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Make most of fresh winter flavors with this bright combination

Recipe: Grapefruit, avocado and fennel salad looks pretty, tastes great

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Bright flavors of winter blend in this easy and refreshing salad. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)


Salads are at their best when they showcase fresh flavors of the season. And some colorful combinations look as good as they taste.

This salad combines fresh ruby red or pink grapefruit with avocado, set against a bed of crunchy fennel and cabbage. The pink tones of the citrus and red onion contrast nicely in color, flavor and texture with the pale green avocado and near-white fennel and cabbage.

The choice of red or pink grapefruit is more than just the color; they tend to be sweeter than their yellow or white counterparts. This salad also works well with navel oranges or mandarins.

Whichever citrus you use, this salad brightens up any winter meal.

Grapefruit, avocado and fennel salad

Makes 2 large servings or 4 side salad servings

Ingredients:

1 red or pink grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, diced

For vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons grapefruit or orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:

In a large salad bowl, combine grapefruit, avocado, fennel, cabbage and red onion.
In a jar, combine grapefruit or orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover jar tightly and shake until blended.
Pour vinaigrette over grapefruit mixture in bowl. Toss gently. Serve immediately.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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