My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.


Fennel-Tomato-Orange Relish

Posted on April 21, 2010 by crankycheryl

Now I have a four-year old whose favorite word is, “stupid.”   He’s discovered its versatility, with applications like,

“I can’t have a second dessert today?  I don’t want to be part of this stupid family any more.”

“My face got wet.  This swim class is 10 amounts of STUPID!”

“My [child-centered, loving, hippy-dippy, filled-with-friends] pre-school is stupid and I’M NOT GOING.”

It’s a joy and a half, I tell you.

But still it’s spring and it’s beautiful and I crept outside this afternoon to do some gardening and before I knew it both boys had found their way out with me to dig in the dirt and water plants.  And then we spied a new neighbor’s little boy around their age and in a flash they had all armed themselves with plastic guns and were climbing the dirt pile and refusing to come in when the rain started.  It felt like childhood.

And while this was going on I was working on a clean-out-the-crisper effort, and turned some random bits of of this and that into a fully respectable and totally delicious relish.  We had it with some mashed potatoes and lamb chops I had found in the freezer and defrosted, but it would be great with some sauteed tofu, or spread on a wrap with some brie or prosciutto, or with some eggs for breakfast.

Do consider yourself warned:  it is far too stupid for ornery four-year-olds.

Fennel-Tomato-Orange Relish
Makes about 2 cups

In a large skillet heat:

  • 3 T. olive oil until rippling


  • 1 large onion cut into 3/4″ dice
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, white parts cut crosswise and then diced into 3/4″ pieces

Cook over medium-low heat until transparent, then add:

  • 2 diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 organic orange with its peel, cut into 1/2″ dice 
  • 1 organic lemon with its peel, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • finely chopped fronds from the fennel

Cook for about 10 minutes at a light bubbling simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes more over very low heat.  Stir 2 or 3 times and add a bit more olive oil if it starts to stick too much.  Remove lid and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes more.  Serve warm or cool and use as you like.

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