Tangerine Salad with Vanilla, Chocolate, and Almonds

I was so blessed and honored to host a baby shower this weekend for a very dear friend of mine. I ran around excitedly all week to get ready for it, and although she is very low-key and told me to just do something casual and easy, there was no way that was going to happen! She is too special a person, friend, and soon-to-be mother for a half-hearted baby shower. I had so much fun planning the menu, décor, favors and more. What’s more, spending the day with wonderful ladies, enjoying each other’s company, is always something to be entirely grateful for.

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Colin was truly helpful in the planning for the shower as well. He helped me clean and set up; he offered décor advice, cleaned the backyard, and even planted tulips and lavender in the front—his idea! We really felt like a team, and I think this is what marriage is all about. He truly lived the simple but incredibly important vow of I promise to be there for you when you need me, whenever you need me.

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I know that I can count on him for whatever this life brings us, good and bad. And that feeling of safety, comfort, and support is so important to me personally and to all women.

Amazingly, he is also taking a huge step in his career and is, as of tomorrow, an entrepreneur! During this time, I will certainly be there for him as he explores the ups and downs of working for himself, and I can’t wait to see what he does with this opportunity. I will keep the above vow in mind, as these are unchartered waters for us, and he may have different needs during this voyage than he has had in the years that I’ve known him. So, I will listen, support, and love him to the best of my ability, making sure he knows that at home with me, there will always be a soft place to fall.

Tangerine Salad with Vanilla, Chocolate, and Almonds

Serves 8-10

12 tangerines

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and beans scraped out with the back of a knife

½ cup raw, unsalted almonds

1.5-3 ounces (or so) dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) chopped or shaved (eyeball and use how much you’d like!) I used around 1.5 ounces or almost ½ a Godiva chocolate bar

2 teaspoons superfine sugar

Fresh mint leaves for garnish (5-6 sprigs)

Instructions:

In a small sauce pan, put 5 tablespoons of water, the sugar, vanilla beans and the empty pods, and the juice from 4 tangerines. Turn burner to high heat and let cook for 6-8 minutes, just leave it alone, or until it turns into a thick syrup and is very reduced.

While the syrup is cooking, slice the tangerines into rounds, and then remove the peel from the slices carefully so as to keep them round. If a few of them tear, that’s ok! Layer the fruit in a platter or serving bowl.

In a dry pan, roast the whole almonds over medium-low heat until fragrant—don’t let them burn! When done roasting, transfer them to a cutting board and chopped roughly.

Using a sharp knife, chop or shave off chocolate pieces and set aside.

Once syrup is done and cooled on a back burner for around 5 minutes, pour it over the tangerines, add the almonds, chocolate, and mint. Serve and enjoy!

**if you want to cut this recipe in half, I would still keep the syrup ingredients the same, but halve everything else. You could certainly keep the chocolate and almond amounts the same too!

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recipe inspiration by: www.jamieoliver.com