So I got my very first box of produce from Imperfect Produce and decided to make something with the cucumber, grapefruit, green onions, and cilantro I ordered. I had this idea…
I took a half of a cucumber and peeled it, cutting it into quarters so I could easily remove the seeds. Then i chopped into 1/2 inch bites.
I supremed one small grapefruit, cutting off the pith and peels and cutting the segments free.
I chopped two green onions and about 8 pieces of cilantro. I mixed this all in a bowl with some salt and pepper, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes (just a few flakes!) and 1 tsp of maple syrup (good maple syrup!). Shake it up a bit and serve. Makes one serving.
I kind of thought the maple syrup would make magic and it did. There’s just the tiniest bit of heat and a hint of sweetness, perfectly tempered by the freshness of the cucumber and the bright zesty grapefruit. This was so good I wish I had made double.
Now about Imperfect Produce. A friend forwarded the site to me on Facebook, knowing that I have to be careful about spending and how I rely heavily on the Oregon Food Bank’sHarvest Share to have enough vegetables since the regular food banks are heavy on carbs. I decided to give it a try because saving money and saving the environment sound like a good plan to me. Below are the results. As you can see, my imperfect produce is not that imperfect, I see a little dent in the cucumber, but nope, not that imperfect. They are incredibly fresh. I ate the first grapefruit just as a fruit and ended up with grapefruit juice everywhere. It was delightfully messy. And look how much I saved!
I got some peanut butter from Harvest Share last month and discovered that it actually is pretty good on celery. When the jar was close to empty, I thought it might be interesting to toss some rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, and dried red pepper flakes, shake it up so the peanut butter sticking to the sides of the jar did not go to waste. I tried it on some lettuce and it was delicious. So this is the peanut dressing I made.
- 2 TBSP peanut butter
- 2 TSBP seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 TBSP soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lg. clove of garlic, crushed and macerated with salt
- Juice from 1 lime, squeezed.
I thought it might be good with some chicken. So I sauteed a chicken breast with just some salt and pepper in olive oil. While it was cooking, I chopped 2 TBSP of yellow onion, thawed out 2 TBSP of frozen peas by running them in cold water, toasted 6 pecans in a dry pan and chopped them up.
I removed the chicken breast and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then I heated up my burner and with the air vent on high, charred two flour tortillas against the coils of the stove. If I had a gas stove, I would grill, but this is my “electric grilling.” Just lay them on the medium-high coil with half hanging off the edge so you can grab them. Flip with your fingers as soon as it begins to char, I generally “grill” on each side a few times to grill the whole tortilla. You cannot be doing anything else when you do this because you don’t want to start the tortillas on fire. It adds a really great flavor and makes delicious tortillas.
I compiled my dish with a small handful of lettuce, the sliced chicken breast, onions, pecans and thawed peas. I then added the peanut dressing and rolled them up.
This is delicious. Chicken is such a mild ingredient that it embraces nearly anything you do. I liked the peas (And yes, fresh would be better, but needs must,) They added a bit of texture and freshness. It all went together so well. It’s zingy and spicy from the lime and red peppers and then the peanut adds this kind of hearty sweetness.
I made this delicious salad, riffing off a delicious sounding salad in the Italian Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo. Her recipe served six and include oranges to which I am allergic. I miss oranges terribly as they were one of my favorite fruits and I loved citrus-based cleansers. I guess I must have already eaten my lifetime allotment of oranges because all of sudden about 10 years ago, I became terribly allergic to them. So for me, I often substitute grapefruit which oddly enough I can still eat. It’s not the same, it is not nearly so sweet, but it’s in the ballpark. And sometimes, I think it is probably even more delicious precisely because it is less sweet.
The thing to remember about cooking is that it’s like jazz while baking is like classical music. When you cook, you can extemporize. Don’t have an ingredient, use something else. Use your instincts and your taste buds. Her recipe also called for fresh parsley and I did not have any. I used the fennel fronds instead just for the color. Parsley would have been a good addition and I will make this again with parsley, but it still made a delicious salad. In fact, that I can mess around with the original recipe here and there is proof, in my opinion, of the soundness of the foundation recipe. Good recipes can tolerate a lot of fiddling.
- 3 asparagus spears, lightly boiled or heated on low for a few minutes in microwave, until tender
- 1/4 cup of thinly sliced and chopped fennel
- 1/2 grapefruit supremed (cut segments out)
- 4 black olives, cut in half
- 1 tbsp of fennel fronds
Mix together in a bowl, squeeze the juice out of the leftover grapefruit, add 2 tsps of olive oil, a splash of rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
This was light, flavorful and satisfying. The olives were a surprisingly good addition, adding a satisfying bit of fattiness to the very light meal. I have loved green olives and grapefruit in salads. I thought black olives would be too mild, but they are a surprisingly good match. Asparagus is mild, which makes it a great foundation for strong flavors like fennel and grapefruit. Crunchy, light, flavorful, what more can I ask?
- Romaine Lettuce
- Yellow Onion
- Green Olives
- Asiago Cheese (or Parmesan)
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
Make dressing first. Zest a whole grapefruit, Add 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. This makes enough for three salads.
Chop six leaves of romaine lettuce and layer on the bottom of a platter. Thinly slice about 1/4 cup of fennel bulb. Dice up about 2 TBSPs of onion. Supreme half a grapefruit and layer six segments on the salad. Toss about eight olives on top. Shave a few pieces of asiago or parmesan cheese on top. I sprinkled with a bit of tajín on top to add a bit of heat and zest.
This salad is delicious. The olives and asiago add a bit of fatty creaminess to balance the astringency of the grapefruit and vinaigrette. The onions and fennel add sweetness and bite, balancing each other and the lettuce makes a solid foundation to marry all these flavors together harmoniously. It was a nearly perfect salad, I just should have made a little bit more.
This was a delicious and easy salad for lunch. I started by making my dressing first, a grapefruit zest- infused balsamic vinegar and oil. I made it first because I wanted the zest to soak into the balsamic vinegar and enhance its flavor.
- 1 grapefruit (and its zest)
- 1/4 small yellow onion
- 12 asparagus spears (thin)
- 12 almonds (toasted)
- 1/4 cupbalsamic vinegar
- 3 TBSP olive oil
First, zest the grapefruit until you have 2 TBSP of grapefruit zest. Add it in a small container that seals to 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar. Let rest for 10 minutes or until you are done making your salad. Add 3 TBSP of olive oil, salt, and pepper. It makes enough for 3 salads, so you will want the container to seal so it can be saved.
Put a dozen almonds in a dry pan on medium high heat so they toast. Keep an eye on them so they don’t turn too dark. You don’t want them to turn bitter.
Using a vegetable peeler, slice thin strips off the asparagus so you have a nice deep bed of asparagus strips for the base of your salad.
Cut the ends, the peel and the pith off the grapefruit and carefully remove the segments from the skin. Cut them in half, and toss on the asparagus.
Cut your onion in half lengthwise. Take half and cut it in half again. Cut off both ends and slice thinly, separating the slices into thin strips. Toss into the salad.
Chop the almonds and toss them on top. Shake the dressing to mix the file and vinegar and toss on the salad. Mix lightly and serve.
If you want to add cheese, you could add thin strips of parmesan, but it really did not need it.
This is a quick, easy breakfast with a complex and satisfying flavor.
So the first thing I did was supreme a grapefruit. This is simple, cut the ends off the grapefruit and then cut away the peel, with the knife slice along the inside of the segments so the grapefruit so you have as much of the grapefruit flesh as possible.
I took about 8 olives or so and sliced them in half, tossed in a bit of feta. Then I added some salt and pepper and a dash of Tajín, a delicious Mexican spice blend of chiles, dried limes and sea salt.
It makes one serving, takes less than five minutes and is a fresh, lively breakfast dish.
I made some bulgur while I made my morning tea, adding two cups of boiling water to 1 cup of bulgur and leaving it io absorb the liquid. It was tender and ready for salad later in the day when I was making lunch.
I started by cutting the flesh from a grapefruit. To supreme a grapefruit, cut away the peel and then slice the wedges. I cut this on cutting board to capture all the grapefruit juice that gets squeezed out in the process no matter how hard you try to avoid it. I cut the wedges to avoid any skin and pith and then tossed the juice on the cutting board and the skin and grapefruit left on the skin when cutting wedges into a sauce pan to flavor a vinaigrette. I added about 3 TBSP of chopped onions and cooked them with a bit of olive oil and the grapefruit remnants. I added about 2 tsp of sugar and some white wine vinegar. The vinaigrette was tart and sweet and delicious. I removed the grapefruit bits and left the onions.
I added the grapefruit segments from the grapefruit plus thinly sliced pieces from two stalks of celery, about 1/4 cup of pomegranate, 2 cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup of chopped cilantro, 6 toasted and chopped almonds and 1/4 cup of feta. I then added the bulgur and the vinaigrette and let the flavors marry for about an hour before serving.
The bulgur have it a hearty foundation and the grapefruit and pomegranate added a nice light sourness. The vinaigrette was slightly sweet. The salad was a rich combination of flavors. The next time I make it, though, I might try added some dried cherries, too. Makes 4 servings.
I used a small bunch of lacinato kale, washed, removed the stems and chopped the leaves. This made about 8 cups of chopped kale. I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated. With my hand, I massaged the oil into the kale, softening the leaves.
With a knife, I supremed a grapefruit, cutting off the ends and the peel and pith. Then I used the knife to cut the flesh off in segments between the skin. I tossed the grapefruit into the salad.
I then added 2 TBSP of mango nectar and 2 TBSP of 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened). I put a lid on the container and shook it to distribute everything evenly and let it set in the fridge for an hour.
When serving, I added a bit of pepper on top. It’s a delicious tart and sweet salad with a hearty kale foundation. The ginger adds heat to balance the sweet mango.
Is there anything better than a big bunch of pea shoots in the spring? This one bunch has been enough for seven meals. Four salads, two meals of soup and I have some left for salad tomorrow. Yum!
For today, I chopped up the tops of the pea shoots (I used all the bottoms in the soup yesterday) and scattered them on a plate. I put some almonds in a dry pan on high heat and let them toast while I prepared the rest of the salad. Then I peeled half a cucumber and after it was peeled, continued with the peeler to slice off thin slice after slice and scattered them on the pea shoots. Then I supremed one grapefruit and spread it around the outside. I chopped the toasted almonds and tossed them on top. Adding some salt and pepper, I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on top as well as a bit of walnut oil and served.
I love the mix of hearty toasted almonds, the light cucumber, the tangy sweet grapefruit and the hearty pea shoots all harmonized by the balsamic vinegar and oil. It was a delicious and light supper for a hot day.
I made a larger than usual batch of salad yesterday, wanting to use my brussels sprouts before they turned. I used about 4 cups of brussels spouts, cutting off the ends and cleaning them before slicing them thinly and stirring them up so they break apart into thin shreds.
To that, I added 1 cup of chopped red onion and the segments of 2 grapefruits I supremed. I also squeezed the juice of 1 lemon into the salad. Then I added some salt and a couple dashes of cayenne. The cool thing about cayenne is though it can be dangerously hot, with citrus it can develop a wonderful sweet heat that is pure magic. Normally I would add a TBSP of walnut oil or olive oil to help the citrus and cayenne dressing cling to the veggies better, but I opted to leave it out for a sharper flavor. If you want the salad to be a little more mellow, just add a bit of oil.
This made about 10 servings, so I will have some luscious salad for a while.