Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Stuff

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Today is the birthday of my dear sister-in-law.  She and my brother have only been married 6 years but it feels like she's been part of our family forever.  In addition to being a great mom to my adorable niece and nephew, a very giving and supportive friend, she's a fantastic cook.  She has thrown herself some birthday parties where the invitation was a menu for a crepe party . . . and the year after her first baby was born and she was battling candida, she made an amazing Irish feast (that she couldn't even eat) for about 30 people.  Happy birthday to you, Sonia!

Let's talk green . . . some exciting green stuff is poking up out of big sister's garden.  She went out there this morning to take pictures.  Hers are a little blurry but here's one I took of a squash plant:
Spring has sprung . . . 

And, although these aren't green, we made a St. Patrick's Day treat called "Irish Potatoes."  They're really homemade candies (think truffles or Mounds) rolled in cinnamon to look like little potatoes.  Big sister was a great help making these but she and I have ingested WAY too much sugar.  I'm already planning to try rolling them around a whole almond and dipping them in dark chocolate to make my own Almond Joys.

Here's the recipe.

And, the green stuff that's healthy for you.  I found a sad looking fennel bulb all by itself on a table at farmer's market last week and came up with this soup idea.  The end result was a little brownish (from the brown vegetable stock I used) but the green vegetables were beautiful while I was sauteing them.  I liked the end result - hope you do too!

Fennel & Zucchini Soup (about 4 cups)

1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1 leek, sliced (white parts and some of the green)
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 T olive oil
4 c. vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Make sure you wash the leek well and separate the slices into rings.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the fennel, zucchini, leek, and fennel seeds.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute for about 5 minutes.   Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until everything is really soft (about 15 minutes).

Blend up the soup (you can just puree the soft vegetables with a little broth and return to the pot or use a hand blender).  Taste, season with salt and pepper, and add a little lemon juice, sherry, or vinegar if you'd like.

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