Monday, November 29, 2010

Kids Cook Monday: Jewel Salad

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I'm in love with this seasonal fruit salad, a happy accident that came together on a day when nothing else was going smoothly.

We had leftover brownies and pumpkin bread on hand, but not much more. I was barely able to clear off a table before the playdate -- I hadn't put any thought into making something new.

Fresh fruit to the rescue. I sliced up persimmons and apples, pulled apart a pomegranate, and chopped up some dates. The dressing came together quickly, and Anna suggested the perfect finishing touch: a dash of cinnamon and a bit of fresh basil.

I invited the kids to make their own salads. They sampled freely, lighting up with surprise when they tasted something they liked ... and wrinkling their noses when they nibbled something less appealing. In the end, each enjoyed a personalized dish of late autumn's best. A healthy, perfect little something for The Kids Cook Monday!

If you're crazy for persimmons, try Persimmon Compote, which is delicious stirred into yogurt or oatmeal or spooned over ice cream. We also have Persimmon and Fennel Salad, a crunchy and colorful salad with greens.

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Jewel Salad

Pears are a nice substitute for the apples. For tips on using fresh pomegranate, check out this post.

arils from 1/2 a pomegranate
2-3 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced
2 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
4 dates, pitted and chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1/2 a large orange (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil (optional)

Combine the lemon juice and two cups of water in a small bowl. Add the apple slices and let sit for 10 minutes (this helps prevent browning), then rinse and drain well.

Set out apple slices, persimmon slices, pomegranate, and dates in separate bowls.
In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk until blended. Pour dressing into a cream pitcher or measuring cup to make it easy to pour.

Children can spoon fruit into their bowls and pour dressing over it.

If you're making this without the help of little hands, just combine all the fruit in a large bowl, add dressing to taste, and stir to combine.

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