blood orange salad with arugula, fennel and blood orange vinaigrette

by Michael on March 4, 2012 · 35 comments

Change. It happens eventually. Either by choice or circumstance. The winds have been swirling lately and it came fast and furious this past week. W and I had been talking about making some changes, trying something different and taking a leap of faith. But before we could let the ideas breathe, I had an impromptu meeting last week. Blindsided. My new boss let me go. Just like that. No warning. Not necessarily the change I expected, but it was staring me in the face.

The fact is most of us aren’t willing to make changes in our life because of the unforeseen. It’s intimidating. Scary. And I’m not sure where this will take me, take us. But I know it pushes us forward and it gives us a small window of opportunity to follow the biggest dream we can dream. I’d rather the security of my job, but without it and faced with adversity and fear it drives me to find the missing links. The pieces that fit together to build the road we’ll one day walk on.

It was only recently when we talked about making lifestyle changes, if not more serious measures. Taking a step forward to take us to a place we’ve been before. Better food choices. More activity. And now that we have a bit of time to ourselves, we can set focus on our well-being. Our life and future. And it starts today. It did. It means better options. Healthier choices. And getting out and about together.

W had a previously planned photography outing/class today so there was no point cancelling it at this point. We packed her up early yesterday morning and I saw her off bright and early. With an entire day to myself and plenty of time with the light of the day in front of me, I decided to take full advantage of it. So my dog and I watched W drive off into the distance and then decided to explore the neighbourhood together.

It was the perfect excuse to get some much needed exercise. With the weather slowly coming around and the morning sun warm yet brisk, we walked through the woods out back until the first paved road we came across. Jack is just a little dog so we decided to make our way home when we found the path. He loves car rides just as much as walks so I grabbed my keys when we got back to head to the local market, now just weeks from opening full-scale.

I picked up some blood oranges, fennel, arugula and some other produce while I was there. When we got back home I had worked up enough of an appetite for an early lunch. And it was everything I hoped it would be. The flavours were perfect and married well with one another. It was fresh and crisp. The sweet blood oranges, peppery arugula and aromatic fennel combined to be one of the best salads I`ve had. And it was long overdue.

In the near future I`m hoping to make some good if not drastic food choices. I have an auto-immune disease and have always wondered if an improved, focused diet would help me. Sometimes I think about the day I only rely on a good lifestyle instead of medications. And maybe this past week is a blessing because it will give me some time to focus. And help lead us to a better place.

The day after being let go things were pretty bleak. The morning sky seemed particularly dark and haunting. But change isn`t always bad. It happens. I was blindsided but that bad fortune has given us the keys to our future and our creative possibilities. With eyes wide open I take my first steps into the rest of my life. Side by side with my supportive wife and with the opportunity to tackle anything I`ve ever wanted. One day soon I`ll look back on this entirely differently. That`s the plan at least.

From my kitchen to yours,




Blood Orange Salad


  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and thinly sliced (remove all white pith)
  • 1/2 cup fennel, thinly sliced
  • 6 fennel leaves, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup packed arugula
  • 1/4/ cup blood orange juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dijon
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • good pinch of sea salt & cracked pepper


  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the blood orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, Dijon, honey, sherry vinegar and salt and pepper. While whisking continuously, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until fully blended. Keep aside.
  2. Using small serving vessels, stack a couple of blood orange slices on the bottom. Then alternate between blood orange slices, fennel slices, fennel leaves and arugula. Top with a final blood orange slice and fennel leaf.
  3. Drizzle the amount of dressing you like over top. Serves 2.


Leave a Comment

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

foodwanderings March 4, 2012 at 11:18 am

Love this salad Mike. All flavors that are familiar but yet still always fresh and unique!! Great job as always!!


Brian March 4, 2012 at 11:22 am

I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with health problems. A diet can surely effect the body for the better and I can see how a wonderful salad like this could do magical things.


Mireille March 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

this sounds so delicious..I am definitely going to try this recipe


Susan March 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm

What a fresh citrus-y salad and what a fresh positive attitude! You go! Life is what we make of it and following our dreams simply takes a leap of faith and a friend or two to help us along the way and ‘keep us real’. Sounds like you and your wife are sure to find something better down the path!


Sue/the view from great island March 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I love every element in this salad, so it could only be wonderful. Your presentation sends it over the top, though, I just love it. Good luck with this new unexpected phase you’re in…you are clearly good at thinking outside the box, so you’ll no doubt rise to the occasion.


krisnewlife March 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Your blog and food are so inspiring. Having had many chapters to my life I find the next chapter is usually the best one yet. Much luck to you!


Maria March 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Beautiful salad. I love the presentation! Wishing you the best! I know there are good things coming your way!


SMITH BITES March 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm

am not sure why we’re so resistant to change Mike . . . but wonder if it’s because we feel as if we’ve lost control, that no one is driving the ship, or maybe we feel as if we can’t trust anyone but ourselves to drive the ship, i don’t know. but what i do know, is that sometimes change is bad . . . other times change is good . . . and for whatever it’s worth . . . my gut tells me this change for you and W is good . . .

this is one of my favorite salads ever; i find i start craving it sometime in January – probably because somewhere in the recesses of my mind, i know i’ll be seeing those gorgeous blood oranges soon!!


Lizzy (Good Things) March 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Michael, loving your blog, have only just discovered it. I have faced similar circumstances on the job front in a former lifetime. Our boss terminated about seven staff for no apparent reason and we had all been ‘faithful servants’ for several years. This storm will pass and all will be as it is meant to be. Love your blood orange salad, bookmarking this for next season.


Ayngelina March 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

What a brave post. I am sure you will look back at this moment, later in time, and realize it was just the universe pushing you in the right direction. Good luck.


Lori Lynn March 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Best wishes for where life will take you.
Your salad looks delightful, great combination of ingredients.


marla March 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Friend, I KNOW this is a blessing in disguise. I fear change, but it usually ends up pointing me in the right direction. I hope you find freedom and great health in your new improved food choices. This salad looks a great new beginning :)


Jennifer (Delicieux) March 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Mike I’m sorry to hear of your change in circumstances. The same thing happened to me last year. It’s not a nice feeling to have the way you make a living suddenly taken out from under you, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and I am sure that reason will become evident to you soon. You have an absolutely beautiful way with words, and images, and perhaps this is a sign to pursue things in that direction.

Your blood orange salad looks absolutely divine. I can’t wait for blood orange season here again in Australia.

Wishing you all the best for the future.


Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies March 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Mike, I recently was let go too, after 12 years. Blindsided is exactly the same word I felt. You’ve made one beautiful salad here, and as we both step forward into these new phases, I wish you nothing but luck.


Kristen March 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have a feeling that you are going to be just fine, despite the circumstances.
I once watched a show about attitude, and there was a story about a CEO of a company, his sole family income, getting let go. When he walked into his house (called his wife prior) she had a bottle of champagne waiting to toast with him. He was confused but then realized embracing the change with open arms would keep them open for new and exciting things to come that they wouldn’t have been open to before.


Irvin @ Eat the Love March 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Change is always tough. It’s scary, but the flip side of that is it can be exhilarating too. The potential to start fresh is a double edge knife that way. But every time I’ve had to go through a life change, it has always ended up for the better. It may not look that way in the short run, but it always is in the long run.


Amy March 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

What a lovely outlook Michael, AND salad. Just gorgeous! Can’t wait to see what this change brings for you, and, ultimately, all of us that get to benefit from you sharing your talents.


Martha in Kansas March 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Mike, I’ve been enjoying your beautiful recipes & photos for a couple of months – this salad is one of the prettiest. I’ve always found that when a change is forced on me, things always turn out for the better. Forward Ho! :-)


Cookin' Canuck March 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

You have such a positive attitude, Mike and are taking this unforeseen change in circumstance as an opportunity to branch out, take control (I’m so sorry about the health issues) and spread your wings. I’m looking forward to seeing where all of this will take you and I certainly hope it will include more beautiful dishes like this one.


Gail March 5, 2012 at 9:12 pm

You know what? These are the most beautiful pictures I’ve seen you take recently, and you take some mighty fine pix. You
have made the leap, my friend.


Dan @ Dan's Good Side March 6, 2012 at 3:47 am

Ah. That is one sweet salad. no pun intended…obviously! As always, what gorgeous pictures. I’m making this for my supper club next week!


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen March 6, 2012 at 6:53 am

I hope that this unexpected change leads you to even better things in your life very soon and that you find the answers you’re looking for when it comes to your health. I really do believe that food can be the best kind of medicine and I wish you the best of luck in whatever changes you make towards improving your health.


Deliciously Organic March 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles, but I hope one day you will be able to look back and say, “Of course”.

I’ve been struggling with an autoimmune disease for the last few years and it’s been amazing to see how food can heal the body. My disease is reversing and the doctors say it should be completely gone soon. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for through nutrition. It can be done!


Isabelle @ Crumb March 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hugs to you, Mike. I’ve been faced with the possibility of losing my job a few times in the past couple of years, so I can just imagine how gut-wrenching it must be when it’s totally unexpected. Sometimes it’s just the beginning of a whole new adventure, though, which is what I hope is the case for you… may there be a shining opportunity just waiting around the corner for you.
Love this salad, BTW. I make something similar, only with oil-cured black olives in the mix… love that salty punch they add. :)


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul March 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Mike…so sorry to hear about you losing your job. Bummer! But I am impressed with your attitude and the way you look at things. Sometimes changes (forced or not) have a way of opening up other avenues. I look forward to reading about the changes you will embrace.
As for the salad…delicious! fennel and blood ornages are my two favourote things!


Emily March 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm

This sounds like the perfect salad. I wish I had it to eat now! It looks so fresh and great for entertaining, especially in the small cups! Beautiful!


naomi March 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

What a beautifully refreshing salad that is popping with color and flavor!


naomi March 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I hit submit before i was done. . .

I’m so sorry to hear the news. I agree, you will look back and this will be a blessing. I’m a firmly believe that. You seem the type to make things happen and not wait for them to happen for you.


Kulsum@journeykitchen March 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Change is difficult but change is also about opportunities. You are multi talented and you will find your way through this phase and come out a winner I’m sure. Oh, and i’m loving blood oranges lately. this salad looks positively gorgeous.


Rosie @ Sweetapolita March 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

This salad and the images, Mike are *so* you, but yet, just as with all of your posts, there is something really fresh & unique about them. I am truly sorry to hear about you losing your job, and with it being so unexpected I know that must be so hard, but I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t meant to be. You are such a talent, and it’s really just the beginning for you–I know this in my heart. Here’s to new beginnings!


Julie March 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm

SO gorgeous. I’ve meaning to seek out some blood oranges this season… haven’t managed to yet. This may inspire me to!


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