I can honestly say that I remember Thanksgiving, and I turned around and it was today (December 18). In-between then and now is a complete blur. I have been busy at work, taking care of our dogs, Christmas shopping, Christmas wrapping, holiday parties, and now…Holiday cards to be sent. I usually am more ahead of the game, but for some reason between family visiting and birthdays to celebrate I lost a hold on time and here we are. One week away from Christmas and I was not prepared for it until yesterday! Yesterday, I packed my last box and shipped out our last packages out to the east coast. (That is where almost all of our family resides.) Our dinning room table for the last week looked like a controlled chaos of wrapping paper, scotch tape, ribbons, and scissor clippings. I must say that I am happy to have it all back to normal now. Martini and Latte came with me to ship the packages, and if you ask me they were really happy to see the packages go. I think they have been feeling a bit neglected. Somehow, we all have felt that way. Oh, how we love the holidays!
With all the hustle and bustle to get to the grand finish line of the holidays I have almost forgotten to cook! On my way home from work the other day I stopped by one of the produce vendors at the market and asked the workers “What looks good this week?” they responded with: “Fennel, grapefruit, romanesco, and blood oranges.” I purchased a couple of them all and headed home. While throwing together dinner I whipped up a salad with the fennel and the grapefruit. I was hoping for something light and refreshing with a clean taste. The result was a shaved fennel salad with grapefruit slices. It was tossed together with hazelnuts, farro, and pomegranate seeds. It was just what the crazy agenda of holiday prep called for. Give it a try. If I could whip it up in no time, I am sure you all can to. The most complicated thing was cooking the farro; and after all, that is just simmering - how hard is that?
Grapefruit and Fennel Salad (feeds 6)
1 medium fennel bulb, some fronds reserved (about 2 tbsp)
1 large grapefruit; peeled, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, and slices quartered
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup of hazelnuts; skinned, toasted, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup farro
1 garlic clove
2 bay leaves
Olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
First, place the farrow in a 2 - 3 quart pot with about 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water. To that add your onion 1/4, garlic clove, and bay leaves. Gently simmer it all until your water is almost all absorbed by the farro. Once the farro is tender (about 45 minutes) you can remove the onion, garlic, and bay leaves, Strain any remaining water and chill your farro in the refrigerator.
Next, thinly slice your fennel. Trim the bottom end and discard and slice it thinly until your reach the stalks and top of the bulb. (You can use a mandolin to do so, or you can just as well use a sharp knife.)
Then, in a bowl place your farrow, fennel, grapefruit, and pomegranates. Toss it together and refrigerate it for at least an hour (or up to a day ahead).
Finally, when ready to serve, drizzle the olive oil over it. Add the hazelnuts, sea salt and black pepper. Toss it well and sprinkle the fennel fronds over it and serve.