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Chicken Salad For The New Year

Start the year with a healthy salad.

About now everyone is probably thinking “how can I take off those extra pounds I put on over the holidays”. I put on .6 of a lb. xmas week but probably did more damage New Years than that and I will be saying “yikes” how did I gain that much just letting go for a few days. Well, whatever the numbers say, I’ll deal with it because putting those extra pounds on was quite fun and who wants to past up fun times with friends and family.

So, this recipe idea started with a segment on the Today show New Years day with how to make extra meals from a grilled chicken. I changed the recipe so much that I decided to rename it. I swapped the carrot with tomato, added avocado and changed the walnuts to pistachios. I also decided to do a quick pickle on the broccoli stems instead of cooking them and when it was all put together I decided to add a little dried cranberries for color and their recipe morphed into a new recipe.

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Orange, Avocado, and Watermelon Salad

Cool and refreshing to go with my b-b-q ribs!

I was laying in bed this morning thinking about the baby back ribs my husband was going to smoke tonight. I knew they would be delicious because he does the best bar-b-q around. I think my dad taught him well and over the years my husband has put his own spin on smoking/grilling by using all sorts of different woods to get a great smoke flavor to his meats.

So, on with the story. I was trying to come up with a salad that would be cool and refreshing to go along with his hot and spicy ribs. I was thinking about a watermelon that our neighbor, Anne, just gave us and what might go with that to make a delicious salad. Watermelon, orange, maybe some red onions, avocado and some toasted pine nuts. I thought about putting this on a bed of baby spinach for extra color. And, for the dressing, you can’t go wrong with balsamic, maybe a little lime juice and cilantro, shallot, some olive oil and perhaps toss in a little cumin to add a touch of spice to the salad to compliment the ribs.

I remember years ago when we would go to Florida for summer vacations, my grandfather would pull over at local farm stands to buy some produce. Whether it be watermelon, oranges, or peaches, he always wanted to taste the fruit before buying it. Of course, we only bought the ripest and most flavorful fruits. Wonder, why we aren’t allowed to taste our produce in the grocery stores?  Guess they only sample the things they know are tasty OR we wouldn’t be buying all the hard, tasteless fruits and vegetables we get at certain times of the year.

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Peach and Arugula Salad with Pancetta Chips

Anything with pancetta on it just has to be good.

  Several years ago we were in Italy and had some of the most wonderful food. I packed a little menu dictionary to translate menu items from Italian to English. We kept seeing “rocket” salad on the menu and finally ordered it and found out it was arugula. We had been eating arugula for years, but “rocket” salad sound so much more interesting.

It was so much fun trying to pronounce things from the “Italian” menu (we never asked for the English menu), and all the waiters were so patient with us trying to work our way through reading the menus. If we pronounced something wrong, they would just smile and tell us the correct way of saying the item.

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Salads/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Kumquat, Corn, And a Few Other Things Salad

There are so many summer vegetables out now, it would be a crime not to try something different with all those wonderful things you may be picking up at your farmer’s markets in your area.

Kumquat, corn, avocado and a few other things makes this a great summer salad to serve with your steak which I am making tonight for my daughter along with a chimichurri sauce.

I teach technique classes at Williams Sonoma and earlier in the week I saw that I was suppose to make a roasted corn salad that tomatoes and feta. As usual, I started thinking of ways I was going to tweak this and I have made my version twice this week.

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