Friday, April 4

Weekend Eagle Blogging Week 1: Apple, Fennel, and Celery Salad

The story of how W.E.B. began:

A couple of weekends ago while I was making lunch, Jeff suddenly froze at the computer. In an intense whisper, he said: "Sue, there's an eagle on our windowsill." "Yeah, right," I responded, and continued slicing my fennel.

The next thing I knew, Jeff s-l-o-w-l-y slithered out of his chair and grabbed the camera. So I dropped my chef's knife and walked to the window. "OH MY GOD! There's an eagle on our windowsill!" I exclaimed. "I know, that's what I tried to tell you!" he said.

Jeff made it to our deck and started snapping pictures of this fiercely beautiful creature. We were mesmerized; it's not too often you see an eagle on your windowsill. After several minutes, he took off, and we went inside to eat our lunch, which included this apple, fennel, and celery salad. Which is when this brilliant idea hit me.

For months now, I have been holding back. Well, no more. I am frankly quite tired of the whole weekend cat blogging scene. Having never had a cat nor met a cat I particularly liked (or that liked me), I have always felt left out on Saturdays. I think I might have been a dog in a former life or something, because every time I encounter a cat, it stops in its tracks and stares me right in the eyes -- like it knows my secret or something. Even in pictures on the web, they are staring at me.

Every Saturday as I troll through my reader, I jump when a cat picture pops up. I have found myself now avoiding the whole Saturday scene. So here's my idea. For all you non-cat girls (and guys) like me who slump on the sofa on Saturdays, ostracized by the cat community, I'm starting W.E.B. (Weekend Eagle Blogging). Send me your most adorable shots of Tabby or Fluffy the eagle eating a rodent or picking road kill out its talons, and I'll post it. Oh yeah, this is gonna be big.

eagle turning

eagle stare
"I likes to eats weekend catz."

eagle down
"I seez raisins on that apple fennel salad."

apple, fennel, and celery salad

This salad is like a farewell to winter and a hello to spring: winter's tart Granny Smith apples get a lift from the season's new crop of licorice-laced fennel and fresh dill. Topping it off with plump, chewy raisins makes it even sweeter. It's a satisfying salad of complex textures and flavors that is sure to please (even if you don't have any eagles to admire while you eat it).

fennel bulb

Since I never feel left out of Weekend Herb Blogging, I'm sending my salad to this week's host and creator of WHB, the always kind Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

In addition to being an aphrodisiac, mildly licorice-flavored fennel is low in calories and nutritious. One cup of sliced fennel is only 27 calories and has a mere 6 grams of carbohydrates. Yet it provides 17% of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. It's currently in season and is exceptionally flavorful, so it's the perfect time to try it.

Apple, Fennel, and Celery Salad

Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice**
3-4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste

8 cups spicy mesclun greens
1 large Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice**
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 inner celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal, with some leaves
2 tablespoons crimson or golden raisins
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts

Optional garnishes:
fennel fronds, fresh dill, toasted nuts, such as almonds, chestnuts, pecans, or pistachios

To toast the walnuts, place in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, place mustard seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat; toast for 1-2 minutes until they begin to pop; set aside. In the same skillet, sauté shallots in olive oil; whisk in remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Turn off heat.

For the salad, place apple and fennel slices in a bowl with fresh lemon juice and toss to prevent them from turning brown. Pour out lemon juice before adding to salad.

In a large bowl, add mesclun, apple and fennel slices, and celery; add vinaigrette, and toss until well coated. Divide among 4 plates. Garnish with raisins and walnuts.

**If you can't find Meyer lemons, then regular lemons are fine.

You might like these other recipes featuring fennel:

**Update: OK, OK, so it's not an eagle; it's a hawk. But WHB was already taken.

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Last spring we had a pair of nesting hawks who took up residence in the trees across from my office window. If they come back this year, you can count me in for WEB! And definitely count me in for this salad -- just my kind of dish.

Deborah said...

What an amazing sight to see! And I like WEB better than WCB. I'm a dog person, not a cat person!

This salad sounds delicious!!

Laura Rebecca said...

I could be wrong (especially because I can't see its tail) but I think you had a red tailed hawk visit you-- very cool!

Anonymous said...

I could be mistaken, but this seems more likely to be a hawk, a falcon or a even a buzzard, unless it's a baby eagle, because an eagle is much, much bigger. Actually almost twice the size of a hawk; an American eagle is over 6 feet across when wing-spread, large and heavy enough, to pick up without any trouble, a cat or even a dog. Hawks, falcons and buzzards are beautiful animals none the less, but they are much more common than eagles. They're all still rare in cities (but they do come, for rats, birds and other small animals). An eagle at your window... would truly have been something else!

Amy said...

"I am on your windowsill, lookin at your salads."


I'm not a cat person either but I am dog/rabbit person so I may have to avoid WEB due to eagles having a particular liking for bunnies. :( But that is one very gorgeous eagle. :)

Peter M said...

Nevermind mice...eagles will eat smaller birds!

The fennel salad is gorgeous. Try slicing the fennel thinly with a mandoline...a whole new fennel experience!

Wendy said...

Eagle, hawk, whatever... that's impressive!!!! Very cool.
We spotted a Golden Eagle in Skye last week but it was ever so slightly further away. Here's the picture though:

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha, while I was reading the bit about cats staring at you I saw there was a cat staring at me from your add :D
I love cats but I don't like Weekened Cat Blogging I must say, I'd rather see something delicious like your salad. I think the picture is super beautiful! said...

That's crazy! I want an Eagle on my windowsill now. Love fennel by the way. thanks for the recipe!

Simona Carini said...

I love the second picture, with the eyes straight towards the camera.
A very nice salad.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a fierce looking beauty! I'd love to see one of those on my windowsill...

Your salad looks fresh, crunchy and tasty! Perfect!



Anonymous said...

Beautiful bird and great shot, Susan!
I can has salad, pleez?

glamah16 said...

Im not any sort of pet person, so I found your post funny.Another good use for fennel.Great pictures.

Kalyn Denny said...

You are too funny, and that's exactly how weekend herb blogging got started since I didn't have a cat or a dog. (In those days there was weekend dog blogging but I guess the dog people went back to cooking on the weekends.) I don't know if that's an eagle or not, but I love the sound of the salad. Fresh fennel is on my to-do list; I can't believe I haven't cooked anything with it.

Annie said...

Whatever it is, it is beautiful and what a site on your windowsill. The photos are just amazing. Very cool.

I prefer dogs myself and cats never really liked me either. But as I got older a few will now approach me, it's kind of weird. It seems when I finally gave up on trying to get them to like me, that's when they came along.

The salad looks to die for. I love fennel as you have seen on my blog. This sounds so good, I love the idea of using the sweet raisins with it. YUM!

Stella said...

Love your shots Susan, it's truly eye catching.
And your salad looks ever so tempting. I'd love to have that right now because it's so hot here!

Emily said...

Does that eagle have an accent?
He's kind of cute.

Do people blog about their cats on Saturdays? That's weird. I don't have any pets so I remain neutral.

Salad looks good. Fennel comes and goes here. I need to get it next time I see it!

Lore said...

Funny and delicious wrapped up in a post :).
Somehow your salad reminds me of Louis Armstrong's "Oh yeah" form What a wonderful world :D. I love the springy touch and am delighted that spring has finally arrived, we need the good energy infusion!
In fact I just made my favourite springy salad the other day and submitted it to a springtime salads roundup event.

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful looking bird and how extraordinary to have it perch on your windowsill. I've never seen a hawk that close. Wow! (Hey, nice salad too!)

RecipeGirl said...

My six year old read this post with me and he informed me emphatically that this was NOT an eagle but a hawk (saw that in the end of your post!) He wants me to tell you that "eagles are much bigger and have yellow beaks!"

I haven't quite decided if I like fennel or not. I'll have to give it more of a chance.

sunita said...

Susan, that does look mesmerising...the eagle I mean...the salad, on the other hand looks delish :-)

...I too am a dog person :-)

Chris said...

Whatever the bird, very, very cool. And the salad? Makes me gitty that spring is here!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Fresh and clean and slightly sweet!, your salad with fennel looks delicious! We once had an owl perched on our deck and sat there for a good hour while we were sitting out there, he wouldn't move! Sort of creepy!!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

I used already fennel and celery together in risotto so I can imagine wonderful flavour of your salad!

Any kumquats left?? :)

Enjoy your weekend, Margot

Katie Zeller said...

We have a bird feeder just outside our kitchen window. The mice like to come and eat the seeds the messy birds knock to the ground. We had a hawk swoop in a grab a mouse - about 2 feet from the window. Scared the crap out of all of us: humans, dogs, and smaller birds.
Mouse was not scared...dead, but not scared.
Sorry, no photo...
Do remains count? I'm always finding hawk meal remnants on our walks...

Annemarie said...

You, my dear, an a trendsetter. T-R-E-N-D-setter. I couldn't decide how to use my fennel today (was torn between soup and salad) and though I went with the salad the anisette smell was just so luscious my mind was almost changed.

Anonymous said...

what an amazing photos of the eagle! and of course your salad looks delicious :)

Chubbypanda said...

I's has four catses. I just don't post their pictures. =b

Speaking of which, those are some pretty awesome eagle pictures.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

lydia-That must have been wonderful to watch.

deborah-It was amazing to see!

laura rebecca-I think you're right. Thanks.

anonymous-I think I need to rent The Life of Birds DVD.

amy-Yeah, I think the eagle would like the bunnies.

peter-I don't have a mandoline. :(

wendy-That's how I feel too. I'll have to check out your pic, thanks.

linda-That is ironic and funny.

joe-It sure made for a mesmerizing few minutes.

simona-He's quite intimidating in that photo.

rosa-Another reason to always have your camera nearby.


coco-I'm glad you liked it.

annie-Thanks so much. The sweet raisins really go well with the fennel.

stella-Hot already? Then salad would be welcome.

emiline-Yup, they blog about their cats on Sat.

lore-Oh, many thanks. Springtime is wonderful, isn't it?

julie-It was my first time seeing one so close too. It was extraordinary.

recipegirl-I love fennel.


chris-Spring in the South is so beautiful too.

marie-They are kind of creepy, aren't they?

margot-Yup, I still have a good sized bag left. :)

katie-Oh, poor mouse.

annemarie-Why, thanks so much!

eliza-I'm pleased you liked them.


La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Great idea. I don't read the 'cats' entry. I love the look of your salad.

Tracy said...

That looks like a hawk that I get hanging out on the telephone wire behind my house. What a fierce looking creature. I'm afraid to let Charlie out when he's around. I saw him swoop down and get something in my back yard ... next time I'll try to capture the moment on camera to participate in your blog event!

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Anonymous said...

Fabulous looking salad. I love licorice yet don't give fennel a fare share in the kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Once had a run-in with a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but my celebration of that encounter was nowhere near as creative or delicious as yours. I just popped the cap on a Beck's Dark. Just the sight of that salad made me feel as if spring really is here. Thanks for the blogga, little sister.

Anonymous said...

Talk about serendipitous...I read the fennel salad recipe, lamenting the sparsity of Meyer lemons in these parts, and what jumps out at me from among the supermarket citrus? Bingo, courtesy Frieda's. Their color is yellow but slightly Da-Glo. The juice is almost sweet. I love 'em. Now, if the market would just bring on the fennel. Love your blog. By the way, can anybody help. I have a Google account, but that name and password don't work here; must I also be a Google Blogger to post comments with a name as opposed to "anymous"? As far as I know, I have no URL, and as for Open IDs, what in blazes are those. In case someone can help. Thanx.

Lore said...

Hi there anonymus!
You don't need to be a Google Blogger to post comments with a name. You first need to choose "Google/Blogger" in the list and then the username and pasword of your google account.
Hope this helps!

Lore said...

Oops "type in" was omitted in the upper comment. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

That's amazing! I don't see many eagles in London though so I might have to dip out of this one! Your salad is my kind of recipe, really fresh and healthy. Delicious!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Amazing to watch these birds. I used to watch many a bald eagle on the light post outside my house devour a Kokanee salmon from the photos. We also go hiking up Giants Head in Summerland. If you are there at the right time of morning there are 4 that soar. I can watch them for hours...but have no photos either..only of the view:D Not usually very cooperative:D

Oh for the love of food! said...

That's a mighty colorful salad, Susan, lovely to look at and just as lovely to eat!

Journey_of_Life said...

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T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Ha! The cat people will be after you! I suspect that eagle was eyeing your salad, no doubt. Back here on the east coast, spring made a brief appearance on Saturday, and then ducked out again. No eagles, and fortunately, no cats either. :-)

Cakespy said...

If this salad were around, I would be watching with hawk-like precision to make sure no one tried to take a morsel from me. Sounds simply wonderful!

bee said...

what a majestic bird!! and lovely salad.

Laurie Constantino said...

Great hawk pictures - it looks really interested in what was going on inside. Maybe he wanted some salad?

Pixie said...

How exciting to find an eagle- right outside your window! amazing

lol about the cats

wonderful refreshing salad- thought it was spring here but we had sticky snow on sunday- which, honestly, made me happy

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I am impressed! What fabulous photos of the eagle and the salad! That was a post and a half! I hope we do get to see some more birds of prey!

Chibog in Chief said...

hmm thats hard, im not a dog nor a cat person.;i dont have pet at home except my darling hehehe :-)

this is my kind of salad: sweet, crunchy and healthy!! love all the flavors!! great shots of that majestic bird too!!

Kate Croft said...

Gorgeous photos of both eagle and salad! Thank you!!

Deborah Dowd said...

This salad looks awesome! And how about a bumper sticker or a t-shirt that says my eagle ate your weekend cat!!

bazu said...

Ugh- that salad is to DIE for! I will be making it for sure. And even though I'm totally a cat person, I've never done weekend cat blogging! Is it bad that this post has inspired me to start? I have some eagle (or is it hawk?) pictures to send you though... it is so fun to see these little guys!

Anonymous said...

The salad looks great - the vinaigrette is interesting, and the fennel is well used without being overpowering.

There's been a real increase in birds of prey around here lately. We had three massive eagle-or-hawk-looking-things in our yard last spring. Impressive!

Susan said...

If you're serious, Susan, we will be visiting The Raptor Trust soon, a sanctuary for wild birds. I'll take some photos this time. If you *aren't* serious, I'll send you a click of my cat. ; )

Great salad. Love fennel.

Anonymous said...

Eagle - hawk... WEB is a cool acronym. :-)

Anonymous said...

Susan, this sounds amazing and I'm definitely going to try it. When I was in Victoria in February I found a dynamite little place that serves food that is bursting with flavour, is FRESH, and most is organic. I tried their apple, fennel salad and your ingredients are nearly identical. They used fresh fig instead of raisin and "ooh la la" that was really nice, I thought.

That eagle is amazing!


Indonesia Eats said...

The salad looks so fresh and tempting

Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

spectacular photography!
i don't know which photo is better: capturing the downy feathers of the bird or the wispy texture and vibrant colours of the salad.
gold stars for you.

Anonymous said...

lore, many thanks. I love food porn, and I particularly love Susan's blog. I just hate to sign in "anonymous." I sounds somehow subversive. I tried what you suggest, and it doesn't want to work, but we'll try again. Well, it doesn't seem to want to work, so here's "anonymous" again. Have to try to reach a real person at Google. But thanks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Susan from Food Blogga said...

helene-It's really tasty.

tracy-Better keep an eye out for Charlie. Those birds are fierce.

cooking-Thank you for your kind words.

anonymous-You're quite welcome.

anonymous-Thanks so much! I'm so glad you discovered the amazing sweetness of Meyer lemons. I'm addicted! As for signing it, click on "Name/URL" and type in your name. It should work w/out the URL. I just tried it, and it worked for me. Let me know!

lore-Thanks for helping her!

helen-Thanks a lot!

bellini-You're right, they aren't usually cooperative.

carol-Thanks a bunch!

journeyoflife-Many thanks for the link and kind words.

tw-I know, I better watch out! ;)

cakespy-Aw, thanks! :)

bee-Thanks to you!

laurie-Well, he wasn't getting any. ;)

pixie-Snow? Oh, no!

holler-Glad you liked it!

dhanggit-I hope you try the salad.

kate-You're welcome.

deborah-ROTFL. :)

bazu-Let me know how the salad turns out. :)

fearless-The vinaigrette is really flavorful and works wonderfully on veggies too.

susan-I'm not serious. Please, no cat photos. I promise to be good. :)

ann-He was awesome.

diane-Figs would be fabulous in this salad. I'll have to remember that in the fall.


anna-Wow! I haven't gotten a gold star since elementary school. :)

anonymous-Please see my comment above re: name/url. Good luck! And thanks for visiting even as "anonymous." :)

bee said...

susan, this is a juvenile red-tailed hawk

ChichaJo said...

Eagle or hawk it is gorgeous! So lovely to have it drop by for your salad lunch...I would too with this salad on offer! It sounds really yummy :)

I have no pets so can join neither WCB or dog blogging. If I see an eagle (or hawk) though you will be the first to know! :)

Anonymous said...

A great post and a DELICIOUS salad!Just love that glorious bird!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Susan that is so well done: your writing about the eagle, Jeff's pictures, your captions AND ooh la la that salad! That is beautiful!

Chef Erik said...

Looks great, I love the pics too. I'm going to try this one at work tomarrow. Great job!

Meg said...

The salad looks great, but, really, how cool to see a raptor (hawk, eagle, whatever) at your window! I saw an eagle today while driving; it seemed a little unsafe to stop and photograph it, but I do have an odd photo of a stone hawk-woman that I saw on an old palazzo.

Jaime said...

people blog about their cats every saturday?? i have yet to see this!

the pictures you captured of the hawk are amazing! it's not every day that you have such a close encounter with wildlife like that! :)

Jeanne said...

I LOVE cats and even I can't bring myself to take part in Weekend Cat Blogging...!

But sadly, I don't think I'll have much chance in London to join in with this event. Now, if only you'd institute Weekend Magpie Blogging - there's an event I could buy into ;-)

The salad looks fantastic - love the crunchy/chewy texture thing you have going on, and what a glorious photo.

Anonymous said...

I just had to mentioned that your Eagle is actually a Red-tailed Hawk.

Meow... said...

To my mind one and all must go through this.