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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fennel Fronds

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Our fennel herb plants are sooo out of control; I need people to come over and pick some! Please! Free fennel fronds!

I use the stalks as a replacement in any recipe that asks for celery.

After the flowers are done blooming, they turn into fennel seeds.  Fennel seeds are awesome in Indian dishes and pickling.

The fronds are good in the Toscana Soup. Fennel can go on top of any Italian dish and in it as an ingredient: spaghetti, pizza, it also can go in Indian dishes too…also if you are pickling or doing any dressing that is vinegary, it works wonders.

Ryan’s Zuppa Toscana Soup

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zuppa toscana soup
Zuppa Toscana Soup

Zuppa Toscana Soup


1 lb of Italian or Greek sausage (use hot or mild depending on your taste)
4-6 slices of pancetta or bacon cut into 1/4 inch bits
1 white or yellow onion diced
3 large potatoes largely diced
1 sprig fresh tarragon roughly chopped (optional)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half (optional)
3 cloves of minced garlic
1.5 cups of heavy cream
8 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of kale or fresh spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat heavy pot or dutch oven (link is to my favorite low-cost dutch oven) over stove to medium-high heat. Cook sausage until browned. Set aside.
  2. Cook pancetta or bacon in the pot until crisp. Drain bacon fat leaving a few teaspoons or tablespoons.
  3. Stir in garlic and onions. Cook about 5 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  4. Pour chicken broth in pot that already has the onions and garlic. Set to high and bring to boil.
  5. Add potatoes and tarragon and continue to boil until they are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and stir in the sausage, heavy cream, tomatoes, and kale. Stir until evenly distributed and sausage is heated through.
  7. Add to bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan


Cutting Calories?

If you wanted to make this dish lighter, buy extra lean sausage and turkey bacon or similar.  Substitute potatoes with eggplant.  Reduce the amount of heavy cream and increase the amount of chicken broth.  Or, do what I do: reduce your portion! Would you prefer a longer so-so experience, or a shorter AMAZING experience? :)


Ryan’s Chile Verde Recipe

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Ryan’s Chile Verde

Chile Verde
Chile Verde


1-2 lbs tomatillos
5 garlic cloves (not chopped)
1-2 jalapenos (seeded, and/or just depending on how hot you want it)
2 Anaheim or poblano chiles (optional, but it adds flavor and creates a larger amount of chile verde)
1 bunch cilantro leaves
2-4 pounds pork roast cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes (pork loin, pork shoulder, etc)
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 yellow onions (sounds like a lot, but it enhances the flavor and you do not taste the onions much)
3 garlic cloves chopped or grated
1 Tbs oregano
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I use water with Better than Bouillion chicken base – stuff is awsome)
Small pinch of ground cloves (optional)
Salt & pepper
2 tsp cumin
1-2 bay leaves


  1. Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse. Grill on the grill (that’s what I do) or put in oven along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Place tomatillos into blender. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skins, add them to the blender. Add chopped Jalapeño peppers, other chilies (if you are using them), and cilantro to the blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
  3. Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well on all sides. Lift pork out of pan and place in bowl, set aside. You can skip this step if you are short on time.
  4. Place the onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook about 5 minutes. Add pork back to the pot. Add the oregano and tomatillo chile verde sauce, chicken stock, and a pinch of cloves to the pork and onions. Add a little salt and pepper. (Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.)
  5. Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender. I use a pressure cooker and it takes 45 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice and tortillas.