It's all about the pomegranates.

Pomegranates Perched on a Plate

Thanksgiving, the great American holiday, is come and gone and the push toward Christmas begins. We had a fine and snowy Thanksgiving in northern New Mexico. The snow was soul satisfying since we are still waiting for a real occurrence of the white stuff in the middle of the state.

We had a week off from the farm box on Thanksgiving week which gave me a chance to catch up on some things in the fridge. We did use our lovely New Mexican pecans in a pie that was consumed so quickly on Thanksgiving Day that we didn't get to take a picture. A pecan pie is a thing of beauty. Anticipating that we would have a carbohydrate heavy holiday meal, we had sauteed spinach from the box on Thanksgiving morning with our eggs and the Macy's parade on TV. To make it seem more like an eggs Florentine I added some leftover sauteed leeks and tomatoes. Yes, it was a refrigerator cleaner of a meal but still good.

I had several lightly dressed mixed field green salads over the weekend in an attempt to balance out the holiday meal and the pancetta heavy pasta I inhaled for my Saturday night main course. No bugs in the salad greens this time. In another refrigerator clearing meal, we had enhanced black bean quesadillas on Monday with sauteed onion and green peppers and a side of sauteed spinach all from the farm box. It was a hat trick! The poor green peppers were on the small side and as a result were moldering down in the corner of the vegetable bin. Because I am intensely frugal, out went the bad bits (into the compost bin) and the rest were artfully sliced up for the saute. The onion came from the huge onion that we broke into a few days ago. People, that's how big is this onion--three meals worth.

The bounty of the last several boxes has been local pomegranates. What a wonderfully exotic item to arrive in the graying days of fall. I have been getting over my issues with the fruit. For many years, I would buy one on a whim, set it on my table, admire its beautiful color and then when it looked drained of life, toss it because I had no idea what to do with it. Waste is not part of the game now, especially in tight times. So, to Epicurious I go. On the hunt for something to do with a can of mandarin oranges in the pantry, I run across Arugula, Fennel, Apple, Mandarin Orange, and Pomegranate Salad. "Hey", I say, "I have three of those things in this house right now!" I acquired a fennel bulb and an apple, put it all together, took it to my potluck at work, and was rewarded with a quickly emptied salad bowl at the end of the day. Thanks pomegranate seeds! Also, to accompany a curried butternut squash and yellow split pea soup this week, I made Green Olive, Walnut & Pomegranate Salad. While this didn't have the same nerd-ish excitement of using a maximum of ingredients from the farm box, I did use a homegrown Serrano pepper which had ripened red and I finally got to use the pomegranate molasses I bought on a whim at the international supermarket. This salad was fantastic: crunchy, tangy, spicy, salty, and everything nice. As we head in to winter, seasonal salads tend more toward the crunchy and hearty and less toward delicate greens. More pear slabs and nut sprinklings, less cucumbers. To that I say hoorah! The season of cooking has begun! Now please excuse me as I let my mind drift to the wonders of acorn squash...

For Your Cooking Pleasure:

Arugula, Fennel, Apple, Mandarin Orange and Pomegranate Salad

Green Olive, Walnut & Pomegranate Salad