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Posts Tagged ‘mandarin’

My lovely in-laws have a lovely mandarin tree. We were gifted with an enormous bag of mandarins on Sunday, so of course Monday’s lunch had to be a delicious mandarin salad. I’d already had breakfast and a snack, so I kept this one light and overflowing with perfect satsuma mandarin oranges.

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Dinner needed to be quick and simple. I was roasting some baby potatoes in the oven with extra virgin olive oil and salt, and I had chicken tenderloins ready to saute. I wanted a straightforward, kid-friendly salad to complete the meal. You know me and my kids — if I combine a light salad dressing with lots of fruit and mild, crunchy romaine, I’m almost guaranteed success.

So I gathered a hefty pile of citrus, including the last of the mandarins from my mother-in-law’s tree, and I kept the salad fresh and fruity.

Ingredients for Recipe for Lemon Citronette with Mandarin, Mint, and Avocado

Delicious raw materials for a tasty salad.

Ingredients:
(Side or lunch salad, serves however many.)
1 heart of romaine, chopped.
4 mandarins, peeled, halved, and then quartered.
2 scallions, sliced.
1 avocado, quartered and sliced.
1 fistful of mint.
Zest of one lemon

Lemon Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T fresh lemon juice.
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe for Lemon Citronette with Mandarin, Mint, and Avocado

Ready to serve!


I created a nice bed of chopped romaine, and zested the lemon over the greens. I juiced the lemon, and made my citronette in a small jar. I chopped the mint and sprinkled it liberally over the greens. I peeled the mandarins, sliced them in half, then quartered them to expose the jeweled fruit, and I tossed them into the salad. I added the avocado, and when the rest of the dinner was ready, I drizzled my citronette over the salad, tossed, and served.

Plated Recipe for Lemon Citronette with Mandarin, Mint, and Avocado:

On the plate, and ready to be devoured.

The Verdict:
What could go wrong? Fresh, tree ripened, perfect mandarins. Creamy avocado. A bed of lush, crisp romaine. Zesty lemon and mint. It was just as perfect as it sounds. We ate it all.

Make it a Meal:
Pick your protein! Leftover chicken and steak both work well with this flavor palette, as do garbanzo beans.

Pack it to Go:
Pack the greens, mint, and lemon zest in a large glass or stainless steel. Make your dressing in a jar. Remember to put your avocado in your dressing jar so it doesn’t brown, or to leave it whole and slice it into your salad when you’re ready to eat. The mandarins can be peeled and sectioned by hand, so that the membranes keep the juices in the fruit segments instead of leaking onto the lettuce and wilting it. Alternatively, you can slice the mandarins as I did, and put them with the avocado in the jar of citronette, to prevent wilted lettuce. If the jar of dressing is small enough, simply tuck it into the larger salad container. Combine your dressing with your salad when you’re ready to eat it, fork toss (or pop the lid back on and give the large container a few quick shakes to combine), and enjoy.

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Early morning, time to make lunches. We had almost everything I needed for a couple of rocking southwestern salads, so I pulled all my ingredients out and got to work. No radishes in the house, so I used yellow bell pepper for extra crunchiness, and I went for pinto beans instead of black beans because, well, I felt like it.

Ingredients for Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado Citronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

All of the ingredients, ready to go.

Ingredients:
(Serves one as a meal.)
4 cups of arugula.
1/2 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced.
2 mandarins, peeled and sectioned.
2 scallions, sliced.
1 fistful of fresh cilantro.
Zest of 1/2 a lemon.

Southwestern Avocado Citronette:
(Use only what you need. Refrigerate extra for a couple of days.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1 T fresh lemon juice.
1/2 avocado, spooned into jar.
1/2 clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/4 tsp cumin.
1/4 tsp smoked paprika.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
Pinch of salt, to taste.

Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado Citronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

The finished salad, ready for the dressing to rain down and the fork to attack like lightning.


Since I was making two salads, one for me to eat at home and one for my husband to eat at work, I doubled all of the ingredients listed above. I started by laying down my lovely beds of arugula — mine in a bowl, his in a stainless steel container with a tight fitting lid. I rinsed and drained the pinto beans, setting them aside in a sieve to drain a little more while I worked. I zested the lemon over the greens, and crafted my salad dressings in twin jars. In this case, that included measuring out the ingredients, and spooning the avocado into the jars as well. I shook them up and tested them by dipping a leaf of arugula into the citronette and tasting for salt and flavor balance. I peeled and sectioned the mandarins. (Yes, they are far more beautiful when they are sliced open and the jeweled fruit is exposed, but those plain little membranes keep the citrus juices from wilting the greens.) I chopped the yellow bell pepper, the scallions, and the cilantro, and added all of my ingredients to my beds of arugula. I nestled my husband’s jar of citronette in with his salad and snapped a picture before popping the lid back on.

Salads just don’t take that long to make — twenty minutes or less of chopping and mixing, and you’ve got a deliciously nutritious meal, for now or later.

Recipe for Salad with Southwestern Avocado CItronette, Pinto Beans, Mandarins, and Yellow Bell Pepper

Here's the same salad, packed to go!


The Verdict:
You know what I thought of this. I loved it. Juicy citrus, creamy beans, crunchy bell pepper, peppery arugula… This is a can’t fail recipe for me, and, once again, it succeeded.

Make it a Meal:
Done.

Pack it to Go:
Done.

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More often than not, I’m groggily making lunch salads for the grown-ups in the house at 7:00 AM.

Two Salads in One

Some of the ingredients, ready for chopping.

Two Salads in One - Lemon

Lemon juice extraction time.

Two Salads in One - Mint

Here's the mint, ready for chopping.

That’s what I did this morning.
A quick glance at the randomness in the fridge left me with the desire to create a base salad that would work well with the two different pieces of meat I had available — one last small tenderloin of sesame chicken, and a little leftover steak with sauteed mushrooms. I decided that a citronette would work well with both, and pulled out my hearts of romaine and a little pile of citrus fruit, as well as mint, radishes, mushrooms and more.


Ingredients:
(serves one as a lunch salad, or two as a side salad)
1 heart of romaine, chopped.
2 mushrooms, sliced.
3 radishes, sliced.
1 mandarin, peeled and carefully sectioned (membranes
left intact).
1 scallion, chopped.
1 fistful of mint, chopped.
Zest of 1 lemon.

Citronette:
(use what you need, there may be extra)
1 T lemon juice.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 small clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.


I doubled all of the ingredients above, and made two identical salads side by side. My husband’s salad went into a glass pyrex bowl with a lid for easy transport, while mine went into a regular bowl and then right back into the fridge for later. I mixed both batches of citronette in small jars.

I started by chopping the veggies and tossing them into their respective bowls. Then, I carefully peeled and sectioned the mandarins, trying not to rip them open. My goal was for their own skins to preserve them in the bowls, so they wouldn’t be leaking liquid onto the greens and wilting them. It worked. I always think citrus fruits are prettier when they’re sliced open, but they travel in salads much, much better when you leave the membranes intact. Mandarin wedges are perfectly bite sized, and are an ideal fruit for salads that will sit in the fridge for a while before being eaten.

Once I’d constructed the salads, I mixed up the citronette. I snuggled my husband’s dressing jar into the pyrex bowl, while mine joined my salad in the fridge. I used kitchen shears to slice the last piece of sesame chicken over my husband’s salad, and then I slapped the cheery red lid on top. I didn’t bother slicing up the steak for mine — I saved that for right before I tossed it and ate it, about four or five hours later.

Two Salads in One - Chicken

Here's the chicken version, ready for travel.

The Verdict:
I can’t tell you exactly what my husband thought of the sesame chicken salad, but he was definitely very grateful. (And I’m quite sure he liked it a lot more than the sesame chicken/red wine vinaigrette combo I tried the other day.) My lunch was absolutely delicious.

Two Salads in One - Steak

And the steak salad, ready to eat.

I really appreciated how different it was from the pear and arugula salad we had last night, with the very same steak and mushrooms. This time, the steak was cold, and sliced directly into the salad. It was a bright, refreshing meal. I also love knowing that all the vitamin C from the fruit and the citronette helped my body make the most of that iron rich steak. I think my favorite bites included steak, mandarin wedges, and mint coated romaine. Crunchy, juicy, sweet, and savory. Exactly how I love my salads.

Make it a Meal:
Done — two different leftover meat suggestions. Both worked well, so make your own choice: chicken, or steak?

Pack it to Go:
Done. (more…)

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