Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fall salad

Our favorite salad the last couple of months has been Radicchio, Pear, and Fennel salad with Anise Orange Dressing, although we've made a couple of changes to the recipe. This was our first introduction to radicchio -- it's bitter but adds a sophisticated element to the salad. We needed to tip the balance to the sweet side, so we use three pears (instead of two) and one head of radicchio (instead of two). We also added a tablespoon of rice vinegar to the dressing to brighten it up a bit.

Give it a try -- fennel won't be on our grocery shelves much longer this year!


The last basil harvest occurred just before Halloween, shortly before our first freeze. I got two cups from my three surviving plants even after an aggressive harvest in late September (when the first freeze was predicted but didn't materialize).

I like this Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe but leave out the cheese and the salt because I would rather add them, if I want them, to the final dish. Two cups of basil yields a little less than one ice cube tray (I made two batches at a time in the summer and used what wouldn't fit into the ice cube tray over the next several days).

I'm still using pesto cubes from this batch once or twice a week, most commonly in a dish that starts with roasting a whole eggplant and red pepper on the grill and ends with stirring those chopped vegetables, pesto, toasted pine nuts, and a bit of cheese into bulgur wheat.