Fennel Flowers & Goat Cheese

I wrote the following for week 19 of Oxbow's 2013 CSA newsletter. Here is a link to the newsletter if your interested in seeing the final product and learning a bit more about my role on the farm. 

I have many favorite veggies that we grow here on the farm but I would have to put Fennel high in the ranks of my favorites. 2013 has been a stellar year for our dear little fennel friends here at Oxbow so as a farmer and fennel lover, I was really happy that one of our longtime CSA members took the time at the harvest party to tell me how much she has been enjoying all the fennel in her box this season.

I was introduced to fennel a few years before I started working at Oxbow, but now that I am coming to the close of my 2nd season here, I have come to appreciate it on a whole new level. I am always finding new and interesting ways to use it, whether they come from some crazy idea that pops into my head, a coworker tells me about a recipe they like, or I stumble across something online. Some of my my favorite fennel recipes are roasted and served with lemon pepper chicken, candied (bulb and/or stems) with lemon rid, and this year fennel flowers served over goat cheese. 

I had never used fennel flowers before this summer, but once they started coming in from the fields, it seems I couldn't get enough of them. Over the past several weeks, I have brought different variations of goat cheese and fennel flowers to our weekly lunch potluck. Every time I thought I was done experimenting with this dish and it was time to move on, a new idea would pop in my head and I had to try it the next week. Luckily, people either genuinely enjoyed it or did a really good job humoring me (I choose to believe the former). I hope that you enjoy the fennel flowers in your box this week. They will make you feel like a fancy gourmet cook with very little effort.  

Farmer Food Fennel Flowers
When there are extra or damaged items form the CSA or restaurants pack-outs, they go in a create at the end of the table and become "Farmer Food". That's some good looking farmer food. 

Below are a few of my favorite variations of the fennel flower and goat cheese evolution. 

Fennel Flower & Goat Cheese version 2.0

Version 2.0. What's New : Fresh allium of your choice (shallot in in photo) drizzled with olive oil 

Served over slice of artisan bread 

Fennel Flower & Goat Cheese version 3.0

 Version 3.0. What's New : Caramelized allium of your choice (shallot in in photo) drizzled with olive oil 

Carmelizing the shallots breaks down the starches to sugars so its really nice and sweet

Fennel Flower & Goat Cheese version 4.0

 Version 4.0. What's New : Fresh allium of your choice (shallot in in photo), drizzled with olive oil and served with baked pears.
I switched back to fresh alliums for this version because I wanted the spice of the fresh allium to counter balance the sweetness of the baked pear. 

Oxbow Farm in all it's Fall potluck glory


Fall in Washington means....

"Fall in Washington means you treat every sunny day like it's the last".

This has become a motto of mine since moving here. I don't mind the weather here, but for me getting Sun keeps me happy and synthesizing vitamin D.  So when the Sun is out, I try to be too.  When the sun is not out, I still try and get out and be active. It's the best way to beat the winter blues. 

On a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago my brothers and I went on a walk to the park with my nieces and nephew. My nephew wanted to bring a skateboard and one of my nieces insisted on bring a bag of tongue depressors (we didn't have to use them but I was glad we had them all the same). The kids look most of the photos. I think they turned out pretty good.