Jicama and Orange Salad

A while ago I was listening to an episode of On Being with Krista Tippett in which Krista was interviewing poet Marie Howe and during which, she admitted that though she loves poetry, she often has to force herself to read itthat if she's not feeling strong enough or vulnerable enough, she can't do it. Ms. Howe then wonders if it's because poetry is "made of the material we use every day... the language we use every day." Earlier in the interview, she explained how her students have trouble with one of the first assignments she gives them, which is to make "ten observations of the actual world."

Ms. Tippett: What do you mean... 10 observations of their actual world?

Ms. Howe: Just tell me what you saw this morning like in two lines. You know, I saw a water glass on a brown tablecloth... and the light came through it in three places. No metaphor. And to resist metaphor is very difficult because you have to actually endure the thing itself, which hurts us for some reason.

Needless to say, this section of the interview stayed with me. Because not only do I find poetry hard to read if I'm not in a vulnerable or strong enough place, but I also find myself wanting to gloss over "the material we use every day." 

Case in point, yesterday one of my neighbors saw me walking Mavis up the street without my headphones in and said to me, "Oh, wow. You're not on your headphones."
But recently, I've had no trouble with poetry, and it's definitely not because I'm feeling strong enough. Which, I suppose is all just a roundabout way of saying that I'm going on vacation and I can't remember the last time I felt in such desperate need of one. Soon we'll be in North Carolina, reading books, surrounded by family and a view of the Atlantic.
But before I go, I want to leave you with this vacation-y looking salad. I don't know about you but when I'm serving up a Mexican-inspired entree, I often struggle with side dishes. Well, here's an idea: how about a refreshing jicama and orange salad?         
Have a great couple of weeks and see you when I get back!

p.s. There are still some spots in the 2-day food-writing seminar I'm teaching this August 3rd and August 17th from noon to 3pm. Check it out here and sign up!

Jicama and Orange Salad slightly adapted from The Art of Simple Food
1 small jicama 
2 oranges
3-4 radishes
a pinch of paprika or spicy chile powder (ancho or guajillo)
1-2 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)

Peel the jicama and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut the halves into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Then, cut the slices into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. 

Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all traces of the rind and membrane. Then, slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. (Remove any seeds.) Slice the radishes into thin rounds as well. Arrange the jicama, orange and radish slices on a platter. Sprinkle with the paprika or chile powder. 

Make the dressing by whisking together the juice of one lime, the olive oil and salt to taste. Pour over the jicama, orange, and radish. Sprinkle with the cilantro, if using. 

Taste for seasoning, adding more lime, salt, or olive oil. (Mine needed a little bit of everything.) 


Matthew said...

The salad looks a little like frozen french fries. Can not wait for vacation. xoxo

Sarah said...

You're the best. I love this. I'm glad you're getting needed vacation. (I won't make any jokes about the podcast commentary format of your food blog because you're feeling vulnerable, but I know you get the joke ;) You and I keep Krista Tippett in business). xo S

Sarah said...

Oh and p.s., if by some chance you're making your way through DC, drop me a line!

Sara said...

Mmmm...that looks really refreshing. Enjoy your vacation!

Ileana said...

So pretty! Have a great trip!

sally howard said...

Beautiful colors! Have a good trip - I love NC!

Ashley Blom said...

Have fun on vacation! This is a very unique salad, but I love how all the flavors blend together and make dressing not as important. Really cool!

Dan from Platter Talk said...

Great looking salad - different and very alluring, especially for summer. Thanks for the post and bon voyage!!

Tori said...

I remember hearing that exact part of the episode on the radio (sadly my tech-savvy has not yet extended to 'able to download podcasts') and that sentence made me stop in my tracks and hold up a hand to shush my husband. The water glass, the light in three places. The pain of the ordinary world. Yes!

Alex said...

beautiful post Amelia <3 thank you!

Mary Anne said...

mmmm, how refreshing and summery! Can't wait to hear updates from NC! Have fun and say hello to the berz for me!!!


Amelia Morris said...

Thanks, Sarah! Saveur mag should have a category for best podcast commentary by a food blog?? ;) ;) Wish I WERE swinging by D.C.! Next time?

Amelia Morris said...

Thanks, Sara! Just as yours is winding down?? p.s. what a trip!!

Amelia Morris said...

Tori! You gotta get the NPR news app! It's the best (/ worst?). :)

Shinwha said...

I also listened to that episode of On Being (the unedited, longer podcast version) and was also moved by the part of the interview you quoted. I think I found it moving because I feel the same way about poetry (which is why I love poetry) -- I thought Marie Howe just articulated so well what poetry does. How lovely to read about your take. Thanks.

The Hungry Lovers said...

I love the idea of just observing...not editing. I also love jicama and oranges together. Yum.

Shelley said...

As a Texas writer, that comment of hers that looking at the real thing "hurts us somehow" fascinated me. I don't know quite what to do with it, but I'm keeping it in mind all day.

That one photograph of the hand cutting the orange just seems so luminously life-affirming, somehow.

Anonymous said...

Great authentic idea for a side dish. I just returned from a trip to Mexico and we were served exactly this (minus the radish) as a botana (sort of like a tapa).