Fennel and Kale Tomato Sauce

Fennel Tomato Sauce

Hello friends.  I have survived my first week of intern year orientation!  The week has been surprisingly tiring considering that we have been sitting most of the day.  My first two weeks living in Seattle have been amazing so far.  The weather has been really great (mostly sunny days!).  My mom came to visit and help me build a bunch of furniture and get settled.  We went to Bainbridge Island which has an incredible ice cream shop named Mora Iced Creamery.  My favorite flavor there is dark chocolate mint.  Seattle has tons of local ice cream and I am so excited to try all of them!

Now onto the food.  I first tried a tomato sauce with fennel at a holistic health retreat.  The flavor combination of fennel with tomato is exquisite!  I would give this a try, especially if this is your first experience with fennel.  I have made tomato sauce from scratch (I consider scratch to be starting with plain crushed tomatoes from a can) to put over pasta a few times now and it always amazes me how simple and easy it is!  The kale can easily be left out if you desire.

Make this soon and discover how awesome fennel is!

Fennel and Kale Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup died fennel
  • 3/4 cup basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-3 cups of chopped kale, spines removed (depending upon how much you love kale)
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  • optional: cooked Italian sausage, cut into slices
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, vinegar, sugar, fennel and kale into the onion and garlic mixture.  Mix, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.  Simmer until the flavors blend and the kale and fennel are tender — about 45 to 60 minutes.  Stir the basil (and the sausage if you choose) into the sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm over your favorite pasta and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.

Swiss Chard and Leek Quiche

Swiss Chard and Leek Quiche 2

Three weeks ago I graduated from medical school.  It’s so hard to believe that I am finally finished with school!  It’s been a long ride but lots of fun along the way.  My family came into town to celebrate with me and I had everyone over to my apartment for brunch.  I had swiss chard in my refrigerator left over from my CSA vegetables so I once again had to find a recipe to use them in.  I highly recommend joining a CSA if you have one in your area.  I just moved to Seattle today and I am splitting an individual share for a CSA here in town.  I am so excited about it 🙂

This recipe involved a lot of firsts for me.  My first time cooking with swiss chard, first time making a quiche, and first time making a pie crust from scratch.  Everyone loved this, even those who typically are not crazy about dark leafy green veggies.  The crust was super easy to make and tasted delicious.  If you’ve never made a quiche before this one is a great first!  It is so easy and tasty beyond belief!

Swiss Chard and Leek Quiche

slightly adapted from MJ’s Kitchen

Ingredients

Quiche:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups of swiss chard leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions

Start by making the pie crust.  Mix the flour and salt together.  Whisk the water and oil together so that they form an emulsion.  Pour the water/oil emulsion into the flour/salt mixture and combine them with a spatula.  Press into the bottom of a 9 inch pan (pie pan if you have one or I used my round cake pan).  Using the back of a spoon, spread the crust up the sides of the pan.  Set to the side or refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Remove the green top of the leek, cut it into quarters and then separate the leaves.  Wash the leek free of dirt.  Chop the leek.  In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat and add the leek and garlic.  Sauté until the leek is soft and starting to brown (about 10 minutes).  Add the swiss chard and sauté for 1 minute.  Lower the heat to low and mix in the black pepper.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes until chard has begun to wilt. Remove the cover and continue to heat until most of the moisture has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl.  Whisk in the cream, milk, mustard powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Spread the cheddar cheese across the bottom of the pie crust.  Next add the leek and swiss chard mixture.  Then top with the Parmesan cheese.  Carefully pour in the egg and milk mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the quiche comes out clean.  Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Root Vegetable Fritters

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Yet another CSA vegetable inspired recipe.  I had a bag full of turnips and wanted to try something different than my usual roasting recipe.  I have always been a fan of potato latkes so I jumped at the chance to try out some different vegetables! I made these for a potluck and they were completely gone in minutes!  The original recipe called for fontina cheese which I was unable to find at the grocery store, so I used muenster cheese the first time.  When I made them again I tried mozzarella cheese and it worked just as well.

Root Vegetable Fritter Recipe

adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients
1 small sweet potato, peeled and grated
3 turnips , peeled and grated
2 parsnips, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup mozzarella or muenster cheese, grated
3 medium egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

vegetable or canola oil for frying

1 cup sour cream for topping

Directions: 1. Grate the root vegetables by hand or with a food processor.  Mix together the grated root vegetables, garlic, and muenster or mozzarella cheese.  Mix in the egg whites, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.  Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.  Pour 1 inch of vegetable or canola oil into a frying pan.  Heat over medium high heat until when a pinch of flour turns brown in the oil in about 5-10 seconds.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into the pan.  Flip in a few minutes when the bottom is golden brown.  Remove from the oil when the second side is golden brown and place onto a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.  Continue until all the fritter mixture is used.

Serve immediately and top with sour cream!