Saturday, March 2, 2013

justin bieber and selena grapefruit

So I’ve been dating someone, which is odd—I mean, he’s not odd—well, he’s a little odd, but not more so than you and I. What I’m getting at is that it’s odd to be 41 and have a boyfriend. Because he’s not a boy, and I’m not in high school, and it’s just…odd. Anyway, we’ve been a little break-up-get-back-together lately, but at the end of last year, when we were together, we challenged each other to cook one new dish every week in 2013 and started a tumblr about it. Then we broke up. Now we’re back together! Kind of. Dating really should be left entirely to Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez and those who love them.

Anyway, it turns out that tumblr is also odd (among other things, the word tumbler is traditionally spelled with an "e," and the platform doesn’t allow commenting), so when we update our cooking challenge bl*g, I’m going to link to it so that you can meet my kind-of boyfriend and read about what he's cooking, but I’m also going to repost my own posts here so you can comment. About dating or cooking or Justin Bieber.

My most recent post is below (you may notice that I'm way behind; see "we broke up" above), and you can read the rest here. 

Week 5: Grapefruit, Avocado, and Fennel Salad
I moved to Philadelphia in part for the weather, which I know sounds crazy to anyone who lives here, and it’s true, I think I was aiming low. But I moved here from Vermont (have you spent a winter in Vermont? Because that winter is still going on there). Before that I lived in DC for five years, which has a similar climate to Philly—four distinct seasons, none of which lasts forever: Summer in the mid-Atlantic is basically disgusting, but spring is a knockout, fall perfectly pleasant, and the winters not that bad, compared to where I’m from. Or they didn’t seem that bad until a couple of weeks ago, specifically Week 5 of this challenge, when I was no longer appeased by the absence of snow and subzero temperatures. I wondered why I hadn’t moved to the South. Or, better yet, the South of France. The view of gray skies and spindly, bare branches of trees from my bedroom window was destroying my already weak will to get up in the morning. The biting wind I met on my first walk of the day was bitter, as was I. Very, vey bitter.

I made lots of wintry foods that week—some new recipes, like a creamy cauliflower soup that didn’t actually have cream and braised beans that featured both bacon and beef stock as ingredients, and old favorites, too, like brisket. But it turns out heavy, rich foods were not the answer.


The answer was grapefruits. And oranges. And lemons. Some thinly sliced fennel. Creamy avocado. Salad. A crisp, bright sunny day of a salad, imported from warmer climes. Which is where I plan to start spending my winters as soon as I marry the octogenarian retiree of my dreams. Any day now.


Grapefruit, Avocado, and Fennel Salad
The recipe below is more or less the original, Bon Appétit version. I adapted it, but not in any exact way. Because this version serves eight and I was cooking for two, I used just one grapefruit, one fennel bulb, and one avocado. The arugula was measured in handfuls, not cups. I didn’t arrange anything in layers; I lightly dressed and carefully tossed it. And the dressing, which I made more or less as described here, was too sweet, so I added more lemon juice to taste, as well as the grapefruit juice that had leaked from the fruit when I peeled and pithed it. There was tons of dressing left over, but it goes well on all kinds of salads, beans, grains...

1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl to blend, or shake them vigorously in a jar. Season with salt and pepper.

2 large pink grapefruits, peel and white pith removed
1 pound fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into paper-thin slices (I used my trusty mandolin; and when I say “trusty mandolin,” I mean the mandolin with which I am bit by bit amputating my right thumb)


2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into thin slices
2 cups arugula

1. Using a sharp knife, cut between membranes of grapefruits to release segments.
2. Spread fennel slices over large platter. Arrange grapefruit segments and avocado slices atop fennel. Drizzle dressing over salad. Arrange arugula atop salad. 



  1. I greatly appreciate this duplication of efforts because I have oh-so-many comments on your effing brioche incident and had no outlet. Keep 'em coming, Kater. I'm listening.

  2. I'm with Face. It is never enough for me to just heart your posts on Tumblr. As you know, I'm a girl who always has something to say!

  3. Face, I can't wait to hear what you have to say about the brioche incident. Or The Brioche Incident, as it's known in international espionage circles.

    It's funny, Mojie; I think of you as the shy type. A real shrinking violet.