Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Claim Jumper California Citrus Salad

Among the many, many things I loved about living in San Diego for a couple of years was the restaurants they had. Idaho Falls doesn't have tons of restaurants to choose from. Among my favorite places to eat in SD were Panera, California Pizza Kitchen, and the Claim Jumper.

ANYTHING you get at the Claim Jumper will have you...well...jumping for joy. Amazing food. Amazing. One of my favorite salads of theirs was the California Citrus Salad. I loved it so much (and missed it so much when we moved to Idaho) that I set out to re-create it. I could tell, when I ate it, that there was a gingerey-citrusey dressing involved. And I remembered the ingredients from the salad. I found a ginger/citrus salad dressing online maybe four years ago or so - I cannot remember where I found it, so I apologize for that - and voila, the Claim Jumper California Citrus Salad has been ours to enjoy in our humble home over and over and over again.

My extended family just started a Healthy Eating Challenge - think Biggest Loser, but not with weight. You get points for doing certain things each day - exercising, drinking 64 oz. of water, not eating sugar, etc. One of the things you do is have three servings of veggies per day. What I've loved doing with this challenge is preparing the toppings and the dressing for this salad. Then, when I have a bowl of lettuce ready for my lunch, I put on just what I need for that individual salad, then pack the remaining ingredients and remaining dressing away for the next day. If I had tossed it all together and tried to eat off of it all week, it would have gotten all gross and wiltey by the second day, you know?

The salad comes with chicken on it, but I've tried it without, and it still tastes AMAZING.

I don't have specific measurements of how much of each ingredient to use. Just use your best judgment. What I do with salads is fill a bowl with leafy greens, then for each ingredient, make one layer on top. Like a sheet on a bed. A sheet of craisins. A sheet of avocadoes. Etc. And then toss 'em all together with the dressing.

Claim Jumper California Citrus Salad

cooked chicken
lettuce of any type
golden raisins
feta cheese (the original recipe called for bleu cheese, which I hate. Feta tastes great in this salad.)
avocadoes, chopped
green apples, chopped
green onions, chopped
pecan brittle (recipe to follow)
mandarin oranges
citrus dressing (recipe to follow)

Pecan Brittle

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Combine sugar with water & cream of tartar in a small saucepan. Heat and stir on medium low until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until it turns an amber color (about 9 minutes). Add chopped pecans. Pour onto cookie sheet that has been criscoed. When it has hardened (this only takes a few minutes to harden), break up into small bits and throw into the salad.

Citrus Dressing

Put the following into a blender and blend, then toss with the salad:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. rice or white vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cumin

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