Bryanna and the City

Friday, November 19, 2004

Fennel, O Fennel. . .Wherefor Art Thou My Fennel?

Inspired by a recipe I saw for Carrot Fennel soup which was posted on the Amateur Gourmet and being sick of my usual chicken salad or chicken stir-fry dinners, I decided to branch out a little yesterday and attempt to shock my tastebuds by making this interesting soup. My first task, however, was to get the main ingredient: Fennel. Not really sure what Fennel was, I pondered it for about half an hour and then asked my co-worker. She said that it was a celery like vegatable that tasted like black licorice. "Ahh...I see" I said...I like black licorice, but I've never had black licorice soup. However, in the pictures it looked very good, so after work I set out into the big city with Fennel on my mind and a somewhat empty stomach (I had slept in and only had time to pack a very light lunch). I knew of a produce market that I was quite confident would have this mysterious fennel. Bushy tailed and bright eyed (what? ...I don't even know what that means...anyways...) I entered the market. I noticed that they were also selling pink Gerber Daisies, but they were not as breath taking as the ones I picked up earlier that week at Buy-Low Foods...I smuggly passed them by. *sMaCk* . . ."Ouch!" I yelped...a rather cheeky Anise veggie suddenly hit me in the face on the way in. "Out of my way, you oddly familiar veggie that looks and tastes like Fennel, but can't be Fennel because you are clearly labelled Anise! I'm here for Fennel you Cheeky Devil!" The clerk gave me a funny look and so did the lady checking out the grapes, but I didn't care. . .I scoured the chilled veggie aisle. As I reached the end, I realized that there were no lables for Fennel. Hmm.."no worries", I thought, "there are other produce markets in the area". . .$10.78 later and a grocery bag containing a small container of organic yogurt, homous, a package of gnocchi, 3 tomatoes, and pita bread, I left the market still very optimistically determined to find that elusive Fennel. Safeway was just across the street. However, after a quick survey of the produce section, it was clear that Fennel was no where to be found. I was relieved nevertheless that I didn't run into Anise because my head still sort of hurt. "No problems" I said. I picked up some baby spinach leaves and sour cream. When I passed the fish market section my stomach convinced me to stop. "Stomach", I said, "I'm not here for fish I'm looking for Fennel silly". "Excuse me?" Said the fish helper man. . ." "uhh. . .don't worry about it mister" I responded. "Look closer" my stomach wispered. I did, and then I saw it. . .a beautiful bowl of mouthwatering candied smoked salmon niblets. . ."Get some!" my stomach growled. "100 grams of the candied smoked salmon" I said to the fish helper man, who by this time was pretty sure that I was crazy. I left the store. My stomach pleaded for me to open the package of smoked salmon, but my stomach just had to wait. There were more important tasks at hand..well only one, and that of course was finding some Fennel. I entered another produce market about a block down. This time I was ready for that cheeky Anise. I covered my head, however, I was suddenly on my ass. "Not you again! You crazy Anise!" I cried. It seems the Anise thought tripping me would be funny. I got back on my feet and kicked him under the counter "Take that!". I scanned the Fennel. Now, somewhat discouraged I caved in and asked the produce lady if she had any Fennel. "Fennel?" she said. "Oh yes, right there". She pointed to that prankster Anise. "Oh, I said sheepishly, Thanks". The Anise laughed at me, the produce lady laughed at me, I laughed too...just to feel better about them laughing at me. When the produce lady left I told Anise to shut-up. He didn't, so I stuffed him into a plastic bag and tied it shut..."that'll teach you". Fennel aka Anise was very cheap $0.99. I left the store, satisfied, but with a bruise on my butt. Stomach conviced me to have a few pieces of the smoked salmon while I waited for the was very, it was divine. By the time I got home. . .the niblets were almost gone...mmm those were some good niblets. I wasted no time and began prepping for the soup. The Amateur Gourmet did not share any measurements as it was not his recipe and he's scared of being sued, but he did mention all of the engredients...The lack of measurments did not scare fact I loath the measuring cup (but that's for another time). All you need to know is that this soup came together with the help of my food intuition. I chopped the Anise (try to hurt me now...snicker, snicker), I chopped the carrots, I chopped the garlic, I chopped the Sherriff (he he he)...Put them all in a pot with some water and waited 20 minutes...then into the food processor (I have a very small one so I had to do this about 7 was a bit messy too). While processing I added the sour cream. Then this went back onto the stove to heat up again. It tasted great. Light, but filling...oh and it doesn't taste like licorice. A fantastic meal for a cold November evening. . .just watch out for the violent vegetables!