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A story about how a trip to the grocery store, Google and citrus fruit can take two hours away from your life that you will never get back. Never.

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Once upon a trip to the grocery store, I thought it would be a grand idea to get a little creative. I found myself standing curiously in front of a wall of greens, mobile in hand, I began to Google.

What had I not tried before? – Kale, love it. Bok choy, check. Swiss chard, yup. Fennel… ah-ha, a winner! And then I recalled a fennel salad recipe I had seen on the Food Network, sadly this recipe could not be found while standing dazed and confused in the produce aisle. So instead, I opted for a citrus, celery and shaved fennel salad found on Epicurious. The ingredients were minimal, and the prep time was a mere 25 minutes. Mission accomplished.

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole-grain or coarse-grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 grapefruit (preferably pink)
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (sometimes called anise; about 1 3/4
    lb), stalks cut off and discarded
  • 3 celery ribs, cut diagonally into 1/8-inch-thick slices

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking, until combined.

Cut peel, including all white pith, from oranges and grapefruit with a paring knife. Working over a bowl, cut segments free from membranes. Squeeze juice from membranes into a small bowl, then whisk 3 tablespoons juice into vinaigrette. Drain citrus segments, then add to vinaigrette.

Quarter fennel bulbs lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into paper-thin slices (about 1/16 inch thick) with slicer. Add to fruit along with celery and toss gently to combine.

Holllld onnnnn horrsssseeyyyyyyyydddddd! Not so fast. Observe how simple the above recipe appears. Let me start this rant on a positive note, the dressing is easy to make and delicious. The only tip to note (if you dare attempt this evil craft) is that when instructed to add oil in a slow stream, don’t pour all the oil in at once like I did.

Oh, and when instructed to cut fruit segments free from membrane’s, do what i didn’t, which is to buy a can of mandarin oranges. Whoever made this recipe had a team of robots removing citrus fruit from its encased membranes, because there is no way in hell this task alone can be completed in 25 minutes. Try an hour. With wine.

In the words of Julie Powell, after removing the stupid fucking fruit from its stupid fucking membrane, the remainder of this recipe isn’t so challenging… that is if you can recover from your burning hangnails and ruby-red eye socket from squirts of grapefruit juice. A proud addition made to this recipe by yours truly was to add the dill-looking greens from the fennel to the salad. I learnt this tip from watching unhealthy amounts of the Food Network, thank you cable television.

And voila! Here you have the photos of this process… which by no means capture the level of frustration or unnecessary time commitment involved in making this beast. I will say, the salad was fresh and the fennel complimented the citrus flavors. This is a perfect summer or brunch salad as long as you skip a few of the annoying and useless instructions involved.

Here's where the calories are!

Welcome to citrus hell.

Half a bottle of red later...

Eat me.

Your damn right that if I'm going to spend two hours making a salad, there will be this many pictures.

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