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Archive for March 22, 2012

RECIPE: Orange Fennel Salad

We were looking for something new and special in a salad and came across this easy recipe from Tom Fraker, corporate chef at

At Melissa’s, Tom has every type of special fruit and vegetable at his disposal. Instead of orange segments, he used seedless Ojai Pixie tangerines in this recipe. You can use whatever tangerines or oranges you can find locally (or treat yourself to some Ojai Pixies from Melissa’s). The benefit of tangerines over oranges is that the segments are smaller and can be eaten in one bite.

We like the contrast of sweet and tangy, so substituted the dried blueberries for sliced black olives.


Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 fennel bulbs, tops removed, trimmed and sliced (save leaves for garnish)
  • 8 tangerines, peeled and segmented
  • 3 tablespoons dried blueberries or sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar (or substitute white wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Tangerine and fennel salad, a flavorful combination. Photo courtesy


    1. Place the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and toss to incorporate.

    2. In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Add to the salad, toss, and season with salt and pepper.

    3. Garnish with the fennel tops (leaves). Save extra leaves for garnishing another dish.


    Fennel with the tops (leaves) trimmed. Save the feathery leaves as garnish. Photo by Max Straeten | Morguefile.



    A member of the parsley family, fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) may look like celery (Petroselinum crispum), but is actually a perennial herb, indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean.

    They are botanical cousins, members of the same order (Apiales) and family (Apiaceae).

    Records of fennel’s use date back to about 1500 B.C.E, although it has been enjoyed by mankind for much longer.

    Fennel is highly aromatic and flavorful, with both culinary and medicinal uses. The bulb and stalks resemble celery, the leaves look like dill (Anethum graveolens, also of the same order and family), and the aroma and flavor resemble sweet licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabraa, a totally different order [Fabales] and family [Fabaceae]).


    Fennel can be substituted for celery in recipes when an additional nuance of flavor is desired. We also enjoy it as part of a crudité plate. Plain and sugar-coated fennel seeds are used as a spice and an after-meal mint in India and Pakistan.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

    We became overly fond of Ben & Jerry’s new Banana Greek Frozen Yogurt with Peanut Buttery Swirls. But after we finished the two pints sent to us by Ben & Jerry’s, we couldn’t find the flavor locally.

    Necessity being the mother of invention, we experimented with making our own PB swirl ice cream. To please our friend Rose, we also made some pints with Nutella.

    It’s easy to do, just by softening a plain pint of your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt, and adding the swirl.



  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or Nutella
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 pints vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream (it is easier to work with two pints than one quart; you can try two different flavors to see which you prefer)
  • Optional: chopped peanuts or hazelnuts
  • Optional with peanut putter: 1 tablespoon sugar*

    When life gives you peanut butter, make PB swirl ice cream. Photo courtesy


    *If you tend to like things on the sweet side, you may want to bring the peanut butter closer to the sweetness of the ice cream. We prefer the contrast, without the sugar.


    1. Combine the peanut butter, cream and corn syrup in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Chill the mixture for an hour or longer.

    2. After the mixture is chilled, soften the ice cream on the kitchen counter until you can slide the contents out (use a knife to loosen the edges). Slice the ice cream horizontally into five circles.

    3. Repack the ice cream into the container, alternating the slices with spoonfuls of the peanut butter or Nutella mixture, along with a sprinkling of the optional nuts. Return to the freezer until ready to eat.

    How Many Frozen Desserts Have You Tried?

    Check out our Ice Cream Glossary to see what you’ve been missing.


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