Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

On a morning jog though Monterey, I worked not to slip on the wet cobble path beneath my feet. It had just rained, and was likely to start raining again soon, but for a moment the air hung still, albeit heavy with humidity. I was barely going fast enough to raise my respiratory rate (plus, at sea level the air is thick), but humidity made me sweat anyways. The sunrise was a blend of oranges and pinks and even purples, and I stopped to take pictures almost as much as I ran.

The humidity held down any usual street smells, and instead what I smelled was the California coast at it's purest. Eucalyptus, as I ducked through a grove of trees; Rosemary, as I jogged by California's first theater (it is hedged with rosemary bushes, each over two feet tall); Lavender, as I passed through the English garden alongside the boat house. And over it all, the unmistakable smell and sound of the ocean: salty and constant.

Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad
Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

In my head, I am calling this salad the "California Salad," because when all of the ingredients come together they paint a mirage of the west coast.

As I drove down highway 1, I saw field after field of crops. It's hard to name them all: butterhead lettuce, artichokes, strawberries, and them I'm lost. These fields are a color of green that just isn't possible in the plains of Colorado, and that makes them almost hypnotizing. It's the color of fresh

A walk under a citrus tree this time of year is a rewarding experience, as the branches are heavy with fruit. Grapefruit, oranges, lemon. Across the street, I noticed an avocado tree boasting a absurd number of fruits. They were small still, and I couldn't tell if that was just a characteristic of the variety or if they still had room to grow. 

And there, near Cannery Row, was a storefront for an almond grower. They were stocked with piles of oils and butters and nuts. The smell of toasted nuts wafted from it's door, enough to override that salty ocean smell for a minute. 

Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

This salad is only a few of the scents and flavors you find on the west coast, but as I put it together I couldn't help but remember the ocean breeze, the rolling hills, and warm evenings. 

Funnily enough, one of my last trips to the west coast also inspired a salad, which is completely different: Seared Wasabi Crusted Tuna Salad with Ginger & Almonds.

Crunchy Arugula, Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

Published January 16, 2018 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 5-ounce package of baby arugula
  • 1 grapefruit (large)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almond 
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds 
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

Directions:

  1. Place arugula in a salad bowl.
  2. Cut the peel from the grapefruit, and then use a pairing knife to cut out each wedge of fruit, leaving the pith behind. Arrange fruit pieces over arugula.
  3. Slice avocado, and arrange over arugula. Sprinkle with almonds and sesame seeds.
  4. Make vinaigrette: place olive oil, rice vinegar, honey, and salt in a jar. Seal jar with a lid, and shake to combine ingreidents. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss!

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Easy Food Processor Pesto

After posting my eleventh recipe that called for pesto to this blog (Pesto Zoodles with Fresh Peas and Bacon), I decided it was high time I actually post a recipe for pesto itself. Watch below or click here to watch the recipe video! Scroll past the video for some images and the full recipe. 

Pesto is a glorious, glorious thing. Ancient Romans were on to something when they started mashing herbs with garlic, cheese and oil. Can you imagine being the chef to first pull out your moral and pestle, fill it with herbs and nuts, only to yield a greenish glop that looks unlike any other sauce you'd seen? And then the first bite! What do you think they thought?

Easy Food Processor Pesto

Of course, times have since changed dramatically. Basil wasn't the star of pesto sauce until 1863 (according to Wiki), and wasn't even popular in the US until the 1980s and 1990s. Which, I suppose, explains a lot: as a 90s kid, I was set up to love pesto from the beginning. And now here I am, making pesto in a food processor. (Many will tell you this is not the traditional way, and they are right: in ancient Rome they didn't have food processors... or electricity. This food processor method is the 21st century way. I've made many a batch of pesto in a mortar and pestle, but for a big batch, I always go for the food processor). 

When I have a fresh batch of pesto in the fridge, I fearless add it to every meal. A condiment for potatoes (a sauce for sweet potatoes, or just a dip for some roasted yukon golds). The creamy base for this chicken dish. Shmeared inside of a cheesy omelette. I even put the stuff straight on steamed broccoli, or stir a tablespoon of pesto with a tablespoon of lemon juice to make a vinaigrette. You get the picture. 

Easy Food Processor Pesto
Easy Food Processor Pesto

Easy Food Processor Pesto

Published July 11, 2017 by
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Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Pulse garlic in food processor with salt until minced.
  2. Add pine nuts to food processor, and pulse three times. Add parmesan and lemon zest to food processor, and pulse until a meal forms.
  3. Add basil and oil to the food processor and pulse until the basil and minced evenly. Scrape the sides with a spatula and pulse again briefly.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to use. Will last up to 1 week in the fridge.

FOR NUT-FREE: Substitute 1/4 cup sunflower seeds for 1/4 cup pine nuts.

FOR DAIRY-FREE: Substitute 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast for 1/2 cup parmesan.

Easy Food Processor Pesto
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How to Make Coconut Butter At Home

How to Make Coconut Butter At Home

Coconut butter. Coconut butter! It's sort of odd stuff: solid at room temperature, thick and creamy when warm. Sticky, satisfying, magical as a toast topping and so much more. Coconut butter is not like butter or coconut oil... rather, it's like peanut butter or almond butter, a nutty spread for your favorite spreadable eats. 

How to Make Coconut Butter At Home

I have quite a few recipes that call for coconut butter, like these cookies that use it as a real-food icing, or as the base of this paleo fudge, and noticed that readers were searching the blog for how to make it. Once I saw this a light bulb went off in my head. Of course! This stuff is sort of confusing (it has two names for goodness sake, sometimes going by "Manna" instead). The good news is it's just about as easy as it gets as far are recipes go. One ingredient. Your blender. Done! That's it! Watch this video to see for your self :) 

How to Make Coconut Butter At Home

How to Make Coconut Butter At Home

Published April 25, 2017    |       |    Print This Recipe

All you need is some desiccated coconut and a blender.

Serves: 1 cup   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut

Directions:

  1. Pour all of the coconut in a high-powdered blender (I use a Blendtec Twister Jar but a Vitamix or a Ninja would work as well). Blend on high for 1 minute, and then scrape the sides. Repeat 5-6 times until all of the coconut is creamed into a creamy butter. Tip: I use BlendTec’s Twister Jar, which scrapes the sides as you go, so I only stop to scrape the sides wit ha spatula once or twice, and let the jar do the work.

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