A Salad for Tax Season

When I was young and foolish, I actually liked doing my taxes. I did them on paper, with the little workbook next to me, adding up everything in pencil with an eraser close at hand. After I had checked through everything, and gleefully totaled up the amount of my refund, I would happily copy everything over onto the real forms in definitive pen. I felt grown up, and I was proud of myself for deciphering the tax code and its truly mystifying instructions and subparts. Perhaps I had more time, or more patience then. I know I certainly had fewer forms, with just my one little W-2.

I had already plugged nearly everything into TurboTax this year (I do mourn a little for the days of pen and paper, but only in the nostalgic way that one with a washing machine and dryer can romantically mourn for a wooden washboard). I did it online, but hadn’t filed, when J realized it would save us money if we bought the software and shared it. Since the online site doesn’t talk to the software (that would have made way too much sense), everything had to be entered again. After I threw a mini temper tantrum about having to calculate which portion of my student loan interest had been paid while I was a California resident, yet AGAIN, J took over.

He had come up with the idea for this salad and was going to make it for us himself, but it quickly became clear that I needed the stress relief of hacking things into little bits. For those of you incensed by the IRS, or just whatever life has thrown at you that day, may I recommend jicama? It requires a big knife, and makes a really satisfying thwack with each slice that you dice. I actually started the salad out supreming the grapefruit, while I was feeling calmer and just answering questions about when I had become a California resident. I used to dread supreming, but I think it’s one of those skills like riding a bike that starts with some blood and some angst, comes to a point of proud accomplishment (that’s where I am now!), and eventually just becomes old hat.

I took my little bowl of grapefruit slices and gave one to J to thank him for being on the front lines of the tax fight. I saved all the juice for the salad dressing (lies, I saved most of the juice, and drank quite a bit of it too). I pulled out the jicama, and a nice big chef’s knife just in time to have the Massachusetts health care fight. I chopped and diced angrily while mumbling things about Schedule HC. We ended up with way too much diced jicama for the salad (but just enough for stress relief), so I’ll be on the hunt for other things to do with jicama this week. Luckily my taxes were finished just in time for me to carefully cube the avocado. There could have been some unfortunate carnage if I’d gone at the poor avocados with my chef’s knife and fury about forms and address changes.

I sat down at the computer to officially “sign” my taxes, while J deseeded (is there a technical term for this?) a pomegranate and tossed all our various salad components together with some lettuce. My refund may not have been as exciting as it was in the pen and paper days, but at least we had a fabulous salad to celebrate being done with tax time, two weeks early.

Tax Salad
Make this when you have plenty of time for prep and feel like chopping things. I get stress relief from chopping vegetables, but if you find it to be a chore, allow yourself some time to prep, and play some good music in the kitchen.

2 large grapefruits
1 small jicama
2 avocados
1 pomegranate
1 package of lettuce, spring mix, or whatever greens you like
1/4 cup spicy pepitas

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp grapefruit juice (reserved from the supreming)
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Supreme the grapefruit, and set the sections aside. Reserve some of the juice for the dressing (and the rest for drinking!). Check out this video for how to supreme citrus fruit. Chop the jicama into 1/4″ cubes and set aside. You’ll want about 1 cup of jicama, and will probably have some leftover. Remove the pit from the avocado, and cut it into cubes the same size as the jicama. Remove the seeds from your pomegranate and set aside. Add your greens to your salad bowl, and add the grapefruit sections, jicama, avocado, pomegranate seeds and pepitas to the bowl.

To make the dressing combine the olive oil, grapefruit juice, champagne vinegar, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Pour the dressing over your salad and toss to mix. Serves two people hungry from deciphering tax forms, or four as an appetizer.

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