Brussels Sprouts and Grapefruit Salad with Red Onions and Mint

Brussels Sprouts & Grapefruit Salad

 

This was a quick and easy 15 minute salad. I put 1 TBSP of olive oil on medium heat in a sauté pan and added 1 tsp of anise seed and a pinch of cardamom. While they heated I chopped two tbsp of red onions and 10 brussels sprouts. I added them to the oil once the air was perfumed by the spices and turned the heat down to just below medium.

While they were cooking, I chopped up 2 tbsp of fresh mint into small pieces and supremed a grapefruit. To supreme a grapefruit, cut off the top and bottom and slice away the peel so you remove all the skin. Then using a sharp knife, cut out the segments so there is no skin attached. When I was done, I tossed in the mint and squeezed all the juice out of the leftover center and skin of the grapefruit into the pan, stirring lightly.

You only want to warm the vegetables so they are not too crunchy, but are still toothsome. After removing from the heat, I added the grapefruit segments and stirred, adding just a touch of salt.

If there were ever flavors meant to be together, they are anise seed, mint and grapefruit. Candy manufacturers could make some hard candy sucker with their flavor. The brussels sprout and red onion add just enough bite and earthiness to balance that rich, perfumed sweetness of the grapefruit. Yum! Makes one large salad, or two small side salads.

Cucumber, Radish and Feta Salad

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I chopped 1/2 of a cucumber, 2 radishes, about 2 tbsp red onion and mixed with 1/2 cup of feta cheese. Adding about 6 leaves of fresh mint chopped up fine, I added 2 TBSP of vinegar and mixed it altogether for a quick and easy salad.

This is a fresh, light salad with a bit of zing from the mint and the radish and lots of creaminess from the feta. This made 4 small servings.

Salad with Pears, Red Onions, Mint and Toasted Almonds

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In preparation, I sliced a red onion on the mandoline at the thinnest possible setting and put them in a container to use in multiple dishes. I took a small handful to use in this salad – perhaps 2 TBSP total. I also sliced a pear at the medium setting, saving about 2/3rds for later and using 1/3rd in the salad. I grabbed a small handful of almonds, cut them in half lengthwise and toasted them on medium-high heat. I cleaned three stems of mint, stripping off the leaves and chopping them finely.

I cleaned and chopped 4 leaves of romaine lettuce and layered it on a platter. I then layered the red onion and the pears. I sprinkled the mint leaves and the toasted almonds on top. I drizzled about 1 TBSP of olive oil and about 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar on top. Some fresh ground pepper and salt and it was done.

The onion was important to balance the sweetness of the pear and the almonds gave it some necessary heartiness. I had originally planned to include chevre but the pear was so very ripe and sweet that I decided against it. It’s a new variety of pear for me called Taylors Gold and it is deliciously sweet and an idea fresh eating pear or for sauces and jams, but perhaps a bit tender for salads. Nonetheless, it didn’t break apart in the salad or turn to mush. As for flavor, it could not possibly be tastier.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

This salad is inspired by Aarti Sequeira’s salad for Food Network, but I have changed it slightly.

I cut up 1 watermelon and 1 cantaloupe into 1 inch pieces. As I cut them up, I put them into my giant colander inside a large mixing bowl so that the juice dripped into the bowl. While removing the rind from the watermelon, I set it to one side to use for a watermelon chutney. I left the fruit to drain into the bowl for an hour.

Coming back, I poured the melon juice into a glass for a lovely glass of juice. However, I took 2 tbsp of the juice and put it in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of raw buckwheat honey and stirred and stirred and stirred until the honey was blended with the juice. I then juiced two limes into the bowl and 2 generous pinches of sumac. I cleaned and chopped about 1/2 cup of fresh mint and added it to the bowl. I mixed these together and dressed the watermelon. I put it all in a plastic container to marinate a bit.

When serving, I just spooned some salad in the bowl and sprinkled feta on top. I do not mix the feta in with the salad until serving because I don’t want it to soften in the dressing.

Watermelon is my favorite fruit. I honestly thought nothing could improve on watermelon. Watermelon is so delicious it hardly needs anything to make it better, but the tartness of the sumac and the bright mint and sour lemon and that hearty buckwheat honey are just amazing together and then the bit of feta. There really can be something better than watermelon.

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Fennel & Red Cabbage Slaw and Watermelon Salad

Center Cut Pork Chop with Savory Cherry Sauce, Red Cabbage and Fennel Slaw, Melon & Feta Salad

This was actually tossed together in minutes. I made the savory cherry sauce a few days earlier. The watermelon salad was all done ahead and I simply added the feta at the last minute. Likewise, the fennel-cabbage slaw was made ahead.

I heated a cast-iron skillet to medium high, tossed the pork chop on and let it cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes, then turned it and let if finish cooking, about another 4 minutes. The secret to good, juicy pork chops (or any meat, really) is to resist the temptation to press on it with the spatula and to let it just cook without a lot of flipping. My mom said meat lost 1/4 of its juiciness every time it was turned and I believe it.

 

Chicken Braised in Pomegranate Molasses Sriracha Sauce and Roasted Veggies

Chicken Braised in Pomegranate Molasses Sriracha Sauce and Roasted Vegetables.

My best friend brought over some Pomegranate Sriracha and Mint Chicken Wings that she had made for a dinner party. The recipe came from the marvelous Food Network show, Aarti Party, that she and I like to watch.  There was a lot more sauce than wings, so after snapping up the wings, I stored the sauce in the fridge for a second use. As my friend said, “that sauce could make frilled shoe leather taste good.” It’s true. It is delicious. I am not repeating the recipe here since it’s her recipe and freely available to you by following this link. I had perhaps 1/8th cup of the sauce, so I added it to some warm water in my skillet to make a braising liquid and then put in a chicken breast and braised it in the sauce.

In the oven I put in a handful of green beans, about 6 thin asparagus and a red pepper cut into thin strips to mimic the shape of the beans and asparagus. I tossed on some olive oil and kosher salt and roasted at 450 for 15 minutes. They finished just after I removed the breast to let it rest on my plate before serving.

The pomegranate sauce is a deep dark reddish-purple that looks black in the photo. It was not black on the plate, though it’s very dark from the highly concentrated pomegranate molasses. The flavor is amazing – spicy, sweet, rich and fruity.