Simply Food: Citrus Salad

Citrus Salad

I haven’t gone to one yoga class yet. I have only written one journal entry so far and it’s two paragraphs. It has been a couple of weeks since the beginning of January and my resolutions haven’t really started to take shape. Let’s face it, I haven’t started them at all. Well, I just had a birthday. Maybe it will be that sort of beginning of a year. I can start now and bring in my forty sixth year right. That’s the new plan. All is not lost.

Obviously, we started my birthday morning with Eggs Benedict. I get to enjoy Claud’s Eggs Benedict every birthday and Mother’s Day. It is absolutely the best I have ever eaten.

Later, we had a big birthday celebration at my house. My mom organized the party. It started out with about ten people and turned into a thirty-person event by the time we got started. I kept remembering people I couldn’t leave out. So, the guest list kept growing.

My mom asked what I would like for my birthday and I remembered my childhood favorites. Am I regressing? Nah, I am just young at heart. Every year for many years, I chose vegetable lasagna and chocolate cake as my birthday party food. My mom makes the best vegetable lasagna. My favorite part is biting into the dollops of ricotta cheese. I must have reminded her four or five times not to forget the ricotta. Once you combine this with the vegetable sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan, you’ve stepped into heaven.

I also asked Claud to make his famous meaty lasagna. This lasagna is the meat lovers dream. It’s probably about three thousand calories per serving, but well worth every bite. He makes a delicious Bolognese and a béchamel sauce. Then, he layers these with the lasagna noodles and tops it all with cheese. If you eat meat, you will love this. His Bolognese takes two days to prepare and contains two bottles of red wine. It’s rich and wonderful.

I cooked my Piedmontese Peppers. I have been making these every other week or so. They are just so perfect to have in the refrigerator. They make any pasta or salad dish so much better. I cut red bell peppers in half, sprinkle in some chopped garlic, and place a small tomato inside each half. Then, I drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finally, I place them into the oven for a couple of hours on 300 degrees and they are finished. This is so simple but the results are far from uncomplicated. The flavors are incredible and each bite bursts with tastiness. This might be my favorite dish. It’s definitely my “go to” for parties.

My cousin made the charcuterie, bruchetta and a citrus salad. The citrus salad was  incredible. Not only was it beautiful, the flavors were amazing. He combined blood orange, navel orange, grapefruit, red onion, fennel, mint, and pistachios. I loved how the sweetness of the oranges accentuated the sharp onion bite. The crunchy pistachios were the perfect addition. I will definitely make this salad many more times. Often times, for a snack, I will cut up oranges, squeeze lemon juice over them and sprinkle this with seasoned salt. The salad Alex made takes that idea to an entirely new level of greatness. My mouth is watering as I think of it. I might make it again tonight. It’s that good.

My mom bought a gigantic chocolate cake. It was so good with chocolate frosting. To top everything off, some friends brought me “Sprinkles” cupcakes too. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying these famous cupcakes, I hope you get to experience them at some point. They are cupcake perfection.

We had way too much food and drank far too much wine. It wouldn’t be my birthday dinner without these two components. We had a daughter of a friend face paint us. I was a cat. There was a bit of drama when I invited a friend and her ex husband with his new girlfriend. I completely forgot the connection. There was more drama when a friend of mine broke another friend’s karaoke microphone. She thought she was being funny by dropping it to the floor after the song. It was actually funny.

After two days of clean up and an afternoon lounging in bed, binge watching Game of Thrones, I am ready to get back to those resolutions. My journal is out and ready. I just have to run to the store to buy a pen. There is always something.

Alex’s Citrus Salad:

Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

4 oranges, segmented

3 grapefruits, segmented

1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

2 red onions, finely sliced

1 cup shelled pistachios

½ cup mint, chopped

1 cup olive oil

½ cup orange juice

salt and pepper to taste

Place oranges, grapefruit, fennel, onions, pistachios and mint into a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine oil, juice, salt and pepper. Whisk this together and pour over the salad.