It’s always nice to get away a bit and join the world out there, and this past weekend, we attended my niece’s graduation from college. Even though it was a time to celebrate her and her accomplishments, we were able to get in a bit of time on our own and doing what we like best — relaxing, eating, a bit of breathing here, and a bit of shopping there. With respect to the shopping, I treated myself to a little cookbook that I couldn’t pass up called, Retro Happy Hour by Linda Everett. I’m a sucker for the ’50’s graphics and the recipes look perfect for those get togethers we happen into with friends on Fridays. I’ll have to let you know what I find out when I dive into this one, but not yet! It’s Monday, right?
One of the issues with any little soiree away from home is that I feel like I’ve ingested bricks when I return. So salad is always in order. And although any salad will do, I’ve been playing around with a different kind of salad lately — one with a southwest twist. I can’t remember if it was in April or May’s O magazine, but there was a fairly simple piece on salads. I liked the way a grid was used to show how different flavors, ingredients, and dressings could be mixed and matched to conjure up a particular twist for a Mediterranean, Southwest, or Middle Eastern type of salad. I probably haven’t gotten that exactly correct, but hopefully, the idea carries. That being said, I also figured you guys needed a break after that cake porn I posted before I left! So I’m redeeming myself, okay? Thanks for visiting while I was away…
juice of 4 key limes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 roasted jalapeno, minced
1 tsp honey
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8-1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
- Roast jalapeno over the burner of a stove, under the broiler, or on a grill. Let cool, and remove all blackened skin. Slice off top to discard, and cut along length to open. Retain seeds and membrane if more heat is desired. Otherwise, remove all seeds and membranes before mincing.
- Into a small bowl large enough to insert a whisk, squeeze the limes, removing any seeds from juice.
- Mince and add garlic, then minced jalapeno.
- Add honey and stir to mix ingredients.
- With a whip, gradually add olive oil in a steady stream, creating an emulsion.
- Taste to adjust seasonings or acidity.
In this dressing, adjustments can be made for a variety of reasons — to make it sweeter, taste more like limes, spicer. It’s really all up to your preference and depending on what will go into the salad. Have fun experimenting.
3-4 c. arugula or any salad green mix that is stronger than lettuce
1/4 c. cilantro roughly chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2-inch slice of jicama, cut into matchsticks
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
3 T. pinones (pine nuts), browned
- Rinse and dry arugula. Place in a large, wide serving bowl or platter.
- In a cast iron skillet or heavy sauce pan, place the pinones heat over a med high flame until browned, shaking from time to time so they don’t burn. Remove from pan to cool.
- Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the arugula.
- Spread jicama matchsticks over greens
- Drop mango and avocado cubes evenly over top.
- Sprinkle red onion slices across.
- Add feta and finish with the toasted pinones.
Before serving, add desired amount of dressing, toss, and plate. Goes very well with grilled chicken, fish, or beef. Or, skip the protein and add a chunk of crusty grilled bread. Funny, I can’t say I’m a big fan of mangoes, and I don’t often use jicama because it’s a bit tough to cut (call me lazy), but I do love an interesting mix of sweetness and tartness in my salad from time to time. The peppery arugula which I have come to love alone or mixed with other greens, and the crunchiness of the pinones and jicama help to make this quite the enjoyable combo. Looks gorgeous, tastes great. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!