Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fennel Slaw

I don't really use root vegetables and bulbs in my cooking because I'm scared of starch, which is not quite true, but potatoes make me gain weight within a week.  I did use turnips and rutabagas one year for Thanksgiving instead of mashed potatoes and they worked well.  So my irrational phobia aside, I had the walnut croquettes with fennel slaw at Fatty's in Eagle Rock and I was delighted.  That and the fudgey cake (OMG).  My imitation was nowhere near as good as the original, but I like that vegetable, I discovered how yummy blood oranges are, and I'm gonna get it right someday.

 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and washed
2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into small cubes
1-2 small carrots, shredded
Your favorite vinaigrette, or oil, vinegar, and seasonings
Almond slices


I borrowed my mom's As Seen on TV style mandolin to cut the fennel into slaw sized shreds.  I gave up cursing the contraption and used the knuckle buster to shred the carrots.  I mistakenly warmed the vinaigrette I made in a wok and tossed the slaw mixture in with the orange pieces.  I mixed in the almond slices after letting the slaw cool a bit.

What I learned from this experience:

I love fennel enough to eat it even though it was made improperly.  It needed absolutely no cooking.  Also, I need to get a really good mandoline or have my knives sharpened because that death trap I used was so frustrating and really bruised the fennel.  It's hard.  Really hard.  Be careful.  OH AND nutmeg is very potent, use it sparingly.  Next time, no heat, more fruit, and bottled citrus vinaigrette, until I learn how to make a good one. 


As you can see, I make a whole meal out of this.  That's the slaw with rosemary rolls from +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market toasted in the toaster oven and Nate's Meatless Savory Mushroom Meatballs in mushroom gravy.  Gravy I can make.  Call me on Turkey day, I got that covered. :)

Gravy:

YOU NEED A GOOD ROUX!!!!!  And some bouillon cubes, sweet vermouth, herbs, spices, and mushrooms.  This was a two pan process, and totally worth it.  

First make the broth a little on the strong side.  I dissolved two cubes in a large measuring cup with dried marjoram and parsley and poured boiling water over it. Use the ratio of water to bouillon cubes on the packages.  It can sit as long as it needs to.

Sweat the mushrooms in one saucepan until they lose some of their water and get darker, then add about 3/4 C sweet vermouth and reduce to warm.  

In the other saucepan melt a big chunk (maybe 1/2 a stick or more) of Earth Balance with a little bit of olive oil on a medium flame.  When it is runny, add at least a 1/2 C of +Bob's Red Mill  whole wheat pastry flour. It has a nice flavor and it's fine enough not to clump.  Stir stir stir.   You can add more melted butter if it's too dry.  You don't want it to burn.  It should bubble and turn into a nice thick roux.  Play with your recipe and see where you like it.  When it's ready, turn down the flame and add the broth, then the mushrooms and wine.  Stir stir stir, and bring to a boil.  Taste, season or thin appropriately.  Add more wine if it needs it.  

I microwaved the meatballs in a covered bowl, but prepare them however you like.  Smother them in gravy and use the roll to sop up any extra.  

This keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator in a storage container.  It gets very gelatinous, but loosens up with heat.