Saturday, September 19, 2009

Judging Recipes

Sometimes, I look at a recipe, am pretty sure it's going to be "meh" and go right ahead and make it. I'd like to say that I'm wrong just enough that it's worth it to experiment, but actually I think these recipes are ones I want to make for reasons unrelated to flavor. They'll use up something in the fridge, or they're super easy, or they are really really healthy. I'm pretty frequently right - I make the recipe, and it is very very dull - and yet I persist. (The real reason might just be that I'm a nut case.)

Here is a recipe that I expected to not really like but made anyway. Sometimes these things do work out - this one is a keeper:

Summer Vegetable Stew
adapted from Cooking Light's "Light & Easy Meals"

  • 1 smallish fennel bulb
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 C vegetable broth (I used "Better than Bouillon")
  • 1 14-oz can Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lb green beans, de-stringed and cut into 1" lengths
  • 2 Tbsp fresh herbs (I used a mix of rosemary and thyme)
  • 1 C frozen green peas (I believe fresh green peas should be saved for things where their flavor and texture really sing... this recipe is tasty, but doesn't highlight the peas)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C crumbled goat cheese
Trim the fennel fronds and toss all but 1 Tbsp or so of them. Mince the reserved fronds and set aside. Roughly chop white parts of fennel, discarding anything that seems too tough to eat.

Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil. Saute fennel for 5 minutes and add the broth, tomatoes, carrots, and green beans. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add peas, herbs, and reserved fennel fronds; cover and simmer 2 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste; top each serving of stew with crumbled goat cheese.
serves 4

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