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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Candy Spelling and I might be kindred spirits. The gossip mags tell me that Tori Spelling's mother has a wee bit of a problem. A shopping problem. I have one, too...when it comes to food. My husband can attest to this: We have a two drawers full of kitchen gadgets, a freezer full of summertime pesto, organic beef, and sustainable fish and a pantry full of grains and rices. But what I am most proud of is a cupboard filled with spices and herbs, sorted by regional cuisine. Because in what crazy world does sumac sit beside herbs de provence? :)
The most recent addition to my spice cabinet is a package of fennel seeds. My experience with fennel seeds is rather limited, while I have tasted fennel seeds in sausages and I have munched on them as I exited many an Indian restaurant, but I have never cooked with them. So I wasn’t really sure what I could do with them. Normally, when this happens,
I head downstairs and check my handy dandy reference guide, Culinary Artistry.
This book is a foodie's dream. It is organized by ingredient and provides a list of complementary flavours. If that wasn't enough, there are recipes from some of the world's most celebrated chefs to inspire you to the kitchen. There were two entries for fennel - one for the vegetable and one for the seed. Vegetable or seed - fennel does marry nicely with oranges, poultry, cabbage, and figs. I have listed somethings I would do with the seeds.
To extract the most flavour from them, toast and crush them to release their fragrance.
What To Do With... Fennel Seeds
1. Apple/Chicken Breakfast sausage patties - since I don't eat pork - I am always on the look out for breakfast "meat" substitutes. 1 lb ground chicken, 1 green apple grated, 1 tsp of crushed fennel seeds, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper, 1 beaten egg. Form into small patties about 2 tablespoons worth. Fry over medium heat until done. (Could also be baked.)
2. Roasted carrots -(about 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins) with tossed 1 tbsp of orange juice with 1 tsp of toasted and crushed fennel seeds
3. Orange and Fennel Seed cookies – I just received this recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookie of the Day feature this week. And it's a keeper. This recipe calls for aniseed, which is similar but different from fennel seed. So it was a perfect opportunity to test out this recipe. These cookies were absolutely delicious even with my few adjustments. (I processed the fennel seeds with the almonds to ensure they are super-fine and they took longer than 12 minutes to bake.)
We ate these very quickly. :(
4. Braised fennel - slice the vegetable fennel, white wine, onions, butter and fennel seeds. See #6