Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mixed Greens with Cara Cara Orange, Avocado and Olives

We have a slight obsession going on with Cara Cara oranges over here. I don't know if it's the orange itself or it's name, really. How fun is it to say something so rhymy when you're 3? It usually comes out something like "I want a Cara Cara Cara Cara Cara Cara Cara Cara Cara (is that enough Caras yet?) orange please?" I've been buying them by the dozen and they evaporate like candy, usually eaten just plain. But I'm far from plain when it comes to food, as I'm sure you are well aware if you have read even two of my posts, and so of course I have been trying to get a little creative with our oranges.

Despite popular belief, my kids don't really eat salad. Or at least the green parts of it. Usually there's enough goodies and toppings in my salads for them to pick at that it provides the illusion that they are actually eating salad but now you know my dirty little secret. A few weeks ago, I had a winter citrus fest going on in my produce drawer and I was inspired to make use of both my grapefruits and Cara Cara oranges together in one fell swoop. The results were divine and I must confess that I was pretty proud of my creation. It was so delicious I made the exact same salad the following day.

If you have been intimidated by making your own salad dressings, it's high time you get over it. I promise it is worth it and doable and you won't go back, at least very often. Invest in some sort of sealed glass bottle - I use the Korken Bottle with stopper from Ikea - and then you have an easy mixing vehicle for you creations. I like to make a big batch of dressing and keep it in the pantry so I always have some on hand. In a pinch, a large jar with a well-sealed lid also works great. The basics are this: 1 part vinegar to 2-3 parts oil. If you can remember even that much, you're golden. Then you can add herbs, a sweetener if needed (sugar, honey, maple syrup), Dijon and/or seasonings. Go haywire and use what's in your fridge and get creative! Taste often and adjust. I recommend following recipes at the beginning until you feel more confident and then venture out and experiment on your own - have fun with it! If you're still doubtful, know that it took me approximately 30 years and 179 days to gain enough confidence to attempt a dressing by myself and hey, look at me now! If I can figure it out, so can you.

Mixed Greens with Cara Cara Orange, Avocado and Olive and a Grapefruit Vinaigrette
(recipe created by yours truly)

1 (5 oz) bag mixed greens
2 Cara Cara oranges, peeled and segmented, pith removed
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
Drizzle of chili oil, to serve

White Balsamic Grapefruit Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon Cara Cara orange zest
2 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar (to taste)
Fresh ground pepper
Kosher Salt

Combine first 4 salad ingredients (mixed greens through olives) in a large bowl.

To prepare dressing, combine zest, grapefruit juice, balsamic, olive oil and brown sugar in a sealed glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt. Shake vigorously to mix.

Gently toss salad with vinaigrette and drizzle with chili oil to serve.

Serves 6

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posted by kelsie