Fennel, Again

Little One like her vegetables, loves snacking on carrot sticks, cabbage, lettuce, peas… but not fennel!

I don’t know why I got obsessed with fennel this season. Probably because I was thwarted last summer thinking I had planted bulbing fennel and finding out too late it was the kind that only produces seeds. The fennel crop has been the most gratifying garden success so far this summer. I was grateful to harvest the first bulb this morning. I cut the feathery tops off and put them in a jar of water to use later, maybe, or maybe dry them. There’s plenty more where those came from if all I do is end up composting them. I’m grateful for compost: I never feel like I’m wasting food anymore, everything I don’t eat goes into the compost and then back into the garden to feed the soil.

I’m grateful, again, to be able to search a recipe in just a few minutes. Today I chose Braised White Beans with Greens and Parmesan, though it should have said and Fennel, which is how I saved it on my computer. It’s a winner. It was easy and delicious. I was grateful to have all the ingredients on hand.

Gently sautéed thinly sliced fennel bulb, onion, and minced fresh rosemary. I’m grateful for the new Food52 GreenPan (nontoxic, non stick) skillet, at twelve inches with a glass lid the largest skillet I’ve ever owned. I foresee some fabulous Boyz Lunches coming from it in the future, and maybe some blueberry pancakes tomorrow.
The recipe called for chard or kale, but I used red and green orach from the garden, tossing in to wilt after adding minced garlic and a tiny crushed red pepper.
Then two cans of rinsed and drained Great Northern beans, because I only had one can of cannellini which is what it called for. Then dump in two cups of veggie or chicken broth–I used a pint of veggie from the freezer.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, smashing a few beans to thicken the broth.
Turn off the heat, squeeze in a tablespoon or so of fresh lemon juice, then toss in half a cup of mozzarella and a quarter cup of grated parmesan, and stir til melted and mixed.
So simple, so delicious! I’m confident that Wren will like a spoonful of leftovers in her breakfast, and I’ll enjoy the rest for lunch.

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