Tasty Tuesday: Our first Fennel Flip

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our thirty-first participating post!

Mom likes fennel, however, the bulb usually finds its way into Mom’s class menus before her vegetable bin.  Last week, she shopped at a different Publix location and the fennel packages stood like proper soldiers on their shelf calling for Mom’s attention.

Fennel, a beautiful vegetable, has wispy fronds like a dill plant at the tip of celery-like ribs leading to a greenish, white bulb at the bottom.  Mostly, the bulb is used and the fronds decorate the finished dish.  Fennel helps your digestive process, tastes like licorice and can be used raw or cooked. Mom’s colleague, Miss Diana, told Mom yesterday that in her family, they served a platter of fennel after the Sunday dinner meat course when she grew up.  Fennel seeds serve the same purpose and some cultures chew on them after meals to aid digestion.

Mom added small chopped pieces to her salad preparation and will look up some further ideas for the remaining pieces.  While proceeding through salad prep, she decided to flip us a few small tidbits.  As her faithful Kitchen K9s, we keep open minds to new (safe for K9s) veggies.  Turns out, we really like fennel, too!

Searching through her data base for the remaining fennel, this recipe caught Mom’s eye.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous, cooked (Mom will use other grains like oat groats, barley, rye and kamut!)
  • 6 Bibb lettuce leaves (Mom will probably leave this out, not practical!)
  • 1 (2.5-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
  • Garnish: fennel fronds

Preparation

  • Trim base from fennel bulb; cut bulb into thin strips, reserving fronds for garnish, if desired.
  • Whisk together olive oil and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add fennel strips, bell pepper, olives, and green onions, tossing to coat. Add couscous, and toss lightly.
  • Arrange lettuce on 6 plates. Top with couscous mixture. Sprinkle with goat cheese, and garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.

In her Kitchen Counselor role, Mom suggests adding protein of choice for another version of this yummy salad!  Also, you may need to refresh with a squeeze of lemon on the leftovers as grains soak up dressing!

Here’s another recipe for possible inclusion in your holiday menu planning!

Brussels Sprouts and Walnuts with Fennel and Red Pearl Onions

Another great fennel day.



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Tasty Tuesday: Yes, We Eat Radishes

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Before we begin today’s post, we have sad news to share.  For those of you who regularly read our comments, you will note an almost daily visit from our loving friend, Miss Wendy.  We featured her treasured Barkely for our first Black and White Sunday post.   as well as a post on a few of our Cyber Pals.   Sadly, Barkley crossed OTRB yesterday and Miss Wendy and her family have aching hearts.  If you feel comfortable, please send them your support through us, as Miss Wendy doesn’t have a blog.  We know they will find your kindness meaningful.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our twenty-ninth participating post!

When Mom works at our Farmers Market, she often finds that humans scoff (VBP –Vocab Building Project) at the gorgeous family of radishes.  Mom loves to grow watermelon radishes, however, we also eat the traditional magenta orbs, the Easter Egg Collection, Daikon radishes, French radishes and such.   Radishes are fat burners, crunchy, and have a slightly bitter taste which can round out many dishes.

Today, we offer a pre-holiday cleansing salad from a fellow IIN alum, Alex Jamieson.

Refreshing and Cleansing Radish Salad

  • 2 cups peeled and thinly sliced daikon radishes
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green apple, sliced into half-moons
  • 1/3 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 red radish, grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown rice syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 leaves fresh mint and cilantro (optional)

1. Combine daikon, apple, carrot, onion, and red radish in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, rice syrup, lime juice, and salt.

3. Pour the liquid over the vegetables and toss well to combine. Garnish with mint and cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Another crunchy, radish day.



Tasty Tuesday: Essence of Summer Supper Salad

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our nineteenth  participating post!

I may have eluded (vocab building project VBP) last week to Mom’s major food prep for her classes.  Her UMiami Med School Diabetic Peer Support Group class prepared three items.  One of the class participants put the finishing touches on the platter which wowed the class!

On Prep night #1, JJ and I, Mom’s faithful Kitchen K9s, provide QC (Quality Control) for:

  •  Tomatoes – Mom prepped 12 because of doubled recipe!
  • Chicken – before and after cubind…
  • String beans – before and after steaming…

This recipe arrived in Mom’s inbox via the The Splendid Table’s weekly Weeknight Kitchen newsletter.   Mom’s sharing all the comments, tips and notes since she cannot find a direct link online and did not want you to miss ANYTHING!  

Essence of Summer Supper Salad – Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts hot salted water in a 6-quart pot
  • 1 lb. large to jumbo unshelled raw shrimp, or boneless chicken cut into ½ inch dice or firm tofu (Mom used chicken to stay within budget.)
  • 1 ½ lbs. green beans, trimmed of stem ends

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup cider or rice vinegar (Mom used cider vinegar.)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbs. dark coarse mustard or Dijon (Mom used Dijon.)
  • 1/3 cup (or so) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ medium sweet onion, thinly sliced

Finishing:

  • 4-6 delicious ripe tomatoes, vertically sliced ¼ inch thick (Mom used Roma, which was the least expensive, since this is NOT our tomato season.)
  • 15 leaves fresh basil, torn (budget did not permit and the salad was still yummy.)
  • 3 whole scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ lemon

Directions:

  • Bring the salted water to just below the boil then drop in the shrimp. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until shells start to turn pink and firm up. Don’t overcook. With a slotted spoon, immediately scoop the shrimp out of the water into a colander.
  • Rinse shrimp with cold water to stop the cooking and cool them. Slip off the shells and season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Set aside. If holding more than 10 minutes, chill in the refrigerator.
  • Rinse shrimp with cold water to stop the cooking and cool them. Slip off the shells and season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Set aside. If holding more than 10 minutes, chill in the refrigerator.
  • Bring the water left in the pot to a full boil. As it heats, take a large bowl and whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, and garlic until well combined. Whisk in the olive oil until mixture comes together and is slightly thickened. Add the onions and toss with the dressing.
  • Once the water in the pot is boiling, drop in the beans. Cook over high heat, uncovered, until just beyond tender crisp, about 3 to 7 minutes depending on size of beans. Taste as you go to check for doneness. Drain beans in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Add shrimp and beans to bowl and toss until well combined. Taste for seasoning.
  • Arrange the sliced tomatoes around the rim of a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt. Pile the bean salad in the center and spoon on any remaining dressing. Sprinkle basil and scallion on top, then squeeze the half lemon over all.

Comments:

This is a recipe for right now & good tomatoes, new green beans and sweet onions practically trumpet summer, which is why the mustard-garlic dressing is distinctive yet not overwhelming. It’s a supporting player. With tomatoes peaking and heirlooms so popular, you might get your hands on some of the dark varieties with out-of-the-ordinary tastes, like Black Cherry (stunningly rich), Black Krim (tastes like good steak), Black Zebra (more delicate) or Paul Robeson (boldly sweet-tart). Green beans are the tomatoes’ backup along with sweet onions. Cook the beans just beyond tender crisp to open up all their character. Serve the salad with a loaf of rough country bread for sopping up the dressing. End the meal with the luscious Mango Sherbet from cooking teacher and author Bal Arneson. If mangoes aren’t to be had, use peaches or nectarines. If you can, use organic produce; I think you’ll like the results.

Tips:

  • With the shrimp and beans cooked and the dressing made a day ahead and refrigerated, the next evening you merely slice the tomatoes and assemble all on a big platter. Supper is ready in 10 minutes.
  • This recipe is a perfect showcase for heirloom tomatoes. Every year seems to bring a greater variety at farmers’ markets and roadside stands. Try some that are new to you.

Author Notes:

  • Shrimp Alternatives: Shrimp are spendy and not essential here. Tofu, cooked poultry, or any other protein you would like will work. You could even skip the protein; the salad will still be good. In fact, you get a complete protein if you have the salad with whole grain bread, which when eaten with the green beans becomes the nutritional equivalent of shrimp or chicken.
  • Working Ahead: The shrimp, green beans and dressing could be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

Another great QC day!



Tasty Tuesday – Better Late Than Never

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our seventeenth  participating post!

Can you believe that the sky has turned dark grey and the thunder has begun?  I’m parked under Mom’s desk while JJ paces and frets.  Mom asked Ruby and Rachel to give us lots of lovies so she can transcribe this post!  Heaven knows how long the power will last!

Have I mentioned how much JJ and I LOVE tomatoes?  We particularly enjoy the pop of grape or cherry tomatoes in our mouths.  We sit with the ultimate good behavior waiting for a toss from Mom.  We both like cream cheese too! (me more than JJ…)  When Mom offered each of us half a bocconcini (bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls), I could not believe our good fortune.  The following recipe uses both ingredients.  When Mom demonstrated this salad, the bowl came home empty… I only licked the teensy leftover goodness when Mom loaded the dishwasher.

Mini Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 cup basil leaves, about 20 leaves, plus a few for garnish
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, multi colored if available, halved
  • 1 cup bocconcini (bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls), drained, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Combine lemon juice, garlic, basil in food processor or blender, process and stream in extra virgin olive oil to form a smooth dressing. Combine tomatoes, cheese and dressing in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with a few torn basil leaves.

Another great, cheesy, day.



Kitchen K9s at Sunrise

Hey, It’s Jet Here.

Oh, what a great week to be Mom’s Kitchen K9s.  First we had Prep Day and today Mom awoke poised and ready to cook and prep for herself.  By 5:30 a.m.:

  • Turkey burgers hit the Forman,
  • An array of veggies lined the counter,
  • Five bowls arced around her bamboo cutting board,
  • Her favorite knife and peeler rested on the board,
  • Three tiny Tupperware and 2 metal prep bowls arranged like soldiers flanked the spice area, and
  • The cabinet holding our garbage/recycling cans slid open a few inches ready to receive items before the garbage pickup at 9:00.

JJ continued her Sous Chef course, jumping up on the counter to learn how to: peel carrots and cucumbers, wash peppers, cherry tomatoes and lettuce (from Miss Mary Ann’s garden by the way), season ground turkey (today Mom combined salt free poultry and Mediterranean seasonings) and make salad dressing.  I have to check her Scooby Doo Academy schedule; seems like she’s working towards a home economics degree.

As mentioned Tuesday, JJ and I revel in our QC (quality control) responsibilities.  We confirmed that the carrots, celery, radishes, red peppers, (we refrain from lettuce, and can’t have scallions) and cucumbers passed muster.  Our daily 6:00 a.m. belly alarms quietly sounded, however, we gladly turned them off, enjoying tidbits until Mom had time to pause and serve us breakfast.

By 6:24 a.m. the eight turkey burgers looked like a pancake tower in a container, four of the five salads lined one shelf in the fridge, (one stayed out for Mom’s breakfast,) four of the five dressings stored on the door shelf ready for grabbing (one stayed out for Mom’s breakfast,) and the drip tray from the burgers, hey… where did it go?  Sometimes, I jump up and find a way to either lick it or tip it over onto the floor.  JJ showed promise last week by directly jumping up and pawing it over onto the floor.  Today, Mom made the tray disappear.  Little did we know…

She intended to let it cool down and use it as a surprise gravy on our kibble.  Gotta love Mom.  She scooped our kibble the normal way and then brought our bowls out to the kitchen where she would normally top JJ’s dish with gently warmed chicken stock.  Instead, she lovingly spooned the drip pan goodness onto BOTH our food bowls.  Scrumptious I say, Scrumptious.  Gotta make sure Mom does that again.

Another scrumptious (can’t say this enough) day.

Mom Worried, I Waited.

Hey, It’s Jet Here.

Mom had this look on her face somewhere between this thing called flabbergasted and sullen when she made her salads a few times since we adopted J.J.   You know Mom loved to share delectable vegetable tidbits with Koko and me.  Mom assumed J.J. would enjoy them, too, however she dropped the tidbits out of her mouth as if she had no muscles working in the area.   Mom tried everything; she started with carrots and sweet bell peppers, nothing.  She went so far as putting almond butter on the carrots and still… nothing.  She seemed a tad dejected.  After all, how can J.J. become one of her Kitchen Counselor’s Kitchen K9s if she doesn’t eat veggies?

Enter my human sister, Rachel.  Rachel stopped by the kitchen on Monday while Mom prepared her weekly salads.  They chatted like only girls can.  Jet?  Yes Mom?  Well, Mom, girls do chat a lot.  While that may be true, Jetty, I’m sure you can say it without the implied snarkiness, right?  Ok, Mom.  Mom and Rachel held a lovely rarely taking a breath Jet… I meant to say, Mom and Rachel held a lovely conversation while Mom cut the vegetables.  Much better.  Yes, Mom.

Anyway, Mom told Rachel about J.J. not eating vegetables.  Rachel said, “I’ll try.”  Mom handed her a piece of daikon radish. J.J. munched and swallowed.  Mom looked at Rachel and said, “Really? She won’t eat carrots with me, but, she’ll eat a radish with you?”  Rachel proceeded to try all the veggies: carrots (straight up), celery, cucumber, jicama, red bell pepper and tomatoes, all with equal success.  They giggled and praised J.J. as if she had done a miraculous trick.

Mom roasted carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, butternut squash and sweet potatoes at the same time she made the salads.  When the roasted veggies cooled down, she invited J.J. and I to run Q.C., quality control.  Again, J.J. ate all of the veggies with enthusiasm, as did I.  Mom had this relieved/happy face on.  We thankfully have ourselves a new Kitchen K9.  Phew.

Another great and healthy veggie day.