Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spring Fennel Salad

It may only be February 21, but it feels like Spring!
Colorado has enjoyed a week or two of 60ยบ weather, melting snow piles, and plenty of sun. It's time for salads! This salad has a surprisingly lovely combination of flavors.

Fennel bulbs have a slightly sweet, gentle anise flavor. As I sliced the bulb, my kids asked "what is that sweet-minty fresh smell?" It pairs beautifully with orange or grapefruit.

Spring Fennel Salad
1 fennel bulb, white part sliced thinly.
~2T reserved feathery frond-like green leaves from the top of the anise bulb, chopped
1 navel orange,  supremed
2 scallions, sliced thinly

2t miso
1 t. maple syrup
1 T olive oil
1 T rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Slice the fennel bulb and scallion thinly. Place in serving bowl. Supreme orange and place segments in bowl -- squeeze remaining juice from membrane into bowl and discard membrane.

Combine the next dressing ingredients and toss into salad.

How do you "Supreme" an orange, you say? Supremed oranges are pure orange goodness with no bitter pith or chewy membranes. You may have savored them in salads at finer restaurants. I like to use a small serrated knife -- a "tomato knife." Cut off both ends of the orange so you see a full "star" of orange fruit. Cut the skin and pith (white bitter part) off the orange fruit. Once you've exposed the membrane lines, simply slice along the edge of the membrane to release each orange wedge. It takes a bit of practice, but it will eventually only takes about 3 minutes per orange. It's a pretty, impressive way to serve a citrus salad!

This miso dressing is from my Late Fall Harvest Salad. It's rich and versatile.

Enjoy spring (whenever it may come your way)!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gluten-Free Bread Pudding

Have you seen the price of gluten-free bread lately?!
Holy moly!
A $6 loaf of gluten-free bread brings out my frugal Midwestern side.

My kids don't like using the loaf end pieces for sandwiches, so I end up collecting them for breadcrumbs. . .or just pitching them. This recipe puts those bread heels to a delicious use! I've tweaked several bread pudding recipes to make one of my kid's favorite treats. Serve it warm out of the oven for a treat

Gluten-Free Bread Pudding
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup turbinado sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
1/2 cup currants or raisins (raisins or dried pears are also heavenly. . .and optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
5+ cups cubed bread heels or slices (about 10 slices)
2 T turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top

Prehead oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt over medium heat until sugar is almost dissolved and butter is melted. Remove from heat and cool a bit. Stir bread cubes into milk mixture.

Mix eggs and vanilla into bread mixture well. 

Pour bread mixture into a buttered 8" x 8" baking pan (you can make this the night before to soak and soften, but this isn't necessary). Sprinkle 2T of turbinado sugar on top for a sweet crunch.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1" from the edge comes out clean.

Serve warm with whipped cream.
Enjoy your frugality!

This recipe isn't dairy free, but it can be modified with your favorite dairy-free beverage of choice and 2 T coconut oil instead of the 1/4 c. butter.