Still fighting the laryngitis but it is finally getting better!
You are not going to believe this but this post goes back to Christmas. Oops. Well actually I have a few possible future posts that date back even further but this one I cannot hide the holiday factor! I made this recipe for a dinner party amongst friends on December 23rd. Everyone had to bring the ingredients to prepare one dish on the spot and share. There was no formality to the dinner, when a dish was ready it was set on the table. People sat and ate, stood and ate, went back to the kitchen to check how their recipe was going along. We had a blast! And Amen for big kitchens such as the one our host had.
I love introducing less common foods in such occasions but you don’t want to go overkill exotic for a large group. After all some may scare easy lol. I love fennel bulb and it has become a common find n the grocery store so I figured it may be new to some guests without causing too much panic. I came across a curious recipe where the fennel is braised in milk. I just had to try it.
Milk Braised Fennel
3 medium fennel bulbs
4 cups milk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped fennel greens
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Goat cheese ( used sheep cheese)
Heat oven to 475 F.
Remove tough outer layer of fennel. Halve bulbs lengthwise and cut into 1⁄2″ wedges.
Combine fennel, milk, and 2 tbsp. butter in a 4-qt. baking dish. Add chopped fennel greens and season with salt and pepper.
Cook in oven until fennel is just tender, about 30–45 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer fennel to a 2-qt. baking dish.
Pour 1 cup of the milk mixture over fennel. Sprinkle with cheese, a few tomatoes and dot with remaining butter.
Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
The dish was an all around success. The fennel was so tender and delicate, infused with milk all the way through. I kept a section cheese-less as some guests did not like goat/sheep cheese. Well in the end they were the ones that said it tasted better with the cheese.
So here are the small Christmas crumbs I wanted to share:
The Christmas Eve dinner prepared by my mom, some lovely braised duck leg…
And a few very retro gifts. The first is a self-confessed re-gifting from a friend…but an unusual one. Johanne gave me a set of shot glasses with a small carafe that belonged to her grandmother. How cute is this. Yes the glass is cut with the typical flower patterns of the time (you just can’t really see it here)
And this second gift is more a part of my heritage. I have been coveting these for a while and my mom finally gave them to me. The first is a complete cake icing kit in metal and the second are various cookies cutter shapes. These all belonged to my maternal grandmother who was a great cook and pastry chef. Although by the time I was born I never witnessed the grand dinner parties she hosted, my mother’s stories of them are probably what propelled my cooking curiosity.