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Mushroom Leek Soup with Garlic Croutons

Mushroom-Leek-Soup This mushroom leek soup is the perfect example of flexible food.  It cooks up quickly, reheats well, requires very little fuss, and is infinitely adaptable.  If you want it vegan, swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and skip the cheese.  If you aim for gluten free, forget the croutons.  If you have a handful of leftover vegetables, you can throw them in the pot.  I added a couple of handfuls of baby spinach because I had it, but it can also be skipped if you don’t.  You can even swap in onions for leeks, but they don’t have quite the same delicacy of flavor.  Many people avoid fennel because they don’t like licorice — here, the licorice notes are all but unnoticeable – the fennel adds a depth of flavor and a hint of sweetness which balances the mushrooms. [...]

Fennel, Apple and Pear Salad

Apple Pear Fennel Salad I know when I promised vegetable recipes, you were not thinking “salad.” Salad is boring. Salad is easy. We’ve already thought of salad. Well, salad IS easy, but it doesn’t have to be boring. The universe of salads is huge, and if recipes for salads are more ideas than recipes, well, couldn’t we all use some more ideas? We eat salads a lot. This one takes a little more hand work than the most rushed “open a bag of lettuce, throw on some dressing” (though those feature heavily in our rotation as well), but it’s also delicate, and appealing. The Nuni loved it, the husband loved it. It’s neither all sweet nor all savory, but a lovely both/and. [...]