Vote for my Shawerma Tuna Flavour for a chance to win AED 15,000

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Perfection & Motherhood - Grapefruit & Feta Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

This is the presentation when a bit of molecular science is involved in making salad
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder

When it comes to food, the most satisfying eating experience is one that is full of flavour and texture. In terms of flavour, the palate has 4 main sensory spots. One for sweet, one for bitter, another for salt and one for sour (I will leave the umami out for the purpose of making my point). That is essentially what we taste, either as individual flavours or in combinations. The most satisfying flavour is one that engulfs your mouth with all four flavours, in turn, leaving you feeling satisfied (as not one flavour is missing).

When it comes to texture, there is smooth, crunchy, creamy, grainy and runny, all of which when mixed offer the perfect bite. Give anyone a high concentration of any one flavour or texture the experience will not be so perfect, in fact, it can become off setting! For instance, munch on pure sugar and you will find that you really can't. Despite sweet being the most preferable flavour, when food is overly sweet the palate will reject it. The same applies to salt, sour and obviously bitter. In the same effect, if you eat pure crunchy your palate will beg for a creamy relief, and when pure creamy, the palate will ask for something to crunch... Yeah, Ok, we all know what perfection is in terms of food, but we sometimes forget that perfection is the same everywhere. If we are looking for perfect, then we must understand that perfect consists of bitter, sweet, salty and sour. It is smooth, crunchy, runny, creamy and grainy. Perfect can never be endlessly creamy and sweet!

Today is Mother's Day in this part of the world. All mothers know too well that motherhood is a bitter sweet experience. It is never endlessly smooth sailing, nor is it completely choppy. At times it offers you the creamy comfort, then throws your way the crunchy bumps. Sometimes you take it with a grain of salt, and at times it leaves you feeling sour. However so, it is full of sweet moments.  As a whole motherhood is the perfect experience, one without which something is definitely missing!

So to all of you great women out there, may your experiences be filled with more sweet than bitter, and may you have the strength and the patience to deal with the bitter. May it be more smooth than crunchy. May it all be perfect. Keep at it, and keep the faith in the sacredness of your job. You are after all, shaping tomorrow for everyone. Most importantly you are shaping it for your little bundles of joy, who no matter how old, will always remain your babies. You will always remember that first time you looked into each one's eyes and said "I Love You". Teach them well, and remind them always of what is really important. Allow them to be who they are, but steer them to who they can be if they were to be perfect (check out definition of perfect above!). Happy Mothers' Day to all of you, and to those expecting you are mothers too, just because you did not yet have the baby doesn't make you less of a mother! We all know pregnancy and you are the one doing the most. As for those who have not yet had children and want to, then may you be granted this great experience. Those who do not wish to have children, be there for the ones who've had, they will always need all the help and support that they can get.

We all go through the great grinder
& we never cease to give

Today's recipe, is my favorite - super delicious, ultra healthy, full of anti-oxidants and pairs well with any grilled meats - Salad. I chose this salad for today's recipe, because it is perfect. It is the perfect flavour, with the perfect texture. It is the have it all perfect experience, kind of like motherhood. Have this salad as a lunch on its own, or as a side to grills, and you will feel super satisfied, and will remain healthy. It will help your body get rid of oxidants  and prevent the build up of any. You will also get massive amounts of healthy energy and nutrients, which we always need.

Grapefruit & Feta Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
You Need
4 cups mixed fresh lettuce (mixed lettuce comes in a variety of flavours, use it instead of just 1 lettuce variety and the flavour of your salads will be tremendously enhanced)
1 large ruby red grapefruit, segmented
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 green onions, sliced

For the vinaigrette ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pomegranate juice, reduced to 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit juice
1 tablespoons of lime juice
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper

Reduce the pomegranate juice. Toast the walnuts or pine nuts until slightly golden.

Meanwhile, wash and spin dry the lettuce, then tear it into bite-size pieces. Place the torn lettuce in a large bowl and set aside. Do not mix the rest of the ingredients with the lettuce at this point.

To segment the grapefruits: Peel them, and using a small paring knife, cut to release the fruit from the dividing membranes. This is done by sliding the knife closely between the edge of the fruit and its attached membrane.

To separate the pomegranate seeds: fill a bowl with cool water. Quarter the pomegranate and submerge each quarter under the water. Bend the pomegranate quarter backwards, until the spongy membranes break open. The fruit will fall to the bottom and the bitter membranes will float to the top. ¼ of a pomegranate should yield about ¼ cup of seeds, depending on the size of the fruit. Repeat, until all quarters have been seeded. Discard the membranes and the water, reserve the fruit.

Prepare the green onion by removing the root end and dried top tips, then clean them under running water. Diagonally, slice the onions into thin slices. Then crumble the feta cheese.

Prepare the vinaigrette by combining the juices with the salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified.

Dress the lettuce with a little vinaigrette, then add the rest of the ingredients to the lettuce and dress lightly with the vinaigrette. It is always best not to over dress the salad. You can keep the remaining vinaigrette in a sauce boat and serve it next to the salad for top-ups if desired. Toss the salad instead of mixing, in order not to break the feta cheese and segmented grapefruits.  Serve immediately.

The Best Gift to give your mother is letting her know
that she is so good that you lead by her example

Hope you have enjoyed, today's post and that you will give this salad a try. I know you will love it so make sure you do try it :)

I am receiving all the emails, and I miss you guys too! 
You won't believe how much I miss blogging, and how many things I have to share with you! The Istanbul Culinary Trip alone is a huge must share, what an awesome experience. I can safely say, it has changed me! Taste of Dubai, The opening of a few absolutely amazing restaurants... and much more! I will do some time I promise. But for now, you won't believe the kind of schedule I am running! So please continue to bear with me, I promise I will be back and with more than you expect. My upcoming book alone, is one that you are going to love, you will see. I am writing it, knowing and loving it this much, so I can only imagine how you will love it :)) YOU WILL, I know ;) so please do, stay in touch, even if I don't get a chance to reply to all the emails and comments, I still read them and love them, especially at night when I unwind, and they make me feel great :) The classes too will be back, but now it is impossible to take on any more than what I have on my plate! You are all on my mind, and thinking lots of you as I write my book, after all I am writing it for all of you :)

Happy Perfect Mother's Day x