Hello beautiful people,
I’m back in Seattle after seven weeks of teaching and traveling in Europe. I had an amazing time leading workshops with Yossy and Eva and seeing friends in Portugal and Paris. But holy shiz does it feel good to be home after being on the road for so long.
Seeing my home with fresh eyes has been a real gift. Working for myself means a lot of hours logged from home; sometimes all I notice is the laundry that needs folding, the dishes that need washing and the weeds that need pulling.
When I walked in the door after this last trip I was overcome with love for our little house. After weeks of sleeping in hotel beds and navigating other people’s rented homes, being in my own house was pure joy. I could see all the time and effort Beau and I have put into making this space a haven and a home.
Since I got back, I’ve been trying to keep things simple. Waking up without an alarm clock. Afternoon walks in the park. Reading instead of binging on TV. And simple meals like this Fennel Confit with Orange and Bay.
I made this for the guests of the Paris workshop I hosted with Yossy. It takes almost zero work--just a slow braise in a low oven, during which you can do any number of things (I propose a glass of rosé and a book in the backyard). When it comes out of the oven, the fennel is meltingly tender and infused with the flavors of the the south of France. You can use it as a base for fish or chicken, stir it into a white bean salad, or--my favorite--spoon it straight out of the pan onto slices of baguette then drizzle some of the garlicky olive oil over the top.
I’ll be back soon with images from my travels. In the meantime, I hope this recipe serves as a little reminder to savor all the simple pleasures in your life.
P.S. For anyone who wants to come cook, shoot and explore in Paris with me this fall, there are still a few spots left in my food & photography workshop with Yossy Arefi!
Fennel Confit with Orange and Bay
- 3 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and halved
- Extra-virgin live oil
- 4-5 strips orange zest
- 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- Juice of one orange
- Kosher or sea salt
*Note: This is delicious served hot or room temperature. It can be made a day in advance and reheated in a low oven or brought to room temperature by removing it from the fridge a few hours before serving.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (150°C). Place the fennel cut-side-down in an ovenproof baking dish. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the baking dish by about 1/4 inch (6mm). Add the orange zest, garlic and bay, making sure to submerge them at least partially in the oil. Squeeze the orange juice over the fennel and salt generously.
Cook, basting occasionally with the oil and orange juice, until the fennel is very tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 1 hour. (The time will vary based on how large your fennel bulbs are. For small bulbs, start checking at 30 minutes.) Set aside to cool slightly before slicing as desired and serving with the infused oil and garlic from the pan.
Makes 6-8 appetizer or first-course servings.
Upcoming workshops and retreats
Paris Food & Photography Workshop // Sept 2018
ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT
Portugal Culinary & Creativity Retreat // Oct 2018
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Paris food & Photography Workshop // May 2018