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Persimmons plus mandarins, Brussels sprouts brighten gloomy days

Recipe: Fruity winter salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette

Persimmon and mandarin slices bring pop to this salad. Dried cherries and pecans add texture.

Persimmon and mandarin slices bring pop to this salad. Dried cherries and pecans add texture. Debbie Arrington

Orange-hued fruit – particularly mandarins and persimmons – take the place of tomatoes in my winter salads. They add sweet and juicy contrast to crunchy greens. Their cheery flavors and colors also brighten gloomy cold days.

This salad combines shaved Brussels sprouts and spinach with fuyu persimmon and mandarins. Dried cherries and chopped pecans add more flavor and crunch. Holding all these tastes and textures together is an equally flavorful maple-mustard vinaigrette.

For this salad, choose a round apple-like Fuyu persimmon (not a pointy Hachiya) that’s still relatively firm.

Fruity winter salad

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed

2 cups spinach, torn by hand

1 large Fuyu persimmon, cored and peeled

2 mandarins, peeled and separated into wedges

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ cup chopped pecans

For vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Closeup of green salad with orange fruit
Easy to make and delicious: Winter salad.

Instructions:

With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice Brussels sprouts into thin crosswise slices. Slice persimmon into thin wedges. Remove any seeds from mandarin wedges.

In a large bowl, combine shaved Brussels sprouts, torn spinach, sliced persimmon, mandarin wedges, dried cherries and chopped pecans.

Make vinaigrette. In a jar, combine all vinaigrette ingredients. Cover and shake.

Add vinaigrette to salad ingredients in large bowl. Toss gently and serve.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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