Winter Salad

Important question for you:  is salad only a summer food?

I think not.

Never had I even pondered such a notion before this year, when a friend surprised me with this assertion after I innocently suggested adding a salad to our dinner plan, in January.

Well, I do kind of get it.

Delicate baby greens would seem to be spring and summer food.  But what about cabbage and kale, mature Romaine even?  What about green houses that produce micro greens year-round for all of us rabbit-food fans in the world?  What about the fact that I, personally, rely on salads as a staple in my way of eating no-matter the weather outdoors?

I guess, since I know many people who are also munching on salads year-round, I took it for granted that it’s a norm for most.  Or maybe it’s because I’m American and my blasphemous friend is European?  With superior food knowledge?

But still, it seems a bit drastic to deny oneself the pleasure of a good salad for 3/4 of the year.

Ultimately, if being a correct food consumer means limiting salad-eating to the 3 months of summer, I’m out.

This here is my Winter Salad, so named because it makes use of citrus fruit and other items which can be easily sourced in the cold months.  Over the years I have been inspired periodically to tinker with a recipe by this title I discovered in a random food magazine, long since out of print.  After multiple modifications over time, I’m happy to now call it my own and share it here.

A former next-door neighbor in Bangkok who would often turn up for dinner referred to it as, “The Good Salad.”  I always got a kick out of that.

The salad features citrus, a light, slightly sweet and spicy dressing, avocados and healthy slivered almonds.  It’s easily topped with shrimp, chicken or boiled eggs if you want a main dish salad.  Without the added protein, it makes an interesting side salad.

This latest edition of the recipe, among other things, incorporates erythritol into the dressing instead of sugar, with which I began experimenting earlier this year.  Since there was so little white sugar in the original version, this was an easy way to eliminate a bit of the blood sugar spike this salad delivers, though of course it still turns up here in the oranges and pomelo.

If you try this salad, I hope you let me know what you think.

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Winter Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Salad
Servings: 6
Ingredients
  • 6 cups lettuce leaves of your choice
  • 6 cups spinach or arugula
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1 cup pomelo (or grapefruit) segmented and shredded a bit
  • 1 cup orange sectioned, roughly 2 oranges
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds toasted
  • 1/4 cup feta or goat cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 cup avocado or other clean oil
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp erythritol
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the lovely salad ingredients gently in a big salad bowl.  

  2. Put the avocado oil, white wine vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, erythritol, salt and cayenne pepper in a jar with a tight lid, and give it a good shake to mix everything up.  
  3. Pour as much dressing as desired over the salad before tossing and enjoying.

 

 

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Avocado Oil Mayonnaise – Immersion Blender Method

To state the obvious, mayonnaise is delicious, as a dip or spread, and can be a super delivery system for healthy fats, but only if it is not the store-bought kind made with artificial ingredients and evil vegetable oils.

While homemade mayo has appealed to me for years, it never seemed like a quick solution. The part in the recipes where you are supposed to ever so slowly drip, drip, drip the oil into the egg yolk mixture while stirring frantically is usually where I’d tune out and instead grab the jar of whatever store brand was in my fridge instead. I mean, life is too short for that nonsense, right?

Then I discovered another technique, involving an immersion blender.  Turns out, with an immersion blender, a lovely all-natural mayo can be made in mere moments, no patience required.

When I first read about this technique, I was lucky enough to have an underutilized immersion blender residing in my kitchen.  I had purchased it on a whim on a business trip in Europe.  While in Belgium, I somehow found myself in the ubiquitous chain household discount store called, “Action.”  Action is similar to a Goodwill store – there is a lot of clutter – except the goods are new.  I was roaming around aimlessly when I wandered right into a no-name immersion blender sitting on a shelf with a 4 Euro price tag, smiling at me.  I bought it on the spot.  I stuck it in my suitcase and hauled it back to Bangkok where it had been gathering dust in the back of my kitchen cabinet ever since.

…Until I noticed those immersion blender mayo recipes online.  I experimented a bit and put together what I think is a solid mayo blend using organic avocado oil, since that is what I had at home.  It is thick and creamy, and it tastes great.

Another thing about this method of making mayonnaise – it’s cool how instantaneous the mayo comes together.  The color and texture of the ingredients in the jar turns from clear and liquid to white and creamy in seconds.  So, as a bonus, it’s also fun to make.

My mayonnaise habits have changed fro the better.

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Avocado Oil Mayonnaise - Immersion Blender Method
Prep Time
3 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This is a delicious alternative to the jarred mayos which are mostly filed with preservatives, artificial ingredients, emulsifiers and of course highly processed vegetable oils.

It's a snap to make with an immersion blender and will last for 1 week in a sealed container in the fridge.

It is important to use a tall-ish jar or container that is just slightly wider than your immersion blender to use during the blending process - the snugger the fit the better.  The one I use (an old Lotus Spekaloos paste (known as "cookie spread" in the US at Trader Joes) fits my immersion blender like a glove - I even have to use a bending maneuver to finagle the protruding blade part of the blender inside the jar.  Find the container that works for you and your blender.

Ingredients
  • 2 egg yolks room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard room temperature
  • 1 cup avocado oil
Instructions
  1. Start with a the container you will use to blend the mayo.  This container should basically be hugging the immersion blender as it is blending.  

  2. Add all ingredients in order to the container.

  3. Put the immersion blender in the container and blend.  Once the mayonnaise magic begins (it is practically instantaneous), move the head of the immersion blender up and down a bit to thoroughly mix everything up.  The total process should take no more than 2 minutes.

    Enjoy for up to one week, when stored in a sealed container in the fridge.

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