Just thinking about mangoes makes me happy. When I find myself in times of trouble, I remember that mangoes exist, so really, how bad could it be. They're delicious, nutritious and hilarious. Seriously. Eat enough mango and you will be a cackling fool.
  • Mango. You may have guessed that part.
  • Shallot. Chop fine and put in the olive and vinegar before you do anything else. Don't use too much either, or it will boss around the other ingredients. If you're worried about that, you can saute in some olive oil.
  • Corn. Saw off the kernels and eat raw. Did you know that there is nothing wrong with doing that? If people look at you funny, look at them funnier.
  • Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, dried herbs (tarragon, basil, mint, etc.)
Assemble, toss, masticate, swallow. Think not of the past, not while you eat this one. Have the tip of your nose in the future, and the rest consumed with what you are consuming.


 
 
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The blender, moments before button pushing
You could live off this one, and your only problem would be what to do with all of your power. You'd have to adopt hobbies, pets, children and fixations, just to keep your chi flowing into other things, not welling up and turning you into a giant lizard and eating villages for lunch and cities for dinner. Eat this instead.
  • Kale. Raw.
  • Avocado
  • Walnut (or another nut. A multitude of nuts)
  • Garlic. Raw.
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, cayenne, whatever else strikes your fancy (cumin will never fail you)
There is a process, and when carried to completion, it involves some labor and a blender. First, wash the kale and your hands. Get out a bowl. Get out another bowl. Put the kale in one. Squeeze half the lemon onto it and a glarp of olive oil. Now rub each leaf until they are all nice and shiny. It's handy to have that second bowl there, because having the rubbed and the un-rubbed together creates a lot of traffic, and eventually it gets hard to dig for the un-rubbed. Be sure to pour whatever goodness is in the bottom of the first bowl into the second (now filled with shiny kale). Harsh ping pong balls glance off my soul when I think of you leaving behind that delightful lemon-oil mixture.

Interlude: why that was step 1. See, once you have done step one, the lemon goes to work on the kale, working into its veins and breaking it down, saving your chompers from the ordeal of the never-ending chew. So do that first, chat up the mammals in your vicinity, do a pull-up on (or some stand-up, leaning on) the door frame, then move onto step 2.

Toss some walnuts, an avocado, the raw garlic (2 or 3 cloves), whatever spices spice your fancy, another splash of oil and the other half of the lemon into the blender. Hit a button or two, and watch it whip itself into a peculiar green paste. Personally I don't care if it's chunky, at least on the walnut front. Do whatcha gotta do to get the green stuff in the blender on the green stuff in the bowl.

Toss. Eat. Conquer.



 
 
From the way people talk, you wouldn't know that yellow is a primary color. Hell, you would barely know it was there at all. Are you a red person or a blue person? What if there was another option? I present as evidence, the yellow carrot. It's bold, beautiful, strange, and yet we only see these things because we have defined ourselves in a red-blue paradigm, and to this simple root vegetable, it is we who are bold, beautiful and strange--especially in our ignorance of the yellow carrot. Wise up, lads and lassies. There is more to this peculiar world. More to the white light that strikes your iris.
  • Yellow carrots
  • Yellow peppers
  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Mixed greens, preferably with a good amount of arugula (and if you go completely arugula, I won't say no)
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There's wiggle room (there is always wiggle room). Balsamic is the obvious choice, but apple cider vinegar would be very much its own thing. Like balsamic is Ziggy Stardust and apple cider is Diamond Dogs (or Low, if you prefer, but I feel Diamond Dogs is the better analog in this case)
  • Cumin/curry powder, salt, thyme if you have it, just eat if you don't.
 
 
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Before the greens are mixed in. Wouldn't fault you for just eating this.
See, I love strawberries. I wouldn't know what to make of someone who didn't love strawberries. I even eat the green part on top, which is a form of deep acceptance with a sprinkle of laziness, and those two swirled inextricably together is another type of love. And love itself is not complicated, it's just that eventually it can't live in isolation, and outside of our alone time, and certain agreeable environments (oatmeal, ice cream), I was always a tad awkward when integrating strawberries into my other concoctions. It's just that strawberries, so bright and specific, needs some simple and friendly folks who will let them sing their song. So here's what I came up with:
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumber
  • Feta
  • Mixed greens
  • Drizzle of balsamic
Slice the first two, crumble the third--hell, that's pretty great as it is. Salt the cuc. If you want a little more zazz, add some green herbs: tarragon, mint, basil. Summer is here people. Let the strawberries sing.

 
 
Red cabbage. We were always friendly enough to each other when we saw one another at parties, but I wouldn't often make time to see red cabbage, especially not one on one. I think we both worried that, after that preliminary round of catching up on the other's latest soul searching, we wouldn't have anything to say. Then, one night, I cracked the code.
  • Red Cabbage, maybe half of one? Even that might be a lot. Those things provide endless roughage.
  • Grapefruit! Slice it up into pleasing bitesize morsels. You can use the whole thing unless it's threatening to completely take over.
  • Carrot, sliced thin enough that it doesn't raise questions.
  • Radish. What's up radish.
  • Cilantro. Optional, especially if you're one of those people for whom cilantro ruins everything.
  • Balsamic vinegar. Apple cider vinegar seems to be the vinegar of choice for red cabbage affairs, and I gots no problem with that, but I wanted something more jovial for this one. Red cabbage can be a little dour sometimes, y'know? Oh, and  throw it on as soon as the cabbage is in the bowl, so that the vinegar has time to negotiate into its pores.
  • Salt, tarragon, oregano, I threw on a little curry powder. Some olive oil too. Not exactly an oil and vinegar sort of dressing, but a dash of olive oil makes it tastier AND shinier.
I made this little creation to go with a meal that was already plenty filling and salty, but is there any doubt that some GOAT CHEESE would rock the house on this one? Not in my mind. Cashews, almonds, walnuts or your favorite nut would also make this one more filling and still allow it to sing its song. Before going with the grapefruit, I tossed a lime to myself, wondering how that would go. I concluded, after several mental simulations, that it would be splendizesty, but it would require a lot of lime. The grapefruit went a long way (further than I needed it to), was easy to work with, pleasing to chew, the right amount sweet... yeah it worked. What I'm saying is that other citrusy things would work too (lookin at you there tangerine).
 
 
This is one is pretty damn easy, and until it goes mainstream, it's pretty reliable in getting people to make expressions whose sum of surprised and impressed on separate scales of 1-10 tops 10. So, maybe they're a 6 impressed (nifty! they think) and a five surprised (well this is unexpected, they say, with hands on hips). Or perhaps they're an eight impressed (you are such a good person! they beam) and at least a three surprised (I didn't leave the house knowing I'd feel these emotions).
  • Fennel, sauteed in olive oil, sliced how you like (circles are cool, but smaller pieces are easier to eat)
  • Arugula. Arugula is awesome.
  • Blueberries. Wash, throw in.
  • Optional: a nifty cheese. Goats are friendly, as they tend to be. This is also a good opportunity to chat up your local cheese merchant. Sample something with some twang. Smoked gouda? Damnit, why not.
  • Optional: oil and balsamic. You think it's weird that those are optional, right? This one is killer if you get the proportions so that the arugula has plenty of support from the other ingredients. If you didn't skimp on those, and especially if you have a nice talkative cheese in there, you can skip or go pretty light on the liquids. They're safe though, and they give the arugula more to work with. Your salad, your call.
  • Blueberry alternatives (or teammates?!): Berries of rasp, black, goji or dried cran (that's probably my order of preference too), pomegranate seeds.
All you friggin do is chop and saute the fennel (salt it a tad), throw it and all the other stuff together, mix it around, say kablammo. Bonus points for taking the fennel off the heat in time to let it cool before it gets thrown in, but even that's not necessary. Don't cook it into oblivion either, just loosen it up some. This one works for friends, strangers and potential lovers.