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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Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

The day you read this, it will be the fourth day of 2018, and I will be headed to Monterey, California, but as I write it's only a few days after Christmas.

My office closes for the holiday, and I have the entire week to do whatever I want. A week ago I had tried to corral friends into organizing a trip to Red Rock Canyon (we went last year, and it was so so beautiful), but I had been late to the punch and it seemed everyone already had other things going on. Still, I didn't give up on my wanderlust: even early on Christmas eve, and I pieced together a half-baked plan to go to Santa Fe. Drive time, a place to stay, and a list of possible climbing spots. And of course, swooning over images of turquoise doors, cliff dwellings, and desert sun. 

I could almost feel the heat, even there sitting at my computer. But instead of warming in the sun, hot air was blasting from the vents as our thermostat worked to combat the dropping temperatures outside. Wanderlust had me riveted, and begged me to go. Visions of a simpler time, when I was ten or so, floated through my mind: I had dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer, but at some point convinced myself that it wouldn't work. I liked traveling, sure, but I like being home too. I knew I would tire of being on the move. Plus, adults had bills to pay, and art wasn't stable...even my overly mature ten-year old self knew this. But right then, looking at images of Santa Fe, regret poured over me. I wanted--no, needed- to go. 

Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie
Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

My bubble deflated as the coffee set in and I came down from the clouds: a six-and-a-half hour drive on icy roads and in a foot of snow? "Fun" isn't the right word for a road trip like that. And I had been craving snow, fiercely. So instead we bundled up (long under wear, wool socks, snow pants, down coats, snow boots, gloves, and hats) and made our way through the white winter wonderland just outside our door, to hike through the foothills. 

The cold preserved individual snowflakes, creating the fluffiest snow possible: not a spot of slush or sludge. Overcome with a childlike happiness, wanderlust momentarily forgotten, I wanted to plunge straight into the snow and make snow angels. Frozen pine needles glowing in the winter light; sparkling hills; the smell of winter in the air. Such beautiful things, right here under my nose. Besides, in just one short week I'd be in the California sunshine. 

This smoothie takes the freshest, brightest flavors of winter and throws them all into a jar. The result is a gradient of pinks and magentas--a bold spot of color on a winter morning. When you're stuck looking at images of exotic places, or find yourself wishing for some adventure, try this smoothie. It's a rejuvenating splash of bright and bold that reminds you that there's no where better to be than in the now. 

Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Ginger Smoothie

Published January 4, 2018 by
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Serves: 2   |    Total Time: 10 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, plus two grapefruit wedges of garnish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated on microplane
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice

Directions:

  1. Combine first four ingredients in a blender (affiliate link) and puree until smooth. Divide evenly among serving glasses.
  2. Slowly pour half of the pomegranate juice into each glass. It will sink to the bottom, creating a gradient effect.
  3. Garnish with grapefruit wedges and serve immediately.

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