Zucchini Stuffed with Fennel and Shrimp; No-Knead Bread with Olives and Herbs

by Jennifer

Another way to eat zucchini!  My husband commented how fancy the zucchini looked, but it actually came together pretty quickly, apart from cleaning the shrimp.  When I took out a hunk of No-Knead Bread dough from the refrigerator, I kneaded in a large handful of chopped kalamata olives and a handful of various chopped herbs.  This dinner serves 2 – 4, depending on how hungry you are and if children in your household will eat zucchini this way.

  • 2 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise, inside flesh scooped out with a spoon and chopped
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 TBS chopped fennel fronds
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat 1/2 TBS olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add shrimp and cook just until opaque;  season with salt and pepper and transfer to a cutting board.  When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the shrimp.

Heat remaining 1 TBS oil in the skillet over medium heat;  add fennel, onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add chopped zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Take the pan off heat and stir in the shrimp, chopped fennel fronds, panko and cheese.

Arrange zucchini shells on  a baking sheet and divide filling between them.

Broil stuffed zucchini until golden and the shells are crisp-tender, about 6 – 7 minutes.

Fish Soup Provencale with Escarole, Fennel and Orange Salad

by Jennifer

I’ve adapted this recipe (increased the vegetables, garlic and orange zest, increased the fish a little and the half-and-half a tad), either from Eating Well or Cooking Light (which basically are the same, in my mind), and it’s wonderful.  There’s a little heat, there’s the orange zest, the fennel seeds, and it’s not difficult to make.  While the potatoes are cooking you can put together the salad (use the same orange: zest for soup, fruit for salad).  Soup serves 4 – 6;  salad serves 4.

Fish Soup Provencale

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • freshly grated zest of one orange
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14.5 oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 medium – large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lb. firm white fish (I used flounder)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 scant tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add onion, peppers and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add crushed red pepper through tomatoes with their juices and cook, stirring, until it boils (should be just about 1 – 2 minutes).

Add potatoes, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add water and wine, cooking for another 5 minutes (uncovered).

Add fish and parsley and cook over medium-low heat until fish is opaque, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Stir in half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf and serve.

Escarole, Fennel, and Orange Salad

  • 1 small head escarole, outer leaves discarded, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored, then thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, rind removed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Place escarole, fennel and orange in a serving bowl, and toss gently with dressing to combine.

Shrimp Scampi with Preserved Lemon and Fennel on Polenta, Romaine Salad with Anchovies and Parmesan

by Jennifer

This recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit, serves 4 – 6.  Serve with Romaine Salad with Anchovies and Parmesan.


  • 4 1/2 8-oz. bottles clam juice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
  • 3/4 tsp hot sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Shrimp Scampi:

  • 3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. large shrimp, cleaned
  • coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded tomato
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 TBS chopped preserved lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the polenta:
Combine clam juice, water and cream in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 15 minutes.
Whisk in hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste, then remove from burner, cover, and keep warm until scampi is finished.  (Add a little water before serving if it gets too thick.)

For shrimp scampi:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp, season with coarse salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring once, for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp begin to turn opaque.  Transfer shrimp to a plate.

Add the fennel through garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender, about 4 minutes.

Add cream, bring to a boil, and

stir in shrimp, tossing to coat, just until the shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute.  Divide polenta among plates and top with scampi.

Fennel, Onion and Olive Pizza; Asparagus with Orange Dressing and Toasted Hazelnuts

by Jennifer

Saute the fennel and onion first, then set aside, wash out the pan, and use it to cook the asparagus.  While the fennel and onion are cooking, roll out the dough, chop the olives and hazelnuts, and whisk the dressing.  The asparagus can be served warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4.

Fennel, Onion and Olive Pizza – adapted from Cooking Light

  • about 1 lb. pizza dough (I used the grilled pizza dough recipe;  remember you can make it up to 2 days in advance)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 medium bulbs fennel, cores removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup bottled pizza sauce or marinara sauce
  • generous 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • cornmeal for pizza paddle

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil, then add the fennel through pepper and cook, stirring frequently,

until browned and tender, about 15 minutes.  Prepare grill.

Roll out dough to a (roughly) 14” circle;  transfer it to a cornmeal-dusted pizza paddle (or rimless baking sheet).

Slide dough onto grill and grill for about 3 minutes, or

until distinct grill marks appear on the bottom and the top is all puffed.  Slide the crust back onto the paddle and turn it over so the grilled side is up.

Spread the sauce over the crust, leaving about an inch border all around.

Spread the fennel-onion mixture over the sauce.

Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture,

then scatter the olives.

Return to the grill for another 3 – 4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and there are grill marks on the bottom.

Asparagus with Orange Dressing and Toasted Hazelnuts – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • juice from 1/2 orange
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the asparagus in a wide saucepan of boiling, salted water for 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Drain asparagus and arrange on a platter.

While the asparagus is cooking, whisk together the zest through pepper.  Drizzle dressing over asparagus, then sprinkle with the hazelnuts.

Very Full Tart with Caramelized Fennel Salad

by Jennifer

The Very Full Tart comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty, and it’s absolutely delicious.  The original recipe called for 7 cherry tomatoes, halved, added to the tart when you add the cheese, which I did not do.  One thing:  my prebaked pie crust shrunk considerably (not enough overhang?), and of course the egg/cream filling spilled over the crust and surrounded it.  The result – no longer a crisp tart crust, but still fantastic!  (Seen here served with Challah.)

Serves 6.

Very Full Tart

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 7 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped into 2” pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 11 oz. pie crust dough (I used the Fool-Proof pie dough recipe, which I made the day before)
  • Fresh thyme leaves from 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with one rack in the upper third of the oven and one in the center.  Carefully remove the stem of each pepper, reaching in and cleaning out the seeds and membranes (shake them over the sink, or rinse them out and shake dry).

Place peppers in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with about 1 TBS olive oil, and place on the top rack in the oven.

In a bowl, toss the eggplant with 4 TBS oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the center rack;  roast for 12 minutes.

To the eggplant add the sweet potato, stir gently, and roast for another 12 minutes.

Check the peppers;  if the top side is blackened, use tongs to turn them over.

Add the zucchini to the sweet potato and eggplant pan, stir gently, and roast for another 10 – 12 minutes.  Remove all vegetables from the oven, cover the pepper dish with foil to let them steam, and lower the oven to 325 degrees.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 TBS oil in a 10” – 12” saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and bay leaves and saute, stirring frequently,

until brown and tender, about 20 minutes.  Set aside, discarding bay leaves.  When the peppers are cool, peel and roughly chop them.

Combine all of the roasted vegetables in a bowl.

Coat a 9” – 10” tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.  Roll out pie dough to about 1/8” thick and transfer to the tart pan, pressing gently into the corners and letting some overhang.

Line the dough with a circle of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake the crust at 325 degrees for 30 minutes;  carefully remove pie weights and parchment paper and bake the crust for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden.  (I baked the crust a few hours ahead and let it sit at room temperature.)

Scatter the onions over the tart crust,

then top with the roasted vegetables, sprinkling half the thyme leaves over everything.

Drop teaspoons of ricotta cheese over the vegetables, and scatter the feta cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper to taste;  pour this mixture over the vegetables, sprinkling the remaining thyme leaves on top.

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before removing tart from the pan and serving.

Caramelized Fennel Salad – adapted from Ina Garten

  • 3 bulbs fennel, halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. salad greens
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette (see below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl toss together the fennel through pepper.

Spread fennel mixture over a large rimmed baking sheet (on parchment for easier clean up) and bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Remove from oven and let cool (you can make the fennel up to a day in advance;  let it come to room temperature before serving).  Toss caramelized fennel with the salad greens and vinaigrette;  serve immediately.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together dressing ingredients;  you can make the vinaigrette in advance and refrigerate — let it come to room temperature before using.

Manhattan Clam Chowder, No-Knead Bread with Oregano, Escarole and Fennel Salad

by Jennifer

I adapted this chowder recipe from the original found at simplyrecipes.com, and it’s fantastic.  I am not too proud to admit I was slurping the last of the broth from the soup pot after dinner!  When I took the No-Knead Bread dough out from the refrigerator, I kneaded in a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano, then let it rise on the counter.  This dinner serves 4 adults (or two adults and several children, with some for lunch tomorrow!).

Manhattan Clam Chowder

  • 3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium – large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 oz. tomato juice
  • 8 oz. bottle of clam juice (I use Bar Harbor brand)
  • 4 6.5-oz. cans of clams – I used 3 chopped and 1 whole – with broth reserved
  • 1 lb. new potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot;  add carrots, celery and onions and cook until they begin to get tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minutes.

Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato juice, all the clam juice (from bottle and cans), and the potatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the clams, and season to your taste.  Serve hot.

Escarole and Fennel Salad

  • 1 medium head escarole, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Wash and spin-dry escarole well;  transfer to a serving bowl with the fennel.  Add olive oil and toss well.  Add salt and pepper and toss well.  Add lemon juice, toss well, and serve.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice and Fennel-Radish Salad with Queso Fresco

By Jennifer

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice and Fennel-Radish Salad with Queso Fresco

Both of these recipes are new ones for me, and I’ll tell you, the black bean patties were delicious.  I toned them down so my kids would eat them (I’ll tell you where I changed the recipe) and my 9 year old ate more than I did…next time I’m doubling it!  Next time I’m also going to make the black bean mixture ahead and chill it for a while to make the patty step a little less smushy and sloppy.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice – adapted from Cooking Light

Pineapple Rice

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • good handful of cilantro, chopped

Cook the rice according to your rice cooker directions or the directions on the bag.

Sauteing pineapple

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium-heat, add the pineapple and cook until it starts to brown.

Pineapple rice

Remove from heat, and when the rice is ready, toss in the pineapple and cilantro.

Black Bean Patties

  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (this was supposed to be with jalapeno peppers)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • peanut oil
  • fat-free Greek plain yogurt or sour cream

In a small food processor, blend together 1/2 cup of beans and the egg white.

Partially mashed black beans

In a bowl, partially mash the remaining black beans and stir in the cumin, salt, processed bean/egg mixture, cheese and onion.

Black bean mixture

(If possible, chill in the fridge for an hour or so.  When I made the recipe in one go, as directed, the patties were sticky and sloppy, though tasty!)

Dredging patties in cornmeal

Dredge both sides in cornmeal.  Heat 1 – 2 TBS peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook patties for about 4 minutes per side, or until browned.

Frying patties


Serve on top of the rice with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top.

Fennel-Radish Salad with Queso Fresco – adapted from Mark Bittman’s Fennel-Jicama Salad recipe from the New York Times Magazine

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 6 – 7 radishes (original recipe calls for 1/2 pound jicama, which my grocery store rarely carries)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • generous 1/2 cup of crumbled queso fresco

Chopping fennel

Trim bottom of fennel bulbs, discard outer layer if bruised, halve lengthwise, cut out the leafy heart, then cut in half crosswise and thinly slice.  Slice the radishes into half-moons.  Toss together the fennel, radishes and jalapeno.

Tossing salad

Add olive oil and lime juice and toss well.  Before serving, gently toss salad with the queso fresco.