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Fennel Golden Raisin Pie

Categories: Spleen Qi Vacuity

Fennel Golden Raisin Pie
 (makes one 9″ pie)
for the filling

2 fennel bulbs, cored and trimmed of any brown or tough spots

2 shallots, finely sliced

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt 

Pinch of black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

juice of half a lemon
for the crust
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Make the crust:
1.Combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, your fingers or a food processor, cut the butter into the flour. If using the food processor, pulse several few times until the pieces of butter are no larger than a pea. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
2.Add water one tablespoon at a time and stop when the dough is malleable enough to form a ball. (If using food processor, slowly add water one tablespoon at a time to the mixture while pulsing it just until a ball is formed). Break into two balls.
3.Cover them with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. (Crust can be made several hours beforehand.) It’s important to make sure dough remains cold while you work with it and ideally before it goes into the oven, so keep refrigerated until you need to use it.
1.Chop fennel into 1-2 inch pieces. Heat butter over medium-high in a medium saucepan. Add shallots, fennel, golden raisins and spices and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly softened, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat while you roll out the dough.
2.Add lemon juices once it has cooled a bit, and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4.Roll out both balls of dough into evenly thick, roughly 10 inch rounds on cutting boards or waxed paper. Place one into the bottom of the pan and pat in.
5.Add the fennel filling. With the top crust, cut out shapes in the dough in whichever fashion if desired. Otherwise, simply peel dough carefully off its surface and arrange on top of the pie. Even the dough around the edges, and crimp with fingers to seal.
6.Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Fennel: warm, sweet, acrid, unblocks and regulates qi, strengthens stomach, dispels cold, stops pain, stimulates peristalsis
Raisins — warm, sweet and sour; Tonifies qi, nourishes blood, strengthens sinews and bones, harmonizes St, promotes diuresis, relieves irritability.
Shallots: (similar to onion) warm, acrid. Promotes sweating, resolves phlegm, regulates qi, reduces toxins.
Butter: sweet, neutral; Sp, St, Lu; Supplements qi, nourishes blood, moistens dryness.
Cumin Seeds: warm. Strengthens the stomach, arrests bleeding, diuretic, and relieves flatulence
Coriander: warm pungent. Diaphoretic, harmonizes the Middle Jiao
Pepper: hot, pungent. Warms digestion, dispels internal cold, antidote to food poisoning
Lemon: Cool, sour. Regenerates body fluids, harmonizes ST, regulates qi, quenches thirst, benefits LV.

Overall:  Strengthen ST and regulate qi.


Arugula, Fennel and Dried Plum Salad

Categories: Large Intestine Fluid Vacuity, Liver Qi Stagnation, Stomach Cold, Urinary Bladder Damp Heat

Arugula, Fennel and Dried Plum Salad


1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small head of radicchio, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
1 bunch of arugula (4 ounces)
1 small fennel bulb-halved lengthwise, cored and sliced paper thin crosswise
1 cup pitted dried plums (prunes), quartered
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (optional)

In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until golden brown, about 2 minutes; transfer to a plate to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic and red wine vinegars with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the radicchio with the arugula, fennel, dried plums and pine nuts. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Transfer the salad to a platter, scatter the goat cheese on top and serve.

Arugula and Radicchio: sweet, bitter, cold. Enter the Lung, Stomach, and UB. These are both similar to lettuce, but are more bitter in flavor, and therefore more draining. They promote urination and clear heat.
Pine Nuts:
Fennel: While fennel seed is acrid and warm, the fresh part of this plant has a milder quality. Harmonizes the Stomach and relieves abdominal discomfort.
Vinegar: sour, warm, slightly bitter. Invigorates and clears toxins while astringing.
Plums: sweet, sour, warm, and astringent. Soothes the Liver and stops diarrhea.

The main ingredients, arugula and radicchio, focus on draining and clearing heat. The remaining ingredients harmonize and astringe to protect the yin. The plums are particularly useful when damp-heat in the lower Jiao is also causing diarrhea.

Buckwheat Pasta, Fennel, and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Categories: Liver Qi Stagnation, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Buckwheat Pasta, Fennel, and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Serves 4


2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp runny honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon zest, finely grated
1 tbsp roasted pumpkin seed oil
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

2 bulbs fennel
200g dwarf leeks
250g soba (buckwheat) noodles
Extra olive oil for grilling
3-4 courgettes
1 large red onion
1 tbsp finely sliced mint
200g feta cheese, roughly crumbled

1.Preheat the grill or an oven-top grill pan. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, garlic, lemon zest, and both oils. Season and set aside.
2.Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Trim the fennel and cut in half from top to bottom so that you slice through the root base. Discard the outer layer before washing, and then slice each half into thick slices. Drop into the pan of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes or until al dente, then remove, cool under cold water and pat dry.
3.Trim and wash the leeks and drop them in the same boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes, remove, cool under cold water and pat dry. Drop the noodles in the same boiling water and cook for 9 minutes or until just done. Drain well then put in a large bowl and mix in half the dressing.
4.While the noodles are cooking, begin grilling the vegetables. Toss the cooked fennel in a little olive oil, season and grill or griddle until flecked gold on both sides – about 5 minutes in all. Repeat the process with the leeks, but cut them into diamonds once grilled.
5.Meanwhile, top and tail the courgettes and cut lengthways into medium thin slices. Lightly mix in olive oil, season and grill or griddle on both sides until just cooked. Remove and cut into diamonds.
6.Slice the onion into medium thick rounds and grill in the same way until soft and flecked brown.
7.Rewhisk the remaining vinaigrette and pour over the vegetables. Add the mint and mix thoroughly. Leave to marinate for a few minutes before mixing into the noodles. Finally, add the crumbled feta cheese and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

TCM Summary: Overall, this recipe can be used to circulate stagnant Liver Qi with some of the acrid, warm flavors, while still able to clear some heat that the stagnant Qi can accumulate. This recipe also addresses strengthening the stomach to promote digestion in cases of Lv over acting on Sp/St. This recipe also benefits diabetics, as well as cases of hypertension due to stress by lowering blood pressure.

Oven-Roasted Fish With Fennel

Categories: Kidney Yin Vacuity, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Oven-Roasted Fish With Fennel
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Published: June 4, 2010
One of the classic dishes of the French Riviera is sea bass grilled with fennel fronds. That’s the inspiration for this simpler fish preparation. I use firm white fish fillets — those recommended by the Environmental Defense Fund include Pacific cod, Pacific halibut or striped mullet — roasting them in the oven with the fennel stalks trimmed from the bulbs on top. I serve them atop pan-cooked fennel.

2 pounds fennel with fronds still attached (3 medium bulbs)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, preferably a spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as Pacific cod, Pacific halibut or striped mullet

1. Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel, and set them aside. Quarter the bulbs, cut away the cores and slice thin across the grain. You should have about 4 cups sliced fennel. Chop the fronds, and measure out 1 to 2 tablespoons (to taste).

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about three minutes. Add the fennel and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the fennel mixture is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together and cover the pan. Turn the heat to low, and continue to cook 5 to 10 more minutes until the mixture is very soft and fragrant. Stir in the chopped fennel fronds, and remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. While the fennel is cooking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Oil a baking dish large enough for the fish to fit in a single layer. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and arrange in the baking dish. Cover with the fennel stalks you set aside. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Check the fish; if you can cut into it with a fork, it is done (cod will cook more quickly than halibut). If it is still tough in the middle, cover and return to the oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and check again. Remove the fennel stalks from the fish and discard.

4. Place the cooked fennel on a platter or on individual plates, top with the fish fillets and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The cooked fennel will keep for two days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 267 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 55 milligrams cholesterol; 20 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 226 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 30 grams protein