For an odd reason, I was keeping back a head of fennel waiting for the right use –fortunately it holds fine in the fridge along with some kohlrabi and quite decent bok choy, waiting until I can figure out what to use it in. Of course whilst in the middle of a muddle (home decor gone bonkers, life v. busy), we came to a point where there really wasn’t much other choice other than some late summer fruit (pluots and peaches, currently referred to as puddin’, and blueberries, known as breakfast). For a bit of protein, there had recently been a clamor for Black Bean Chipotle burgers (my current favourite stash of non-meat items from MorningStar Farms).
A while back we had lunch at a totally a la carte, design your lunch style place and they offer burgers (their main focus, including turkey, seafood and vegetarian options) over a salad bowl in place of bready thingies. So this approach is a hybrid of that idea, not unlike a small bit of chicken glazed in ginger and black bean sauce over rice – the meaty thing is an accent.
Since I almost always crave a bit of salad, I shaved the fennel and peeled kohlrabi on a handy dandy little ceramic mandolin (I’m quite terrified of the big kids version and don’t touch it), then added some chunks of peeled, segments of a nice large naval orange, a splash of pistachio oil and squeezed one fresh lime; a small bit of kosher salad and fresh ground pepper and set it aside. This is a variation on one of Mark Bittman’s salad ideas – fennel with orange, and I think the kohlrabi sliced wafer thin added a bit of interest, and the nut oil (you could easily use walnut) shines nicely with simple salads. Bonus – it didn’t need any wait time.
For the mains, my trusty rice cooker was set to stun, with a batch of Jade rice (a nice short-grain tinged with bamboo juice so it has a lovely sheen of green with what must be a very subtle flavour – I just like it because it cooks up nicely).
While the veggie burgers were cooking in the grill/skillet, in a second skillet, I set a bit of scallions sliced, along with a few chunks from the bottom of the fennel (where you were holding it without slicing fingers 😉 browning in a tiny amount of olive oil, then added chopped bok choy. Once that was on its way, I splashed in a bit of ginger juice and maybe a small glug of a triple ginger teriyaki , put the lid on and let it finish.
To serve, a small mound of rice in a bowl, surrounded by the hot bok choy mixture, then the chipotle burger cut into wedges on top. Served with the fennel/kohlrabi/orange salad as a first course.
Pluots for dessert and there you go, ‘Bob’s your uncle! It even enticed the drywall engineer to break and clean up for a bite!
Now what the remodelers will eat tonight – well that could be freezer roulette if I don’t go into town soon ;-).
next post – off-the-beaten path tonics considered