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Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

That little jar of unused dressing from before was sitting in the fridge, calling to me. With a fresh supply of romaine, and a hungry friend that adores Thai food, I decided to try again. I’d already eaten lunch, so I was making this just for my friend.

I pulled out the romaine and the mushrooms, and a lot of mandarins. I remembered how very delicious the mandarins were with the first batch (the one redeeming combination, actually) and I wanted to make sure at least one part of it worked. I also added an extra scallion to punch up the flavor. I would’ve put more basil in, and thai basil instead of regular basil, but sometimes I’ve just got to make do with the dregs of the fridge. The chicken tenderloins were leftover from a previous dinner, and were necessary to make it a meal for my hungry friend. I think it would work quite well as a side salad without the meat.

Thai Black Pepper Sauce Salad, Take Two, Prep

The ingredients, ready to face the knife and dive into the bowl.

Ingredients:
(Serves one for lunch.)
1 heart of romaine, chopped.
2 mushrooms, sliced.
3 mandarins, peeled, sliced in half, and cut into eighths.
2 scallions, sliced.
2 chicken tenderloins, sliced.
4-6 basil leaves, sliced.
1 fistful of mint, sliced.

Black Pepper Sauce Vinaigrette:
(Use what you need, refrigerated leftovers are good for several days.)
1 T rice wine vinegar.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
2 tsp thai black pepper sauce.
1 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.

I chopped the lettuce, and layered it with herbs, mandarins, and veggies. Then I snipped the chicken into bite sized pieces with a pair of kitchen shears, and drizzled the dressing over it all before gently fork tossing it. I wasn’t sure there would be enough vinaigrette, but the powerful flavors really shone, and it was actually just right.

Thai Black Pepper Sauce Salad, Take Two

Deliciousness. Success!

The Verdict:
Success! The romaine was perfect for this dressing. Crisp and crunchy, the mild flavor of the lettuce really let the vinaigrette shine. The mint added a delicious punch, and the mandarins were juicy and good. The chicken fit right in. My friend was pleased. Very pleased.

Make it a Meal:
Done. I think tofu would also work really well with this salad, since the vinaigrette has so much flavor. Grilled shrimp would also be very tasty.

Pack it to Go:
That’s easy for this one — just peel and section the mandarins instead of slicing them. You lose the bejeweled beauty, but you keep your lettuce crispy. The dressing stays in a small jar, and the salad goes in a large container, preferable glass or stainless steel, with enough space to easily fork-toss.

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More often than not, I’m groggily making lunch salads for the grown-ups in the house at 7:00 AM.

Two Salads in One

Some of the ingredients, ready for chopping.

Two Salads in One - Lemon

Lemon juice extraction time.

Two Salads in One - Mint

Here's the mint, ready for chopping.

That’s what I did this morning.
A quick glance at the randomness in the fridge left me with the desire to create a base salad that would work well with the two different pieces of meat I had available — one last small tenderloin of sesame chicken, and a little leftover steak with sauteed mushrooms. I decided that a citronette would work well with both, and pulled out my hearts of romaine and a little pile of citrus fruit, as well as mint, radishes, mushrooms and more.


Ingredients:
(serves one as a lunch salad, or two as a side salad)
1 heart of romaine, chopped.
2 mushrooms, sliced.
3 radishes, sliced.
1 mandarin, peeled and carefully sectioned (membranes
left intact).
1 scallion, chopped.
1 fistful of mint, chopped.
Zest of 1 lemon.

Citronette:
(use what you need, there may be extra)
1 T lemon juice.
3 T extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 small clove of garlic, smashed and minced.
1/2 tsp maple syrup.
1 pinch of salt, to taste.


I doubled all of the ingredients above, and made two identical salads side by side. My husband’s salad went into a glass pyrex bowl with a lid for easy transport, while mine went into a regular bowl and then right back into the fridge for later. I mixed both batches of citronette in small jars.

I started by chopping the veggies and tossing them into their respective bowls. Then, I carefully peeled and sectioned the mandarins, trying not to rip them open. My goal was for their own skins to preserve them in the bowls, so they wouldn’t be leaking liquid onto the greens and wilting them. It worked. I always think citrus fruits are prettier when they’re sliced open, but they travel in salads much, much better when you leave the membranes intact. Mandarin wedges are perfectly bite sized, and are an ideal fruit for salads that will sit in the fridge for a while before being eaten.

Once I’d constructed the salads, I mixed up the citronette. I snuggled my husband’s dressing jar into the pyrex bowl, while mine joined my salad in the fridge. I used kitchen shears to slice the last piece of sesame chicken over my husband’s salad, and then I slapped the cheery red lid on top. I didn’t bother slicing up the steak for mine — I saved that for right before I tossed it and ate it, about four or five hours later.

Two Salads in One - Chicken

Here's the chicken version, ready for travel.

The Verdict:
I can’t tell you exactly what my husband thought of the sesame chicken salad, but he was definitely very grateful. (And I’m quite sure he liked it a lot more than the sesame chicken/red wine vinaigrette combo I tried the other day.) My lunch was absolutely delicious.

Two Salads in One - Steak

And the steak salad, ready to eat.

I really appreciated how different it was from the pear and arugula salad we had last night, with the very same steak and mushrooms. This time, the steak was cold, and sliced directly into the salad. It was a bright, refreshing meal. I also love knowing that all the vitamin C from the fruit and the citronette helped my body make the most of that iron rich steak. I think my favorite bites included steak, mandarin wedges, and mint coated romaine. Crunchy, juicy, sweet, and savory. Exactly how I love my salads.

Make it a Meal:
Done — two different leftover meat suggestions. Both worked well, so make your own choice: chicken, or steak?

Pack it to Go:
Done. (more…)

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