Winner of Your Best Fennel

April 17, 2013

Congratulations to em-i-lis, whose Caramelized Fennel, Leek, and Orange Salad won the contest for Your Best Fennel


Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Cooking is a constant element in my early memories. It weaves through them in a lovely, unifying way though some images are more vivid than others. I remember making mud pies with my sister on an old stump in our backyard; learning to can my grandmother's cranberry sauce recipe during Mayhaw season in Louisiana; my first attempts at removing chicken skin and being both repulsed and engrossed; discovering the simple joy of Pillsbury roll dough (in the refrigerated can that popped open at the seams), melted butter, and cinnamon sugar which made for fantastic after-school cinnamon rolls with friends. I guess what pervades all of those reminiscences is a sense of joy in experimentation. Cooking and eating throughout my life have been, by and large, laid-back, nourishing, and communal activities.

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What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Deveining shrimp comes quickly to mind! Also, cleaning Silpats.

Your favorite kitchen tool?
I really, really love my olive wood spoons from Italy. My sister lives in Florence, and each time we visit her, my husband and I add to our collection. I also love my Staub cocottes and usual suspects like my Microplane. I like my huge Silpat a lot too (the one you can knead on) but, as I said, I hate cleaning it.

What is your idea of comfort food?
Good macaroni and cheese is hard to beat, though I rarely have it. Good pizza is pretty awesome. Gumbo never ceases to make me happy. Muffins, pie, tea, roasted veggies.

What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
Recently, I came across Melissa Clark's recipe for Banana Cream Pudding with a Pistachio Crumble. I started to swoon, and immediately bought bananas so that they could begin aging to the perfect degree of brown-spotted ripe. Six egg yolks, cream, milk, bananas, hours of simmering, chilling, waiting. The pudding did not set. 


foxeslovelemons April 22, 2013
Congratulations! And totally agree with cleaning Silpats :)
em-i-lis April 22, 2013
Thank you so much!!!
TheWimpyVegetarian April 21, 2013
Many congrats! I love all your recipes, I'm sure this one is fantastic too :-)
em-i-lis April 21, 2013
What a lovely, sweet note! Thank you so much, TWV!!
Marisa R. April 20, 2013
Congrats!<br />
em-i-lis April 20, 2013
Thank you, Marisa!
Kukla April 19, 2013
Many, many congratulations Emily on another great winning recipe!!!
em-i-lis April 19, 2013
I really appreciate your note, Kukla! Thank you!
EmilyC April 19, 2013
Big congrats Em! I love the looks of this salad!
em-i-lis April 19, 2013
Thanks a million, Emily!!!
gingerroot April 19, 2013
Well deserved congratulations em-i-lis! Can't wait to try your gorgeous salad.
em-i-lis April 19, 2013
Thank you so much, gingerroot!!! I hope you like it!
JanetFL April 18, 2013
Congratulations, Emily! I'm just seeing this new yummy-sounding win as I haven't been online as much as usual. I will give it a try.
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Thanks a million, Janet!!! I hope you enjoy it!
dymnyno April 18, 2013
Congratulations! I love so many of your recipes and the win is well deserved.
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
wow, dymnyno, thank you! i am really flattered and appreciative!!
Jennifer A. April 18, 2013
I second Dymnyno! So happy for the new recipe collections so that I can keep some of your lovely recipes close at hand :)
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Jennifer Ann- what a wonderfully kind note. Thank you!! I'm very flattered!
mrslarkin April 18, 2013
Congrats Emily! Love the flavors in your salad.<br /><br />Can you put silpats in the dishwasher?<br /><br />Have you ever cleaned a squid? I say anything that involves guts is way up there with your shrimp. :)
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Thank you so much, Liz! I don't know about Silpats in the dishwasher but if it's possible, it'll be a game-changer! ;) Cleaning squid- blech!
QueenSashy April 17, 2013
Congrats, so well deserved!
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Thank you so very much, Queen Sashy!!!
boulangere April 17, 2013
My god, you're as beautiful as your salad!
em-i-lis April 18, 2013
Well, my goodness. THANK YOU. Having been up at least three times last night with random child callings-out (I need a new shirt! I want my light-saber!), I feel not the least bit lovely right now. This was a heck of a note to wake up to. XO
amber W. April 17, 2013
Congrats! Love the recipe!!!
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Thank you so much!!
lapadia April 17, 2013
Congratulations!!! An awesome belated BD present from all who voted! :)
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Right you are, L!!! A fantastic gift. Huge thanks to everyone!
krusher April 17, 2013
Congratulations Em. It is a delightful recipe which I enjoyed very much. Flavor great. Perfect for the lunch I made it for. Goes in my folder entitled "Keepers".
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
I am flattered, K! Thank you so much!!
Madhuja April 17, 2013
Congratulations, em-i-lis! That salad looks fabulous! :)
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Many thanks, Madhuja!!! If you try it, I hope you love it!
inpatskitchen April 17, 2013
Warmest congratulations Em! I actually don't mind peeling and me a little "alone" time in the kitchen!
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Thank you so much, ipk. I admit that alone time in the kitch is nice. But I'd rather wash dishes than devein shrimp. ;)
krusher April 17, 2013
I am so with you on de-veining shrimp (called prawns in our world). I love them so much I still endure it just to eat them fresh caught from our Northern Prawn Fishery particularly. I once was many years ago Secretary of the Northern Prawn Fishery Committee, the Australian Ministerial Council on Fisheries (federal & states joint ministerial level) and the Standing Committee on Fisheries (Council of federal and state government heads)... so deep is my love of all seafood. I grieved mightily at the devastation of the marine life off Louisiana during the dreadful oil spill and I continually worry about the depleted state of the oceans' seafood stock.
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
I worry about it too! We are destroying our fish stocks at such a rapid pace. You wonder why no one has more wisdom and/or foresight!<br />
Midge April 17, 2013
Congrats em-i-lis! Luckily, my husband is the official shrimp deveiner in our house ;)
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Thanks, Midge! Lucky you! :)<br />
Bevi April 17, 2013
Congrats Em! I was thinking of deveining shrimp tonight. Maybe not.
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
:) Thanks, Bevi!!!
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
Want you all to know that truly, that pudding was a bust. Didn't set even to a stage reminiscent of yogurt. Rather I had six large ramekins of gloriously good, fabulously fatty, pricey banana milk. I drank it indulgently, bowl by bowl, over several days. Pudding would have been nice but this was a good disaster, as far as they go. ;)
pierino April 17, 2013
Congratulations, especially since you love gumbo as much as I do. But the Louisiana food I miss most is boudin.
em-i-lis April 17, 2013
thanks, pierino!