Monday, June 25, 2012

Fennel-Orange Salad with Avocado, garden stories, and a book about local food

A Guest Post by Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker)

Banned from the garden again and we don't even have tomatoes yet!   

I wonder who was the whistle blower this time?

No comment from the tree gallery. 

Seriously, I think he was just jealous because he didn't see the eggshells before I ate them.  They were strewn around the radishes, to deter slugs, I'd heard the Lady say.   I didn't see any slugs, and  the radish leaves were quite delicious, too.  And the beer in tiny containers sunk in the ground wasn't bad either, but there were a lot of slugs in those.

"Out!!" I heard Lady shout, as she gazed at what used to be radishes.  I pretended not to hear, just kept sniffing.  One of the hounds that lived here before me got away with the deaf act for 10 years. I must not be that good yet, because the Lady didn't buy my act.

Two lessons I've learned: 

  • Never make hasty moves
  • Everything is negotiable.  

Management must be placated.  I was already into it.  My head already droops well below knee level, and my bloodshot eyes shoot me over the top into the pathetic category.  Not to mention, the outstanding number of people who say, "Those hounds--they aren't the sharpest tool in the shed," whatever that means.  

I hang my head, go sit by myself and let gravity do some magic with my jowls and eye lids. If that doesn't work, I roll on my back, legs in the air.

Sooner or later, the Lady softens and calls me into the kitchen for a carrot or celery stalk.  "You going to be good, Finn?" she asks.  We both know the answer.  I'm weak and food is my jones, just about anything will do.  T

 But this time she offered a leash.  I held back until she let me sniff the biscuits she tucks in her pockets on walks.

I discovered  a secret path.

It led into the woods, down some stairs and into the forest. 

Is this what Alice in Wonderland felt like at first?   Perhaps another world was just around the corner.   

I never got the change to find out.  Skinny Chloe wouldn't budge.  She sat at the top of the stairs.  All I know is, I'm coming back here someday, because the main character always goes into the haunted house or takes the creepy path into the forest. 

In the meantime, let's eat.   The Lady made the perfect salad, yesterday.  I'll let her tell you a bit about the ingredients.

Spring Treasures--bargains and budge busters

The first week I've seen fennel at the market and since I'd just put in an order to make post cards with this Orange-Fennel Salad recipe, I thought I'd share it here first.

I found a similar recipe in this book that I'd checked out from the library this past week.  Funny, the book was published in the same year as mine.  It's all upscale--"first class all the way" as they say with glossy full color food photos, and lots of them.  It weighs in at 3 1/2 pounds and of course was printed in China.  (Do publishers really think folks who eat local foods are so superficial they don't care where a book is printed?  Apparently so.)

Sorry, I had to rant.  It's my biggest pet peeve with cookbooks these days.  It's so off-base and wrong for a book titled Eating Local, to print books in China so they can sell more books in this country.  Sure it's cheaper but give me a break!  Let's keep it real:  a slug is a slug, even if it's wrapped up in full color photos.  I always check to see where a book was printed these days especially if the title suggests consumers buy local foods.

This is fennel in the picture is the kind that comes later in the season. Like zucchini, fennel bulbs start out small and get bigger as the season moves along.  Right now the bulbs are small, but that's all you need for this excellent salad.  I got mine at Lettuce Us Grow at the U-District Market.  

The tangerine and avocado are organic and came from a natural foods store.  Prior to that they resided in California.

The arugula came from our garden.  Good thing my sweet Cooking Assistant didn't find it before I got some.

Fennel-Orange Salad with Avocado
(Serves 4)

1 fennel bulb, diced small or sliced thin
4 cups arugula, torn or cut into pices 
1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange or tangerine juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or hazelnut oil
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts, or crumbled gorgonzola (optional)

1. Combine the fennel and arugula in a salad bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk togetehr the orange zest, juice, lemon juice and oil.  Pour dressing over the avocado and stir to coat.

3. Toss dressing with fennel and arugula.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   Sprinkle with walnuts or gorgonzola, if desired.

Uh oh--someone got carried away with the photo shoot again.


Joan said...

What a delish salad! I love avocados and I am growing fennel bulb but it's no bigger than a pencil just now. Can't wait for the harvest for this salad! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks Joan--I'm with you about avocados. You want a salad to really zing, add an avocado! Wish we could grow them here!

Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said...

Lovely combination of ingredients, and the citrus dressing sounds like the perfect complement. Thanks for sharing this with Summer Salad Sundays, look forward to seeing you again soon!

Miz Helen said...

Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great week and enjoy your new Red Plate!
Miz Helen

Carole said...

The subject of this week's Food on Friday is Salad. It would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . I found this through Full Plate Thursday