This is it – one more day until vacation! Kramer and I are driving to DC tomorrow for the first leg of our trip, and shockingly I’m not totally terrified. After we left Arizona, I never wanted to step foot in a car again. Of course, I’m never nervous in a cab. I feel totally safe in a cab. Like that Seinfeld bit goes, I view these people are professionals. They know what they’re doing, and not short-stopping or rounding of tight curves is going to get me to believe otherwise. When Kramer or a friend is driving, though, I immediately freak out, be it internally, or externally, with me being that annoying backseat driver, warning whoever is behind the wheel that they are tail-gaiting or that there is another car in their blind spot. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though, mostly because over the past year, Kramer and I have started to rent cars more often and drive places, rather than take Metro-North or Amtrak. It’s actually kind of nice, now. We get to pick our music, pick the car we want to drive in, we can control the air conditioning, and the views are generally pretty remarkable. I don’t want to say that I am totally over my fear of being a passenger, but I’m getting there. I think. Kramer might disagree, but what does he know?
Grapefruit and mint syrup made with mint from the garden at work, and my post-hike reward on Saturday afternoon.
Welcome to Day FOUR (I can’t believe it) of the five day #TABASCO10 challenge. In this challenge, i am a food blog and Tabasco, who sponsored this series, asked myself, along with a bunch of other super talented bloggers, to create five recipes over the course of five days using only 10 ingredients. The ingredients, other than Tabasco hot sauce, of course, were chicken, mozzarella, eggs, rigatoni, rice, honey, zucchini, ciabatta, and, obviously, fennel. I absolutely adore fennel, and I really wanted to fry it, but sadly, I had no access to breadcrumbs or flour. But I did have ciabatta! And eggs! So I made my own breadcrumbs and fried away. I wasn’t sure how these were going to turn out, and they certainly aren’t super pretty, but if you like buffalo wings or other fried sports-watching foods, then I think you might like these. I love the peppery bite that each piece of fennel brings, and the crunchiness of the fried breading is just what you need while you’re watching TV, be it football or your favorite sitcom. If you’re making wings this upcoming football season, then maybe you’ll consider making these, too, for those vegetarian friends of yours. I think even the meat eaters will be thanking you. Don’t forget to dip them in plenty of hot sauce! They were made to be dipped.
I had to make my own breadcrumbs – poor me!
When your bread cubes are super toasty, pulse them in a food processor until crumbs form.
Beat together your egg and Tabasco.
Then fry, and let the fried pieces cool and drain on a baking sheet while you finish up your batch.
These were surprisingly delicious.
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced lengthwise
- vegetable oil, for frying
- First, if you need to make your own breadcrumbs, like I did, you'll need a loaf of ciabatta bread (or something similar). Slice off 5 or 6 thick slices, then cut them into small cubes. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, then toast your bread on a dry baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven, until the cubes are really, really crispy and a dark, golden brown. Set them aside to cool, then pulse them in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs form. Add in your salt and pepper, toss to combine, and set aside.
- Slice your fennel lengthwise, so that the pieces stay together as best as possible. Beat together the egg and Tabasco, and bring about 2 inches of oil in a large, high-sided pan to about 375 degrees F.
- When the oil is ready, dip the fennel in the egg, then the breadcrumbs, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs again, pressing down hard so that the breadcrumbs stick (if you're allowed to use flour here, then go ahead and do flour, egg, breadcrumb - but I find mine did well without the flour). Toss the coated fennel in the hot oil, and fry on each side for about 1 minute, until golden. Set aside on a baking sheet covered in paper towel to cool slightly.
- Finish up your batch, then serve these hot with extra Tabasco for dipping!