Friday, you’re good.
Snuggled up on the couch with two of the kidlets, with coffee in hand and Curious George in the background, I had just had the urge for an indulgent pastry when Gabe walks through the door with donuts. After all these years maybe he is finally learning to read my mind?!
Then I look out the window to see frosting covering the grass and glittering in the sun – yes, SUN! You see it’s such a rare gift to see the sun and feel a bit of its warmth this time of year. So rare in fact that when it’s here we take advantage; windows open, playtime outside and a moment to just bask in its light.
Friends, you’re going to laugh at this one – tonight we are going to see Barry Manilow and ice skaters. This life of mine is so odd at times, I love it. Earlier in the week I styled a shoot for a commercial that will air when the skating show is on tv (later this month). One of the perks was tickets to the show and who can say no to a little Manilow and ice (well, Gabe could of but I’m insisting)?
And then there’s this salad. I created this recipe for Wisconsin Cheese and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It’s a simple salad, as I like to have quite often, but the toasted fennel seed in the dressing and the nutty gruyere really makes it something special. My husband shot the video (he’s so good, right?!) and the folks at Wisconsin Cheese put it together.
Your Friday might not include Manilow but I still hope it’s a good one none-the-less.
Happy weekend!
Oh, one more thing: I’m hosting a little giveaway from a*pour toi on my Facebook page. If you’re not a “liker” of the page I’d “like” you to be if you’d “like”. (Is that subtle enough?)

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Fennel and Apple Salad with Toasted Fennel Vinaigrette

As much as I love the cozy warmth that braises, roasts and long simmered stews provide, I grow tired of them. A few years ago I realized that much of what is in season during the winter tastes great simple sliced and eaten raw. It offers a fresh bite and crisp crunch that is often lacking in my cold month diet. This salad features raw fennel and it’s toasted seeds that scent the tangy vinaigrette. Pleasant Ridge Reserve adds the perfect bit of nuttiness and heft that this light salad needs. A very welcomed, fresh meal this time of year.


1 teaspoon fennel (use whole seed that you’ve toasted and ground, if possible)
1 teaspoon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In a bowl combine the fennel, mustard, honey, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine. While whisking those ingredients drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the dressing onto fresh greens (I used arugula and butter lettuce). Top that with thinly sliced apple, fennel and toasted walnuts. Finish it all off with shavings of Pleasant Ridge Reserve.

*I was paid by Wisconsin Cheese to create this content but I’m so happy with how it turned out I wanted to share it with you here as well.

33 Responses to “Fennel and Apple Salad with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette”

  1. saltandserenity

    Ashley, the video is just lovely!! Your husband is indeed very talented. I love the idea of fennel seeds in the dressing. Such an unusual salad dressing ingredient but of course it makes perfect sense to pair fresh fennel with fennel seeds. I can’t wait to try this salad.

  2. tracy

    whoa, friend!! This salad looks SO DANG GOOD. I love the idea of apple & fennel together. And as for Barry Manilow….that’s one of Casey’s favorite musicians. He would have been the one that dragged me 😉

  3. Shanna

    Beautiful video, beautiful photos, beautiful sentiments in this post. I am all for calling out the days like these, my friend, because they are good gifts we have to recognize. Hope you guys have a great time at the show tonight and that this Friday keeps getting better. Happy weekend! xx

  4. ami@naivecookcooks

    Wow You are so amazing. I have always loved your posts. You have simple stories but they always are so special 🙂
    I will surely try this salad!

  5. Kasey

    I made a similar version of this salad for a Pairings Box – fennel, apples, and cheese are just a magical combination. Barry Manilow is Matt’s mom’s favorite artist – she’d be very jealous 🙂 xo

  6. dervla @ the curator

    This looks gorgeous! I feel the same way about a crisp cold salad on these wintery days. Even though I’m doing a roast chicken on sunday, this salad on the side would be so refreshing. Have a beautiful weekend!

  7. Clara

    Love this salad, love this video, love your posts…. oh Ashley your blogs is one of my favorite ones to catch up on, on Saturday mornings (which is exactly what I’m doing right now). Also loved the previous dating my husband post- definitely need to run out and buy Cool Ranch Doritos AND that cookbook! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. xoxo

  8. Kathryn

    Such a lovely video and an even more lovely salad full of such wonderful flavours. I hope Barry Manilow lived up to expectations 😉

  9. Megan Gordon

    LOVE the video, Ash. And I so hear you about the sun … it’s absolutely freezing out, but Sam and I took a really loooonnnng walk yesterday because we both couldn’t believe the sun was out all afternoon. Looks like it could stay that way all week! (Hey, have you been to Hotcakes yet? Let’s make a pastry date!)

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Megan – Good for you guys. I went out for a bit but brrrr!! And you got an amazing bar. A great day indeed. I have been to Hotcakes but you don’t have to twist my arm to go again.

  10. Elenore Bendel Zahn

    Oh my gosh.. I know what you mean with the sun.. It’s such a disco of joy when it comes out;)

    …oh and the vid – SO gorgeous!

    Big love to you from the Earthsprouty world and have a truly blissed week!

  11. Heather

    I made this on Friday and it was delicious. I’ve never toasted fennel seeds before. They were to fragrant. I didn’t have and gruyere, so I subbed in aged cheddar. Served it with some broiled cod on the side. Will definitely be making it again.

  12. sara

    oh my goodness i would love to see barry manilow! I am an old lady at heart. what a perfect salad and the video turned out great!

  13. molly

    apple + fennel + walnuts = one of my most favorite salads. i’ve never had the genius to toss them with greens. also, i had all but forgotten butter lettuce. shame on me. but not for long.

    happy, happy new year to you, ashley. here’s to a rip-roaring 2013.


  14. Sara @ The Cozy Herbivore

    I’ve been eating a lot of braises and soups and pastas this month, but like you I’m longing for a crisp and refreshing salad to shake things up. This looks so perfect– love the combination of apple & fennel. Thanks for a great recipe!