Nothing Like Portland

There is a story behind this Fennel Apple Salad, and why it has peaches in it, but I’ll give you the recipe first and then you can decide if you want to read my long-winded explanation:

1 Fennel Bulb, sliced into strips
1-2 Apples, cored and sliced thin
Drizzle of EVOO
1-2T of vinegar (I prefer Apple Cider, or Champagne if I’m feeling fancy)
Sprinkle of mustard seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Living in Portland means being surrounded by strange.  I would take comfort in knowing that every afternoon, I’d see the Overly-Tattooed-Just-Got-Out-Of-Prison-Still-In-A-Half-Way-House-Meth-Head on my bus in the morning and Quietly-Observes-The-World-While-Painting-Myself-Blue-Man on my home.  Should it concern me that being around homeless people, drug addicts, and all-in-all degenerates didn’t particularly bother me?  I’m guessing that I made concessions for these wayward souls because I was surrounded by complete and utter beauty every day.  I also have to admit that I put up with the meth head because my bus driver was the sweetest man EVAR.  Both of my have grandfathers have passed away, so he made an excellent substitute!

Each morning, and every afternoon, I walked to and from my bus stop along Park Avenue, listening to the birds and the bums hum the city along.  Portland has many parallels to Denver lifestyle-wise, but Jacksonville and Portland have more of a foodie culture. Yes, I realize the Portland’s far exceeds J-Ville’s, but you would be shocked at how great the food is here!  Even so, I miss living out West and far north of the Mason-Dixon line.  I am a West Coast girl at heart….the sky is just bigger in the West….and there is far less humidity.  I think if people in the South didn’t have the humidity to contend with, they might be a much nicer group of a$$holes than they are now.

The heat gets to a mother f**ker, you know?  Summers in the south can make you bat sh*t crazy, bat sh*t angry, or both.  And summer seems to last from mid-March to mid-November.  It really should come as no surprise that some of the most oppressive, backasswards legislation comes out of the South….although Indiana and Kansas are working on making me eat my words lately.  Speaking of eating…let’s segue back to this simple salad that I was first introduced to while living in Portland, by a darling little restaurant that has since closed their doors (along with far too many others all over the country, during this pandemic). It was Fall, so the restaurant served the salad with apples and fennel, because that’s the normal harvest time for each.

Apples and fennel are both highly nutricious and packed with antioxidants. Apples are also good for gut health, so I tend stockpile them during flu season (and pandemics…). Like everything else Southern, I’m still adjusting to the difference in growing seasons. Since apples don’t grow well in the South, I opted to sub in peaches. They add a nice sweetness to balance the bitterness of the fennel, and are also high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. The rest of the ingredients should be used to season to your liking. Mustard seeds add a bit of a tang, but they aren’t necessary if you don’t have them on hand. When it’s hot, I tend to add lavendar to EVERYthing because I am firey by nature and it helps calm my reactivity. In other words, I didn’t follow the recipe, and it still turned out lovely.

So what does that have to do with the start of this story?  Not a damn thing…as most I have found to be the case with most food blogs, but I do hope you will try the recipe, and let me know how it turns out. If you make any modifications, I would love to hear about those as well.