Some Of My Best Friends Are Fruits...

As I watch the ongoing national weather reports from "Snowpocalypse 2011," I'm beginning to experience something similar to "survivor guilt." That's because a lot of my family and friends are stuck in what can only be described as Winter Hell.

I find I have to check myself before announcing to my mom, who's just spent four hours chipping her car out from under four inches of ice, "It was 66 degrees today, so I went outside and started planting my herb garden." Although, to be fair, I don't think I should really be expected to feel THAT guilty about living someplace where we don't have those kind of problems. It's not like cold weather comes as a surprise to people living in the Midwest: It's been happening for eons now.

Pomelo rinds are not only heavenly smelling, they make fabulous fashion accessories for your pets!

To help assuage some of my guilty feelings, I decided I'd offer up a little hint of warmer months with a few Spring-Fever-inducing recipes. For the next few days, keep checking back for half-a-dozen treats guaranteed to take your mind off that 6-inch deep puddle of melted snow, salt and dirt you stepped in on the way into the office this morning.

I'm starting with a salad that I developed when I found myself with a ridiculous surplus of fruit a couple of weeks ago. Keep in mind that this recipe is just a starting point. If you don't like or can't find some of the ingredients, substitute your little heart out!

Jim's Mid-Winter Dream Fruit Salad

1 pomelo*: A member of the grapefruit family that has the taste without the tang and an insanely thick peel that smells heavenly! (peeled and divided into segments)
2 oranges (peeled and divided into segments)
2 asian pears** (core and slice into 1/4 inch slices, leave the skin on)
1 pint strawberries (hulled and sliced nice and thick)
2 fuji apples (core, peel, divide into quarters and coarsely grate using a cheese grater)

1/4 c. cider, white wine or red wine vinegar ( I used homemade nasturtium white wine vinegar. It has an amazing peppery flavor! If you'd like to know how to make it, let me know.)
2 tbsp. fruit juice or sweet wine (Orange juice works great, but my favorite is raspberry wine!)
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. freshly chopped mint (I leave mine fairly coarse, but chop yours as fine as you like.)

* If you can't get Pomelo where you live, substitute pink grapefruit segments, reduce the amount of vinegar in the dressing and add some honey for extra sweetness.
** If you don't like asian pears or fuji apples, substitute your favorites, but make sure you use a slightly tart apple

Combine pomelo, orange, pear, strawberries and grated apple in a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine vinegar, juice or wine, pepper and mint. Stir until well mixed and pour over fruit.

Cover the salad and let it marinate and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Now enjoy a taste of sunshine while you daydream about picking fresh fruit from the orchard in June!

"Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm, Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm! Sing: Goddamm. " - Ezra Pound

Be happy, safe and warm!


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