Tag Archive: Fennel

  1. Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread

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    Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.comFig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com

    Here we are, home in the woods.

    There’s nearly a foot of snow on the ground as I write this and the sky doesn’t look like it’s fixing to quit time soon. Erin Brockovich, my favorite movie of all time is playing and I’m perched on the windowsill by the fireplace waiting for a certain Elk that I know lingers around the house to make an appearance.

    Loveliness and prettification has NEVER been my schtick, and I hate that the summary of my morning sounds like an Eddie Bauer catalog or one of those instagram accounts that are all leather goods and falling leaves –– BUT life out here does feel good. For all the confused looks we got for making this leap, there is nothing I’ve felt so sure about, next to marrying Shaun. We definitely didn’t know how life would change when we waved goodbye to the city, but we knew it would, and that it would for the better. They say “wherever you go, there you are,” which is true. We brought our same soggy hearts and issues and questions up the canyon with us, but… yeah… and HERE we are, choosing the front row to our own lives and experiences, away from that which no longer serves. I think the “there” can hold more water than we care to admit. But I’m biased. The mountains are my church. It’s impossible to not step outside, breathe deep, and get hit with this rush of perspective. For the first time in a very long time, I think I recognize the sound of my heartbeat again.

    There’s this pull-apart bread I’ve been sitting on a while, though. I made it a month ago, the last shoot in the old place. I was feeling that sort of manic-compulsive desire to bake and make a wholly sticky mess of a half-packed kitchen (pro tip: wine bottles make A+ rolling pins). I’m the kind of person who turns to baking when things feel totally psychedelic and out of control. Unlike throwing together something grainy, herby, green-ish, crunchy, tangy in a bowl and calling it a masterpiece, baking requires a high degree of rule-following that tends to turn me off on most days (in the kitchen, and in life). But I appreciate the precision. The requisite patience. The attention to detail. I crave it when everything else in the world feels topsy turvy. I promise the pay-off is big on this one, guys.

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    Fig + Anise Pull-Apart Bread 

    For the dough (slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman): 

    • 2 cups milk
    • 1/2 cup butter 
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
    • 4 cups AP flour
    • 1/2 cup (additional) AP flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
    • dash of salt 

     

    Filling:

    • 2 cups dried mission figs, soaked + softened
    • 2 Tbsp ground anise seed
    • 10 Tbsp butter, melted
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon

     

    Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com

    Preheat oven to 350’ F.

    Start with the dough. Combine milk and butter in a small sauce pan. Heat until just beginning to steam. Turn off and remove from heat. Stir in yeast and 1/2 cup sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a stand mixer with a bread hook or in a large bowl with wooden spoon, stir together liquid with 4 cups of flour. Wait an hour for the dough to rise, then add 1/2 cup additional flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    Place figs in a bowl of warm water to soften for 20 minutes. Strain, dry, and place in the basin of a food processor or a immersion blender. Add anise, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Blend until a sticky paste forms. Add more butter or a bit of milk to thin if necessary. Set aside.

    On a floured surface, roll out dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4” thick. Spread fig/anise paste evenly until it covers all of the dough. WARNING: the next phase is extremely messy. It’s unavoidable. Just have fun with it. Cut the dough into 6 to 8 strips, then stack all the strips into one stack. Cut the stack of strips into 6 slices. Place the stacks sideways into a buttered bread pan. If you’re me, you will probably feel the need to shove things in the holes… Dee recommends against this, but hey… it doesn’t always have to be pretty to taste good.

    Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes and then check to make sure the top is not browning. Test the center… are things still gooey in there? Cover with tin foil and continue to bake for 10, 15, 20 minutes.

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  2. Joy Is Not A Crumb

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    Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com

    “If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don’t Hesitate)”

    ― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

    Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.comQuick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.comQuick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com

    Quick Pickled Vegetables over Herb-y Black Lentils

    • 1 bunch tricolor radishes, quartered
    • 1 cup pearl onions, halved
    • 1 lb. baby carrots
    • 2 cups cauliflower, broken into small pieces
    • 1 bulb fennel, sliced
    • 2 shallots, shaved
    • 4 florets belgian endive, halved
    • ——
    • 4 cups white wine vinegar (or red wine, or rice)
    • 4 cups water
    • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
    • 2 tbsp juniper berries
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp salt
    • ——

    To make the pickling liquid: Place water and vinegar in medium pot along with sugar, juniper berries, salt, and mustard seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar and salt. Place cleaned and prepped raw vegetables into the liquid and submerge. Cover and let cool to room temperature, place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Extra vegetables can be kept for up to two months. They make for great accouterments in a Bloody Mary!

    Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.comQuick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.comQuick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.comQuick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com

    For the Lentil Salad…

    • 4 cups cooked black lentils (about 1 pound, dry)
    • 1 cup watercress leaves
    • 1 cup parsley leaves
    • 1 cup celery leaves
    • 1/2 cup mint leaves
    • 1/4 cup minced chives
    • 2 lemons, juiced
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • salt/pepper to taste

    Cook lentils until al dente, about 30 minutes. Strain, rinse, and set aside. Mix with olive oil, lemon juice, and greens. Serve as a bed to the pickled vegetables. Dress with chives, serve cool, but not cold. Makes great leftovers for weekday lunches. Served mine today with lemon avocado aioli.

    Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com Quick Pickled Vegetables + Herb-y Black Lentils via www.happyolks.com

  3. Spicy Potato Tarragon Soup

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    “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

    —    Anais Nin

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    Spicy Potato Tarragon Soup 

    It’s still winter here in Colorado, although spring is introducing itself in fits and starts. I’m considering this my last homage to the hearty, sustaining bowls of warmth that have characterized this amazing season of snow and festivity. Savor the crumbs of cold that are left for us, folks. Everyone seems to want to be in the season that’s in front of them instead of celebrating the one that’s here, now. It will be time for tulips, asparagus, and rhubarb soon enough.

    • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 2 leeks, sliced
    • 1 bulb fennel, sliced
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 8 small red potatoes
    • 1 fuji apple, sliced
    • 12 small yellow fingerlings
    • 6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • Juice of two large lemons
    • ———
    • 1/4 cup minced tarragon
    • Sriracha or other preferred hot sauce
    • Crisp cooked bacon (optional)

     

    Melt butter in a 8-quart stockpot. Add onion, leek, garlic, and fennel; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are just softening. Add potatoes (skins on) and stir together to create some browning at the bottom of the pot and the potatoes. Deglaze the browning bits after 10 minutes by adding stock. Reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.

    When the potatoes are completely softened and separating from their skin, add the heavy cream, salt, and pepper then transfer batches to the blender and blend on low so that the soup is just combined but still a bit chunky. Transfer to a staging bowl and repeat until all the soup is blended but still has texture.

    Stir in lemon juice, fresh chopped tarragon, hot sauce to your liking, and add bacon (optional). Taste for salt and pepper.

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  4. Shaved Fennel Salad + The Lunchbox Fund

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    Today I’m partnering with The Giving Table, The Lunchbox Fund, and nearly one hundred other food bloggers to feed impoverished and orphaned schoolchildren in South Africa. We’re donating our posts and asking our readers to join us in raising (at least) $5,000 to provide a daily meal to 100 children for an a whole year. Children with empty tummies at school can’t achieve their full potential. With the collective help of our reader base, we hope to nourish minds, nourish a nation, and positively impact the planet.

    Nicole Gulotta asked us to share a personal anecdote to plead the case of this fantastic cause, and while I will eventually get to that, I think it goes without saying that hunger at home and abroad is a problem that should take very little convincing to get behind. It is stunning and despicable to me that nearly 65 percent of all South African children are food insecure and that 1.9 million of those children are orphans as a result of HIV and AIDS. It is also unacceptable to me that 1 in 5 children here in the U.S, the so-called “greatest country in the world” live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. This would never be true of the “greatest” country in the world.

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    South Africa lives in a tender corner of my heart. In 2010 I lived on a small ship for five months with a few hundred students, professors, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu sailing across the Atlantic, around the horn of Africa, through the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, South China Sea, and finally back across the Pacific. On the days we weren’t at port he gave lectures on the history of his country, Apartheid, the meaning of Ubuntu, and spent his mealtimes fraternizing with young people in the mess hall. On one evening I remember sitting around a round table with  six women and one guy, a phenom to Arch (what we called him affectionately), that merited he scoot from his table to ours. He looked at us, giggled, and proceeded to circle the perimeter, tapping our heads like a game of duck-duck goose until he reached our male friend, Nimish, and squealed “you lucky little bugger!” before skipping off. He is at once the fieriest and goofiest person I’ve been lucky to experience and my life is forever changed by his unwavering optimism for human goodness, capacity for love and forgiveness, and his belief that young people can change the world.

    A lot of things get the man riled up, and hunger is one of them.

    “I doubt if there is a single moment in our history when all human beings have had enough to eat. Even today, in a world where it is possible to communicate across thousands of miles… close to 1 billion men, women and children will go to bed hungry tonight around the world. Yet a lifetime of experience has taught me that there is no problem so great it cannot be solved, no injustice so deeply entrenched it cannot be overcome. And that includes hunger. Hunger is not a natural phenomenon. It is a man made tragedy. People do not go hungry because there is not enough food to eat. They go hungry because the system which delivers food from the fields to our plates is broken.”

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    I have a shoddy recording (watch/listen here) of the night before we made port in Cape Town that I watch often for reasons private and obvious, in which he says:

    Don’t let us grind you down. Dream. Go on for goodness sakes, dreaming. Dream, dream.

    Dream the craziest dreams. They actually often are, God’s dreams.

    I feel pretty confident that I know only a smidgen of what there is to know about this life and humans and our collective experience, but I know this: we can’t do it alone. Most of you will visit this site for the recipe, and perhaps the half that read this accompanying post will find themselves economically capable of donating to The Lunchbox fund, and that’s okay. We are all doing what we can, with what we have, and the time we get here. But I’m dreaming. I’m going to dream that 5000 Happyolks readers who will see this post over the next week will donate $10 and multiply The Giving Table’s goal by a factor of 10. Yeah. Crazy dreams. Whatcha think? Let’s do it.

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    Shaved Fennel Salad

    •  6 medium-ish bulbs fennel
    • 2 granny smith apples
    • 1 red onion
    • 1 cup parsley leaves
    • 1 cup mint leaves
    • 1 cup watercress
    • ½ cup sour cherries
    • ½ cup shelled + chopped pistachios
    • juice of 1 navel orange
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp (plus a dash) sea salt
    • cracked pink pepper

     

    With a mandoline, shave bulbs of fennel to ¼ inch thickness. Place in bowl and sprinkle with salt to soften. Set aside. Shave the onion and apples (with skin) on the same setting on the mandoline and set aside. Clean and remove leaves of watercress, parsley, and mint. Set aside.

    Prepare the dressing by combining the juices of the orange and lemon, olive oil, plus salt, and cracked pink pepper.  Toss together the fennel, onions, apples, parsley, mint, watercress, chopped pistachios, and sour cherries with the dressing.

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    This one’s for you, Arch.

    For good measure, here’s the link (again) to donate a buck The Lunchbox Fund.

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.