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Summer’s Bounty

 

Yesterday at 7:21 a.m. , quietly and without any fanfare summer arrived in the Northern Hemisphere as it has done for millennia. 

Summer means swimming, picnics, camping, boating, fishing, visiting the zoo, vacations, grilling, starting a lemonade stand, and catching fireflies at dusk.

Summer also means fresh fruits and vegetables at road side stands, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores. Berries, melons, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, and watermelons. Corn, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, peppers, tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. I never tire of tomatoes.

The bounty of summer is on full naked and colorful display everywhere I go. And I am loving it!!!

So, today I begin a series of recipes that puts on full display summer’s bounty. Each post will feature a new recipe using summer fruits or vegetables.

I begin with one of my all time favorite salads, Marvelous Mandarin Salad. It is sooooooo delicious. I don’t even know where I got the original of this recipe.

I have been making it and tinkering around with it for 20+ years.

The original only had the oranges and the pecans and also called for croutons. I do not use the croutons any more, and I have added strawberries and the red onion. I sometimes use almonds in place of the pecans if I have none on hand. I also add other berries if I have any in the fridge, such as blueberries or blackberries. But my favorite remains the strawberries. You can also substitute fresh spinach for the Romaine lettuce. 

This is the result. This salad goes with anything and everything. 

Marvelous Mandarin Orange Salad
Here is what you will need for the salad for 4 people: 

2 small bunches Romaine lettuce cut or torn into small pieces

1 can 6 ounces mandarin oranges, drained, juice reserved

6-7 medium strawberries, sliced

¼ to ½ cup pecans

1-2 very thin slices of red onion, halved and then separated

Here is what you will need for the dressing: 

3 tablespoons of the reserved mandarin orange juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Place the cut lettuce in a bowl.

 

Top with the drained oranges.

Add the sliced strawberries.

Next add the pecans.

Slice 1 or 2 very thin slices off the onion.

 

Cut each slice in half and then separate the onion pieces.

Top the salad off with the thin red onion slices.

To Make the Dressing:

Mix the reserved mandarin orange juice with the Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper and whisk until it emulsifies.

Pour dressing over the salad, serve, and savor summer’s bounty.

Costs

Salad

2 small bunches Romaine lettuce                 $2.00

1 can 6 ounces mandarin oranges                $0.50

6-7 medium strawberries                            $0.63**

¼ to ½ cup pecans                                    $0.93

1-2 very thin slices red onion                       $0.10

Total Cost Salad = $4.16
Cost per person = $1.04

** I have to tell you the story about these strawberries. I had to go to one particular store to buy tickets for a play I am going to later this week. As I walked in the door they had this huge display of 1 pound packages of strawberries for 4 for $5.00, or $1.25 a package. A steal for sure. They looked fine. Nothing wrong with them at all, so I bought one. When I got to the store where I usually buy most of my produce they had the exact same brand for $3.99. Right off the bat this morning I saved $2.74. I could not believe my luck. And they were good, sweet berries too.

 Dressing

Mandarin orange juice                      N/A ~ in cost above

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard                $0.06

2 tablespoons olive oil                       $0.45

S&P

Total cost = $0.51
Cost per person = $0.13 
Grand Total for salad and dressing = $4.16
Grand Total per person cost = $1.17

Bon Appetite!

Quote of the Day ~  A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. James Dent

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