A Very Fruity Salad + Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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This past Christmas we served this salad with pasta and a hearty bolognese meat sauce.  So for me, it will always be called the 'Christmas Salad' but for everyone else this can be an anytime salad.  Or maybe a fruity salad to eat in winter?  

There's a good thing happening in this salad between the fruit and the bitter raddichio and the crunch from the pomegranate seeds and jicama.  

Jicama is an odd little root vegetable.  Super crunchy and similar to a very starchy apple or pear but only a hint of sweetness.  Peel of its thick skin with a knife and chop it up.  It's also a great snack drizzled with lime, sprinkled with salt and chili powder or a vehicle for dips and salsa.  

Christmas Salad

2 baby romaines or 1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped

1 raddichio, halved, cored and sliced

1 blood orange, peeled and cored and sliced into half moons

1 navel orange, peeled and cored and sliced into half moons

Seeds of 1/2 of a pomegranate

1 small jicama, peeled and sliced into sticks

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

s + p

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard

For Salad:  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Right before serving toss or drizzle with vinaigrette.  

For Vinaigrette:  Pomegranate juice can be freshly made by squeezing pomegranate seeds through a citrus press.  It will take about 1/4 of a fruit or slightly less.  (Or if out of season, bottled juice may be used but look for ones without added sugar.)  Set aside.  

In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and vinegar, add salt pinch by pinch until well balanced.  It shouldn't taste too salty or too sharp.  Add a couple turns or black pepper, olive oil and pomegranate juice.  Whisk vigorously.  If it doesn't come together add a bit of brown mustard.  Whisk more and make any final adjustments.  (more salt, more lemon, more pepper...)

Delicata Squash Salad + Sherry Vinaigrette

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I did a lot of indulging over the holiday but, like most, am ready to get back to a normal routine of exercise and healthier eating.  (With the occasional baked good or treat, of course.)  

Here's a salad to start 2013 off right.  Delicata squashes don't require peeling, just a quick rinse and scrub to remove any dirt.  Substitute any salad green for the arugula if you prefer.  Serves 2.

Delicata Squash Salad + Sherry Vinaigrette

2 Delicata Squashes

drizzle of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

salt + pepper

 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

4 cups arugula, or other salad greens

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 oz hard, salty cheese, like aged mahon

For the sherry vinaigrette

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

salt + pepper

1/2 teaspoon mustard (optional)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut squashes in half lengthwise and scrap out seeds.  Slice into half moons.  Place slices in baking pan and toss with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast 10 minutes and toss again. Roast about 10 minutes more or until done.  Let cool slightly.  Discard garlic (or smear it on a piece of toasted bread or two and serve with salad.)

Toss arugula with vinaigrette, divide into 2 bowls and top each with squash, pecans, pomegranate seeds and a grating of cheese.  

To make vinaigrette:  Start with the vinegar, adding pinches of salt to taste until acid is balanced (not too salty or too sharp).  Then add oil and mustard.  (Mustard adds flavor and helps everything hold together as a dressing/vinaigrette.)  Whisk together or shake in a small jar.