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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What To Do With…. Fennel Seeds

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


Abby said...

Hi Adeline! So I accidentally ordered a pint or so of fresh cranberries...any ideas for what to do with them? Thanks!

Hungry Gal said...

@ Abby

Hi! I love fresh cranberries... I think it depends on what you want to do with them and how much effort you want... I have a great recipe for apple cranberry chutney on my site. I love it. You don't have to go to the hassle of canning it if you use it right away... you can also make a crisp with fresh cranberries and apple (also have a link for raspberry and pear crisp - you have to dial up the sugar to adjust for cranberries though.) Also you could make a pie. If I were you - make a jar or two of the chutney. it's easy and it's really delicious. I think I have made 20 jars or so since the fall.

lisa (dandysugar) said...

I love fennel seed- Nice post. I actually threw some fennel seed into a pasta dish I made last week. It's super tasty! Adds another layer of flavor.

Joyful Reverie said...

so much to do with fennel seeds huh? I love them, in my country we traditionally add them to all kinds of dishes and make a mix with cumin seeds, cubed sugar, and other kinds of seeds.

Hungry Gal said...

@ lisa & Joyful Reverie

Fennel seeds are great. I am still coming up with different ways to use them. Toasting them and adding to pasta might be tasty with some turkey sausage...

Cumin seeds and fennel... hmm, sounds good. I may have to try adding some fennel seeds next time I reach for the cumin... :)

Laura Kelley said...

An ode to fennel! I love it!

There is a scrummy Indian potato dish that uses them in the very beginning to flavor the cooking oil. Then there's ginger, garlic, turmeric, a bit o chili peppers and salt and pepper. Add water, then the parboiled potatoes get sauteed in the spices until a delicious crust forms - really good! And even through the other flavors the fennel shines brightly!

Also an ingredient in Bangladesh's 5-spice powder called Panchforan.

Popular in Asia and the Levant - generally under appreciated in the west.



Alex Rushmer said...

I was given the Culinary Artistry book as a gift when I worked in a cookware shop in London. It is such a fantastic book, I'd be lost without it.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Laura

I love crusty potatoes with soft centers...I will have to put that recipe on my list!

@ Alex

re: CA - I couldn't agree with you more.

Gexton said...

It looks really amazing!! I have to try it!! Thanks for sharing :-)
sesame seeds
fennel seeds

Ayur Times said...

Fennel Seeds offer various health benefits, which are derived from its antioxidant action. It can curb the unwanted free radical reaction in the healthy tissues thus reducing the risk of cancer.

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