We had a big salad (standard for summer nights), 3 cheese focaccia garlic bread (noteworthy because this is one of my fear foods), fennel baked with tomatoes and onions (significant because fennel is a NEW vegetable!) and a chicken and sweet potato stir-fry (fun because it came from a forgotten cookbook).
I. The Salad
|My Favorite Salad So Far|
Green romaine lettuce, red lettuce, spinach, pea shoots, carrots, celery, cucumber, radishes, orange pepper, red pepper, green grapes, golden delicious apple, raw almonds, pomegranate craisins, sesame sticks, sesame seeds, basil, parsley, chives, and pepper...
This is the kind of salad that you can happily eat without salad dressing. The kind of salad that makes you wish that the clean-up man fills up on other things so there is some leftover for lunch tomorrow.
Worth mentioning: The green grapes (sliced in half) added just a touch of tartness and will be a welcome addition to our salad ingredient rotation from now on...And the irresistibly sweet and salty sesame sticks were a great substitute for traditional croutons.
II. 3 Cheese Focaccia Garlic Bread
I'd love to tell you we spent all afternoon slaving over this focaccia - but we cheated and brought it home with us from the store...in a plastic bag since I forgot to grab our re-usable ones (oops). I may be in the doghouse, but after a piece of this bread (all melty and toasty after a few minutes in the oven) I don't really mind.
|The King of Cheese & Garlic Bread|
III. Fennel Baked with Tomatoes and Onions (and Cheese!)
|Fennel = Unknown!|
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 medium fennel bulbs (about 1 lb)
1 large onion (sliced)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A sprinkling of low-fat Mexican and low-fat Mozzeralla cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the oil into a 7x11-inch baking dish. Trim the base of the fennel bulbs. Cut across the top to remove the darker green portion of the stalks and the fernlike fronds. Discard the stalks and chop and reserve some of the fronds for a garnish if desired. Cut each fennel bulb in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices about 3/4 inch wide.
2. Combine the fennel in the baking dish with the onion and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly with the oil.
3. Cover the pan with foil and bake, stirring once or twice, until the fennel is almost tender when pierced with a fork (about 35 minutes). Uncover, sprinkle on cheese, and continue to bake until the juices reduce and thicken slightly (about 10 minutes).
4. Before serving, season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and scatter the reserved fennel fronds on top if desired.
Worth mentioning: Apparently fennel tends to have a distinctively licorice "bite"...but when it's cooked this way (and disguised with a bit of tomato and cheese) it's not offensive at all. Not exactly a ringing endorsement - but it was good. Not to die for, but good. And I tried fennel.
IV. Chicken and Sweet Potato Stir-Fry
|A Variation of Chicken Stir-Fry|
Stir-fry 2 very thinly sliced sweet potatoes in 2 tbsp vegetable oil (3 minutes)
Add 1/4 lb (125 g) snap peas and 1/2 of a gigantic Vidalia onion (2 minutes)
Add 4 cooked chicken breasts (sliced into strips), 1/3 cup of orange juice, 1/4 tsp marjoram, and 5 fresh sage leaves
Stir often until potatoes are tender-crisp (another 3 minutes)
This was also good. It was a nice change from my usual chicken stir-fry dishes at school - which involve a measly piece of chicken (cut into bite size), a rainbow of veggies from an upended vegetable drawer, and a heavy-handed "sprinkle" from assorted spices all lumped together. These types of dinners often have an extra instruction tacked on to the recipe: Cross your fingers and hope for the best!
And as always, here are the poorly presented and cringe-worthy photos of my plate and of Brother #3's jungle:
|My Plate (Sans Salad Here)|
|Brother #3's Attempt At Organization|
*Recipes III and IV were adapted from Chatelaine's Food Express Quickies: Ten Quick Ways With Everyday Foods by Monda Rosenberg