Going further to celebrate Canada’s 150th

Where will the open road take you this year?

For 2017, Ford Canada wants people to be inspired to #GoFurther, which I did recently in this 2017 Ford Focus Titanium. I’m planning lots more road trips to celebrate Canada’s 150th!

It is no exaggeration to say that road tripping is one of the constants of my life. Growing up in a military family, we moved often and travelled constantly, always by car. When I was really young, my parents regularly piled all six kids plus the family dog into our nine-passenger 1964 Ford Country Sedan station wagon – with its rear-facing third row bench seat, essential for our large tribe – to set off on adventures, either with our without our camping trailer in tow, but always with a great picnic. Then, as now, I found the idea of heading out on the open road absolutely thrilling and I loved the idea of exploring new places and enjoying edible treats along the way. We definitely embraced the mantra of “going further”, as we clocked tens of thousands of miles which often included winding our way down narrow dirt roads to check out unique landmarks or scenic vistas. It’s a tradition which I have happily maintained with my own little family and I am extraordinarily proud of our kids’ familiarity with some of Canada’s most obscure destinations.

Two of my five siblings, our beloved Boxer Winky, and the 1964 Ford Country Sedan station wagon that  had both the capacity and stamina for our large family to enjoy countless road trips. Please disregard the fact that I have reverted to the same hairstyle I had as a young child. At least my fashion sense has improved (I think).

Oh Canada!

I wonder how many millions of road trips Canadians have taken in Fords during the 113 years the company has been in business in our country? I couldn’t help but reflect on that impressive legacy, and my family’s road tripping history, when  Ford Canada offered me a recent opportunity to have some adventures in a beautiful new 2017 Ford Focus Titanium. I was invited to participate in a neat cross-Canada campaign (look for #GoFurther150 on social media) which involves sending selected bloggers out to explore our beautiful country and share some of the sights we discover along the way. What a great way to celebrate our nation’s 150th birthday!

In my case, I chose to venture deep into the Ottawa Valley with my favourite co-pilot. We know parts of this area well yet much of it was new-to-us territory we couldn’t wait to explore. In the days leading up to the excursion, I spent a lot of time thinking about landmarks and their significance. Sometimes they are attractions that draw attention, other times a landmark is something that becomes a reference point for giving directions. I zipped around town in my Focus visiting some of my favourite close-to-home landmarks, just to whet my appetite for the upcoming road trip.

Visiting favourite local landmarks whetted my appetite for a road trip.

One awesome auto

The Ford Focus was the perfect vehicle for adventuring. Let me tell you a bit about this sweet ride before my road trip ‘show and tell’. I had so much fun testing out the many features such Active Park Assist which uses sensors to help you locate a parking spot of the appropriate size; you then let go of the steering wheel and let the system take over and park the car for you, which is just the most amazing thing to experience. I tell you, this just never gets old, even for someone like me who is pretty good at parallel parking the old fashioned way. I also appreciated the Blind Spot Information System that a illuminates a little yellow light on the outside of the driver’s or passenger’s side mirror whenever there’s a vehicle in your blind spot.  This same utility includes a cross-traffic alert that provides an audible warning if a vehicle is approaching from either side when you are reversing out of a parking space with obstructed views. I sure wish I’d had the use of this feature last winter when my driveway’s snowbanks were six feet tall!

Another great safety feature is the Lane-Keeping System which has several components to alert a driver who is not maintaining the correct lane position. A camera monitors lane markings and if the vehicle strays out of the lane or if the driver’s behaviour gives the impression of drowsiness, the system will issue an alert. It can also be set to apply gentle steering pressure to guide the vehicle back into its lane. I had a scary experience a few months ago, tailing a driver who was weaving all over the highway at night, so I hope useful technology like Ford’s lane keeping system becomes standard equipment on all vehicles one day, to make the roads safer for all.

The Ford Focus was lots of fun to drive, offering an incredibly smooth ride and super comfortable seats. I also loved the satellite radio and may or may not have been singing at the top of my lungs on some of my solo excursions. I found it super helpful to have two smart-charging USB ports which recharged our phones twice as fast as conventional ports; this became especially useful when I was stopping often to take and post a lot of photos.

Purposeful pit stops

While the main purpose of our road trip was to explore some interesting landmarks, of course food featured prominently in our adventure. We’d barely left home when I decided a stop at Wes’ Chips in Arnprior for a mid-morning snack was in order. Their chips (French fries) are truly among the best in the world.

When I was a kid, I liked ice cream stops the best. Now when I road trip, I am always on the hunt for savoury treats.

After Arnprior, we took side roads to wind our way to our next destination of Pembroke. It was fun to drive at a leisurely pace along the Ottawa River and we could certainly see evidence of the recent spring flooding. A few detours for roadwork took us down some charming country lanes too. Our first stop in downtown Pembroke was for – you guessed it – lunch! A popular little spot called The Nook had come highly recommended and I can confirm that they serve fantastic Parisian-style crepes. Our choice – a shared order of an Italian crepe with Caesar salad – was absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their sweet creations.

The Nook Creperie in Pembroke was  the perfect spot to refuel before our hunt for landmark murals.

History comes alive

Properly refuelled, we set off on a hunt to find all 34 of Pembroke’s Heritage Murals.

This was one of my favourite landmark murals as it beautifully depicts Pembroke’s  storied history.

Painted in a variety of styles on the sides of buildings, primarily in the downtown core, the murals are an intriguing way to celebrate the people, experiences and industries that have shaped this Ottawa Valley community. An online map was useful as we strolled along side streets, popped down alleyways and drove to the fringes of town to find them all.

Another favourite Pembroke landmark! It’s a 360º mural painted on the old railway water tower, highlighting the vibrant history of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s steam locomotives and the local Consolidated Lumber Company Ltd.

Going further

True to the theme of this adventure, once we’d found all the murals, we decided that it was time to go further! We love getting off the beaten track, so we took the nearby bridge across the Ottawa River and headed into the Pontiac region of Quebec, a place we’d heard so much about but had never visited. Aside from the extraordinarily high water levels in this low-lying area, what really struck me on this part of our drive were the roadside forests’ gorgeous carpets of trilliums, extending as far as the eye could see. The sight made me remember going on excursions with my Mom many years ago (in that same Ford Country Sedan station wagon) to look for and photograph wildflowers.

One of the best things about driving down little side roads is seeing carpets of wildflowers in the woods.

One of the must-see highlights of the Pontiac region is Chutes Coulonge Park. Just 40 minutes from Pembroke or 90 minutes from Ottawa, it’s a spectacular not-for-profit natural park that offers incredible scenery thanks to a magnificent waterfall that makes venturing a little further off the highway so worthwhile. In addition to loads of artifacts celebrating the region’s proud logging heritage, the park offers a well-maintained network of trails, a picnic area, an aerial park, an elevated obstacle course and two giant ziplines through the canyon. Also available is a unique feature of which there are very few in Canada – a via ferrata, consisting of steel cables which run along the rock walls of the canyon, with iron rungs (stemples) for foot and hand holds. Harnessed and helmeted climbers use these aids to ascend the steep canyon, with three courses of increasing difficulty available. We arrived late in the afternoon so only had time for a short visit but I cannot wait to return to explore the park in all its glory.

The Chutes de Coulonge are one of the highlights of Quebec’s Pontiac region.

The next landmark I couldn’t wait to find was Fort Coulonge’s Pont Marchand, locally referred to as the red bridge. Built entirely of pine in 1898 for $6000, at 151.59 metres (497.3 feet), it’s the longest covered bridge in Quebec and was designated a historic monument in 1989. We found it closed for repairs; had it been open, I’m sure I could have happily driven back and forth across the bridge a dozen times!

Who knew Quebec’s longest covered bridge was in Fort Coulonge?
I can’t wait to drive across the Pont Marchand when it reopens.

Just a short drive from the bridge, we found the charming Spruceholme Inn, a stone mansion in the heart of Fort Coulonge. It’s run by Jane Toller Pitfield who is the great-granddaughter of the original owner of Spruceholme, George Bryson Jr.  She is also the great-great-granddaughter of George Bryson Sr., one of the original logging barons of the Ottawa Valley. Spruceholme is located just a few blocks from The George Bryson Heritage House, George Sr.’s Georgian-style home built in 1854, now a museum. Jane serves as chair of the Pontiac Tourism Association and has built an impressive conference centre on the grounds of the Inn, with cabins, a guest house, meeting rooms and a lovely little pub called Bryson’s Bistro du Bucheron. To create the pub, she dismantled her great-great-grandfather’s circa 1850 hay barn, then reassembled it adjacent to Spruceholme. The pub was packed on Friday night with a crowd that appeared to be mostly locals and our meals of fish and chips were absolutely delicious. A peaceful night’s sleep in the tranquil country stillness left us refreshed for a morning walkabout to see the other Bryson family homes in Fort Coulonge and after a cheerful breakfast at Spruceholme, we set off to go still further into the region’s back roads.

Fort Coulonge’s Spruceholme Inn, with its delightful pub, was a great road trip discovery!

Fascinating Finds

One of the things I love most about road trips is that you usually learn a thing or three thanks to unexpected discoveries enroute. I’m a big history buff so it was exciting to meander through the little town of Campbell’s Bay and find a small park that boasted two great landmarks. One was a breathtakingly beautiful war memorial inscribed with the names of all the Canadian Forces soldiers who died during the war in Afghanistan. The second got me thinking a lot about how much automobiles and the driving experience have changed over the past century. It was a plaque which described the feat of townsman George McLean, whom we should all honour as the grandfather of road tripping. He was the first person to drive a self-propelled motor vehicle across North America; his 1911 trip from New York City to San Diego, a distance of 2300 miles, took more than four months. Today, that same trip takes just 41 hours of driving time!

History comes to life in a little park in Campbell’s Bay, QC.

We wound our way back to Ottawa as slowly as we possibly could, spotting lots of pretty things along the way like beckoning beach chairs in Norway Bay, colourful beehives in a farmer’s field and an unexpected Elvis billboard in Quyon. The car’s easy-to-use navigation system was especially helpful as we kept venturing WAY off the beaten track and sometimes needed help to find our way back.

Getting off the beaten track in and around Quyon yielded lots of pretty discoveries.

On a whim, we decided to take the ferry from Quyon to West Carleton, fulfilling a longstanding local travel wish list item. We meandered along back roads to make our way to Carp for a visit to Alice’s Village Café where we enjoyed an exceptional lunch of a bacon-avocado-lettuce-tomato sandwich with a side of poutine and some local craft sodas. It was impressive to see not only the lineups for Alice’s great food but also the large number of spandex-clad cyclists who had made their way to Carp on backroad tracks.

Alice’s Village Cafe in Carp, just west of Ottawa, is popular for many delicious reasons.

I knew it had been a great getaway as we approached home and I brought up a previous discussion on the trip, referring to it as having happened ‘the other day’. My husband corrected me, reminding me that it was actually ‘yesterday’, and I realized I felt as though I’d been away for much longer than one overnight. It’s amazing how even a short road trip can feel as invigorating as a longer vacation. And all of this on less than one tank of gas thanks to the Ford Focus’ great fuel economy!

I can’t wait to #gofurther on a regular basis this summer and hope to find more Canadian landmarks that are as unique and interesting as the ones we found on this journey.

Are you a road trip aficionado? I’d love to hear what you enjoy about heading out on the road.

Disclaimer: I am grateful to have been the guest of Ford Canada on this excursion; opinions expressed are my own.

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Spaghetti with creamy avocado sauce

If you like guacamole or avocado toast, this dish is for you!

Pasta is definitely a go-to meal in our house but after a winter’s worth of rich, heavy sauces, I wanted to lighten things up a little for spring and summer. This delicious dish takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and is so packed with flavour and goodness that we’re now craving it often. The secret trick of adding some of the starchy pasta water to the guacamole-like mixture is what makes it the sauce super creamy; it also serves to keep the avocado from going brown. While we enjoy eating it warm, the leftovers are just as delicious right out of the fridge and keep well for several days. I highly recommend making a double batch.


  • 8 ounces (225 g) uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 large or 2 medium ripe avocadoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) chili powder (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of freshly-squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) white sugar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (250 mL) halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil
  • freshly ground Parmesan (omit for vegans)
  • minced fresh chives or parsley


  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt, then add spaghetti. Cook until al dente (tender-firm).
  • While the pasta cooks, put the minced garlic and 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil in a small, microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium power for 45 seconds to partially cook the garlic.
  • Scoop out the avocado flesh and put in a food processor or blender. Add the minced garlic in oil, remaining 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of oil, chili powder, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Process or blend until smooth, scraping down sides once or twice, then taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
  • Also while the pasta cooks, put the halved tomatoes in a small bowl. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to combine and set aside.
  • When the pasta is cooked, scoop out 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the cooking water then drain the noodles.
  • Add the reserved pasta water to the avocado mixture and blender until smooth.
  • Place hot cooked spaghetti in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over it and then toss to coat evenly.
  • Scatter seasoned tomatoes on top and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives. Serve immediately.

Serves 3 – 4 and can easily be doubled.

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Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Tangy condiment perks up a family-favourite meal!

I bought my first barbeque – a rickety little thing – when I was a starving student simply because I love grilled chicken. While my grilling appliances have definitely improved over the years, my love for grilled chicken has never waned. I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to serve it to my family and this week’s experiment was a real winner. The tangy pineapple salsa added so much bright, fresh flavour to the smoky chicken; I’m certain it would be equally delicious with grilled fish or pork. I paired this recipe with La Crema Sonoma Coast 2014 Pinot Noir. The beautifully balanced wine’s soft, rich fruitiness, with notes of spice, was the perfect match.


  • 2 cups (500 mL) diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely minced red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced red pepper
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Make salsa by combining in a medium-sized bowl (I use a 4 cup / 1 litre glass storage container with a lid) the pineapple, red pepper, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, and lime juice. Stir until well combined. Season with salt, to taste. Cover and refrigerate if not using within two hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high (375F). Brush the chicken lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Grill chicken (or bake in a 375F oven) until it is golden brown on the outside and internal temperature is 165F.
  • Serve hot, with salsa spooned over top, or on the side.

Serves 4.


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Smoky Tomato Ketchup

A grown-up version of a favourite condiment

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with ketchup. I cannot imagine eating a burger or hotdog without a generous squeeze of ketchup, but I find it a little unsettling to watch people who slather it on everything. Horrifyingly, my brothers used to put it on white rice when they were little (not to mention on plain spaghetti and fish sticks), so when my kids were young I worked hard to make sure they didn’t get hooked on the stuff. I’m singing a different tune, now, since creating this gem of a condiment. It’s full of flavour and adds just a little heat along with a lingering smoky aftertaste to anything you serve it with. As a bonus, it’s lower in sugar that most commercial brands (none of that nasty high-fructose corn syrup here, please). We’ve used it as a dipper for meatballs, enjoyed it with our favourite crispy oven-baked French fries and even spooned some into our mac ‘n cheese at lunch today. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a bottle of ketchup again.

Smoky Tomato Ketchup


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 of a 7 oz/200 mL can) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one 680 mL jar strained crushed tomatoes (Passata) *
  • Few dashes liquid smoke **

* you can substitute with 1 can (796) mL crushed tomatoes; pass the tomatoes through a sieve to remove seeds before adding to pot

** available in most grocery stores near the bottled barbeque sauces


  • Heat the oil in a medium pot set over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more, stirring often.
  • Add all other ingredients and cook, uncovered, for about an hour. At this point, you can remove the chipotle peppers if you don’t want the ketchup too spicy.
  • Alternatively, if you want a little more heat, use a stick or regular blender to purée the mixture including the peppers (there’s no need to purée it if you remove the peppers).
  • Transfer to clean glass jars and store in refrigerator up to 3 months.

Makes approximately 3 cups.

Smoky Tomato Catsup

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Crunchy carrot and pea shoot salad

Asian-inspired dressing packs great flavour punch!

I love salads, especially during barbeque season. I feel like the crunchy, fresh flavour of a salad complements whatever cut of meat, fish or seafood we’ve chosen to prepare on the grill. Having said that, every once in a while I find myself suffering from ‘leaf fatigue’, meaning that for a few days, I just can’t abide chowing down on lettuce, spinach, kale or arugula – to name a few common salad leaves – usually due to a self-inflicted salad overdose. This crunchy concoction, however, will never induce any kind of fatigue for my taste buds. It’s absolutely bursting with bright, crisp flavours and looks so gosh-darned pretty too. Look for pea shoots at your favourite grocery store – they’ve gone mainstream!


  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) sweet rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly grated gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil
  • Pinch each salt and pepper


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) tamari OR 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of soya sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water
  • 3 – 4 carrots, spiralized, grated or julienned (about 3 cups/750 mL once cut)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) (2 oz / 55 g) fresh pea shoots
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  • Make the dressing by combining rice vinegar, mirin, ginger root, oils and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Cover jar and shake well to blend then refrigerate until ready to assemble and serve salad (dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance).
  • Toast the pumpkin seeds by heating a small frying pan over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and cook, tossing pan often to flip seeds and prevent them from burning. When they start to turn brown (3 – 5 minutes), add the tamari or soya sauce + water mixture to the pan and stir to blend. Cook 1 – 2 minutes more until liquid has completely evaporated. Transfer pumpkin seeds to a small plate and use two forks to spread out in a single layer. Let cool. Seeds can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance.
  • In a serving bowl, toss together the carrot strips, pea shoots and green onions. Drizzle with dressing and toss again. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds over top and serve immediately.

Serves 3 – 4 as a side dish.

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Fabulous fajita skillet casserole

All the flavour of this Tex-Mex favourite, with none of the mess!

I love fajitas but I don’t love how messy they can be to eat. This dish packs all the fabulous flavour of fajitas into a delicious, easy to prepare casserole. You can make it in one large dish, or single-serving size if you prefer. My family decided they like this even better than regular fajitas and I’m inclined to agree. You can swap in chicken strips for the steak for equally delicious results. While icy cold cerveza (beer) would be one possible beverage option, I served this dish with the extremely food-friendly Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and it was a perfect pairing.


  • 4 seven inch flour tortillas
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons (15 – 30 mL) olive oil (flavoured oil like roasted garlic is great)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) chili powder (or a bit more if you like things spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt and pepper
  • 1 pound (454 g) sirloin steak, thinly sliced into 1” pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 cup (250 mL) mild-flavoured beer (or water)
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced into 1” strips
  • 1 large Spanish or red onion, thinly slicedinto 1” strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) grated Tex-Mex or cheddar cheese
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
  • Sour cream, to garnish
  • Salsa, to garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly brush tortillas on both sides with olive oil then cut into one inch strips; cut the strips into one inch pieces. Place the pieces in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking tray and cook in preheated oven till golden brown, about 6 – 8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside; keep oven on to cook fajita casseroles.
  • In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large oven-safe skillet (cast iron is ideal for this) over medium-high heat and add oil. Add the meat to the pan and sprinkle seasonings over top – toss well to coat evenly. Sear meat, stirring often, until cooked (about 3 – 4 minutes for beef; 5 – 6 minutes for chicken). Add the sliced onions, peppers and minced garlic to the pan and toss to combine. Add the beer and cook uncovered, stirring often, for 2 -3 minutes.
  • Transfer meat and vegetables to a large bowl along with 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the liquid in the pan. Add crispy tortilla chips and toss to combine then transfer back to the skillet (drain off any liquid remaining in skillet before you do this) or divide among four smaller oven-safe dishes. Top with grated cheese and return to hot oven until cheese is melted and casserole is hot.
  • Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, chopped herbs, sour cream and salsa.

Serves 4

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Quick pickled fennel with orange and star anise

An easy way to add a pop of flavour to any plate!

Lately, I’ve been eagerly peeking into my garden a few times a day, looking for tender young shoots that hold the promise of fresh spring vegetables to come. In the meantime, as I wait, I’m craving some bright tastes to perk up my palate after a long winter and rainy April. I pickled up some fennel the other day and have been scattering it on salads and rice dishes, plus tucking it in sandwiches. It’s such an easy way to add a pop of flavour to any plate. If you enjoy this, you might want to try quick pickling other vegetables too!


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups rice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 – 6 whole star anise (2 per jar)
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 large or two medium fennel bulbs
  • 1 medium navel orange


  • Bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil in a large pot, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Wash two or three medium sized jars with tight fitting lids in hot soapy water, and rinse well. You can use canning jars and lids if you have them, but you don’t have to because these pickles will get stored in the refrigerator.
  • Wash the fennel and cut the stalks off the bulb(s), discarding them. Trim away any blemishes. Cut the bulb(s) in half then slice (or shave on a mandoline) into very, very thin strips.
  • Wash the orange and use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to cut six to eight strips of peel from the outside, avoiding white pith as much as possible.
  • Fill each jar halfway with fennel. Place 1 piece of orange rind, 1 star anise and a few peppercorns on top. Fill jars to the top with fennel, packing it down tightly with a spoon or your fingers. Scatter remaining star anise, orange rind pieces and peppercorns on top, then fill jars with hot brine to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jars.
  • Put lids on jars and let stand on the countertop until cool. Place jars in refrigerator.
  • Pickled fennel will be ready to enjoy in 24 hours and can be stored for up to a month in the fridge.


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