Roasted Fennel and Tomato: two ways

Before Lily was born, I had bought a bulb of fennel from the grocery store hoping to whip up a delicious fennel salad. It's honestly one of my favourite salads. Thinly sliced fennel with olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple. Delicious.

But Lily was born early. And my mom came to visit shortly after. And Mom doesn't approve of eating too many raw veggies. It sounds ridiculous, but it's a very common practice in traditional Chinese medicine. I actually googled this to be sure, and found this article that supports all the craziness my mom has been teaching us all these years. It's all about energy, and finding a balance between the cold and the hot energies.  The optimal state is different from person to person, but my mother likes to err on the side of keeping oneself on the 'warm' side. Raw vegetables contribute to the cold energies, and while we're in the middle of winter, and I've just gone through a gruelling childbirth, 'cold energy' is the last thing I need.

And so, with my mother's kind reminders to stay away from raw vegetables and icy cold water, I decided to forgo the raw fennel salad.

My next favourite fennel recipe comes from another fantastic Avoca cookbook: Avoca Soups (again, courtesy of my friend Rebecca!)

There is a roasted fennel and tomato soup recipe that is so easy, and so delicious. Roasted fennel + sauteed onions + 1 can of diced tomatoes + chicken or vegetable stock. Simmered together and blended until smooth. I love making it early in the day so we can have the soup for lunch, and then use it as a delicious sauce for dinner.

I've used it as a quick pasta sauce, but this time, I used it for my cabbage rolls. Cabbage rolls freeze really well, so I always make extra rolls that are fully cooked and store them in the freezer. I slightly defrosted a serving and then added the rest of the leftover roasted fennel and tomato soup. I also added about an extra cup of chicken stock so the sauce wouldn't thicken or dry up too much.

After 40 minutes of simmering on the stove, the cabbage rolls were deliciously soft and absorbed some of the fantastic fennel and tomato flavour. I love when one recipe does double duty! And I bet my mom is proud that I didn't just chop up the fennel and eat it raw.

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