Another Pretty Thing

Finding pretty things for spring is what I do—in the clothing store, on my outdoor ventures and in my kitchen. Here’s another pretty thing I whipped up for a whole-grain salad. This time I chose a gorgeous ripe mango to make a piquant sauce for quinoa and black bean salad.

MANGO SAUCE ON QUINOA SALAD

Sweet and Sour Mango Sauce

Find a ripe, un-bruised mango and remove the meat. Throw the mango into a high-speed blender or food processor with juice of half a lemon, a pinch of sea salt and a flavored white balsamic vinegar of your choice. (I used a Hawaiian coconut white balsamic and it was absolutely fabulous!) If you don’t have a flavored vinegar, it is still going to be delish with just a well-aged white balsamic.

The quinoa salad is simply cooked quinoa, black beans, celery, red onion and quite a bit of parsley. I know you’ll improvise here as well!

The outcome? Couldn’t get enough of this! It was nearly gone before I even had a chance to take a picture.

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Simply Radishing

Today’s Daily Prompt: Turn, Turn, Turn asks, For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?

Though I wouldn’t have a problem living in any climate whether hot or cold or dry or humid, I think I am like most folks as far as seasons go. I rejoice in whatever is coming next!

I have lived in places where winter consists of a few weeks of rain and cooler temps and where decorating the palm tree for Christmas is common. I’ve also lived where winter thrives well into the “springtime” months and begins again before the official end of “summer.”

Maybe I should call myself a “fair weather friend!” Because I love the promise of the changing season more than the season itself. I love the broader viewpoint that comes from observing the daily nuances—sometimes hardly perceptible—that reflect bigger planetary motions which give us a changing season and the illusion of the passing of time.

April is no exception.

This is the time of year when I crave much lighter food including a LOT more vegetables. The weather gets hot very quickly here in New Mexico and actually I’ve been adjusting my menu choices for over a month now to prepare for it.

What caught my eye recently are these vibrant-looking radishes!

radishing

I like to make a very light pressed salad with radishes and greens when the greens are this fresh and wonderful.

Pressed radish salad

  1. Wash the greens and radishes thoroughly (they can have quite a bit of sand and dirt) then separate the greens from the roots. Slice the roots thinly. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to cut them in half lengthwise and then slice vertically. A good, sharp knife makes all the difference!
  2. Roughly chop the greens including the stems and put them in a bowl with the sliced radishes
  3. Sprinkle it all with sea salt and mix it around until the greens start to glisten. The salt draws some of the moisture out of the vegetables. 
  4. Find a small plate that fits into the bowl and place it on top of the radishes and greens. Then find a heavy can or jar or rock and put that on top of the plate. The weight will help to “press” the salad.
  5. Press the salad at least a half hour. You can press it for as long as you like, but the longer you press it, the more “pickled” the veggies will be. I like them just lightly pressed myself. This takes a little of the raw taste out of the radishes but maintains its fresh, light character.
  6. Rinse excess salt off of the salad and spin or pat it dry. You can dress this if you want to but I don’t. Keep in mind that if you add vinegar or citrus it will turn the greens dark. So add that just before serving.

I don't trim off the green stub from the stem if it looks fresh. I will trim the little dark blemish on that half-sliced radish.

I don’t trim off the green stub from the stem if it looks fresh. I will trim the little dark blemish on that half-sliced radish.

Fruit Meets Fennel Salad

I made this kind of late one night last week and it was so good we just scarfed it down.  No pictures or anything! So I thought I’d make it again and share it with you this time. The recipe morphed a bit. The first time I made it I used half a granny smith apple thinly sliced. This time I wanted to use up a grapefruit, pomegranate and some tangerines.

I use and recommend only organic ingredients.

FENNEL SALAD (Serves 4)

  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 red grapefruit, supremed
  • 2 tangerines, peeled with all pith removed
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup low fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh crushed garlic
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pinch of celery seeds
  • pomegranate arils

First "supreme" the grapefruit by removing the top and bottom and then carefully slicing away the sides.

First “supreme” the grapefruit by removing the top and bottom and then carefully slicing away the sides.

Turn the grapefruit over and continue trimming the peel. Then open the grapefruit and clean the pith and any seeds in the center.

Turn the grapefruit over and continue trimming the peel. Then open the grapefruit and clean the pith and any seeds in the center.

Separate the sections, removing all the connective tissue.

Separate the sections, removing all the connective tissue.

Now peel the tangerines, removing all the white pith. I used Satsuma tangerines which separate very easily from their skin.

Now peel the tangerines, removing all the white pith. I used Satsuma tangerines which separate very easily from their skin.

Wash the fennel bulb and remove the top and trim the bottom. Cut the bulb in half and slice it thinly.

Wash the fennel bulb and remove the top and trim the bottom. Cut the bulb in half and slice it thinly.

I put my sliced fennel in a bowl of cold water with some lemon slices to keep it from discoloring or wilting while I finished prepping the salad.

I put my sliced fennel in a bowl of cold water with some lemon slices to keep it from discoloring or wilting while I finished prepping the salad.

Slice the celery. I cut it at a strong angle to create longer slices and take advantage of the texture. The celery leaves were in good shape so I used them too.

Slice the celery. I cut it at a strong angle to create longer slices and take advantage of the texture. The celery leaves were in good shape so I used them too.

Wash raw almonds in cold water and lay them out in a single layer in a baking pan. Roast at 350 until they smell aromatic and begin to brown. When they are cool, slice them up.

Wash raw almonds in cold water and lay them out in a single layer in a baking pan. Roast at 350 until they smell aromatic and begin to brown. When they are cool, slice them up.

Mix the yogurt, cider vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, lime zest, salt, pepper and celery seed.  Voila! Dressing!

Mix the yogurt, cider vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, lime zest, salt, pepper and celery seed. Voila! Dressing!

Coat the fennel, celery, grapefruit and tangerine with dressing. Garnish with roasted almond slices and pomegranate arils.*

Coat the fennel, celery, grapefruit and tangerine with dressing. Garnish with roasted almond slices and pomegranate arils.*

*I used an underwater method of seeding my pomegranate which I got from Saveur.com. See the video here.