Category: fennel

Cook the Cover (Fennel & Cabbage Salad with Sesame and Orange)

Monday: walking on the mountain while wearing a cute summer dress and sandals.
Tuesday: cleaning the snow off my car while wearing a winter coat, mittens and boots.
Ah, a  common Montreal “spring”.  
With our weather being quite literally bipolar, it’s hard enough knowing which tires we should have on, let alone what kind of meals we should be preparing. Light and healthy, or hearty and comforting? Sweet and tangy or salty and savory? Seeing as I’m as indecisive as Mother Nature, I want a meal that satisfies all of the above.
Canadian Living’s May cover recipe features deliciously savoury chicken (or tofu!) on a bed of peppery cabbage and sweet fennel, tossed together with a comforting dressing (hello honey mustard!) and topped with bright segments of tangy orange. Yes, it is possible to have it all! 
I enjoyed this dressing so much that I ended up making a double batch of it. I used it as a dip for fresh veggies the next day, and I used the last little bit as a sandwich spread. Using a grainy mustard gave it a nice kick. Also to note: I only have Vegenaise in my fridge, and it worked in the place of mayo. If you want to make this fully vegan, sub some agave for the honey, and you’re all set. 
If you’re going the tofu route, use the same quantity as you would chicken, and cut it into strips. I suggest you double, or even triple, the dressing and marinate the tofu in it about an hour before for ultimate flavour. Pan-fry until browned and sprinkle with sesame. For the complete recipe, (salad, dressing, chicken and all!) click here: Canadian Living: Sesame Chicken and Orange Salad
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You Just Might Make Friends With Salad. (This Time).

I’ve never liked lettuce.

Being a vegetarian for so many years, this fact has often startled people.  Each time that I tell someone that I dislike lettuce, the reaction that I receive generally follows the same pattern. It begins with a baffled, “but how could you not like lettuce?” And is often followed by ” So I guess you don’t eat salad, then?”

Ah, how I love receiving that follow-up question. Each and every time, I’ll respond with, “actually, I love salad.” I then adore watching the person’s facial transformation – twisting mouth and furrowing brow – as he or she becomes even more confused. If the person does not immediately conclude that I am simply delusional, I will begin my usual – salads-don’t-need-lettuce rant.

Salads do not (always) need lettuce.

Now, you may have heard that you don’t make friends with salad, but I think that that is only because most people are doing it all wrong. There are so many vegetable possibilities out there – all you need is two or three of them, and you’ve got yourself a salad. Lettuce-free.


My two favorite salad combinations are: 1. Cucumber, tomato and celery and 2. Spinach, dried cranberries and almonds. Lately, however, I’ve been on a more exotic/experimental gourmet salad kick. I started the week off with a fabulous concoction of pan-seared red pear slices, brie and chopped walnuts. And then, yesterday, I picked that – as I discovered today at lunch – is even tastier once it’s been marinating for a while. Unlike lettuce salads that become soggy a day later – this salad maintained it’s crunch beautifully.

Go ahead and make some friends.


Marinated Fennel & Cucumber Salad
 an original recipe by Allison Sklar

what you’ll need
for the dressing: 
1/8 cup rice vinegar (any other light-tasting vinegar will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder (acts as an emulsifier)
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder (or both, if desired)
for the salad:
1/3 fennel bulb, chopped into thin slices
1 carrot, coarsely grated
2 lebanese cucumbers, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
handful toasted almond slices


how to do it
Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until well blended. Toss vegetables to coat. Marinate for at least one hour – the longer, the better. If you desire lettuce, add some shredded iceberg just before serving.