Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

Hello everyone!

I've sorry to have abandoned you for so long. But now I'm back and I've got so many recipes and photos of my efforts to share.

For today though, it's Christmas and the very first White Christmas of my life as well as the first in Atlanta in over 100 years!! I woke to the dreary morning we have all become accustomed to in Georgia as our sorry excuse for winter. But just like a Christmas miracle, we began opening our presents in our sunroom as usual and suddenly the snow began to fall. And it got bigger and fluffier and started sticking...and now I only fear I won't make it to see True Grit because there's actually snow on the roads.

My white house and white car seem so at home. 

This playground was my first Christmas miracle. I was probably about 5 years old, and my grandparents had come to visit from Pennsylvania. On Christmas Eve my Grandma took me out for adventures all day long until it was dark, and I eagerly awaiting sleep so that Santa wouldn't pass by my house. When morning came, we sang "Silent Night" as we walked down the stairs, carefully preparing to deliver Baby Jesus to the manager as always. But the second I rounded the corner, I could see straight down the hall to the sunroom where in my backyard, Santa had magically delivered a fully assembled, perfect playground just for me.

That year Grandpa and my Dad were Santa. And what a magical thing it was.

 Now here's a recipe to keep you warm on these (finally) cold winter nights. It's simple and delicious. And perhaps I'll whip some up with my brand new food processor (Hallelujah!)

Carrot and Fennel Soup
2 medium fennel bulbs with fronds (Trader Joe's sells great big ones!)
1 lb carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 medium onion, quartered
 2 garlic cloves, halved
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground finely in a coffee grinder

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.
2. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon and reserve. Discard stalks and remaining fronds. 
3. Slice bulbs 1/4 inch thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 
4. Spread in a 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Blend half of vegetables in a blender with broth until very smooth (or still with a little chunk in its step as I like it). 
6. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and water. Thin with extra water if you want it really soupy and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Meanwhile, finely grind fennel seeds in grinder and stir into remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
8. Serve soup drizzled with fennel oil and sprinkled with reserved fronds.

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