Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad

Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad

Snappy and satisfying, this makes a great dinner starter

Oranges and olives together? Don’t judge.

Sweet oranges are actually a great match for salty, briny olives. And this dish is easy to make, so you can serve it any weeknight.

But it’s also fancy enough for a dinner party. So you could say this salad is diversity on a dish.


Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad

Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad

A Moroccan dinner usually starts with a variety of dishes, often including one like the salad we describe in this post (but without the lettuce base). The menu may also include Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad or Moroccan Carrot Salad. Or maybe a plate of olives or other veggies. Some of these dishes may remain on the table throughout the meal.

We’re not accustomed to starting dinner this way in the US, of course, so we have transformed this traditional dish into a lettuce-based salad. This recipe was inspired by one in Paula Wolfert’s Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco.

You can use oranges, clementines, or tangerines for this dish. Navel oranges look best, but it’s quicker to use clementines or tangerines, which are easy to peel and section.

Black olives work much better than green olives in this dish. You may be able to find a good selection of black olives (both pitted and not) at your supermarket deli.

Prep and mixing time for this recipe is 15 to 20 minutes. You can prepare the elements of the dish an hour or two ahead of time, if you wish, then assemble it at the last minute (assembly takes no more than 5 minutes).

This recipe serves 4. It’s easy to cut in half or double if necessary.

Ingredients
  • 1 or 2 heads of Boston bibb lettuce (or substitute another lettuce; you need about 5 cups of lettuce, cleaned and torn into pieces)
  • 3 navel oranges (or about 5 clementines; or to taste)
  • ½ to 1 cup pitted black olives (to taste; we vote for 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional, but tasty)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (the better the quality, the better the dish)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (may substitute wine vinegar; see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dried powdered cumin
  • a few dashes of cayenne pepper (to taste; for us, a scant ¼ teaspoon)
  • a few pinches salt (to taste; see Notes)
  • sugar (optional; a few pinches to taste to sweeten the salad dressing)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (optional)
Procedure
  1. Wash and dry the lettuce, then tear it into bite-size pieces. Wrap the lettuce in a towel and refrigerate it until needed (you can do this an hour to two ahead of time).
  2. When ready to make the salad: Peel the oranges, removing the white membrane (we usually cut off the peel with a knife). Using a sharp knife, cut the oranges into sections (we cut along the lines formed by the membrane, removing the membrane as we go). Set aside.
  3. Chop the olives roughly. Set aside.
  4. Peel the garlic (if using) and mince it finely. Place the garlic in a small bowl with a lid (make sure the lid closes securely).
  5. Make the salad dressing: To the chopped garlic, add the olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt, and sugar (if using). Shake thoroughly to combine all ingredients. Taste, and add more salt and/or sugar if needed.
  6. Wash the parsley (if using), then chop it roughly.
  7. Assemble the salad: Add the chilled lettuce to a bowl large enough to hold it comfortably. Add a bit more than half the salad dressing to the lettuce and toss. Place the lettuce on serving plates.
  8. Add the orange sections, olives, and parsley to the mixing bowl. Add the rest of the salad dressing, and toss until all the ingredients are well coated. Divide the ingredients over the lettuce on the serving plates, creating a nice pattern.
  9. Serve and enjoy.
Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad

Notes
  • We prefer to use lemon juice in this recipe, but substitute wine vinegar if you prefer. 
  • We like to use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, but you may consider that too much. So start with one tablespoon (Step 5). Mix, taste, then add more if you wish.
  • Speaking of taste, add as much salt as tastes good to you. For us, that’s several pinches of kosher salt. Kosher salt is less salty by volume than table salt (because it has bigger flakes), so keep that in mind when seasoning.
  • Oranges are in season in our part of the world right now, so this is a perfect time to make this salad. But good oranges are available in supermarkets throughout the year.
  • We suggest using black olives in this dish. Black olives are fully mature, while green ones are picked before they’re completely ripe. The flavor of black olives tends to be deeper and less bitter than that of green olives.
  • Olives must be cured before you eat them – uncured olives are extremely bitter. We like to use brine-cured olives. (Brining can take up to a year, BTW). 
  • Olives can also be water-cured (though that takes even longer than brine-curing). You may be able to find salt-cured olives, although these tend to be less common (at least in the stores where we shop). Lye-cured and dry-cured olives are also available.
  • Kalamata olives are easy to find in most supermarkets, and that’s what we have used in this salad. Niçoise olives are also generally available, and would be another good choice.
  • Beldi olives are what you’d probably use if you were making this salad in Morocco. They’re not easy to find in the US, but their flavor is quite good.
  • BTW, Morocco produces superb olives and oranges.
  • We like to use Boston bibb lettuce in this dish, but choose any lettuce that appeals to you.
  • Boston bibb, a form of butterhead lettuce, was developed in the US, probably during the 1860s. Its originator, Major John “Jack” Bibb of Kentucky, gave his name to the lettuce. How did “Boston” enter into the equation? Beats us!
  • BTW, lettuce has been around for a long time. It was first cultivated in ancient Egypt.
Moroccan-Spiced Orange and Olive Salad

Briny

“Citrus and salt, together again,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “Double yum.”

“Yeah, this is what I call bibb and tuck in,” I said.

“Olive another bite before I respond to that pun,” said Mrs K R.

“Orange you the diplomat today?” I said.

“Careful you don’t use up olive your luck,” said Mrs K R.

“Are you cumin to get me?” I asked.

“No,” said Mrs K R. “Fortunately for you, I’m feeling gracious in the presence of this storied Moroccan dish.”

Lettuce now praise famous salads.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Moroccan-Spiced Beet Salad
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Mint
Pineapple, Coconut, and Carrot Salad
Indian Carrot Salad with Mustard Seeds
Or check out the index for more

90 comments:

  1. Hahaha! I love your puns :). And I love this salad! Olives are my obsession!

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    1. Hi Kelsie, olives are great, aren't they? And SO GOOD in this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. So FRESH and I love the colour and flavour too. This proves again that good food doesn't have to be complicated and expensive.

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    1. Hi Angie, yup, simple and tasty is so often a WINNER! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Oh, interesting salad and unusual combo of oranges and olives. Then again I saw a dark chocolate stuffed olive recipe this week online lol. But I see it working. And blood oranges too are in season! Thanks for sharing John!

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    1. Hi Evelyne, blood oranges ARE in season! Bet this would be spectacular with them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Nice and easy salad! Clean and crisp too

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    1. Hi Raymund, it is! And awfully good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. John, I was reading your blog but could not write (work very hectic in the past 8-9 months)... Hope you had a great holiday season? I love your Maroccan recipes (the salad with the orange water is featured bi-weekly (if not weekly) on our table! Will keep thsi one too. I have greek black olives available and flat parsley (very aromatic). Look forward to it: -)
    Have a good evening!

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    1. Hi La Torontoise, good to hear from you again! Our holidays were wonderful -- hope yours were, too. You'll like this -- good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. If I see the words Moroccan-spiced, I know it's going to be a killer recipe. Love their combinations.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, Moroccan dishes are so good, aren't they? Love them! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Such a pretty salad and I think oranges and olives sound like a wonderful combination!

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    1. Hi Chris, doesn't this look great? And that is a wonderful combo of flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I have olives and clementines - and can't wait to try this unusual combo. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration John!

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    1. Hi Tricia, we probably make this more with clementines than we do oranges -- it's easier! Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I can totally see how oranges and olives can work together. It looks terrific.

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    1. Hi Pam, they really are a terrific combo. So good! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. This looks a delicious salad ...
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hi Jan, delicious is exactly the word for this! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Oranges are definitely capable of serving in either sweet or savory salads. I've also had another type of Moroccan salad with oranges, rosewater, and cinnamon -- the sweet one. And a Mexican salad of oranges with red onions and chiles. All good.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, there are probably dozens (heck, hundreds!) of Moroccan salads that use oranges. All good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Such an appetizing salad recipe, John! I would have never though of adding orange to such salad but it seems mouth-watering!

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    1. Hi Agness, you'll love the oranges in this! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Briny and citrus. A taste to wake up the senses. You guys are so funny. Is it you or Mrs. Riff that takes a shot at the pun at the end of your recipes. Hope you are doing well?

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    1. Hi Bobbi, isn't this nice? I write the first draft of the posts, Mrs KR does an edit. I'd say the puns on this one are half-and-half. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I've been blessed with an abundance of oranges this winter. This is just the quick and flavorful salad recipe I've been looking for!

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    1. Hi Deb, lucky you to have so many oranges! This recipe is definitely for you. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. This salad is beautiful and looks so healthy and refreshing. I could use something like this right now.

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    1. Hi Vicki, this has super flavor -- bet you'd love it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. This looks good, John. I like to 'try out' new ideas, to me, in inexpensive recipes like this one so thanks doubly. Could you please tell me which brands you prefer for spices, dried herbs and seasonings? My local source for good bulk spices and such has cut way back on their stock. So many spices and herbs at my grocery, even the bulk sources are blends with a lot of sugar, salt and ground pepper which are not what I want for your delicious sounding recipes. I know Amazon offers all kinds of spices but I want to get yours and Mrs. R' feedback on which brands to choose. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Marion, most of the national brands of spices are decent (Spice Islands, McCormick; or if you want a mail order source Penzeys). I'm sure there are other good ones too! Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I've made this salad before and it is great! Also a great one for citrus season! Love to see those Moroccan roots!

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    1. Hi Abbe, isn't this good? Love Moroccan food! Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Such a simple salad and so full of flavor. I love the combination of orange and black olives, and make a similar salad, but your seasoning is quite difference from mine. Will be trying this soon. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, aren't oranges and black olives terrific together? You can do a whole bunch of different seasonings with this pair. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I made a salad with oranges and black olives for a Spanish themed dinner club eons ago. Quite lovely, but I think the dressing was a bit different! Next time I make paella, I'll try your version :)

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    1. Hi Liz, this would go wonderfully well with paella! Or almost anything. :D Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Your spice combination for this salad is fantastic, I never put cumin in salad. I will definitely try this one.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, cumin works well in some salads -- just a little, though, because it's powerful stuff! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Replies
    1. Hi Sue, it IS refreshing, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I love learning a new combination for salads! It's great to know orange and olive goes well together. Yes, sweet and salty, I love the combo too! Very much inspired. :)

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    1. Hi Nami, isn't this a great combo? Glad to inspire you! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. It looks so fresh & delicious - I am a big fan of Moroccan flavours so this is right up my alley! Have a nice weekend!

    Miriam x

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    1. Hi Miriam, Moroccan flavors are the BEST, aren't they? Such a neat cuisine. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Looks delicious. I love that it is a little different and, of course, that I already have everything needed :-) Thanks for sharing.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, if you have everything you need, no excuse for not making this! :D Thanks for the comment.

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  25. I have to admit, one of the things I found most interesting was that the Moroccan's cooked their salads (carrot salad, aubergine salad and courgette salad) delicious but strange at the same time. I love that you added the Boston Bibb, it is such a buttery texture. Orange and black olives sound like a wonderful combo.

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    1. Hi Eva, Moroccan salads/starts/nibbles (whatever!) are wonderful! Thanks for the comment.

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  26. John, this is a gorgeous salad! And I love the combination of ingredients, though I'll be leaving out the garlic. And I'll definitely use the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Tweeted and pinned.

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    1. Hi Jean, isn't this nice? SO GOOD! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. A beautiful salad which sounds delicious. I love the combination of oranges and olives. --Rocquie

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    1. Hi Rocquie, oranges and olives really work well together, don't they? Love the pairing! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I must admit, olives are one of the few foods I cannot stand, though I love olive oil. I would happily eat this salad without the olives though!

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    1. Hi Laura, in that case, definitely skip the olives! :D Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I don't judge! Salty always brings out the sweet. And it's a scientific fact! Our bodies have a sensor known as SGLT1, this sensor is a transporter that moves sugar into our sweet taste cells when sodium is present, thus triggering the cell to register sweetness. Really! GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, thanks for the info about SGLT1! I vaguely remember reading something about this eons ago, but had totally forgotten. Thanks for the lesson! And thanks for the comment. :-)

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  30. How delicious and refreshing. Love the colors too!

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    1. Hi Denise, it's a pretty dish, isn't it? Tasty, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. John, there's lots of interesting flavors combined here: citrus, olives and cumin. Wonder what Eddie Haskell would say?

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    1. Hi Marta, you'll like! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I totally get olives and oranges. I just don’t think I’ve ever used them together. Brilliant!

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    1. Hi Mimi, you gotta try this pairing! Really magnificent. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Absolutely no judgement here! I do a marinated olive with lemon so I am into the whole citrus thing. Thank you. Lovely and delicious.

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    1. Hi Debra, olive and lemon sounds good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. I've been on a tangerine kick this year. They seem to be extra sweet this season. Although I've been just eating them out of hand, you just reminded me I ought to toss a few into some nice green salads like this one. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, we've been having a ton of tangerines and clemetines! Love 'em. And they're really good in this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. Haha, loved how you and Mrs. K.R. are playing with the words :). This olive and orange combo deserves a try. Looks so interesting and colorful too. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Amira, we enjoy writing those endings/ :-) And LOVE this salad! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I love oranges and olives together but I've never thought to make it myself at home! I need to try this!

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    1. Hi Caroline, you do need to try this! It's really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Sounds like a delicious and refreshing winter salad!

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  39. There's a local farm here that grows the most amazing bibb lettuce. I'd love to use it for this salad! Great flavor combination.

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    1. Hi Lisa, how nice to have local lettuce! We do part of the year, but our season isn't nearly as long as yours. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. John, this is an exotic one for me, but I'm looking forward to trying it. I love all ingredients and it's a gorgeous salad!

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    1. Hi Marcelle, isn't this pretty? And really tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Looks delicious. Funny, Italians have a very similar salad of orange, olives and fennel. It's one of my favorites!

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    1. Hi Frank, LOVE the idea of fennel! It'd be terrific with oranges and olives. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. colorful, refreshing, full of flavors with no oil. ammm do i need anything else?? nope, this a perfect FRIDAY bowl for me :) will make it tomorrow

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    1. Hi Priya, this is a delightful dish -- tons of flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  43. A perfect way to start any meal, fresh, tasty and delicious.

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    1. HI Emma, this is SO refreshing! Really wakes up your taste buds. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. What a lovely salad. I love fruit in a savory salad. Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. Hi Jeff, when I was a kid, although I loved sweet things, I hated fruit in a salad. Now that I've grown (hah!), I've seen the error of my youthful ways. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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