A refreshing blend of gin fennel, and papaya, and brightened with green apple and lime
I'm exhausted. We're leaving for an 11 day tour of South Carolina and Massachusetts on Monday and I am so excited, but this week has been a massive stress-fests. There is always so much to do before a trip! And with us both leaving, there's four animals and a ridiculous amount of plants to be cared for. In retrospect, this was not the smartest week to start my new post series- but hey- I'm nothing if not ambitious. And somehow in this whirlwind of stress and work and lists, I'm finding myself, surprisingly, on track. Maybe even a little ahead. The tension is finely beginning to release from my shoulders... but maybe that's just the gin! I'm very excited like to share this delicious little cocktail with you. It's super refreshing and herbal. And in the spirit of me currently enjoying this fine beverage and finally starting to relax, I'm going to stop the narrative here. Below you'll find some lovely pictures that I took with my new birthday camera (!!!!) and the (very brief) recipe. Happy Friday all! Get your fennel gin on!
Bright, fresh, plenty of crunch, and adorned with sweet fennel flowers
It's Fennel Week! On Sunday I introduced my new "About" series. This series will shine a spotlight on a vegetable, fruit, grain, herb, or legume in season now. Each "About" series will start with an informational post followed by back-to-back recipes starring our feature ingredient. The first of the about series features fennel- a hardy Mediterranean herb that packs a lot of flavor, fiber, and crunch. This particular dish uses both the fennel bulb and the flowers. The bulbs are slightly more mild and crisp while the flowers give a strong hit of sweet anise flavor. My fennel is only just starting to flower, but I'm lucky to know many gracious gardeners who've shared their abundant flowers with me. This time of year, they shouldn't be terribly difficult to find. Luckily, even if you can't get your hands on any, this salad will still be delicious and refreshing. The tart green apple, the juicy, bitter grapefruit, and the crisp, fragrant fennel compliment each other beautifully among the soft greens. I've been making some variation of this salad for a while now, with it slowly evolving each time. The balance of the recipe is just right for me, but you should know that I appreciate bitterness. If the thought of eating raw, un-sugared grapefruit turns you off, I would advocate replacing it (in both the salad and the dressing) with orange. It should substitute very nicely. The salad will pack well for lunch, as long as you reserve the dressing until you're ready to consume it. It's super refreshing- so if you've got outdoor things to do early in the day, I highly recommend it for an afternoon cool down.
Hitting reset , a new post series, and an ode to fennel
Today was the summer solstice. Tomorrow the days will start getting shorter (they're already getting hotter). And 2015 is half-way over, startlingly so. The start of the year feels so fresh in my mind. I resolved to start my days more intentionally, to acknowledge my accomplishments as well as my shortcomings, to bring myself closer to a vegan diet again. I resolved to invest more in this blog. Some of these resolutions have stuck, others have slowly faded back into the background. That's just the nature of things- progressing somewhere, regressing elsewhere, and still elsewhere standing perfectly still. But it's good to set goals for yourself, to re-evaluate your priorities and approach to life. And there's something about feeling as though a new page has turned over, a fresh start has been given. Truly every moment of every day is a fresh start, but being aware of that doesn't necessarily make me zen enough to integrate it into my every day reality. So I take advantage of moments when I can remind myself of this with some external feeling of significance, like new years. But new years isn't enough. After a strong start to the year and yet another busy spring, I'm feeling a little puttered out. So how about some summer solstice resolutions? I have a lot already in mind, probably too many, and I know I ought to pair them down rather than overwhelm myself with unrealistic expectations (another of my new year's resolutions!). So I'll share with you just a few that I am very confident in, and that have to do with food, exercise, and this here little blog. Spoiler alert: one of these resolutions has to do with you learning all about the glories of fennel today (And this post is long! Sorry).
A crunchy, yolky, bitter, fresh, crisp spring panzanella that comes together in no time
Something really exciting is happening right now. Spring. Going to the market when the season changes is one of my very favorite things. Just as I'm starting to tire of brussels sprouts and broccoli (that's a ridiculous statement- who gets tired of broccoli?) the asparagus, peas, and young onions appear. To everything- turn, turn, turn - there is a season - turn, turn turn. And that season is turning to spring before my eyes. Everything is waking up, leafing out, and getting down to business. I hacked down most of the winter garden to make way for summer. The weather here is already starting to feel like summer, so I'm fast-tracking all of the garden preparation. Tomorrow's going to be a busy day. After hitting the market this morning though, I wonder what great treasures I mat have unknowingly cast into the compost pile. During our Saturday morning market shop, Chris came across a big bundle of arugula flowers from Sage Mountain Farm. Arugula flowers (which are abundant right about now) are the most unexpectedly delightful thing I have tasted in a while. Only slightly bitter and surprisingly nutty. I grabbed a bunch and some dandelion greens and knew what I'd be making tonight.
A fresh, raw salad that delivers in texture, flavor, and nutrition
I've struggled with balance so very many times in so very many forms throughout my life. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I don't. Lately I've been trying to find the balance between going with the flow and taking decisive action. I like having a plan. I like routine. But I also like spontaneous adventures and getting so wrapped up in something that I forget who and where I am. That's how I tend to feel when I get out into the garden. I go to water something and 4 hours later I've weeded the whole yard, planted a few trees, set up a trellis, and harvested a basket of peppers. Any "plans" I may have fly right out the window. I value that and I need that. But I also need some degree of structure and regularity. It's important to me to maintain certain habits and maintaining these habits requires having some semblance of a plan for the day. So I'm trying out a new approach to balancing these aspects of my life. Set out with objectives and a plan in my head for the day, but allow myself to get lost in each thing that I do and prioritize what I'm feeling passionate about in that moment. If I feel terribly distracted and can't get any work done, then I should go do what I want to be doing instead and not feel bad for taking a break from work. But when I do get into working on a project, I shouldn't just stop at 5 o'clock. I should power through until I get to a satisfying finishing point and not feel bad for skipping yoga and getting dinner started late. Have a plan, but remain willing and ready to re-adjust. Fighting against myself takes too much energy and is much less fulfilling.
Hi there! I'm Cara- plant ecologist, gardening addict, and whole foods enthusiast. My whole life revolves around plants, including my kitchen. Join me here at LWM each week as I post local, seasonal, plant-based recipes and write about my never ending quest to find balance and tranquility in this crazy little world.