What do you do when you have so much produce in your house that there’s no room in your refrigerator for basics like milk or eggs, you’re counters look like a table at the farmer’s market (and appliances need to be moved from their longtime homes), and you’re convinced (at any moment) you will need to be rushed to the emergency room for the broken ankle that’s about to occur because you keep tripping over a humongous watermelon?
My solution was to throw my arms up in the air, have a mini freak out as my new groceries were warming in their bags, and declare war on fruits and veggies. Out came my cutting board and my favorite knife. If they were making a movie of this scene it would probably look something like Halloween when Jason was going through the house (with his knife) searching for Jamie Lee Curtis as she hides out in the closet. You would see Jason (me) looking all around the bedroom (kitchen) eyeballing everything in the room. Then you would see things from Jamie Lee’ point of view through the closet slats (the fruits and veggies peering over the edge of the fruit bowl and peeking from around the coffee maker and blender).
In the end, it was a total juice bath in my kitchen. No CSI necessary. The only eyewitness was Craig, and he wasn’t talking. As soon as he saw me crazily peeling, chopping and juicing he realized things were getting ugly and didn’t want to be a party to anything that was happening, except of course eating the final product.
What begat all of this carnage was orange fennel marmalade. I grabbed the delicate fennel bulbs (the Spring fennel bulbs I got were much smaller than the usual boulder size fennel I see in the winter), some oranges I had bought (the reason now unbeknownst to me), kumquats I had left over from salads and a stub of an onion that was taking up space. It’s amazingly cleansing to see how much space is reclaimed when you do something like this. It also feels really good when you find things to do with leftovers and not end up throwing them away or in my case, composting them.
Fennel and citrus play really nicely together and this orange fennel marmalade cooks down to thick sauce like consistency that works with seafood, chicken, pork, cheese or vegetables. Since I had salmon and chicken on the menu for the next couple of nights, I knew we would now have a really great accompaniment for those dishes.
Sometimes we all need to do some ‘cleaning house’ when we’re dating too. How many times do you think to yourself “I’ve got to just dump these idiots and be on my own for a bit?” Of course, then we start regretting that we did that. But do we regret it because we realize that we really liked them or because now we’re alone and we don’t like that feeling? Well, STOP IT! You cleaned house for a reason…now go with it. And if that isn’t the kick in the butt you need to move forward, this might be.
A recent study, conducted in the UK, found that the average woman dates 24 guys before finding Mr. Right. Wait, there’s more…and she spends roughly $3,000 in that pursuit (that’s clothing, hair, mani/pedi…). Just to give you a little more confidence, the study also found that out of the little more than 2,000 respondents, seven percent went on 41 – 60 dates to find that special guy. And one percent had been on 61 – 80 dates to find that special someone (now those ladies are either ri-damn-diculous on what they’re looking for in a partner or are loser magnets, for which they need to be de-magnetized). See, now aren’t you feeling better?
The survey also includes information on how many dates the women go on before kicking him to the curb. 30 percent of the women claim that they have bailed out half way through the date when they feel they’re with Mr. Wrong. (Why do I envision a woman in high heels and a short dress shimmying out of a bathroom window?) I’ve mentally checked out of a date, way before the halfway point, but never physically left. 25 percent of the women polled said they give the guy one date to prove himself to be “the one.” 35 percent give the dude two attempts before giving the “it’s not you, it’s me” talk and 16 percent give the dude three chances to prove his worth.
So what have we learned here? Dating ain’t easy anywhere. So stop moping and don’t be so neurotic as to start counting how many guys you’ve dated like that number is the Times Square Ball doing your dating countdown. (For the record, I was in group 2) But rest assured, when you find one of those ‘good guys’ and you want to impress him, I’ll be here to give you some awesome recipes that will have him begging for more! Now pour yourself a glass of wine and relax.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 Cups
- 2 Cups Fennel – from 3 small or 1 large (diced small)
- 1 1/2 Cups Kumquats (sliced and seeded)
- 1/4 Cup Onion (diced small)
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
- 1″ Piece Ginger (peeled and minced)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 1/8 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Orange Juice
- 1 Cup Water
- Kosher Salt
Put all ingredients, except for salt, into a saucepan and heat over medium high heat.
Stir occasionally and keep cooking until all juice and water has been reduced (30 – 45 minutes). Once the liquid is almost gone, make sure to keep your eye on the mixture and stir more frequently so that it doesn’t burn.
Remove from heat and add kosher salt to taste.