Counting Our Veggies

Please join us as we focus on learning about and trying one vegetable each week.


Week One: Two More Fennel Recipes

Lucie had been looking forward to our next fennel cooking event. I had not. I was pretty sure that I would not like fennel, no matter what we did to it. Lucie chose a recipe for Fontina, Fennel and Onion Pizza from Martha Stewart and I chose Green Beans with Sauteed Fennel from Lucie’s choice seemed hopeful. Add enough fontina cheese to something, and it will probably be at least edible. I was hoping that more green beans and less fennel would the make recipe I chose tolerable.

Saturday afternoon. Time to face another bulb of fennel. I was thinking, “At least I can ban this stuff from my kitchen after today.”


I thought it would be a good idea for the kids to taste raw fennel.


Does Josie look worried? She may have taken a small bite. She definitely gave raw fennel two thumbs down. Lucie took a bite and decided she did not like it. Theo gobbled his up, smiling the whole time. After hearing what his sisters thought, he decided on a negative rating. I think he may have been influenced by popular opinion. Dave thought it tasted like raw celery with some flavor and said he would eat it as a snack. I had my bite of raw fennel on Sunday and I wasn’t going to try it again.

We started with the pizza. I used a pizza dough recipe that I saw online this morning from the Wall Street Journal. I made it according to the directions. Then, I prepared the Caramelized Fennel and Onions for the pizza. I have to admit, the fennel started smelling better when combined with onions.


While they were cooking, the fennel and onions began to smell wonderful. After drizzling the pizza crust with the herb olive oil, I added the fennel and onions and then topped it with shredded fontina cheese. Yum! I was thinking, “Surely fontina cheese will make fennel tolerable.” Martha Stewart’s recipe calls for adding some fennel fronds on top of the pizza. I decided to leave this off. No need to get crazy with the fennel.


Theo wandered into the kitchen. He wondered what was cooking, but decided against sampling any of the cooked veggies.


We baked the pizza on a pizza stone at 500 degrees F until the crust was golden and the cheese was bubbly.

While the pizza was baking, I made the Green Beans with Sauteed Fennel.


This recipe, presented by Jess on, was very quick and easy to make.

By the time the green beans were ready, the pizza was ready, too.


Lucie was very excited to begin tasting. Josie refused to enter the kitchen. That bit of raw fennel was a shock to her system. Poor Joz. Theo’s supper was bread sticks made from the other half of the pizza dough recipe, since both of these recipes contained dairy. I’m pretty sure he would not have eaten them, even if they had been dairy-free.


Lucie loved the pizza and gave it two thumbs up.


She gave the green beans with sauteed fennel two thumbs to the side. This means she didn’t mind taking a few bites, but she didn’t really like it. Josie finally decided to try a few bites. She ate the pizza after picking off the fennel. She tried a bit of the green beans, but that was it. Dave and I loved both of the fennel recipes that we tried today. I even like the fennel pieces in the green beans. The flavors seem to complement one another and I didn’t notice the licorice taste at all. I think we will make both of these recipes in the future. I am really surprised to be saying that!

Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest if you want to see more veggie recipes that we are exploring.

Thanks for visiting,



A few words from Lucie:

We tried two new recipes. We tried green beans with fennel. We also tried fennel pizza. I give the green beans with fennel two thumbs to the side. I give the fennel pizza two thumbs up. I tried raw fennel, too. I give raw fennel two thumbs down. I really like that we are trying new vegetables and recipes.


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Week One: Learning About Fennel

In addition to tasting new vegetables, we also want to learn more about the vegetables we are consuming. While reading about fennel online, I discovered a book that I thought would be a good reference tool for our vegetable project Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants by National Geographic has pictures and descriptions of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, herbs and spices. The kids have been in love with it since it arrived from I am very surprised at just how exciting they find it. They especially enjoy looking the pictures and asking me if I have ever tasted this fruit or that vegetable. Inspired by its colorful pictures of exotic fruits, Lucie and Josie are already making plans for a fruit tasting project in 2015.

We were surprised to find fennel in the herb section, instead of the vegetable section, of our new book. We learned that fennel is part of the parsley family and has the botanical name Foeniculum vulgare. (I can see where they get the “vulgare” part…) The bulb, stalks, leaves and seeds are all edible and different parts of fennel are used in different recipes. The distinctive flavor of fennel comes from the aromatic compound anethole.  Anethole is also found in anise and is used to flavor many licorice-type candies.

Pinterest is a great place to organize our veggie recipes. We are collecting recipes and information about fennel and the other vegetables we will be exploring in our Pinterest account. You can see what we have collected at We pinned a nice tip from Nosh On It explaining how to clean and cut fennel. This would have been helpful to read before we made our first recipe.

Lucie is still deciding on another fennel recipe to try. She is considering a fennel and onion pizza or some kind of fennel salad. Maybe I will have a better opinion of fennel after our next tasting.

Thanks for visiting,



A few words from Lucie:

I’m going to go find someplace quiet to read my new veggie book. I can’t wait for next week’s new vegetable!


Week One: Fennel

Lucie and I picked up a bulb of fennel at Whole Foods today. I had seen a recipe for baked fennel on Pinterest and had pinned it for some reason. I must have forgotten that fennel tastes and smells like licorice. I hate licorice.

Luckily, Lucie is very open-minded and has no opinion of licorice. I followed the recipe, except I only used one half of the fennel bulb and I forgot to add the thyme. It did start smelling better while it was baking. I’m sure the addition of butter and cheese didn’t hurt.

Lucie thought it smelled delicious.


She was very excited to try it.


She tasted it very carefully

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And then she gobbled it up!


She gives it two thumbs up and wants to make this recipe again.

Other family member reviews of Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Thyme:

  • Josie took one bite. She said it was good and she thinks she would eat it again.
  • Dave, who likes licorice, thought it was very tasty.
  • I thought it was just ok. The baked fennel was definitely milder and more pleasant tasting than the tiny bite of raw fennel that I tried.
  • We could not offer any to Theo since this recipe contained dairy.

We saved the fennel tops and the other half of the bulb and hope to try another recipe or two later in the week. We also plan to learn more about the fennel plant and why it tastes like licorice.

Thanks for visiting,