I was meal planning for the week and was looking for main courses when I came across an asparagus and fennel soup. Now, you might say…where is the fennel? Well, I saw this soup but figured it wasn’t prime season for asparagus, leeks, or fennel right now so I would wait. While I was at the grocery store I actually saw some good looking asparagus. When I went to cook it that night, I decided to look back at the soup recipe. I missed most of the key ingredients but decided to do my own version. It ended up so good that all of us loved it. Even the Chiplet kept asking for more, pointing at that bowl over his meat (his usual favorite part of a meal).
Today’s recipe is brought to you by a cookbook I received for my birthday. It was not something I had seen before, and the first recipe I opened to was for cooking kidneys. Hmm. It seemed not quite for me. But then, I flipped through it a bit more and found that almost all of the rest of the recipes were ones I wanted to try. I looked up reviews to see what people said, and someone mentioned these pies as being good. I decided to not only try them, but to double it and make some to take to a friend with a newborn. These were great because I froze the batch for her and was able to bake them fresh on the day she said she would like them. I also made a dessert from this book that I shared with her. She is a big Harry Potter fan, so I knew she would get a kick out of the recipes and the cookbook. But even if you’re not, these are still good pies. I added extra vegetables because that is how we roll. I also had enough extra pie crust and filling that I did a top-only pot pie with a pie dish for the extras. So many meals, and you can do the recipe in stages if you want, like I did.
For awhile I had a dilemma. I wanted to try making skewers/kebabs, but I lacked the skewers. I also needed a grill. And then I didn’t really have recipes since I didn’t have the skewers…finally I went ahead and asked for them for my birthday this year. I have tried different recipes and am still learning, but this recipe was my first success!
It’s fun looking through my Marcella Hazan cookbook and finding new simple recipes to make that taste good. This one has vegetables built in, and because they are chopped rather than diced, they remain fresh tasting in the sauce. The pancetta adds a bit of flavor and meat to the dish, if you or your family members (ahem, K) require that in a meal. If not, you can make the same dish without the pancetta. This dish is also toddler-friendly with the fun pasta shapes and easy to chew vegetables.
This is actually from the meal we had for Easter. I decided since we would be staying in to make a more complicated dinner. It ended up being really tasty and everyone was a fan. I will share the chicken recipe soon. For now, enjoy this risotto with lots of vegetables and warm weather flavors. If you are anxious about the fennel, well, I was, too. I have never cooked with it before, or even bought it before. I was worried it would be a strong flavor that we wouldn’t like, but we all did! On its own I think I would not be a big fan, but in the dish it worked perfectly. As for how to prepare it, read ahead.
I like that this dish is both a starchy course and full of our vegetables all in one. The Fudgelet did well picking up the little pieces to feed himself (he still prefers fingers mostly over utensils).
The recipe I am pulling this from said it was a barbecue beef, but I can’t say it really tasted that way to me. It definitely has some Chinese flavor, but not barbecue. Speaking of the flavor in it…we had a slight hitch. I had picked out this meal before I went grocery shopping, so I had on my list everything I needed…which was just the vegetables and beef. Well, it turns out we were missing another key ingredient: hoisin sauce! We normally have it on hand, so we aren’t sure what happened. There are two options: one is that we used it up previously and forgot to replace it (but that seems unlikely since we usually put things on our grocery list immediately, and I know it’s been awhile since we’ve used the sauce), or two, a recent visitor threw it out when she visited. This visitor tossed our soy sauce because she said it had gone bad (cue debate of soy sauce expiration here), so it is possible she felt the same way about our hoisin sauce. Either way, we had no idea where it was and I needed to start the recipe in the morning for it to have time to cook during the day. Obviously you can run to the grocery store, but since I had just gone the day before, and it was only for one ingredient…and the one ingredient I wouldn’t normally buy at a non-Asian grocery store (cheaper at the Asian stores, usually).
As the Fudgelet gets older, his food posts are starting to look a lot more like our food, right? And to be honest, K had about the same number of them as the Fudgelet. But, that was intentional. K likes quick on-the-go breakfasts for those rushed mornings, but needs more than just a banana (often what he will eat in a hurry). The Fudgelet, still lacking most of his teeth, does well with fluffy eggs and baked veggies. He also needs quick breakfast options since he will go from fine to “hangry” in a short minute.