farmers market


It is the end of winter at the farmers market, and a time to rejoice for the offerings of spring, but also reminisce about the winter. Today was a day full of bright colors, especially citrus. I am excited to make cake, jam galore, juice, and finally just eat these beauties, especially the pomelo.

Citrus bountyTop row: ruby red grapefruits (4 for $1), top right hand corner is sweet lemons.
Middle row : cara cara oranges.
Bottom row: lemons, blood oranges, and an oroblanco pomelo.

winter salad with Cara Cara oranges


During cold winter nights, like almost everyone else, I dream of a bowl of soup, even if only for hand warming. However, the winter has not been bitter and cold here, but rather mild and quite predictable. The vegetables and fruits don’t seem to mind though, and continued on producing, even in high numbers. This great bounty of citrus is a match for the weather, and I don’t think I can tire of eating oranges in lieu of chips or nuts at work.

But let me take a moment to pay much deserved attention to the Cara Cara oranges that I found at the farmers market. I had never seen them before, and the intriguing pink flesh made me think at first that they were small grapefruits (sidetrack here, but this clip about grapefruits from Aziz Ansari is gold). Anyway, reading up on these navel oranges, I read that they are actually believed to be the product of a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel, first discovered at the Hacienda de Cara Cara in Valencia, Venezuela. The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UC-Riverside notes that the rich color of the rind and juice is due to a large presence of lycopene, like the red color of tomatoes. The juice has a red color too, and is lower in acid content than other navel oranges. I even tried to make some curd with it, but it took much longer to thicken than lemon or orange juices, and the color faded into a very pale pink.

I had not done all of this research on the eve of making this salad though. Instead, I wondered what the addition of these sweet oranges and some ripe mangoes would do to a very bitter bunch of kale which had been shoved into the back of the refrigerator repeatedly. The result was a salad with multiple layers: crispy bites from the kale and the late minute addition of a few pecans, sweet undertones from the mango and oranges, and a welcome kick from the champagne vinegar dressing.

mango salad

Ingredients: (for four as a salad or two as a main dish)
half bunch of kale (note: about four to five large leaves will do)
handful of spinach (about one third of a bag, I used baby spinach)
one ripe mango
one avocado
two medium cara cara oranges
a quarter cup of pecans (can be omitted or substituted with almonds or hazelnuts or walnuts)
two to three tablespoons of champagne vinegar (or you can substitute one to two tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper

1) Wash kale and spinach, even if pre-washed. Air dry on towel, or quickly dry with paper towels.
2) Peel mango and slice into quarters, bite size. Slice avocado into similar bite size cubes.
3) Peel oranges normally into slices or spice it up by doing orange supremes.
4) Toss greens with olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Add the mango, avocado, and orange slices. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly toss together with your hands, as to have better control. Add pecans (or nuts, if using) on top.