Posted by: Hil | October 8, 2009

Fun with Pomegranates

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I love pomegranate in all forms, but both the juice and the fruit are typically too expensive for me to buy on a regular basis.  This week was exciting because pomegranates went on sale at my local farmers market.  I decided to treat myself to a bottle of Pom Wonderful juice to make complementary dressings to go with the seeds, and then found within a couple of days that the POM people had surprised me with previews of their new juice blends.  It has been all pomegranate all the time around here for the last few days, and I’m loving it.   Besides sprinkling the seeds all over everything, my lunch salad of the week has been my favorite use of the pomegranates.

Wheatberry and Pomegranate Salad

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This was my lunch salad for the week:  wheatberries (cooked in my rice cooker), pomegranate seeds, chunks of avocado, chopped arugula, and a vinaigrette made from the juice of a lime, good olive oil, and a splash of pomegranate juice.  Highly recommended.  It really hit all of the flavor and texture points in my mouth and kept me full for hours.   The pomegranate seeds added bursts of flavor in the chewy wheatberries and the avocado added a really complementary creamy texture that kept the salad from being too dry.  The acid in the pomegranate lime vinaigrette kept the avocado green for days and was really refreshing.  The peppery arugula was a nice flavor, but didn’t hold up in the fridge all week as well as the rest of the ingredients…I might try Italian parsley or a heartier green next time if I want to make ahead.  With some tweaks, I will definitely make this salad again.

I had multiple people comment on this salad and act somewhat intimidated when I told them what was in it, but it’s really just a variation on my salad formula:  beans or whole grains + flavorful green + veggie or fruit of contrasting color + fatty ingredient (nuts, avocado or cheese) + vinaigrette.  I promise it’s not that scary!

POMx Teas and POM juice blends

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I’ve tried several flavors of the POMx teas, and the pomegranate lychee was definitely my favorite.  Lychees, like mangoes, have this flavor that just sparkles on your tongue and is so fun and refreshing…I could definitely see myself craving one of those teas on a hot day.  Most of the tea flavors, while tasty, didn’t taste strongly of pomegranate.  Pomegranate is a pretty intense flavor, so its understandable that they used a light hand with it, but you’re a real pomegranate fanatic, I recommend going for one of the juices rather than the teas.  Also, note that there are two servings in a typical bottle.

I tried two juice blend flavors:  Pomegranate nectarine and pomegranate kiwi.  Both are very good and taste just like you would expect form the names.  The only ingredients are fruit juice and “natural flavors”…I tend to be suspicious of anything with “natural flavors in it,” but from a taste perspective I have nothing to complain about.  My favorite is still the original 100% pomegranate juice.  I rarely sit down and drink a glass of juice straight, and the regular juice is the most versatile as an ingredient.  I use it in a wide variety of cocktails, salad dressings, and sauces, which may be showing up in future posts.

Things un-pomegranate

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Other than pomegranates, life this week has mainly revolved around a batch of lentil soup that I made over the weekend.  Sometimes its really nice not to have to do anything more complicated for dinner than heat up a batch of soup.  I used my standard recipe, but I think I’m getting better at fine tuning the flavorings.  My initial instinct when my soup doesn’t taste right are to add salt and spices.  Both are essential to a flavorful soup, but I’m discovering that sometimes that little something that is missing is either heat, sweetness, or acid.  I’m not used to adding sugar to my cooking, but I’m coming to the conclusion that it can be important to do so with tomato based sauces.  This soup was tasting a bit bland, so I added a spoonful of honey and a dash of red wine to the pot and boom!–the flavors all came together.

I have discovered my new favorite yogurt:  St. Benoit, which is a French style whole milk yogurt.  I’ve tasted lots of whole milk yogurts that I could take or leave, but this one is AMAZING…creamy and tart and smooth.  I always eat yogurt with fruit or honey, but it tastes like sacrilege to put anything on this stuff…it is perfect as is.  I am in love.

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I tried going back to my old favorite nonfat Greek yogurt and it just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  I prefer not to put an item loaded with saturated fat into my everyday eats unless I really can’t live without it (like my cream in my coffee), but this one is sorely tempting me.  I may try some low fat yogurts to see if those are a bit more to my liking.  Any recommendations?

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Responses

  1. Pomegranates were one of my favorite treats when I was a kid! I can still remember the first one I had – the ruby color infatuated me. Still does. 🙂

  2. Yum! I really like the taste of the POM iced tea. I think I’ll be drinking some tonight. Mixed with vodka. It IS a weekend, after all 😉

    Pomegranate seeds are some of the prettiest little gems ever.


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