Fennel Lemonade

Something's tickling my nose

Something’s tickling my nose

By Katherine

On Saturday mornings we hit the farmers market in town and each week I’m tempted to splurge on fennel lemonade sold at a stand that specializes in homemade juices and gives out free samples. But I always get sticker shock when I see that it’s still $25 for a liter and know that Greg will spend that much on mushrooms if I don’t stage an intervention. (He’ll protest that he’s never gone over $20.) When we bought some fennel bulbs I figured I finally had to bite the bullet and make my own.

Fennel Lemonade

For fennel simple syrup

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups fennel fronds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey

For lemonade

  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups fennel syrup
  • roughly 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients for syrup in a heavy stock pan and set over medium heat, stirring until sugar and honey are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Strain two cups into pitcher add lemon juice and water and refrigerate. Store the rest of the syrup in a glass container in the refrigerator. Add more water or sparkling water to taste when ready to serve.

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In Our Kitchen Part Two: Signs of Fall

Even small spaces can burst with flavor. We’re enjoying autumn crops, fresh seafood and decadent breakfasts.

To get a peek inside other bloggers’ kitchens hop on over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her monthly roundup.

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Fennel, Chanterelles, pumpkin, fresh thyme and rutabaga.

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Pears from a friend’s tree.

I spy a rock fish.

I spy a rock fish.

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Breakfast tacos.

 

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In Our Kitchen Part One: Downsizing

By Katherine

We’ll be back tomorrow with a look at what’s going on in our kitchen, but first we wanted to show you our new digs. We moved to the West Coast and for now we’re renting. We’ve said for years that we had too much space for two people and now we’ve remedied that situation. Those of you who’ve been with us long enough may remember our kitchen looking like this:

Where it all happens

I miss that pepper rug.

Or like this, after the remodel:

We still need to buy s custom shade for the window.

All that counter space!

And Greg’s grill was pretty darn impressive too:

So clean

So clean

The grill was too big to fit in our new place — or at least through the front door. For now we have a temporary replacement, purchased for $5 at an estate sale. It fits one more burger than we eat and we can take it camping. Not that we go camping.

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All you really need is room for burgers.

And here’s the new kitchen. Even after selling or donating items we hadn’t used in years — a Tupperware cake dome, vintage Pyrex, an embarrassing surplus of corkscrews — we have a lot of kitchen stuff. I hate having cluttered counters and try to limit what stays out on them when it’s not being used. Obviously that’s not a possibility in our new digs where the cabinets aren’t even tall enough to hold certain cereal boxes or our cooking wine. Half our utensils are in a buffet in the living/dining room and the remainder are in a crock — where else — on the counter. Reaching our pots means reaching for a step stool. It’s a bit of a mess, but it’s our mess and we’re glad we made the move. It is nice to know if something breaks Greg won’t have to fix it. Now if only the stove were level.

Bursting at the seams.

Bursting at the seams.

To get a peek inside other bloggers’ kitchens hop on over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her monthly roundup.

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Sea Bass cooked in Parchment

So many fish to eat so little time

So many fish to eat so little time

This can be done as a single or split up into individual pouches. The roasted eggplant and tomatoes are perfect with the fish and are also perfect with polenta on the side.

Sea Bass Pouches with Tomatoes and Eggplant

  • 1 lb sea bass in one  piece or divided into single servings
  • 1 large eggplant cut into large dice
  • 6-8 small tomatoes cut into 1/4 chunks
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped fine
  • Salt/pepper
  • Sheet of parchment paper large enough to hold fish and vegetables or multiple sheets for individual portions

Salt eggplant, place in a colander and place a plate on top with a little weight. Press eggplant for 30 minutes. On a baking sheet place eggplant and tomatoes and roast at 375 degrees until eggplant begins to brown and tomatoes begin to dry, about 30 minutes. Season fish with salt and pepper. On parchment paper drizzle a little olive oil in center then sprinkle garlic down evenly. Place fish on top and surround with roasted vegetables. Drizzle with more oil, sprinkle with oregano and then pour wine on top. Form parchment paper up into a pouch and secure tightly with staples. Place on a baking sheet and bake in an oven at 400 degrees until fish is done, about 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately. If making individual portions the divide the garlic and vegetables equally to go with how ever many portions of fish there are. Seal each in a pouch and serve on a plate still sealed.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, Recipes, Seafood | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Deli Style Stuffed Cherry Peppers

The leftover oil is great for dipping bread

The leftover oil is great for dipping bread

Here is how to make this tasty appetizer on so many deli bars.

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

  • 8-12 hot cherry peppers
  • 4-5 slices provolone cheese
  • Prosciutto
  • Dried oregano
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves

Remove tops and core from each pepper. Bring a pot of salted water to a high boil and blanch peppers for 30 seconds. Immediately drain into an ice bath. When cool to touch shape a piece of cheese to fit inside a pepper, wrap it with prosciutto and stuff inside. If there is more room add more meat. Repeat with all peppers. In a glass jar place garlic, vinegar and oregano. Add a little oil and mix well. Add cherry peppers meat up then cover in olive oil. Seal and place in refrigerator for 1 day before serving. Will keep for a month in refrigerator.

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Grilled Sea Bass with Corn Salsa

Oh how I love seafood

Oh how I love seafood

Here is a simple way to grill really fresh sea bass.

Grilled Sea Bass with Corn Salsa

for spice rub

  • 1 lb sea bass fillet about 1 1/2″ thick at center
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 chili de arbols
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8-10 dried whole sage leaves

Grind all spices together. Coat fish in olive oil then rub spice mixture over fillet evenly. Let stand for 1 hour. Grill fish over indirect heat until done, about 4 minutes per side.

for salsa

  • 1 ear corn grilled and kernels cut from cob
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 lime juiced

Mix all together and serve on top of grilled fish.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Grilling/Smoking, Recipes, Seafood | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Wasabi Marinade

So complex

So complex

This marinade works many different ways. It is good for fish, chicken or any meat really. You can grill it or roast it or make a noodle bowl with it. All you need to do is save a little prepared wasabi the next time there is sushi in the house.

Wasabi Marinade

  • 1 tbsp wasabi
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1 lb protein diced small

Mix everything together and add protein. Let marinate 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Cook however you planned.

Oh here is how to make the noodle bowl pictured.

  • Marinated meat
  • 1/2 lb green beans cleaned snapped to 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried shiitakes soaked in 1 cup boiling water
  • 3-4 carrots sliced into thin 1″ strips
  • 4- green onions white parts diced fine green parts sliced into thin rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 lb rice noodles
  • Salt/pepper

When cool enough squeeze all liquid from mushrooms and dice fine. Boil 6 cups water and pour over noodles in a large bowl. Let stand. Meanwhile in a large wok or deep chefs pan heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add seeds and stir fry until fragrant. Add white part of onion and reconstituted mushrooms. Saute until golden, then add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add carrot and saute until soft then add meat and any remaining marinade and brown. Add broth and bring to a quick boil then turn heat down to a simmer and add green beans. Cook until beans are soft then remove from heat and mix in green part of onion. Fill a bowl with strained rice noodles and top with meat mixture. Pour broth from pan until it covers noodles and serve with hot sauce.

Posted in Beef, Chicken, Dinner, Food, Pork, Recipes, Seafood, Soups | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment