Posts tagged fennel
Fennel and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Not too fennely. Just the right sweetness. 
The Neighbor has a lovely garden. In the garden grows fennel among many other things. The Neighbor being the kind woman that she is allows me to pinch things here and there. She also will feed my kitties when I leave town for a fun weekend.

I offer to pay her in cookies. She enjoys shortbread, any shortbread is good, but something with difference is welcome.

I put these together.

Fennel & Lemon Zest Shortbread

1 cup butter
0.5 cup powdered sugar
0.25 cup cornstarch
1.50 cup flour
1 teaspoon fresh fennel seed, plus twenty for decorating (or used dried ones and do what you can to grind them)
0.50 teaspoon lemon zest
0.50 teaspoon sea salt

more sea salt for sprinkling-big crystal sugar for sprinkling too.

In a stand mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar. Blend well. Mince the fennel seeds and zest as finely as you can. If you sea salt it big, add it to the cutting board with the seeds and zest and make it smaller too. To the butter and sugar mixture add the remaining ingredients. Run the mixture stopping the scrape the sides. Keep the machine running until the dough comes together.  It will look like it will not, but magically it does! Don't look away and stop the machine as soon as the dough as cohesive. If it runs too long you'll get tough cookies.

On a parchment lined pan scoop (I use 0.75 ounce) the dough. It makes twenty cookies. Using the bottom of a glass, dipped in flour, your hand or other flattish thing (I actually used a large measuring spoon to get the cookies pictured with the cutie meadow in the middle look) flatten the cookies. Put a fennel seed in the center of each. It's pretty but it also says, "this is a special cookie." Put a few grains of salt on top and some big sugar.

So pretty.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Put them on a fancy plate or in a baggie and give half to your neighbor. The other half are for you. I mean who gives away a full batch of cookies, ever?

Mussels with Fennel and Cream - Cooking Club
Mussels, Rosemary Flatbread, Zucchini Salad

I've gain entry into a cooking club.

Doesn't that sound exclusive? Really, I put a request out on the facebook neighborhood page to start a club and some like minded people showed interest. We had our first to do and it was a smashing success.

Our main dish was Mussels with Fennel and it was creamy and oh so good. We as a nation should do fennel so much more. We made a quick Rosemary Flat Bread, because we are doing this after work and making a yeast bread seemed to be too time consuming. Plus we made a zucchini salad. Of the three the mussels were the hit.

Frankly it all could have tasted like soap and I'd still be saying it was fantastic because the company was delightful and the conversation non-stop. I will happily spend more time with this group. So yeah!

Mussels with Fennel

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
0.50 teaspoon salt
1 bulb of fennel, about a cup and half
2 cups white wine
3 pounds mussels
1.5 cup heavy cream

Clean the mussels. Discard any broken or dead, opened mussels. Knock them together just in case they are sleeping with their shells open. Remove the beard. In a large bowl soak the mussels in water to which a couple tablespoons of water has been added. Change the water a few times.

In a skillet which has a tight fitting lid, saute the shallots and garlic. When it they are fragrant and soft add the fennel seeds. Let cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bulb and salt and cook 15 minutes letting the fennel get a little color. Add the white wine and and reduce down by half or more. You can off the heat and wait until everything else is ready to serve at this point. The mussels go quickly now.

With medium-high heat add the mussels and cover with the lid. After 5 minutes stir and check to see if any are still unopened. Stir and return the lid for 3 more minutes or until all the mussels are open. Add the cream and stir. Bring the pan to light boil, basting the mussels with the pan sauce.

Serve immediately with wine and new friends.