Thursday, April 10, 2008


I love food that is stuffed or filled. I think it's the contrast of textures and flavors. In addition it's always cooking and crafting at the same time. Here's a couple of tasty stuffed things I've made recently.

Stuffed With Fennel

These filo pockets are delicious. I wanted to use the filo dough that had been sitting in my freezer, and I had some lovely fennel in the refrigerator. The rest of the recipe came together when I thought about a Coconut Corn Fennel Chowder that I like to make. The flavor combination is wonderful.
Fennel Corn Filo Pockets

frozen filo dough, thawed
one onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 fennel bulb, stalks removed, quartered, and thinly sliced
pinch of red pepper flake
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 1/2 Tbsp. shredded coconut
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup firm tofu, crumbled
salt and lemon juice to taste
feathery greens from fennel stalks

Heat a little olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and fennel. Saute until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the vegetable stock and pepper flake. Cover and steam until the fennel is tender. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, reserving some of the fennel greens for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.

You will need a large working area for assembling the pockets. Lay the thawed filo out flat, and cover with a clean kitchen towel or wax paper to keep from drying out. Remove two sheets of the filo and lay them (stacked one on the other) on your work surface. Spray them with a little oil, sprinkle the whole thing with some more shredded coconut, and cut into 5 even strips (about 3 and 1/2 inches or so wide). Place a small mound of the filling at the end of one of the strips of filo. Fold the bottom right corner up to meet the left side to form a triangle. Continue folding until you get to the end of the strip. Spray the whole thing with some oil and move to the prepared baking sheet. Continue like this until you use all of the filling.

Bake in preheated oven until the filo is crisp and slightly browned. Garnish with the reserved fennel fluff and eat! I really think this is one of the tastiest recipes I have ever come up with.

Stuffed with Strawberries and Bean Paste

I have a love/hate relationship with Asian sweets in general, and red bean paste in particular. During a two month trip to Thailand and Malaysia several years ago I was always being confronted with desserts that my taste buds and eyes just had no reference for. I still cringe at the thought of a bowl of black gelatinous cubes in a sweet liquid with shaved ice that my kind and gracious host set before me. I'm still not sure how I managed to eat it.

When I saw Kittee's post about Ichigo Daifuku, though, I was intrigued. Ichigo Daifuku is Mochi (a chewy cake made from glutinous rice) stuffed with red bean paste and strawberries. Not only was it pretty, but I love strawberries and Jeff loves red bean paste, so I decided to give it a try. These were really fun to make, and while I'm not ready to call myself a lover of red bean paste quite yet, they were somehow very tasty. I saved the stems and leaves from the strawberries I used and stuck them on the finished mochi. They turned out better than I expected! For directions and pictures, see Kittee's original post.

Mochi waiting to happen

Speaking of Kittee, she tagged me! So I now have to tell you five things about myself, and then tag five more people to do the same. Here goes...

1. I grew up in the Midwest. Indiana to be exact. The thing I miss most is the 4 distinct seasons...winter, spring, summer, fall. (they all seem to blur together in the South).

2. Jeff and I sometimes make music...and videos. Check it out if you dare.

3. In addition to Nutmeg the bunny, we share our house with Spiralina the mourning dove (rescued as a baby from the mean streets of the french quarter, New Orleans), and Castor the gecko.

4. I went Veg about 4 years ago. I had been married for about a year, cooking lots of meat, when I decided to cease and desist. I'm extremely lucky that Jeff not only went along for the veg ride, but was very encouraging about the decision.

5. I currently wait tables at a 'British' tea room that is NOT veg friendly. We do have lots of tasty tea, however, which is of course vegan!

And I will tag...

1. bugheart
2. kamutflake girl
3. bird by bird
4. your vegan mom
5. eve and johnny

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.


Anonymous said...

Yum!! I loooooove fennel. Who can resist? Those pockets look delicious!

pleasantly plump vegan said...

love yr voice

Kittee said...

I enjoyed the video and song, your voice is gorgeous. AND ichigo daifuku!!!!!!!!! Yours are sweet with the sepals intact. Did your anko have a tinny taste? I've wondered about the cans, last time i found a plastic bag full and was happy about that, but canned is easier to locate.


Rural Vegan said...

Pockets stuffed with fennel sound incredible, and your presentation is gorgeous! I enjoyed your video too, you have a beautiful voice.

Seitan Wörshipper said...

WOW! Your blog really rocks! I think those egplant burgers sound (and looks) so tasty. I must try oút some of your recipes. Pretty pictures also, nice looking blog and fancy writings!
Cheers from Finland!

Liz² said...

I totally know where you're coming from about stuffed things. And those corn fennel pockets are so severely cool looking... so bookmarked, and I am SO making these when corn is in season.

beautiful voice, too!
(and thanks for the tag!)

Jenny Wren said...

Thanks guys for the nice comments on the song. There's a lot more where that came from...maybe one day they will all be finished!

Romina--who can resist? NO ONE!!!

Kittee--I didn't notice a tinny taste. I wanted to find some prepared, but the woman in the store told me I should get the can and mash it up. It also had chestnut in the ingredients...

seitan worshipper-- Thanks! Cheers back at ya.

nolajazz said...

penny what happened to polly? did she die? i also love the fact that you set that plate of strawberries right in the middle of an azalea bush! i miss those so much!

DJ said...

I have exactly the same reaction to asian sweets! My eyes are telling me 'yum!' but then my tastebuds are telling me 'Wait... is that... potato???' No - taro root, but it's similar enough to be disconcerting.
Love the facts, btw!

Foodeater said...

Both the strawberries and the filo pockets are rocking my world right now. Fennel has quickly become my favorite vegetable, what you've done with it here sounds just fantastic!

Sophie said...

Those fennel pockets sound delicious. I love the idea of using coconut milk - I don't think I'd be able to resist putting some thai green curry paste in...

The strawberries look ever so cute (haven't tried mochi yet so I'll go check out the original post)

Kevin said...

Great idea to make the ichigo daifuku look like strawberries!!

Jenny Wren said...

jazz--yeah, i think i sent you an email when polly passed. i love those flowers!

dj--asian sweets and i are currently in couples counseling...i'll let you know how it goes.

foodeater--they both rocked my world too!

sophie--the green curry paste idea sounds great.


Terri said...

Once again, you photos are fab. I am delighted to hear that your dove and geeko are still living. I was thinking about the dove the other day. A small sparrow was sheltering in a shrub. It looked not quite ready to be one its own.

Marc @ norecipes said...

Awesome! I love the idea!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
T said...

What an awesome recipe, it seems like just the thing I was looking for! And I feel the same way about asian sweets... like mooncakes!

kittee said...

please come back, jenny!!!