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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Cucumber and Melon Salad May 20, 2013

Filed under: Fruits and Vegetables,Soups and Salads — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:34 am
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In 2012, we joined a local organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Tampa.  Every other week, we’d pick up bags of wonderfully fresh vegetables, some of which I’d never heard of before.  Tatsoi? Dino Kale? Hakurei turnips?

Needless to say, our palettes expanded, and sometimes I struggled to find ways to use our produce.  Like the radishes.  One or two, I know how to handle (chop up in a salad – easy enough!), but eight? Ten? Thankfully, I found two different cold salad recipes through Pinterest that allowed me to use the radishes in really delicious ways.  This one is based on a Weight Watchers recipe and is such a wonderful and refreshing summer dish.  Tangy citrus, fragrant mint, sweet melon, crisp and slightly spicy radishes all combine into a beautiful and healthy salad.  While the original recipe calls for the veggies and melon to be sliced on a mandolin, I chose to dice the cucumbers and melon and thinly slice the radishes.  Scooping the melon with a baller would also work.  The recipe also calls for honeydew, and as you can see in the photo I sometimes use cantaloupe.  They are equally delicious.

melon salad

Sometimes I deconstruct the salad for little palettes that aren’t keen on radishes or mint yet. They inhale the melon and cucumber.

 

Ingredients

1 medium English cucumber

6-8 fresh radishes

1/2 medium honeydew melon

1/2 cups mint leaves, julienned

1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice

1 Tbl sugar

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and chill for at least two hours before serving.

 

 

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette May 15, 2013

Filed under: Soups and Salads — alittlemoreofeach @ 3:32 pm
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Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbl sugar
3 Tbl rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients until blended.

 

Bean Salad March 28, 2013

Filed under: Soups and Salads — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:14 pm
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Ingredients

1 cup wax beans

1 can green beans

1 can red kidney beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

½ cup oil

½ cup wine vinegar

½ cup sugar

1 tsp basil

1 tsp tarragon

1 tsp parsley

½ tsp dry mustard

salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions

Drain and rinse all beans. Put beans in a bowl and add onions. Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, basil, tarragon, parsley, dry mustard and salt and pepper. Pour over beans and onion and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

 

Broccoli Salad

Filed under: Soups and Salads — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:13 pm
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The ingredient amounts in this salad are completely flexible, as are the ingredients themselves. Dried cranberries instead of raisins, or almonds instead of sunflower seeds make interesting variations. The dressing is the same as the dressing for the Waldorf Salad, but it should be a bit sweeter and not as thin, according to Mary Kay.

 

Ingredients

Broccoli florets, raw and cut small

Raisins

Sunflower seeds

Cheddar cheese, shredded

Bacon, crumbled

¼ – ½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

A little milk

2 tsp sugar

 

Tomato Salad #2

Filed under: Soups and Salads — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:12 pm
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Ingredients

8 oz grape tomatoes, halved

4 oz mozzarella cheese (solid)

fresh basil leaves

¼ cup Balsamic vinegar dressing

 

Directions

Chop up the cheese into rough cubes or slivers. Slice the fresh basil leaves. Combine the cheese and basil with the tomato halves. Toss everything with the dressing. It can sit or be served immediately.

 

Tomato Salad #1

Filed under: Soups and Salads — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:10 pm
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Ingredients

5 medium tomatoes, sliced

4 oz crumbled feta or blue cheese

½ cup olive oil

1/3 cup wine vinegar

2 Tbl finely chopped fresh basil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp coarsely ground pepper

 

Directions

Arrange tomatoes and cheese in a 13×9 dish. Combine remaining ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Pour dressing over tomato mixture. Cover and chill at least four hours.