The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Sunflower Greens, Avocado, Pummelo 
and Mandarin Salad with Mint
and a Pineapple Emulsion

Anybody ready for Spring? And could my title get any longer?
Especially considering we have a very simple starter salad going on here.
Well here is my excuse...I have a couple of special ingredients here, and well
I felt a little guilty about leaving out the others just because they are a bit less
exotic. I mean just look at those gorgeous mint leaves!
I used three types of mint actually, spearmint, peppermint and pineapple mint.
They are all organic and grown in TAE's very own garden :) And the organic
avocado and mandarins are not too difficult to get your hands on, that is unless
you live somewhere that they are tough to find.

The Red Pummelo perhaps is a bit more exotic...
 The Pummelo is an ancestor of the grapefruit and is similar in size and coloring.
However the Pummelo is far less tart and far sweeter that the grapefruit. As you
can see in the photo below they have a very thick membrane and can be sectioned
just as you would a grapefruit...

The stars of this dish are actually the Organic Sunflower Greens. I am obsessed
with them to tell you the truth...I ate more than half of my stash just by themselves
as I was preparing this salad. They are nutty, crunchy and packed with flavor.
In fact it is amazing that you can encapsulate that much flavor in such a small green.
Sunflower greens can be grown quite easily from unhulled sunflower seeds, sprouted
then planted. They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Sunflower
Greens unlike Sunflower Sprouts are actually the baby plants and should be grown in
soil to provide maximum flavor and benefits. I found a link that can provide you
with step by step growing instructions here. 

For those unfamiliar with and Emulsion it can be a simple or complicated
process depending on what type of sauce you are preparing. Simply put an
emulsion is merely a process of getting oil to play well with others... Examples
 of emulsions are mayonnaise or an aioli, even a simple vinaigrette.
I will try and avoid getting too scientific here, so basically we would need
a bonding agent to prevent our liquids from separating. A typical example of
a protein bonding agent or emulsifier would be eggs or cream. Another example,
say in the case of a vinaigrette would be mustard or a thick tomato sauce.
Whether you are preparing a hot or cold emulsion the one key is to add your
oil at the appropriate time and very slowly. 

What you will need:

For the salad
Sunflower greens
Very ripened avocados, sliced
Mandarin orange wedges
Pummelo sections
Fresh baby mint leaves, whole or chopped

For the pineapple emulsion
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons honey
(I used avocado honey)
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
!/2 cup sunflower oil, or other light oil
Emulsifying blender, blender or food processor

Get this look:
Have all of your salad ingredients washed and set aside. Place pineapple juice in
blender (or appropriate devise), add honey and greek yogurt. Blend mixture until
 incorporated, keeping blender on very slowly benign to add your oil. Continue
 process until all oil is used.

In the center of your salad plate, place desired amount of your pineapple emulsion
and spread into a circular pattern. Then arrange your sunflower greens with trimmed
stems facing towards the center. Now alternate your citrus wedges in the open areas
 between your greens. In the very center of your plate layer your avocado slices in a
 pile or mound. Decorate with your mint leaves or pieces as desired.
Note: This also makes a lovely after dinner alternative to a heavier dessert. The subtle
sweetness of the emulsion and citrus fruits pared with the creaminess of the ripened
avocado are very refreshing...

I also have a bit of fun news... I received a cookbook that I received during a
giveaway from one of my very favorite blog sites Roti n Rice...
Biren who is the author of Roti n Rice celebrated her first Blog Anniversary and
decided to hold a giveaway to one lucky winner (Me) and send out this lovely
cookbook The Minnesota Table by Shelley N.C. Holl and B.J. Carpenter.
The cookbook is a signed addition from B.J. Carpenter as well as a sweet note
from my wonderful friend Biren :) The cookbook itself has both illustrations as
well has photography. The concept of the book aside from flavorful recipes,
is local and fresh foods presented by season.
You can learn more here and here about this lovely cookbook and it's authors.
Thank you so much Biren! 

Alisha~Magic of Spice

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