a little of each

A family's cookbook

Summer Chicken Salad July 26, 2013

Filed under: Main Dishes,Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:54 pm
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Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

I strive for peace on Friday around dinnertime.  I strive, and I hope, and sometimes it’s a big, fat failure with bickering or takeout pizza (sins of equal weight somehow). And tonight, the mister was still at work, and I had no meal planned after just arriving home at the time I’d prefer to be blissfully blessing the wine and gazing at my dressed and brushed children over a lovingly prepared meal that they’d eat with the gusto reserved for macaroni and cheese.  The only saving grace was I knew I had some frozen challah.

So, yeah, it was a bust already, right?  So me and my what-the-hell attitude rummaged in the kitchen. And I came up with a practically defiant chicken salad.  My ladies have never seen chicken salad before, but it’s a trifecta of pickiness – a (1) mixture of ingredients (2) touching each other (3) in a sauce.  Oh lord.  To the table, I added the challah, a plate of grapes, and cheese sticks so that when faces recoiled in disgust, I couldn’t be accused of starving my children.

Hands washed, hairs unbrushed, still in summer camp clothes, we lit the candles, we blessed the bread, and you know what?  They didn’t recoil in disgust when they saw their plates.  The big one ate her challah, some grapes, and then she gingerly tried a bite.  She said, you’ll never guess, “Mmmm.”  I said, “I’m so glad you like it.  I hoped you would.”  And then she tried a piece of chicken with a grape, and then a piece of cucumber with a grape, and then chicken and celery, and with each combination, she exclaimed, “I didn’t think I’d like this, but it’s so yummy.”  And then the kicker, “And I love how it looks so fancy on the lettuce all spread out.  You should make it again, and soon!”

Now the little one gave a good college try of two solid bites, and only one slight gag.  I call that a homerun.

We watched the candles standing tall with only a very occasional flicker, we talked about the giant pile of garbage floating in the Pacific, and we laughed at the little one’s potty jokes.  Just as Shabbat is meant to be.

Go easy on the dressing, and don’t leave out that brown sugar – it’s a definite secret ingredient sort of enhancement.

Ingredients
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
Half of one celery stalk, chopped small
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl brown sugar

Directions
Whisk together ingredients for the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add half of the dressing, stirring gently, and then add more to your taste, careful not to oversaturate the salad. Lay some Romaine leaves on a plate, and serve a scoop of the salad in the center.  The leaves can be used like taco shells, and just like that, chicken salad is a finger food!

Variation
For a tropical flavor, try these ingredients:
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cashews
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl coconut milk powder
1 Tbl sweet curry powder

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