In French they have an expression trompe d’oeil that means “a trick of the eye” or an optical illusion. This expression got me thinking about some cool foods that trick the mouth. Have you ever tried a miracle berry? When these little fruits are ingested, a fully alchemic situation is ignited by your enzymes and your taste buds do a total flip flop. How about splanthy flower bud? Native Hawaiians used these for oral health as the enzymes in your saliva alchemize with the active compounds in the plant. About half a minute of sucking on it, a party in your mouth happens. Think Pop Rocks but a more zen experience. Cleansing and a tonic to the gums and throat tissues, this little plant itself is a miracle. So, to keep with the trompe d’oeil theme,  here’s a salad recipe that pairs garlic with strawberries and balsamic vinegar—and utilizes and highlights local products.

First, you need some culinary bling: 

  • Golden Garlic Confit Oil
  • 1 cup avocado oil
  • 3/4 cup of garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb-size split in half piece of turmeric (Olena) root, thinly sliced
  1. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, until cloves are as soft as a ripe banana and oil smells like fragrant garlic. Be sure not to heat oil past 450 degrees.
  2. Drizzle this on everything. It doesn’t replace butter but it’s pretty fabulous and the smooshed garlic cloves are quite yummy and useful too! (a sprinkle of flakey salt is pretty delish as well)   

Salad ingredients

  • 1 head of Waipoli greens hydroponic butter lettuce
  • Balsamic glaze/reduction
  • Quality salt of your choice
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pint Kula Country Farms strawberries
  • Fresh dill
  • Optional: Surfing Goat Dairy goat cheese
  • Toasted nuts like pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, or pine nuts
  • Shaved watermelon radish
  • 1-2 freshly juiced Meyer lemons


  1. Clean lettuce and rip into bite size pieces.
  2. Quarter strawberries and mix separately with balsamic glaze.
  3. Drizzle garlic oil over greens and radishes.
  4. Crumble goat cheese and scatter toasted nuts.
  5. Distribute balsamic strawberries around greens and  season with salt and pepper
  6. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and another drizzle of garlic confit oil