Salad

Making the Best of Young Ginger

It’s been a busy week and again, we are in the mood for something refreshing. I noticed last week that young ginger is now available at the farmers market, so I picked some up. So many things can be made from it, and it  is so soft, tender and much easier to peel and grate. If you like ginger, and If you’ve never had ginger in this form before, you will love it!

Young ginger~ so tender

Young ginger~ so tender

I just made some cucumber namasu with what I bought on Saturday. If you’ve never had namasu before, it is a nice, little Japanese side dish made with uncooked vegetables, marinated in a simple vinaigrette. It’s then chilled and in the process, it becomes slightly pickled. The first time I ever had it, it was made from bitter melon, and it was absolutely delicious. An elderly, Japanese friend of Monty’s gave some to us, and what I loved about it was the bits of bean thread (also known as long rice or cellophane noodles) and imitation crab that was in it. Today I made it with Japanese cucumbers, and if you ask me, it really is about the marinade. Here’s how I did it:

1 large English cucumber (or several small Japanese cucumbers, if available)
1½ teaspoons salt
4 oz. mung bean or rice noodles
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (young ginger,
if available)
1 tablespoon bottled sushi ginger, chopped
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon bottled sushi ginger liquid
1 teaspoon sesame oil (or to taste)
4 oz. flake crab meat, chopped (optional ~
imitation is okay)
1 tablespoon sesame seed (I used white and black)

——————————————————————————–

Place mung bean or rice noodles into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to sit for 1 hour, then drain.

Snip the bean thread into small pieces

Snip the bean thread into small pieces

Snip into 1-2 inch lengths with kitchen shears, if you have them. Set aside.

 

Peel, seed and slice the cukes

Peel, seed and slice the cukes

Spoon out the seeds

Spoon out the seeds

Peel cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and then cut into thin slices. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers and mixit in. Marinate in the fridge for about an hour, then rinse excess salt off with water. Drain, then gently squeeze out any water from the cucumbers. Pat them dry.

 

I like to add some sushi ginger juice

I like to add some sushi ginger juice

Chop the green onions and gingers, and place them into a bowl.

Heat rice vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Mix in liquid from sushi ginger and the sesame oil.

 

Toss the ingredients, adding in the sesame seeds

Toss the ingredients, adding in the sesame seeds

Mix gingers, green onions, crabmeat and sesame seeds with the cucumbers.

Mix the bean thread in

Mix the bean thread in

Add the bean thread and toss again.

 

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours

Dress with cooled dressing and chill for several hours.

 

A sprinkling of furikake makes a good garnish

A sprinkling of furikake makes a good garnish

Garnish with some furikake, if you have some.

Serves 4.

Namasu with bean thread

Namasu with bean thread

A cool, refreshing side dish

A cool, refreshing side dish

We enjoy our summer dinners on the lanai. I served this with one of our favorites~  Chinese pork with long squash, which I posted a few weeks ago. Delicious together!

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Dinner on the lanai~ namasu served with Chinese pork and long squash

Dinner on the lanai~ namasu served with Chinese pork and long squash

Namasu with bean thread

Namasu with bean thread

A Refreshing, Exotic Salad

Okay, it’s time to get a little exotic, here. You might have noticed that I have a passion for passionfruit, though we call it lilikoi, here. The season is in full swing right now, and there are lots of wonderful things that can be created from these tangy, little fruits.

The passionflower is very exotic looking

The passionflower is very exotic looking

As you can see, the flower is quite exotic-looking. The many varieties have different colors and shapes, all of them interesting and colorful.

 

You can see how the fruit forms from the flower

You can see how the fruit forms from the flower

The fruit is interesting too, especially when you see how it is formed from the flower. You know it’s ripe when the skin turns yellow, red or purple.

Anyway, it has a tangy, citrusy flavor that lends well to desserts, as well as sauces and dressings. I also has a bazillion seeds inside, which you will either love for their texture or dislike for their quantity. I personally love them, but I really like texture in my food. The season lasts here from about late June until December, and believe me, I buy enough when I see it to collect the juice and pulp for future use. I really miss it, when it can’t be found.

People tend to make sweets from the fruit, but I’ve made a point of finding lots of savory recipes to use them. This is a salad dressing that I found online, and fell in love with. I couldn’t find the absolute source, just because I found it shared many times. So, to the creator of this, wherever you are, thank you!

Passionfruit (lilikoi) is easily scooped out, once cut

Passionfruit (lilikoi) is easily scooped out, once cut

The salad is made from local ingredients;  you may have to substitute a few things, but if you use your imagination, you will get pretty close. You can likely find frozen passionfruit juice in your local store.

 

Mango and peppers

Mango and peppers

I couldn’t resist buying these beautiful peppers. I’m going to use the red one in the salad.

If you’d like to try, here’s what I used:

For the Salad

4 cups fresh, local, baby greens
1 cup micro greens (if you can find them)
1 mango, diced
½ cup diced sweet, red pepper (or rainbow peppers, if you can find them)
1 small or ½ large avocado, sliced
¼ cup finely sliced red onion

For the Dressing

½ cup fresh strained lilikoi pulp & juice (I kept the seeds in)
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup raw local honey
½ teaspoon of your favorite sweet/hot mustard (I like dijon)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup olive oil
pepper to taste

Start with some greens

Start with some greens

The fresh, local greens come first, of course. This is a lovely mix of lettuces, herbs and baby spinach~ they may be fragile, but they have a lot of flavor.

 

Add micro greens

Add micro greens

Add the micro greens~ they give a nice, herby flavor.

 

I added sweet, red pepper

I added sweet, red pepper

Here’s the red pepper!

 

Lilikoi juice~ I like the seeds, too

Lilikoi juice~ I like the seeds, too

Make the dressing next: measure the lilikoi juice into a jar.

 

Measure dressing ingredients into a jar

Measure dressing ingredients into a jar

Add the rest of the dressing ingredients in with the juice and cover.

 

Shake it up!

Shake it up!

Shake until blended. The mustard should help to emulsify it the dressing.

 

Add avocado last

Add avocado last

Add the onion and avocado last, then add the dressing.

Greens with mango, avocado and lilikoi dressing

Greens with mango, avocado and lilikoi dressing

Serve on salad plates.

 

This makes a very, nice salad to serve with beef or fish

This makes a very, nice salad to serve with beef or fish

I found this combination uniquely wonderful!

 

Add shrimp to make it a full meal

Add shrimp to make it a full meal

If you’d like to make it a full meal, add some shrimp and top with a bit more dressing.

 

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It’s delicious~ enjoy!

“Rummy O’Gray’s” Fabulous Spinach Salad

My Monty has a nickname. It’s Rummy O’Gray. He actually got this name from when he was buying and selling stuff on eBay, using their username generator. The generator would ask questions like, “What do you like to drink?” and “What is your favorite color?” and somehow he ended up with this. He also considers it his “pirate” name, which is appropriate enough, since he has always been a sailor. He still is a sailor in his heart, though he doesn’t have a boat right now.

Anyway, way back in day when we first met, Monty would frequently cook me dinner. He would impress me, (like a good man should)  with some really spectacular stuff like stuffed mushrooms, steak salad and his very own version of chicken long rice. Of all those things he cooked for me back then, none was ever as memorable as his spinach salad. There is a lot to love about this classic, from the fresh healthy greens, juicy tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and the simple, but extra-special dressing. Soon enough, you’ll see why I chose this moniker to describe this dish! What I will tell you now is that the dressing can be lit at the end for dramatic effect!

BACON!

Bacon!

I also know the bacon lovers will adore this one, too~ Yes, it does have bacon in it! It not only has bacon in it, but the drippings from the pan that the bacon was fried in are used to make the dressing.  We tend to only have this once in a while, for that reason, but It’s a very, thoroughly enjoyed treat, when we do.

Okay, now that I have everyone’s attention, here is what you’ll need:

What's needed

What’s needed

For the salad

8 oz. fresh young spinach, washed and spun dry (or buy the pre-washed stuff and save yourself a little time)

4 slices bacon (I like to use uncured)

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

¼ cup red onion, chopped

8 oz. fresh white mushrooms, stems removed and slice thin

1-2 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 avocado, sliced

For the dressing

juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon honey

1 oz. of rum

A bit of bacon fat and this...

A bit of bacon fat and this…

Ok, now see that last ingredient? That’s what this is all about!

Toss ingredients before adding spinach

Toss ingredients before adding spinach

In a large bowl, place tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs and onion. Toss very gently to mix ingredients. Set aside.

Fry the bacon in a frying pan. Drain and cool bacon on paper toweling; set aside, saving drippings in pan. The drippings will become the oil in the dressing.

If there is a lot of bacon grease, remove some once it’s cooled a bit, so you have approximately ¼ cup left in the pan. Gently heat the grease and add in the lemon juice and honey. The grease should sizzle, when these are added. Carefully add in the rum and cook for about 3 minutes, or if you like drama, light with a match or lighter so the alcohol burns off. (I tried to get a photo of this and failed. Oh, well…)

Rummy O'Gray, himself

Rummy O’Gray, himself

I did get this photo of Rummy O’Gray, who insisted I take a photo of him with flash. I hate flash photos, but I did want to accommodate the dressing chef!

Add spinach and avocado

Add spinach and avocado

Add sliced avocado and spinach into the salad and gently toss. Pour warm bacon dressing over salad and gently toss again.

Mmmmmm….

Mmmmmm….

Another yummy summer supper

Another yummy summer supper

Spinach salad with bacon

Rummy O’Gray’s Spinach Salad with Bacon & Eggs

Serve immediately and enjoy! The only thing we’re adding to this to make it a meal, is some sourdough bread. Yippee!

 

 

 

Ham and Cheese Without the Bread~ A Salad For All Seasons

Here’s another favorite salad that I’ve been making for years~ it’s all “chop” and no cook. This is a lovely combination of smoky ham and sweet cranberries, with lots of varied textures from crispy apples, crunchy walnuts and creamy cheddar cheese. What I find special about this, is that it’s so good and satisfying, it doesn’t even need dressing. Of course, you can have some if you like, and If you do, I would recommend something like bleu cheese, honey mustard or poppy seed.

Another thing I like about this salad, is that it seems to lend itself to all seasons. There is a touch of Thanksgiving about it, with the apples and cranberries, though it is very refreshing in Summer.

What you need for this

What you need for this

All you need is a knife, a cutting board and the following…

1 apple, diced (I like Pacific Rose apples, if you can find them)
1 stalk celery, diced (or use 2 stalks of the heart of the celery~ they are more tender)
1 red pepper, diced
½ small red onion, chopped
8 oz. ham, diced (turkey ham works well, too)
4 oz. cheddar cheese, cubed
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces

Slice celery

Slice celery

Chop & add red onion

Chop and add red onion

Chop and add red bell pepper

Chop and add red bell pepper

Dice and add apple

Dice and add apple

Chop the first 4 ingredients first…

Toss the first four ingredients

Toss the first four ingredients

…then mix in a large bowl.

Next add ham, cheese, walnuts and cranberries

Next add ham, cheese, walnuts and cranberries

Next, add the ham and cheese and mix them into the vegetables. Add the walnuts and cranberries. (Make sure your bowl is large enough, or you’ll have to transfer this mixture to a larger bowl, like I did.)

Add lettuce last

Add lettuce last

Add the lettuce last, so that when you toss everything together, the lettuce isn’t the only thing on top!

Toss!

Toss!

Toss and serve!

Cornbread makes a perfect accompaniment

Cornbread makes a perfect accompaniment

Serve with or without dressing, with bread or cornbread.

Great for lunch or dinner

Great for lunch or dinner

 

Ham & Cheese Salad~ fresh and delicious

Ham & Cheese Salad~ fresh and delicious

This will serve about 3-4 people as a main dish, but the leftovers are quite wonderful the next day for lunch. Consider a variation by using smoked turkey, instead of ham. It would be just as good.

 

 

When It’s Too Warm to Cook…

Natural, Italian sausages~ such a good price

Natural, Italian sausages~ such a good price

I got these nice, Italian chicken sausages on sale, and I was trying to think of something that would go well with them. It’s been pretty warm, so I didn’t really feel like heating up the kitchen with pasta sauce, soup or anything else that would need to be cooked for a long time.

So here’s some insight into how my brain works in dealing with such things. I got to thinking, and something in my brain thought of hot dogs and beans. Okay, that’s more like apples and oranges, but then I thought that Italian-style beans might work out. That’s when I thought of bean salad, but I didn’t really want to do that soggy three-bean thing that comes in a can~ I wanted something fresher. I have dried cannellini beans, but I didn’t want to do an overnight soak, and I certainly didn’t want to have to cook them on the stove for hours. Checking the cupboard, I did have canned cannellini beans and that’s when things started coming together.

I really wanted to use stuff I had gotten from the farmers market over the weekend… that would be the usual red onion, parsley and basil. I also had some roasted red peppers in the refrigerator, too.

Here’s what I did… please note how easy it would be to double or triple this for a crowd, or just for extra servings.

Cannellini beans and the usual farmers market herbs

Cannellini beans and the usual farmers market herbs

For the salad

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

¼ cup roasted red peppers (from a jar), chopped

For the dressing

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet basil

1 good pinch of dried oregano

1 good pinch of red pepper flakes

salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Simply put the first three ingredients into a serving bowl.

Add ingredients into a non-reactive bowl

Add ingredients into a non-reactive bowl

 

Finely chop herbs and garlic together… they are all going into the same jar, anyway.

Chop garlic, parsley and basil together

Chop garlic, parsley and basil together

 

Add the herbs into jar, along with the olive oil, wine vinegar, oregano and red pepper flakes. Shake it up! Taste, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Shake dressing ingredients together

Shake dressing ingredients together

 

Gently stir the dressing into the beans.

Stir dressing into beans

Stir dressing into beans

 

This salad is just as good at room temperature as it is chilled.

Italian bean salad

Italian bean salad

 

Now this is what I call Italian-style “hot dogs and beans!”

Great with Italian sausage

Great with Italian sausage

 

Serve it outside for maximum enjoyment.

A fresh and healthy side dish

A fresh and healthy side dish

 

Enjoy!

It even has Italian colors!

It even has Italian colors!

 

A Farmers Market Summer Salad

The summer produce is showing its face at the farmers market, not that it changes too much from season to season, in a place like this. But with Memorial Day having passed, that awareness of summer is here, and I love it! It’s my favorite season for many things, and good salads are definitely one of them.

Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil and Tomatoes

Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil and Tomatoes

Seeing the bounty at farmer’s market last weekend, brought on an urge to make a favorite salad recipe that I found last year in Fine Cooking.

Corn is probably best organic, if you can find it

Corn is probably best organic, if you can find it

It has corn in it, so if you are conscious of how some things are grown, you might want to considered getting organic.

Fresh green beans

Fresh green beans

It also has green beans, so look for the freshest you can get.

Rainbow cherry tomatoes

Rainbow cherry tomatoes

Best of all, it has tomatoes, and since I’m quite partial to these locally-grown, rainbow cherry ones, that’s what I used.

You can already see the beautiful colors that happen by making this salad, and then it’s sprinkled with snipped basil and dressed with a simple vinaigrette. It becomes downright refreshing!

This is very simple to make. To serve 6 people you’ll need:

3 cups fresh corn kernels, (about 3 ears)

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half

1 small red onion, halved and sliced thin

1 clove garlic

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 cup snipped fresh basil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Corn kernels, cooked and cooled

Corn kernels, cooked and cooled

In a large pot of boiling, salted water,  blanch the corn kernels for one minute.  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, and allow them to drain and cool. Place them into a large bowl.

Brilliantly cooked green beans :)

Brilliantly cooked green beans

In the same water, cook the green beans until just tender and brilliant green, (about 3 minutes) then drain and cool. Add them to the bowl with the corn.

While the veggies are cooling, chill the onion in a small bowl of ice water for a few minutes. The ice will mellow its flavor and crisp its texture.

Also, make the vinaigrette~ mash the garlic with the side of a knife, a mortar & pestle, or even a garlic press and work it into a paste with a pinch of salt. Put the paste into a small bowl or a jar, (which is my favorite method) and whisk or shake in the vinegar. Let it sit with the garlic to blend flavors for several minutes and then whisk or shake in the olive oil.

Add in the soaked red onion

Add in the soaked red onion

 

I love rainbow cherry tomatoes

I love rainbow cherry tomatoes

Snipped fresh basil adds wonderful summer flavor

Snipped fresh basil adds wonderful summer flavor

When ready to serve, drain the onions and add them along with the tomatoes and basil, into the bowl with the corn and beans. Season with salt & pepper and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Gently toss, taste and add more salt & pepper, if necessary.

Ready to serve!

Ready to serve!

Serve immediately.

Fresh veggies make the best salads

Fresh veggies make the best salads

 

 

Avocado-Strawberry-Spinach-Salad~ A Post That’s Been Screaming “Make Me!”

If you are on Facebook, I can almost bet that you’ve seen this salad:

I keep seeing this!

I keep seeing this!

I guess it helps to have healthy friends, because they keep posting it, and I keep seeing it. It seems to me it’s been floating around for at least a year now, and every time I see it, I think I should make this. Well, guess what? I just made this, and it’s delicious!

Simple ingredients at hand

Simple ingredients at hand

I looked at it again this morning, and realized that I already have the ingredients, so I might as well make something different, fresh and raw. It also gives me a chance  to use up a few vegetables that are left before we go load up again at the farmers market tomorrow, so this is a just another good thing. It’s so simple to make, too!

Toast almonds first

Toast almonds first

I started by toasting the almonds in a small frying pan, until they turned golden and that roasted nutty aroma began to drive me crazy. (I love that smell!) I did this first so they’d have a chance to cool.

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Then I chopped red onion and added it to the spinach.

Slice strawberries

Sliced strawberries~ yum!

 

Add strawberries to spinach and onion

Add strawberries to spinach and onion

I sliced the strawberries next, then added them in.

Add bleu or gorgonzola cheese

Add bleu or gorgonzola cheese

I used bleu cheese, though you can use gorgonzola, or really any other kind of soft, crumbly cheese.

Dice avocado

Dice the avocado

Then I diced the avocado….

Add avocado & almonds

Add avocado & almonds

… and added it in, along with the almonds. Then I tossed it gently, to keep from squishing up the avocado.

Put dressing ingredients into a jar

Put dressing ingredients into a jar

I like to put homemade dressings into a jar, because they are so easy to just shake and pour. I used olive oil with this, and instead of using the optional ground mustard called for, I used ¼ of a teaspoon of dijon mustard. It came out just fine!

poppyseeds

By the way, have you ever seen poppy seeds close up? They are fascinating!

Shake it up!

Shake it up!

I shook it up and poured it when the salad was ready.

Add dressing and serve

Add dressing and serve

Spinach, Strawberry and Avocado Salad

Spinach, Strawberry and Avocado Salad

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Have it for lunch, or have it for dinner~ it’s worth a try!

A Black Rice Salad for the Veggies Among Us

 

Black rice with mangos and peanuts

Black rice with mangos and peanuts

I’m sharing this recipe for a couple of reasons. The first one is I recently bought some black rice at the supermarket, when I was really looking for wild rice. I thought they were the same thing until I realized they weren’t. I did find some wild rice at another market, but I was thinking that this black rice looks really exotic and beautiful, and as I found out, it is a very, healthy whole grain…so, I went on a hunt for recipes.

Black rice~ I found it at the supermarket.

Black rice~ I found it at the supermarket.

I found one with some mangos that looked really good, though I wasn’t sure mangos were fully in season yet. I was also discussing mangos with a couple of vegetarian friends a few days ago, and they got very excited at the thought of a good veggie recipe with mangos in it. Then today, I found a nice, ripe, locally grown mango at the farmers market. Sold!

I have  a real passion for Southeast Asian food, and that’s another reason this recipe sings to my heart. It has wonderfully stinky fish sauce in it, (a.k.a. nam pla, nuoc nam or patis) which gives it a distinctive Asian flavor, and it also has lime and oranges, (I used cara-cara oranges) which give a lovely brightness to the salad. Peanuts and cilantro give a finishing touch. This is adapted from something I found in a Bon Appétit, magazine, but I did make a few changes.

A few things you'll need for this...

A few things you’ll need for this…

 

To make this, you’ll need:

2 oranges

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla, nuoc nam or patis)

1 cup black rice

1 mango, peeled and diced (I’ll demonstrate the best way to cut below)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, removed from their stems

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts

6 green onions, slice thin

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

Measure 1 cup of rice into a saucepan, shake in a bit of salt, and then cover with 1-3/4 cups water. Bring to boil, stir, and then lower heat and allow to simmer for approximately 35 minutes.

While rice is cooking, peel one of the oranges and separate the slices, carefully removing the as much of the white pith as possible. Using a paring knife, get under the segment’s skin to remove the membrane, and put them into a bowl. I cut the second orange in half cross-wise, and did the same as I did to the first one~ removed the membrane. I juiced the remaining orange half into a measuring cup.

Get the white pith off of the oranges

Get the white pith off of the oranges

In the measuring cup holding the orange juice, add the 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 Tablespoon fish sauce, and the two Tablespoons of oil. Whisk together and set aside.

When rice is finished cooking, spread it out on a rimmed cookie sheet to cool. Add another light sprinkle of salt over the rice. Whisk the dressing again and pour it over the rice, stirring gently to blend it in. Set the rice aside to cool.

While the rice is cooling, dice the mango. If you are not too sure how to do this, let me show you the way. It’s easy!

mango1

Your first cut is length-wise on the flatter side of the mango. You’ll realize that the pit is pretty flat and you want to cut along its side. So slice about a half inch away from the center, and the knife should cut all the way through.

mango2

The second cut is on the other side. You should have a thin strip of mango with a pit in the middle.

mango3

Next, you can trim off the skin from the center portion and cut the mango away from the pit. There won’t be a lot there, but why waste such wonderful tasting fruit?

mango4

 

Lastly, cross-cut the outer portions of fruit and scoop it out with a spoon into the bowl with the oranges. Save the juice, too… it’s wonderful!

All that’s left is to chop the red onion, green onion, the jalapeño pepper, and tear the cilantro leaves from their stems. Gently mix these and the peanuts into the oranges and mango bowl. Add the rice and gently toss. Serve with more lime juice, if desired.

black_rice3

This serves about 4, either chilled or at room temperature. I hope all of my friends enjoy this as much as I!

 

 

A Late Season Salad

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I love bosc pears, and I know that they are going away very soon. Thankfully, they will be replaced by other favorite fruits, but I thought I’d make this salad one last time for another six months or so. It’s easy and actually fun to make. All you need is:

Lettuce~ any kind will do. Spring greens are especially good in this if you can find them, but I’m using romaine in this case.

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First, the lettuce

Slice up some red onion and spread it on top of the lettuce.

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Red onion slices

 

Next, add some feta cheese.

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Feta cheese

 

Wash the pear (you really only need one) and slice in half, then quarters, then eighths. You can divide the slices further if some are too thick. Cut out the seed portion and discard.

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Slice the pears and discard the seed portion

Arrange the pear slices as you see fit. This might even be the fun part, because obviously it makes a great, happy design almost anyway that you arrange them.

Arrange the slices… pretty almost anyway you do it!

Arrange the slices… pretty almost anyway you do it!

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Sprinkle on some nuts

Add a small handful of cranberries. They not only add a nice, sweet-tarty flavor, but they look like pretty little jewels.

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Add some cranberries

Last, halve some red or green grapes and arrange them on top. They will add a nice juiciness to the salad. A few grinds from the pepper mill can top this off.

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Grapes add juiciness

You can use whatever dressing you like. We were lucky that our friend Rich gave us this great dressing that his daughter made… she is starting to sell it. But, an oil and vinegar, honey mustard or a poppy seed dressing would all bring out the flavors in this salad.

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Our friend Rich’s daughter’s dressing. Yum!

That’s it! Easy-peasy!

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A late season salad

Playing Around With Rambutan

Rambutan, a tropical fruit from Southeast Asia

Rambutan, a tropical fruit from Southeast Asia

I saw a bag of rambutan at the farmers market yesterday for only $4.00, so I broke down an bought it. I guess I’m longing for more summery days when lychee is available, but that won’t be for a while. Rambutan is so similar that it might as well be the same, at least as far as flavor. It just looks funnier, with all of the little “hairs” sticking out of it.

I thought it might be nice in a tropical fruit salad. I got online and found a really impressive one served inside of a pineapple bowl. Hmmm… nice. So, I ended up ended up buying a pineapple, a papaya, and some bananas, too.

pineapple

pineapple

papaya

papaya

apple bananas

apple bananas

The hardest part was trying to make the pineapple bowl… in fact, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really wanted to try to impress someone… or even impress yourself. I think it would work, too! It’s easy enough cutting a circle around the edge of the cross-wise halved fruit, but getting the meat out after that is challenging and a bit messy. The very top part of the pineapple can be cut, cored and diced.

The rest is pretty easy~ just chop and/or peel, slice and dice, and toss together. Add some kiwi slices in for color and garnish with a strawberry. The rambutan peel pretty easily, once you get them started with a paring knife.

All you need to do is peel it

All you need to do is peel it

I didn’t bother trying to seed the rambutan either, because the little buggers are slippery. I just figure as long as one is aware that there is a pit inside, it wouldn’t be that much different that eating a tangerine.

Tropical fruit salad with rambutan, pineapple, apple banana, papaya, kiwi and strawberry served in a pineapple bowl

Tropical fruit salad with rambutan, pineapple, apple banana, papaya, kiwi and strawberry served in a pineapple bowl

I imagine this could be a whole lot simpler, by simply serving the rambutan in a bowl of ice, but I had to try this once… glad I did, too! Bon appetit!