Have you had to say that before?  I have.  So I feel kind of weird that I’m posting about a Salad.  It perpetuates the stereotype of “our kind”.

But there are times I just crave some ruffage, such as after I’ve been traveling.  After a week of eating out, you feel just kinda gross.  And the grossness multiplies inside you like a virus.  Until you suspect that if someone cut your abdomen open, gooey cheese would seep out.  Because that’s all you’ve been ingesting for the last week.  Cheese.  And coffee.  No fruit, no rice, no home cookin’.  Just coffee and cheese.  Gross.

Undo that grossness with a salad of peppery Arugula, Faux-Fennel, and Orange.  Fennel is an aromatic licorice-like root vegetable, but can easily be faked using the combination of celery and star-anise.   (This is what I do.  I am really skilled in devising out how not to go to the grocery store because it requires me separating my body from my pajamas.)  Star anise mimics fennel’s mild licorice flavor while celery imitates the crunch.  Do not ingest the star anise whole unless you are trying to engrave your name into the wall of your intestines.  Finally, add parmesan shavings or grated parmegiano reggiano.  And I realize that the cheese here resembles cocaine, but I wanted to be sure to offer a vegan alternative here.  And plus, cheese isn’t very good for you.


Arugula, Orange, and Faux-Fennel Salad
 with Star Anise Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Serves 2)
Fennel is an licorice-like aromatic root vegetable, but can easily be faked using the combination of celery and star-anise. 
2 cups arugula
2 small navel oranges, rinds removed, then halved and quartered
1 Tablespoon grated parmegiano reggiano (optional)
2 celery ribs
1.5 Tablespoons Star Anise Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below) 
1.  Slice the celery into 1/8″ thick sections.
2. Divide and layer the ingredients into two bowls.  Just before serving, toss with Star Anise Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Star Anise Balsamic Vinaigrette
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Star Anise simple syrup (recipe below) (sorry – this recipe is very Inception-like)
1 tsp
salt and pepper
Using a whisk, combine the last three ingredients very well.  While mixing fast, slowly stream in olive oil until dressing is properly emulsified.  (If it looks like the oil and vinegar keep separating, that means you mixed slow and steamed fast instead of the other way around).  Alternatively, you can put all of the ingredients in a small jar, close it tightly, and shake vigorously until you feel a little lightheaded.
Star Anise Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar  (you can also use agave for a natural sweetener here)
2 star anise
Heat all 3 ingredients in a small pot until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and steep with star anise for 1 hr or until it reaches room temperate.
For another delicious Fennel Salad recipe, check out this Indian-inspired Fennel, Chickpea, and Cucumber Salad!