Fennel is closest in texture and consistency to celery- crunchy, but less fibrous. It has a sweet licorice taste. The green feathery fronds can be used as flavoring when cooking fish according to farm recipes.
I have been using the fennel the past 2 weeks in salads. While making dinner last night- Moses grabbed a bag of greens from the fridge before I could stop him. I saw the fennel and thought it might keep him busy (it's and interesting plant- a bulb on one end, and a feathery top)- he and Zella munched, swept, shook and enjoyed the fennel for nearly 30 min! Fabulous!
I'm realizing that my blog has been rather food-heavy lately. I am thinking that is because I do not have time for much else right now- (although I'd much rather be painting!)
Also- July is the month of birthdays in our family-Zella, both my Mom and Donell's Mom, both my sisters, and various uncles and cousins.
So- this past weekend we celebrated Em and Annie's bdays at Mom and Dads. It was a lovely and relaxing day by the pool.
I made potato salad. Not being a traditional potato salad fan (not into the hard boiled eggs) I am always looking for alternative recipes. I decided to dress my boiled rainbow potatoes with this fabulous dressing- courtesy of mutual friend Bina- courtesy of Rachel Ray. I have only had it on romaine lettuce before- which is divine- but it was pretty darn good on those buttery potatoes too!
I also added a handful of chopped fresh chives...
Then- per Em's request I whipped up a batch of chocolate buttercream cupcakes.
I used Martha Stewart recipe for the base- substituting the 3/4 cup of buttermilk with 3/4 cup sour cream.
The frosting was more complicated. This is my 3rd batch of cupcakes in less then a month-the first 2 for Zella' birthday celebrations. The strawberry cupcakes themselves were divine- but the frosting was disappointing. When I made the chocolate chip cupcakes, I followed this recipe for chocolate chip buttercream to-a-T, and it was a success. Sweet, creamy, firm, smooth. Perfect buttercream in my opinion. I think it's all about the way that you whip the butter and sugar together-(see the direction link and excerpt below), also having room temp butter helps.
Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)
So- I ended up using the same basic recipe for the chocolate frosting I made for Em's cupcakes- but adding melted semisweet chocolate (not sure on the amount- I just added until it tasted chocolaty enough to me:), probably about 1/2 cup total? They were quite good!
And lastly for today's post- Zella did some bike practice this past weekend. This bike was a birthday gift....
I thought she would be all about it-
but she's really not:( It lasted about 5 min. In time maybe???
Oh- and a quick thank you to my hubby for taking the kids with him to Home Depot this weekend so I could get a little painting time to myself:) I finished the alliums on the entryway mural!
What do you think?