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Whole30 Week 3: Vegan and Not-So Vegan

Asparagus & Fennel Soup by Amy Roth Photo

This week’s post is dedicated to Kenji Lopez-Alt, that test kitchen god (and managing culinary director at Serious Eats) whose recipes formed the backbone of the best meals I made this week. Only minor tweaks were necessary to make them Whole30-compliant; though I’m really starting to hate the word compliant, the adjustments seem to be coming to me naturally now. I’m still constantly hungry despite eating all the time and adding even more fat to my diet, but the cheese cravings aren’t constant, so I’m headed in the right direction. No tiger blood, either, but I always thought that was a long shot, anyway.

Lunch today was a fan-freaking-tastic soup of asparagus and fennel, found on Lopez-Alt’s Instagram feed. I took the basics and tweaked them a bit with what I had in the house and fell head over heels. I sautéed 1/2 large chopped onion with a small thinly sliced bulb of fennel and a finely chopped stalk of celery in olive oil until they were soft, then added one bunch of chopped asparagus (minus the tips, which I steamed) and half of a sliced russet potato and cooked them together for a few minutes. One quart of chicken stock, salt to taste and some simmering later, I blitzed the soup in my Vitamix and lunch was served. I love simple, seasonal recipes, don’t you? I may try to accentuate the fennel flavor next time with a splash of Herbsaint, but honestly found the soup to be perfectly balanced this way. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cast Iron Steak & Vegan Creamed Spinach by [...]
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A GOOP apologist

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In the late 90s, when the first anti-Gwyneth Paltrow backlash was in the news gossip pages, one of my contrarian friends made the conscious decision to become a Paltrow supporter. If something negative came up (and working at a sports magazine with grizzled black-hearted former newspapermen, it did), he’d extol her virtues, her beauty, her cerebral screen presence — basically, anything he could do to get under a detractor’s skin.

Now that the second wave of backlash has come around, I think I might just find myself taking on his old role. Like many people, I signed up for the GOOP newsletter looking for a laugh, but something odd happened — I didn’t always delete them. In fact, I’ve kept nearly every recipe sent from the beginning. (I make no such claim about the lifestyle or shopping tips, but this is a food blog after all.) And let’s be honest — who among us wouldn’t want to be in her position, culinarily speaking? She’s buds with Batali hisownself and probably picked up a thing or two traveling through Spain with him. So when she speaks (and mentions him in the newsletter), I listen.

Last week’s menu featured a few dishes from a meal she had at his home — a meal to which Emeril was invited, btw. Yes, the eyes do roll, but damn, this meal sounded pretty fabulous. And it didn’t disappoint, even with a few changes made to the menu. The chicken dish pictured above is a Spanish affair, complete with thinly sliced onions, lemons and fennel sautéed together with white wine and pimenton, then roasted in the oven. As if all of that weren’t enough, the whole cloves of garlic that baked and softened […]

March 10, 2009|Chicken, citrus, fennel, Oranges, Pictures, Spanish|1 Comment

Back in the kitchen

Having cooked only one meal — braised short ribs with pasta — during Christmas vacation with my parents, I was itching to get back into my kitchen to prepare some decidedly non-processed fare. I wanted to keep it fairly light for our first meal back, which I did with caramelized fennel topped with garlic and anchovy bread crumbs.

When I’ve caramelized fennel before, I’ve always grilled it, but that wasn’t an option with the cold and the wind and general winteriness outdoors, so I marinated the fennel slices in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt & pepper, and some whole grain Dijon mustard before caramelizing it in a pan with a touch of olive oil. Once the fennel had some good color and had just started to soften, I added a little water and covered the pan tightly so it would finish cooking through.

While the fennel was steaming, I tore the crust from four pieces of whole wheat bread and whirred the soft insides in a food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs. I stirred about a half tablespoon of olive oil, a small clove of minced garlic, and an anchovy filet in a skillet over medium heat until the anchovy had dissolved and the garlic was just starting to turn golden. At that point, I added the breadcrumbs and a little salt & pepper and tossed the mixture over medium-high heat until the breadcrumbs were toasty and so fragrant I couldn’t help but sample a pinch straight from the pan.

I do think it’ll be better in the summer, when the fennel is even more aggressively caramelized from the grill, but this was quite tasty for a thrown-together dinner. […]

December 30, 2008|fennel, Italian, Pictures, Pizza|11 Comments