

romaine lettuce, fennel, kale, artichokes, pea shoots & collards

purple potatoes, carrots, apples, radicchio, tangelos & red onions

Fennel again!  Ugh.  While it is an interesting challenge to find ways to use all the fennel, I think I’ll be happy when it’s no longer fennel season.

When Cyn mentioned in a comment that fennel was good on pizza, I tucked that info away for the next time I got fennel.  I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how I could go from what would be pretty good pizza to a fancy “wow” meal.  This stromboli took longer to make than I normally like to spend on dinner.  I wanted to coax some complex flavors from the ingredients, and in the end the results were worth the extra time.

Roasted Portobello & Fennel Stromboli with Caramelized Onion Sauce, Pea Shoots & Balsamic Reduction

pizza dough for one pizza (I used the VWAV recipe)
3 small red onions, or 1 large, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, or 1 large, shaved
2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup balsamic vinegar
pea shoots or other tender, bite-sized greens

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a wide skillet. Add sliced onions and turn heat to low. Cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring often, until onions are browned and caramelized.

Meanwhile, line a baking pan with foil. Add the shaved fennel, portobello, 2 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp kosher salt, and stir to combine. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes. When vegetables are cooked, remove them from the oven and increase the temperature to 450 F.

When onions are cooked, transfer them to a bowl. Place the almonds in the food processor and process into fine crumbs. Pour almond meal into the pan used to cook the onions, and toast over medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.

Put the onions in the food processor with the 1/4 cup water, and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the almond meal in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine (it will sizzle), and stir, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the onion puree, maple syrup, nutritional yeast and salt and stir to combine. Cook just until heated through.

On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a large rectangle. Spread the onion sauce all over the crust, leaving a 1-inch border along the long ends. Sprinkle the fennel and portobello mixture evenly over the crust. Starting from one long end, roll the crust up tightly. Pinch the crust together to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet, seam side down.

Bake the stromboli for 17-18 minutes, until the crust is brown and crispy on the outside.

As soon as the stromboli goes in the oven, put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced into a syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

When the stromboli is cooked, slice it, top with pea shoots and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Serves 4.

Note:  This keeps well overnight.  Just reheat the stromboli in the microwave or toaster, and heat up the balsamic syrup to loosen it up.

As soon as I saw that I had romaine lettuce, I knew I wanted to make the Caesar Salad from Veganomicon.  It’s so, so good and I just happened to have bought a big bottle of capers a few weeks ago.

I LOVE this dressing.  I used store-bought croutons and threw in radicchio, just to use it up.  What a great salad.  I also ate it as a “chicken” caesar salad wrap, in a multigrain tortilla with some cut up soy nuggets.

To go with my salad, I cut the purple potatoes into wedges and roasted them.  While these were good, I think I preferred the first time I ate purple potatoes, when I had them mashed with gravy.

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Fennel Experiments

When I signed up for my CSA, I knew I’d be getting fennel.  I was a bit nervous about this, because fennel is one of the few vegetables I had never tasted, and all I knew about it was that it smelled and tasted like black licorice.  And I hate black licorice.  The CSA has an option to not receive any item you don’t like, but I figured I’d give fennel a chance before I took it off my list.  And I’m glad I did, cause I think I kinda like it.

I don’t remember where I got the idea to put fennel in a quiche, but I do know I read that roasted fennel does not taste like licorice, so I knew that was the way to go for my first try.  I based my quiche off of this broccoli quiche from The PPK.  For some reason I thought it would be okay to use silken tofu (it was not) and so my first try kinda fell apart.  It tasted fantastic though, so I knew I had to get it right.

Okay, so it didn’t exactly hold together this time either.  I have a hard time waiting for it to cool!  I promise it does stay together after time in the fridge, so I guess maybe I’d recommend chiling it for a few hours or overnight to ensure quiche stay-togetherness. 

I think this would also taste fantastic with summer vegetables – yellow squash, eggplant, red bell pepper, dill and maybe even fresh corn.

Quiche art:

Roasted Veggie Tofu Quiche

1 prepared 9-inch pie crust
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 c unsalted cashews
1 lb extra-firm tofu
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper
1/2 of a 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbs chopped fennel frond

If your pie crust is frozen, take it out of the freezer to thaw.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the fennel bulb, onion, carrot and garlic in an aluminum foil lined pan. Drizzle the oil over the veggies and stir to coat. Roast the veggies in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Take the veggies out of the oven and lower the temperature to 350F.

While the veggies are cooling, process the cashews in a food processor into fine crumbs. Drain the water from the tofu, and crumble it into the food processor. Add the mustard and process until mostly smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula.

Transfer the tofu mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients (thyme through fennel frond) and mix until well combined. Use the spatula to pour the mixture into the pie crust, and smooth out the top. Bake for 40 minutes, and let cool to room temperature before serving.

This should probably serve 8, but I manage to eat it in 5 or 6 servings max.

With the halves left over from my first quiche (fennel, onion and canned tomatoes) I made a quick sauteed pasta sauce to go with whole wheat fettuccine, and topped it with sesame parmesan and (not quite toasted enough) butternut seeds.

Making this reinforced the fact that adding some pasta cooking water back to the pasta really does help with sauciness.

In an internet search for fennel recipes, I came across one for fennel-tuna sandwiches.  This recipe called only for the fennel fronds, and I had plenty of those left, so I made the Chickpea “Tuna” Salad from Vegan Deli and added lots of chopped fennel frond.  I also added some nori for fishiness.  The result was very tasty!  Perfect on a sandwich with lots of lettuce.  Although for some reason I could NOT get a decent picture of this meal.

Verdict:  Fennel is A-OK.  Give it a chance!

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