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.
White wine sangria with stone fruit and citrus
I adore spring, but it always seems so fleeting. New growth budding up all around, warm sun and cool breezes, long days, leafy greens- it's a good season. I feel like it just arrive and yet it's already slipping through my fingers, succumbing to the intense summer sun as it charges closer each day. May was very kind to us, but June will not be so forgiving. Today it was nearly 100 degrees. The heat was not just heat, it was an omen. Summer is coming. But I'm ushering in the summer with gratitude this year. I know after a full month or two of 100 degree days I'll be singing another tune, but at the moment, summer means freedom, flexibility, and even vacation- and that is something I welcome with open arms. So what better way to celebrate the last few weeks of spring, than with a refreshing spring sangria? On a the last Monday night of the quarter after an unpleasantly sweaty ride home from work? Yes, please. I'll take two.
A cool refreshing summer salad
I'm a morning person. I like to wake up with the sun, when the neighborhood quiet and the birds are calling out to one another. I like to sit at the table by the kitchen window drinking a hot americano and eating a nice little breakfast while Chaco makes excited howls at me from the other side of the glass, waiting to be taken out for his morning walk. When I've finished eating, we head to the park and run around in a big open valley there, breaking every so often for a snuggle session. And when we get home, I like to spend a half hour or so watering whatever needs watering and checking up on each individual plant- ensuring their happiness and taking notes of anything that looks off. Then it's straight to the shower and the start of getting ready for the day ahead.
I like mornings.
But I do not like rushed mornings.
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.