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Avocado and Watercress Salad



I've been on a bit of a health kick recently. Been going to the gym every day, taking spinning classes twice a week and I've been trying to eat healthier, too. This salad just oozes healthfulness, and makes for a pretty amazing light lunch when eaten with a couple slices of toasted six grain bread.

It's all in the dressing; the onion and apple give it the hint of sweetness, and also add a little texture. The soy sauce and rice vinegar base really contrast well with the spiciness of the watercress and the creaminess of the avocado -- it almost tastes like the wasabi/soy combo you get with sushi. The crisp/creamy contrast of the watercress and avocado isn't bad either.

Instead of going to the bother of grating the apple and onion, I just tossed everything into a tall glass and used my immersion blender.

Avocado and Watercress Salad
Gourmet, May 2008

1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned, although seasoned won't kill this recipe)
1 tbsp grated sweet onion (use large holes of a grater)
1/4 cup finely grated peeled Gala apple (use small holes of a grater)
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups watercress (thin stems and leaves only)
1 firm-ripe avocado

Stir together vinegar, onion, apple, soy sauce and sugar until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in oil.

Just before serving, toss watercress with enough dressing to coat. Quarter, pit, and peel avocado, then cut crosswise into 1/4" slices. Gently toss with watercress.

Makes 6 servings.

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Shrimp and Grapefruit salad



This is a great salad to prepare for these hot, humid summer days. You only have to heat up one pot to boil the shrimp in (if you really wanted, you could use pre-cooked, although I wouldn't recommend it). The grapefruit really makes this salad something different!

A few notes about the recipe: since there are so few ingredients, and you don't really fuss with them a lot, make sure everything is fresh, fresh, fresh. You'll be able to taste it all, and it'll be painfully apparent when one of your ingredients is a little off. Fresh shrimp cooked at home would be a better choice than frozen, and make sure the avocado is ripe.

The segmenting of the grapefruit takes a little while, but there are two approaches you could take. The first is to peel off the grapefruit skin, and then peel off each individual segment (this is easier if you leave a little rind on the fruit). Alternatively, you could use this method, where a very sharp knife is used to remove the skin and peel of the grapefruit, and then the knife is used to cut the segments out.

Shrimp and Grapefruit Salad

3/4 lb large tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 large grapefruit or 1 large pomelo, peeled and segmented
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small ripe avocado, thinly sliced
4 tbsp Lemon & Fish Sauce
1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
Juice from one lime

When peeling the grapefruit, leave some pith on around the segments so that the skin is more easily removed. Alternatively, you could peel and section the grapefruit with a sharp knife. You will leave a little flesh on the skin, but it's much faster.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the shrimp, and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and drain. Soak the onion slices in lime juice for a few minutes to remove the bite.

Place the grapefruit segments, drained onion, and avocado in a serving dish. Arrange the shrimp on top and drizzle with the sauce. Toss to mix well.

Lemon & Fish Sauce

2 small red chilies, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
3 tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar
1/2 cup water

Mix together ingredients in a bowl (go easy on the fish sauce!). Transfer to a screw-top jar and store in the refrigerator, where this sauce will keep for a week.

Fresh Chinese by Wynnie Chan

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Corn and Zucchini Fritters



Martha Stewart is kind of awesome. She's a smart cookie (let's ignore the whole imclone business), knows what she wants, and makes adorable baby bird cupcakes.

Also wonderful? The recipe compilations that her magazine releases annually. So far, my favorite has been the 2005 Edition; I found this recipe in it last year, and have been waiting for summer to arrive so that I can make it again.

Corn and Zucchini Fritters

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 8 oz)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 or 4 ears)
vegetable oil for frying

Garnish:
peeled and sliced avocado
cilantro
lime wedges
bacon, cooked until crisp

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, eggs, and milk; add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Add zucchini and corn, stir until well blended.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat until hot.

Drop 2 tbsp of batter into the skillet for each fritter, pressing gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer onto paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper while still hot.

Serve with lime juice, crispy bacon, avocado slices and cilantro on top.

Makes 2 dozen fritters.

Martha Stewart Living, 2005

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