Beautiful winter citrus is tossed with quinoa and tangy spring greens in this simple salad, which practically makes it's own vinaigrette! The flavors here are simple and splendid. A perfect dish for lazy lunches. A great way to enjoy more real food, in a naturally delicious way.
So, you like love stories, right? Okay me neither. Sometimes their weirdly mushy and totally boring. But I think this one might be worth telling. So hang in there with me.
Shortly after my first date with now boyfriend Hukee (a quick coffee stop at the beautiful TULIE bakery in SLC, UT sometime near the end of November 2012), I learned his birthday was on CHRISTMAS DAY. And was determined to make sure he celebrated in style.
After all, he was living the bachelor life. Man and dog. In a pretty 100-year old home on a trendy street near city center. It was rough times, I tell you. So I figured, he could use a woman's touch to liven up his existence.
Keep in mind, at the time, I was CERTAIN he was NOT MY TYPE. So I was doing the sassy things you do when you are certain you're just friends, and 100% sure you're both equally uninterested in each other until the end of time.
So I told him how he was going to spend his holiday. Making homemade marshmallows, presents under the tree he had yet to acquire. Mantle decorated with stockings he had yet to acquire. He obliged. I pulled together the details, started shopping for presents he'd name-dropped in previous days, and pulled together quite the spread for his Birthday Holiday Day.
He left town for a few days mid-December, and 24 hours before he got home, the Man Of My Dreams dropped into town, and invited me to spend the holiday with him.
I wasn't dating anyone. Hukee and I had just been friend-hanging. And kissing. But that part is entirely beside the point.
We both knew we weren't the ones for each other. So, I picked him up from the airport, dropped a breezy, "ohhhh, so heyyy. Remember that Birthday Holiday Day we were going to celebrate together? The one we've been planning for weeks? Well, presents are wrapped, stocking are stuffed, and I'm not going to be there, KTHANKSBYE."
Hukee was stunned.
He dropped all the Christmassey things on my front doorstep the next day.
I called him wicked mad.
"YOU COME GET THESE THINGS NOW."
To which he replied he didn't much want them. (Weird, I wonder whyyyyy?!)
But he, being the Buddha-like human he is, rethunk his initial response and called me a few days later: "know what? I don't want this to end like this. Let's have a do-over. Can I take you to my favorite restaurant, we'll eat enchiladas and exchange gifts, and have a wonderful time, and say goodbye like grown-ups?"
And so, we did.
That night, he gave me 2 of his favorite books. One, a limited edition of Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitaire."
I gave him in a big box, wrapped to perfection. Inside,
"OHMYGOSH, Brooke. You didn't."
The Alessi Meditteraneo Fruit Bowl he'd once mentioned as an art piece he'd love to own. Alessi, he said, makes the most magnificent design. He, being a designer, loves truly creative, beautiful pieces. And now, the bowl was his.
He cried a bit. Just a bit. (He's a man who cries over bike videos and beautiful sunsets, so I didn't much mind that a salad bowl made him tear up), then kissed me sweetly and sent me on my way.
"If you feel to call me when you get home after the holidays, I'd love to catch up."
I didn't expect to see him again.
But a man with design sense and Buddha-level kindness sticks. And before long, I was back in Utah and calling to say hi.
We went on hikes. Went to museums. Once tried to go to the Orchestra, but I was late (like I always am), so we missed the first half.
Eventually, we decided to combine households. And all his kitchen stuff found a shared drawer with my kitchen stuff. Fruit bowl on fleek, Alessi often discussed as a favorite design company, with all sorts of favorite pieces he hopes to own one day.
So, of course, it made sense to find a matching Alessi Medditeraneo Salad Set for Christmas this year. He opened the box and said, "Ahhh, Alessi."
Because, of course he did.
We use that salad set a lot. Hukee loves how beautiful it makes any bowl look. I love how its curved contours fit so naturally in your hand.
And how, when he sees it, it sometimes makes my Hukee cry. Just a little.
That man. He does love himself some good design.
- 1 (3.5 oz) container spring green salad mix
- 2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
- 2 mandarins or tangerines peeled and sliced
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup cooked tricolor quinoa
- 1 lemon, squeezed
- 1 lime, squeezed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- salt and pepper, to tate
- 1/4 cup candied pecans or walnuts, crushed
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY GEEK-OUT MOMENT
These images were shot with a Canon 5D Mk III paired with a SigmaArt 35mm f/1.4 lens. I love that lens. A lifestyle photog friend mentioned it was her go-to lens for family and portrait shoots, so I figured I'd give it a try. It's gorgeous. As with all the SigmaArt lenses, it's just a dream to have in your arsenal.
See my camera setup and discover even more tricks with my 90-Minute Food Photography Crash Course.
The yellow backdrop is a $12 piece of precut whiteboard (from Home Depot), painted with 5 different yellow & gold tones (acrylic paint from Michaels crafts) then sprayed with a semigloss polyurethane for easy washability.
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