The Avocado Zest is delicious. It has a fresh, lemon taste.  I drizzle it on my salads. I recommend it to anyone who wants a high quality oil with a hint of citrus for salads and fish.
Jane Dummer, RD

Community Foodist – December 2010

Why my mother would ask me to bring a fruit salad to a recent family brunch was intriguing, mostly because I don’t subscribe to the same philosophy as most of my family does when it comes to the fruit and veg that I will eat. I do not judge, and I try not to preach, but my family does eat fruit regardless of the seasonality, but will buy local whenever possible. This being said, I explained to mom that there would be no berries or melon in the salad, and that it would be strictly what I could get during my shift volunteering at Brickworks on Saturday. She was fine with that, so I started thinking and planning.

It was a very chilly Saturday at the market and I left my post at Vicki’s Veggies to go see my buddy Mimi, from Bizjak Farms, to see what tree fruit they had available. Already with a plan in mind, we selected some great fruit for my salad that would be good enough for both the kids and adults to praise. Sometimes you just have an idea, and you know it is going to be successful, and this was one of those times. With the help of Mimi I selected apples and pears that would give a great balance of flavours in the salad, and compliment my other ingredients. When creating a dish without a recipe this is a key step, and balance the ultimate goal. You don’t want anything to be overpowering, so with the fruits I wanted ones that each brought something special to the bowl. I think we choose perfectly, but the great thing about this salad is that it is just a concept, rather than a list of ingredients. The key components are: fruit, cheese, sweet and nutty oil, and fruit vinegar.

I was sent some oils recently by Olivado, and I had one of them in mind as being perfect to compliment my other ingredients. Their Macadamia Nut Oil was partially the inspiration for the flavours in this salad, and it would be a great pairing with the plum vinegar I had in my fridge; a remnant of my canning exercises at the end of summer. I don’t believe in wasting anything, and most things that are leftover from cooking other dishes find a home in my fridge in jars for future experimenting. As for fruit, I found a nice combination of texture and taste that really worked for what I wanted. Add in the sharpness of some nice cheese, and the crunch of some tasty toasted nuts and you have a winner.

What I used:

* 4 Russet Apples cored, peeled, and cubed

* 4 Ambrosia Apples cored, peeled, and cubed

* 4 Bosc Pears cored, and cubed

* A medium sized block of aged or sharp cheese, chopped. I used a 3 year cheddar from Black River Cheese

* Pecans or Walnuts, toasted

* Fruit Vinegar

* Nut Oil (as mentioned, I used macadamia)

With and without the nuts. The second was a suggestion by a friend on Twitter

This really worked fantastically, and my family did enjoy it, remarking that because of the cheese it would be a great addition to lunch, and not just as a dessert. Use amounts you feel comfortable with, and have fun with this salad and change everything up. It can be different every time you make it, and I guarantee that it will never be bad. Let me know how you would change it, I am always curious to hear.

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