Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cool and Crisp Fennel Apple Salad

     If you have heard this story before, my apologies.  Not so long ago, a good friend of mine asked my daughter about what she had done over a recent school holiday.  Expecting to hear all about recent visits to ancient sites or museums, she was a bit surprised when Dear Daughter rattled on and on about the various restaurants she had been to over the course of a week.  In great detail, she provided examples of her new favorite foods or meals.  My friend, who was also one of DD's teachers, rolled her eyes, sighed and said, "Yes, your parents are raising a foodie."
     That is a pretty correct statement.  She is a foodie.  Here is a kid who will not eat hotdogs or sandwiches but will devour bratwurst on a brotchen (and only a brotchen).  She won't touch scrambled eggs but loves quiche.  What did she want for her 13th birthday?  She wanted to have dinner at her favorite fancy restaurants...yes, that is plural.  She had at least three fancy meals with  each restaurant providing their own little "bon anniversaire" gifts to her.  At her final birthday lunch, the Mexican Ambassador to France even took part in singing Happy Birthday to her.  What a charmed life she leads!
     However, as much as she loves to eat good food, she is not much of a cook.  She is beginning to develop a small repertoir.  Her current masterpieces center around either potatoes or rice. She makes a mean Au Gratin Potato, Potatoes Dauphinois and even fancy Mashed Potatoes.  However, in the last six months, she has taken over the duties of "Risotto Maker".  Shrimp Risotto, Butternut Squash Risotto, Risotto Milanese are all fine examples of her work.  Before you get ideas that we may want to send her off to culinary school, I have to make you aware of one important item.  She is the Head Chef...never the Sous Chef, never the Prep Cook and never the humble Dishwasher.  Whether she is afraid of dismembering herself with a knife, burning her fingers in the oven or dropping a slippery dish, we do not know.  Perhaps, these plebeian jobs are just not creative enough for her. 
      Whatever the reason may be, I sat back last night and watched her and Dear Husband create my 50th birthday dinner.  DD had decided on Risotto with Bacon and Mushrooms.  I was a bit dubious about the choice and did not remind her that I was not a big fan of mushrooms (as I was not supposed to know the menu).  DH prepped and cleaned and DD stirred that risotto, taking little bites here and there only to tell DH that it was still not quite done.  The result:  perfectly cooked rice with an unbelievable depth of flavor and a wonderful memory.  Goodbye 49 - Hello 50.

That's my beautiful girl!

Best Birthday Dinner, ever

     We have done exceptionally well with our veggies this week.  Most nights, veggies take center stage with just a bit of protein.  Isn't that the way it is supposed to be?  We used up the zucchini by making Zucchini Fritters to accompany our marinated Sirloin Steak over the weekend.  Quinoa Asian Slaw made good use of the cabbage.  Now that we are in Pittsburgh, I made and froze stuffed cabbage yesterday.  I feel like a good Yunzer now!   Tonight, we will be tested with Kale with Sausage and White Beans.  I hope everyone is hungry.
     I have never made anything with fennel before and settled on this easy salad.  It is wonderfully crisp and goes quite well this time of year.  We paired it grilled chicken breast...light, easy and delicious.

Just right for summer...Fennel Apple Salad

Fennel Apple Salad
(I think I found this recipe through our CSA, Clarion River Organics)

Fennel Apple Salad

1 Medium Fennel Bulb, finely sliced
2 T Fennel Fronds, coursely chopped
3 Celery Ribs, finely sliced
1 Firm Apple, finely sliced
1 Small Red Onion, finely sliced
1 Scallion, finely sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 T olive oil
Juice of half a Lemon
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make the dressing. Toss together and enjoy.  Makes about 4 as a side dish.


  1. Once again happy b'day! And that really sounds and looks like a great birthday dinner. I think I will try your fennel apple salad this weekend. Enjoy your weekend. Hilde

  2. Happy, Happy Birthday!! Everything sounds delicious. I can't get George to try many things, forget cooking for me!