You may have noticed that I don’t do a lot of sponsored posts on this blog. Food bloggers get tons of offers every week from here, there and everywhere, requesting a bit of publicity on their site. It’s not so much that I mind (occasionally) promoting products, but more that I want The Café to remain a recipe blog; a place you can come to for inspiration, fresh ideas, cooking tips and ways to make your life in the kitchen more fun and interesting. However, every now and then I get an email that I just can’t resist This one came a few weeks ago, as I was perusing my mail one morning. It sounded like the usual offer: promote our product, __________( fill in the blank) and we’ll give you some of this product and also a giveaway of this product for your readers. Honestly, I’m usually not interested, but there were two words that stood out to me like a sudden flash of lightening on a inky, black night; WORLD VISION.
You may not be familiar with World Vision, but I hope that changes today, as it’s a totally awesome organization. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that works in 100 countries across the world. They work primarily with children, but also with their families and communities to help alleviate poverty and injustice and to develop long term solutions to these problems.
World Vision is especially close to my heart because Scott and I have sponsored a child in South America for the past 15 years through this organization. We started when Maria was quite young and have been able to watch her grow up, through pictures and written communication. We’ve felt so encouraged that the small amount of money we’ve given each month has not only helped feed Maria, but it’s also been instrumental in her education.
You can read more about the World Vision organization on their website, but I wanted to share one very innovative program they have to help kids and families both near and far. They have a gift catalogue that comes out each year before the holidays. The World Vision Gift Catalog offers more than 250 items that help fight poverty and save lives here in U.S. and around the world. With a financial contribution, donors can select one of the 30+ handcrafted gifts that can be shared with a loved one and at the same time help a person in need. It’s a wonderful idea for those tough-to-buy-for people on your Christmas list.
I was allowed to choose an item from their catalogue for myself and as a give-away to one Café reader. It was a hard choice since they have so many lovely handmade items from all over the world. I finally settled on the beautiful hand-carved salad spoon set that you see in some of the photos below. I thought it was an appropriate choice, since salads are one of our specialties here at The Café. The spoons are made of olive wood and delivered in a gift bag of African fabric hand-sewn by local women. The serving spoons are made to benefit orphans of the Kamba tribe in Kenya. Each one is unique—just like the children they help.
I was thrilled when the box arrived from World Vision. I couldn’t wait to see the spoons in person and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.
As you can see, they’re totally unique and make for a gorgeous presentation. I wish they could talk and tell the story of the person who spent the time whittling the beautiful twisted handles and smoothing the serving surfaces.
Once I saw the pretty spoons, my imagination went into high gear inventing a new salad that would be worthy of these lovely serving utensils.
I’m crazy about all the beautiful citrus that’s hitting the markets right now, and decided I would use some of it as my base for both the salad and the dressing.
Some golden beets were calling my name at the market as well as the pomegranates all piled up pretty and on super sale.
The dressing is simply concentrated citrus juice, honey, garlic, ginger, coriander and oil. Just throw them together in a jar and give a good shake, shake, shake and that’s it!
Please take the time to browse through the World Vision Gift Catalogue and consider giving a unique, life-changing gift that gives back all year long (there are all kinds of other cool things in the catalogue too ………. like real live goats, ducks and chickens!). You could also give an amazing gift to yourself by sponsoring a child in need who will be fed, clothed, kept warm and educated through a small monthly donation.
Oh and be sure to enter the give-away (scroll down) for the beautiful hand-carved serving utensils, you never know, I might just be inspired to invent another salad in honor of YOUR spoons.
- For the Citrus Vinaigrette:
- ¾ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons honey if oranges are very sweet, use a bit less honey (early season oranges are usually not as sweet)
- zest of 2 oranges
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger finely minced*
- 1 teaspoon crushed or ground coriander seed has a delicious "citrusy" flavor
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper a generous grind
- For the salad:
- 8 cups baby arugula
- 2 medium navel oranges peeled and cut in wedges
- 2 medium beets roasted** and sliced into wedges
- ½ cup pomegranate arils or seeds***
- ¼ cup roasted salted pistachios (Trader Joe's carries these. You can also roast your own, tossed with a teaspoon of olive oil and a ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt or kosher salt, in a 350˚F oven for 5-7 minutes.
- For the citrus vinaigrette, combine orange, lemon and lime juice along with honey in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a steady simmer. Cook until mixture has been reduced to 1/2 cup. Swirl pan occasionally while reducing.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a medium size glass jar. Add remaining vinaigrette ingredients and shake well.
- For the salad, place 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a large bowl. Add the arugula and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter, if desired.
- Arrange the oranges and beets attractively on top of the arugula. Scatter with the pomegranate arils and pistachios. Pass extra dressing at the table. Serves 6-8 as a side salad
**To roast beets, preheat oven to 400˚F. Wash beets and dry with a paper towel. Rub beets with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil per beet. Place beets on a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap foil tightly around beets. Roast in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until beets are tender when pierced with a small sharp knife. Remove from oven and cool. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel. The skin should easily slip off.
Use any color beets for this recipe. I used a golden variety I found at Whole Foods but red would be really pretty too.
Some grocery stores now carry beets already roasted and ready to use. I've seen these at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and a few other local markets. They keep, unopened for a long time in the refrigerator as they are usually vacuum packed.
*** ~ See this post to learn how to remove the pomegranate seeds with no fuss, no mess, no water, in less than a minute, it's awesome!