Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth–nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
~William Carlos Williams
Last week as I drove to Marquette, I marveled at the sea of Queen Anne’s Lace growing with wild abandon along the side of the highway. They catch at the slightest breeze and perform a delicate dance for those who pay attention.
Years ago when Mike and I moved into our house there was not a flower to be found in either our front or back yard except for a few crocus and johnny-jump-ups. When we went for walks around the neighborhood I noticed masses of Queen Anne’s Lace and hoped that one day they would grow in our yard. When we started planting a flower bed I toted a few stems home and stuck them in the dirt. Nothing. They wilted and died. I brought home more flowers that had gone to seed and shook them in violent hope. Imagine my excitement the next year when the filigree flowers appeared.
I think it’s the texture of Queen Anne’s Lace that enthrall me. It is the same reason that I was first drawn to fennel in the supermarket. The bright green fronds (even though I do not eat them) make for a pretty composition. If you have never had fennel before I challenge you to try it. It has a very mild anise flavor and is common in Mediterranean dishes. It can be eaten raw or cooked and I love it sliced thinly on a green salad with orange and grapefruit segments.
Last week I bought a fennel bulb and decided to use it in a cabbage salad. Fall seems like the perfect time for slaw since the local cabbage is in season. I thought the fennel and cabbage would go well with crisp and juicy fall apples.
Instead of a heavy mayonnaise laden slaw, I decided to combine these fresh flavors with a ginger vinaigrette. The combinations of flavors work so well together. Sweet apple juxtaposed with the tartness of vinegar, crunchy cabbage, spicy ginger, and the faint licorice taste of fennel sounds like a perfect marriage to me. To add even more to the flavor and texture explosion I wrapped the slaw in romaine leaves and topped them with creamy avocado hummus and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. How much more healthy, satisfying, and flavorful can you get than that? I think this slaw makes a fantastic side dish, would be a great sandwich topping, or would stand on its own with an addition of nuts and even dried fruit (I think apricots would make a beautiful mix).
Fennel, Cabbage, and Apple Slaw with Ginger Vinaigrette
- 4 cups of finely chopped cabbage (depending on the texture you desire)
- 1 cup of shredded carrot
- 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1 chopped red apple (the apples that I used were organic so they were small)
- 1 chopped green apple
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup vinegar (depending on how tart you want the salad. I used 1/2 raw apple cider vinegar and 1/2 white balsamic vinegar)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice and zest of one lime
- 1 Tablespoon of sweetener (I used local raw honey but you could use your sweetener of choice)
- 1 Tablespoon of Tamari (soy sauce would work as well)
- 1 Tablespoon finely minced ginger root
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small bunch of finely chopped green onions
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix vinaigrette well (You could use a blender but I just used a whisk). Pour over salad and toss well. While I tasted the salad immediately after making it yesterday, the flavors really bloomed overnight in the refrigerator. Makes 10 cups.
The Romaine Lettuce Wraps with the Avocado Hummus were easy to make.
The recipe that I use for Hummus is from the Vitamix Whole Foods Cookbook.
- 30 ounces of chickpeas (it says to reserve one can of liquid. Though, I always make my own from dried beans)
- 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (I used jarred tahini)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (again I used the zest and for this recipe I increased it to a whole lemon)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
The hummus was delicious and the perfect, creamy accompaniment to the crunchy slaw. The wraps are messy (I recommend a fork) but such a nice break from a traditional salad. Plus, if you are trying to watch your intake of bread it is a much slimmer option.
When I buy romaine I do not buy the bagged but instead buy the large heads in the produce section. I find this often a better bargain and they are more green, fresh, and I think they taste better. Other greens work well for wraps as well such as collard greens, large spinach leaves, and red lettuce.
I have to confess that normally I wait until I publish my post to dive into my creation, but today I had to take a break for lunch because my plate was so tempting. For the past few weeks I have been a food rut and I think yesterday’s Red Lentil Sloppy Joes and today’s Fennel, Cabbage, and Apple Salad have helped me break free!
I hope you enjoy this salad just in time for fall’s bounty of vegetables. I eagerly await the selection of Michigan apples at the farmers market and in the stores. This recipe and others can be found at Pinterest on my Produce with Amy board. Also, please join the conversation on my Facebook page.
My summer holiday is nearly over and I will be going back to teaching soon, but blogging will help me to stay committed to my healthy lifestyle. I hope that I can help you do the same. Enjoy the last few fleeting weeks of summer and remember to stop and pay attention to the nature around you. Who knows, you might catch a spirited Queen Anne’s Lace ballet. Or whatever wild things grow in your backyard!