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.

    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.com

    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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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.