Spring Greens + Honey-Grapefruit Vinaigrette, Two Ways

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Kitchen accidents happen. With me, they happen in epic proportions that I wish were captured in slow motion so I could play them back later when in need of a good laugh. I’m talking explosions. All the walls and surfaces and ceilings.

A few weeks ago in a moment of hunger, I popped an egg, broken into a little glass dish, into the microwave. I covered it and carefully checked every 15-20 seconds, as I know how egg-microwaving can quickly turn risky. It was all fine and well until I took the bowl out, carefully uncovered it, and leaned in close to make sure the egg was cooked through. At that exact moment, the egg belched out, blowing apart with all the noise and momentum of a volatile volcano.

I took a step back and blinked, looking around me in shock. Someone made a move in the apartment upstairs as if to look for a window. Or an escape route. No, I silently told my neighbor, you haven’t been attacked. It’s just me, standing in a kitchen on a Saturday afternoon covered in exploded egg.

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Egg in my eyelashes, my hair, in every corner of exposed skin. Thankfully I have the circulatory system of a skinny grandma and wear sweaters year round or I would have needed more than a change of clothes.

Egg on the ceiling. Egg on the living room carpet. Egg on every wall and surface in between.

After clean-up, I wasn’t about to try again. I’m officially cured of microwave-egg-cooking, I thought as I miserably ate the swollen, (seriously-how’d-it-get-overcooked?) half that was left in the dish. And I haven’t had another since.

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Weeks before the egg episode, I was in a similarly messy situation, thinking the exact same thing. I needed red wine for a recipe and in the exact moment of needing to add it to the recipe, I recalled that I had broken our bottle opener and our wine drinking had gotten so lax that it hadn’t been replaced. Recklessly bent on quick results and praying things would turn out right, I squeezed my eyes shut and violently stabbed a knife into the cork.

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Things didn’t turn out right.

Red wine, like the egg, exploded over the entire kitchen. The white walls and white cabinets looked like a three-year-old went to town with a red watercolor and designed something only a kid could qualify as art. I scrubbed until I nearly painted instead. By the end of clean-up, I really needed a glass or two. If only it wasn’t all over me.

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Through other episodes over the years, I’ve acquired scars that I can barely remember the occasion for, save they involved being too confident with hot surfaces or knives slicing through the air to land dangerously close to little toes.

I’m only now recovering from the last kitchen accident, which involved the vegetable peeler, my pinky, a whole box of band-aids, and a lot of blood.

Thankfully, there were no limbs burnt or bruised, no toes carved in the process of creating this post. Instead, the March Recipe Redux theme is Two for One: cooking once and eating twice or ReDuxing leftovers into a new dish. William and I cannot seem to get through a whole bottle of wine these days before it starts to taste off, even when we have dinner guests. Instead of volcanizing it all over the kitchen walls and ceilings, I decided to share how I repurpose wine into vinegar instead.

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First let me say I really love vinegar. I’m one of those people that can go to the oil and vinegar shops and happily forego the oil and bread, and just slurp the different flavored vinegars.

Making vinegar is quite simple. The word itself actually means “sour wine” in French, and when any liquid with less than 18 percent alcohol is exposed to air, the vinegar-producing bacteria will attack it and gradually turn it sour. It simply takes time.

To make vinegar from wine, I often leave the leftovers sitting out on the counter with the cork off. It’s ready when it tastes like vinegar instead of wine, in about two months. Recently however, I’ve done more research and found that if a vinegar mother–the starter used for vinegars–is used, the process is sped up and the vinegar is more consistent in its taste. We have a local brewing supply store–because seriously, Oregon–and they are currently growing a new mother for me. In the meantime, I’m making vinegar the same old way, with patience.

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I tend to splash together vinaigrettes depending on my mood but am sharing two different grapefruit vinaigrettes that use white wine vinegar. These two recipes more or less form the backbone for my vinaigrettes on any given day. Because I like vinegar so much, I tend to go for a one to one ratio of vinegar to oil, which is significantly higher than the standard one to three ratio.

In these recipes, I opted for grapefruit juice in addition to the white wine vinegar and often use other citrus juices like orange or lemon when I’m feeling fancy. Pick one to try and toss together with simple spring greens, herbs, and thin radish or carrot slices. Salad will feel extra special and delicious!

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Grapefruit-Tahini Vinaigrette

2 Tbs. white wine vinegar

2 Tbs. fresh grapefruit juice

1-2 tsp. grapefruit zest

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. tahini

1 Tbs. honey

splash of water

salt and pepper

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Honey-Mustard Grapefruit Vinaigrette

3 Tbs. white wine vinegar

3 Tbs. fresh grapefruit juice

1-2 tsp. grapefruit zest

2 tsp. wholegrain mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. honey

splash of water

salt and pepper

Directions for both vinaigrettes: Whisk all the ingredients together and drizzle over greens. The leftovers can be stored in the fridge for several weeks!

Through the Long Days of Winter–Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

While I’ve spied a few crocuses and daffodils making their way from the wintry soil in my regular jaunts around the neighborhood lately, winter seems to have settled deep within my bones.  I feel a persistent chill, and I hover over my cup of tea, mostly because it is a thing of comfort–of warmth.

Perhaps it is not only the cold weather, but the feeling of isolation after moving to a new place, or the thoughtful hours of reflection I’ve pondered as this season of Lent has begun.  In these hours I feel as if spring will never come.

But things are not all as dreary as they sometimes seem.  The sun has been shining lately, through peaks in the clouds and rain, and wind.  And winter has one or two perks–A bounty of delicious citrus is to be found and I’m eating it up as if it’s going out of style–which to be fair, it is.  At least until next year.

Though my go-to citrus fruits are fresh oranges, I couldn’t help but load up on the many pretty pink grapefruit each time I’ve gone to the store.  And since the Daring Bakers have asked for a quick bread/muffin this month, I decided to use up my bounty and satisfy a particular craving in designing this recipe.  For me, this is mostly a sweet reserved for the end of the day.  But since these cakes are hardly sweet–and a bit tart in that way grapefruit always is, with my favorite oaty texture–you can choose to eat them as a breakfast muffin or an afternoon snack or whenever the fancy strikes.  I experimented several times with the recipe in both a loaf cake/quick bread and a muffin form.  Bake in a loaf pan for a moister texture, and in a muffin tin for a more bready feel.

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Give this cake a try if you’re suffering through the long days of winter as I am–with the rain pouring down against the windows, and a cup of black tea in hand.  If you’re longing for a bit of cheer and something spunky to get you through until spring shows itself again–bake your way through a grapefruit or two–cozy yourself next to the oven, and smile because we’re nearly through.

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
4 oz. (about 1 cup) Amy’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend  (or all-purpose flour)
4 oz. (about 1 cup) GF old-fashioned oat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
zest from about 1/2-3/4 of a large grapefruit
2 eggs
4 oz. (1/2 cup) cup plain non-fat yogurt
4 oz. (1/2 cup) grapefruit juice (about one whole grapefruit)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whizz 4 oz. of oats in a food processor and mix them and the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  • Combine butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until fluffy.  Add in grapefruit zest and eggs, one at a time.  Mix well after each egg addition.
  • In a small measuring cup mix yogurt and grapefruit juice.
  • Add half of flour mixture to egg and butter mixture.  Stir just until combined.  Add one-third of yogurt mixture to this and stir.  Add half of remaining flour mixture and stir until combined, add half of remaining yogurt, and continue to add these two until they’re all combined together.
  • Pour into 9×5 loaf pan or muffin tin and bake 45-50 minutes for loaf pan, 20-25 for muffins.
 
 
 

Grapefruit, Parsley & Cucumber Salad

Lately, some of the most amazing salads have been shaping up in the kitchen.  A couple weeks back, Power Foods, a new cookbook (that I’ve had my eyes on) randomly showed up in the mail, with no note and no invoice!  Praising the powers that be for this mysterious gift, I’ve set to work building salads.

This Grapefruit, Parsley & Cucumber salad was thrown together out of what ingredients happened to be around one evening; the dressing, however, was inspired from my the cookbook. This has quickly become a favorite!

 
 
Grapefruit, Parsley, Cucumber Salad  (serves 2)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled & sectioned, pith and membranes removed
  • 1 or 2 large white mushrooms
  • about 1/4 of a cucumber
  • a large handful parsley, chopped
    For dressing:
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. plain yogurt
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ~ 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
 Slice grapefruit sections into small pieces and squeeze out extra juice from membranes.  Slice cucumbers, mushrooms, and chop parsley.  Toss in medium salad bowl with extra juices from grapefruit.  
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, yogurt, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Gently toss into salad and serve!
 Dressing from Power Foods