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Spicy and Sweet

April 30, 2010

Sometimes I feel that many of my meals are made with the same idea, just with different flavors. Especially the rice-chicken-vegetable combination. I’ve done it with rice-cashew chicken-vegetables, rice-curried chicken-vegetables, rice-jerk chicken-vegetables. The chicken will be the center of the meal, with different flavors and sauces that say “I am the star. I am awesome. Eat me.” That is, until today. Today Mr. and Mrs. Vegetable stole the show, right out from under chicken’s feet.

I love fruit-vegetable combinations. Anything sweet and salty will always win me over. I love putting M&Ms in my popcorn at the movies (last bite always has to be salty, though!). Starbuck’s salted caramel hot chocolate from two winters ago won me over heart and soul, and I cannot describe how devastated I was when it did not return last year (the barista told me it was because they don’t have salt. Really?!). When I saw a recipe from The Full Yield that had a relish involving avocado and grapefruit I knew the grapefruit Z bought that had been sitting in our fridge for weeks would finally find a place to call home.

Why had the grapefruit been sitting in our fridge for so long? I don’t like grapefruit. At all. I find them so bitter and pithy, plus having to douse it with sugar to make it edible for breakfast never seemed that healthy. But I have a rule for myself, and that is to never give up on a food. I used to hate salad, and now I eat one almost every day. I am beginning to appreciate raw onions. I now love spicy food, when mild salsa use to make me run for the faucet. I try foods I “don’t like” every now and then in different ways because really, truly, I want to like every food there is. Except for blueberries. I will never get over that.

And today, my friends, I really really liked grapefruit.

Spicy Chicken with Refreshing Avocado Grapefruit Relish

For the Chicken:
8 chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces (leftovers)
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon allspice
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Relish:
1/2 grapefruit, supremed (segmented then membrane removed)
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup black beans (leftovers)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used white balsamic, but white wine would work too)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Brown rice to serve.

In a medium bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the spices and lemon juice until well coated. Stir fry in a wok or frying pan until cooked all the way through. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine all of the relish ingredients with a good grind of salt and pepper. Toss until the honey, vinegar, and oil are well combined and the avocado is slightly broken up, giving the dish a creamy texture.


This relish was amazing! I could have eaten it with anything: on top of a salad, for brunch, with ice cream 🙂 The combination of the refreshing grapefruit and creamy avocado was delightful, especially with the last of my beloved Love Your Leftovers: Black Beans. They treated me well this week, and this was the perfect send off for them. The spicy chicken went very well with this dish, adding a kick to the meal that was cooled by the relish. Perfect for a hot summers day. The only thing I would change would be using a pink grapefruit, just because they are pretty 🙂

Do you keep trying foods you don’t like? Have you ever been converted to liking a food you used to hate?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2010 9:52 am

    this looks fantastic! i love the sweet/salty combo too. love pairing grapefruit with avocado, the acid cuts the creaminess, and the sweet accentuates the flavor. so good!

  2. April 30, 2010 11:56 am

    This looks great. I think you can mix anything up and throw it over rice and it’ll taste good 🙂

  3. May 1, 2010 1:05 pm

    I love all the layers of flavor in this! And I’m stealing your idea to put M&Ms in popcorn – how come I’ve never thought of that? 🙂

  4. May 2, 2010 8:07 pm

    You broke my heart – you don’t like blueberries? I love them – even planted my own blueberry bushes last year. Lots of food I didn’t like years ago I love now – taste buds change. I don’t like grapefruit either – maybe I should try this – it does sound delicious with all those other flavors!

  5. May 5, 2010 9:47 am

    That relish does sound fabulous 🙂 I definitely don’t think to use grapefruit that much but it sounds perfect here!


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