My mom is an incredible “I cook every night” kind of mom. Perhaps most of my interest in cooking and food comes from here- wishing I could “help” with dinner each night in a capacity that exceeded setting up utensils and napkins. I wanted to cook too! (I was also probably 7 years old and likely in the way).
With all of this wonderful food modeling and cooking habits, I have found that my mother and i have extremely different cooking preferences (not as much technique as flavor). As example, I’m not sure that my exposure to meatloaf extended further than ground meat baked plain in a dish (even though she swears to the contrary). That being said, she could make a salmon loaf, fish chowder, or an inventive salad that could bring royalty to tears.
Insert exhibit A: Beet and fennel salad. I called my mother yesterday while driving to Wholefoods in search of a salad to prepare to accompany a more traditional green salad. Just seconds after asking my usual “What should I make?” she searched into her memorized recipe book and offered a beet and fennel salad. She had raved about this after making it in January (courtesy of Bon Appetite Magazine). So I thought, why not?
Just a slight deviation from the recipe, as I’m always noncompliant when it comes to recipes, I roasted the fennel first, I laid beets on a bed of arugula, and used the oranges as more of a garnish than ingredient.
The end result was a beautiful array of golden and red beets. I loved squeezing fresh lemon, lime and orange juices over the salad along with drizzled olive oil. And while having never purchased fennel in my life, I was excited to try something new. (I actually had to call my mom just to ask how to cut the fennel and which end to use!)
Check it out for yourself and enjoy. (And thanks, Mom)