a salad for late winter

lunch on my day off

Spring is around the corner. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the cherry trees have begun to blossom, the cars are covered with a fine dusting of bright yellow-green pollen, and my allergies have begun to act up. The wild turkeys in my neighborhood are courting, and I’ve put away my winter scarf.

Elsewhere, I know, winter has not unloosened its firm grip–I was just in the mountains and in the midwest, where the trees are still encased in ice, laden with snow (and not blossoms), and you can’t leave the house without a hat and a down jacket. It’s beautiful–but the residents are long-weary of the cold and snow and ice. As I pranced around, admiring the snow and ice and cold, they looked at me as if I was insane and remarked, “You’re a very cheerful person!” Well. It’s easy to be cheerful, I guess, when you don’t have to live in the snow for months on end.

Regardless of snow or spring blossoms, my palate is craving some bright, light flavors. After a long winter of rich stews and soups and pies and all other such heavy eats…I am craving FRUIT. I am craving something that has CRUNCH! And I don’t mean a parsnip or turnip. Or an apple. I want a melon! I want something other than anemic looking tomato!

So when I saw a stack of seasonal blood oranges, something clicked in my head: a SALAD. A salad full of bright flavors and colors. Blood oranges and pickled beets. Tart and sweet.

On my day off, I indulged. I sliced the blood oranges and pulled pickled beets out of the fridge (these days, I always have some pickled and on hand! They’re delicious). I took some baby greens and tossed them in a vinaigrette piling them atop the blood orange slices and beets.

Oh, and I dotted some goat cheese atop the salad for good measure.

Delicious. And it fulfilled my craving for spring with ingredients easily found in late winter.

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