Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The nice thing about having a farm share- is the new veggies that we get each week- things I would never normally purchase- fennel for example.  I am not a huge fan of licorice- which is the closest associated flavor to the fennel- but there is something appealing about this veggie.
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?

1 comment:

  1. Those cupcakes were delicious! And so was the potato salad- lemony and cheesy! Thanks for all the birthday contributions- Sunday was a lot of fun.

    The mural is looking so gorgeous- even better in person!