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Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

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Do any of you dig fennel like I do??? I’ve been craving it lately and adding it to at least one side dish each week. It’s crunch and freshness promise to lighten the meal, but also pack it with flavor. I like this about fennel. It’s both light and powerful.

Don’t know much about fennel? Well, let me share a bit…

Did you know that fennel is an herb? From large bulbs, it grows stalks with furry-looking leaves and all its parts are edible. The fennel seeds are a popularly used spice in sausages, meatballs, and rye bread and can be bought dried in the spice section of most markets. Also, the seeds are sometimes used as an after meal breath freshener and digestive aid. The furry-looking leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp, hardy vegetable and can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. And, the stalks can be added to soups, stews, and stocks for lots of added flavor.

Fennel is indigenous to the Mediterranean area, so it’s popular in both Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate.

Here’s the first of my fennel recipes that I will share with you. This recipe features fennel in the roasted form, so your home is warmed and filled with yummy smells during the roasting process. Roasted fennel makes a perfect side dish to salmon.

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Roasted Fennel with Lemon and Olives

2 fennel bulbs
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 lemon
Cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the fennel bulbs into small wedges, you should get about 8 wedges from each bulb.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. With your hand, rub olive oil on the foil and arrange the wedges of fennel on top of it. Drizzle more olive oil over the fennel and season well with kosher salt. Roughly chop the garlic cloves and scatter it over the fennel. Place in the oven to roast until tender, 25-30 minutes.

While the fennel is roasting, slice the olives in half and zest the lemon peel.

When the fennel is done, transfer it to a bowl and toss with the olives, lemon zest, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Serve warm.

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Not that the deliciously fragrant smell of a warm rotisserie chicken isn’t enticing enough by itself. The scent reaching you as push your buggy through the cheese counter, past the prepared food stations, and onto the bakery. The promise of a warm dinner on your table in minutes is alluring and then you get a second whiff of garlic and herbs. It overpowers you and suddenly your original dinner plan is cast aside for a perfectly pleasing winter supper of rotisserie chicken.

No, no. You don’t need ANOTHER reason to grab a rotisserie chicken for dinner, but IF you had another reason, then maybe you would start to act like us and indulge more and more often.

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Our other reason? It’s called Avgolemono, a Greek soup of lemon and eggs and, well, chicken. So, after a delicious and hearty winter meal of rotisserie chicken, we wrap up the leftover chicken (we typically leave half of the chicken uneaten) and store it for two nights later when we make this soup. And, the greatest part is, it’s SO easy. I mean REALLY EASY. The-second-dinner-served-in-one-week-in-less-than-20-minutes-easy!

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Avgolemono

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
salt and pepper
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 1/2 small lemons)
shredded rotisserie chicken

In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. I’ve even used homemade turkey stock in this and it’s quite good, so use whatever broth or stock you have on hand, and, of it’s homemade then even better!
Add the orzo and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to low; let simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking quickly to combine and to prevent the egg from scrambling.
Add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan. Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and the shredded chicken and serve right away.

PS Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your kind words in response to Wednesday’s post. Your comments, emails, and phone calls mean the world to me! You truly lit up my week!

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