Avocado, Red Onion and Mandarin Salad with Orange-Muscat Vinaigrette

Blogging has become rather infrequent for me these past weeks, I’ve noticed. Nothing personal – it just seems really draining to air the same frustrations about school online as they are in my head, and it also seems to be pretty much the only thing I’m mulling about currently. Not a pretty situation. It gets reflected in the cooking too I think, and the meals seem more ho-hum, nothing to write about. (This morning: coffee, oatmeal. Lunch: stir-fry chicken and vegs. Dinner: whatever I put in the crockpot this morning. Although the new crockpot is pretty darn terrific.) It’s like all my creative expenditure has disappeared from the plate and gone straight to the what-if section of my brain. Oddly enough, the less control I have in those areas the more comfort I want to seek in those familiar areas like the kitchen, and yet I’m exhausted before I begin.
We did manage a good dinner over the weekend, though. I wanted sort of an orange theme and had planned scallops with an orange-zest risotto and a salad. The risotto did not have quite as much of an orange note as I’d envisioned, largely in part because I bullied Rob into using ground white pepper without mentioning it can be a bit kicky and not quite like black pepper. Turns out (a) I sometimes have major problems sharing my kitchen (I love the idea of someone else
cooking for me, and actually, he’s really darn good at lots of things that I can’t make properly . . . but I think sometimes particularly in my own apartment I have a touch of inflated ego and alpha chef syndrome) and (b) there’s really not much you can if you’ve over-peppered a dish. If anyone knows any tricks, I’d love to hear them – Google let us down.
The salad worked itself out though, marred only by too-early tomatoes. The orange there came secondary after I found some lovely avocadoes . . . and paging through a Martha book I came across her recipe for an orange-muscat vinaigrette, which was exactly the type of thing I would’ve tried to concoct myself, but with definite ingredients and better proportions. Nothing overly spectacular, but a nice change with the fruit and very pleasant overall.

vinaigrette adapated from Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2005

1 head Bibb lettuce
1 ripe but not mushy avocado
several paper-thin slices red onion
1 container mandarin oranges sections, well drained
1-2 small ripe tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp orange muscat vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tbsp orange juice
1 clove roasted garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
~ 1/3 c olive oil

Wash and dry whole leaves of the Bibb lettuce and divide between two salad bowls. Halve and pit the avocado, dice, and place half in each bowl. Divide the onion, orange sections, and tomato between the two. Pour vinaigrette over each salad and serve.
For the dressing: In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the vinegar, one tablespoon of the orange juice, the garlic, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking the mixture as you do so, until well combined. Taste and adjust with additional orange juice if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers, covered, and re-whisk before using.


Blogger Acme Instant Food said...

I've been in the same blogging slow-down phase and wrote a similiar post. It seems to be cyclical. There are some who post just for the sake of posting, but I'd rather wait until the juices start flowing again!

And, once pepper goes in it doesn't come out! :)

12:44 PM  
Blogger emily said...

Thanks, Acme - hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon. And I was afraid of that with the pepper!

8:34 PM  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful salad. Anything with avacados in it and I'm there!

3:45 PM  

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