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Saturday, June 6, 2009

The beach...............

Summer time....thoughts of sitting on the beach enjoying a nice picnic lunch. Listening to the sound of the ocean taking my thoughts away from daily stresses of life, smelling the salt air, and walking on the beach bring peace and comfort. After a morning on the beach, sitting on the deck enjoying a light lunch of chicken salad, hearty bread, and sparkling water, is the perfect summer lunch. I will admit that I eat my fair share of seafood at the beach, but I can have a few non-seafood lunches!

With all of the fresh fruit at the market now, I have a refrigerator full; grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and strawberries are a few. I don't eat meat every day, but I wanted chicken salad for lunch. Not "regular" chicken salad, but curry chicken salad. It's refreshing and delicious. The addition of grapes and apple make it a refreshing blend of ingredients. It's a great salad for a picnic, bridal or baby shower, or afternoon tea.

I gently poach the chicken breast in water, a handful of fresh parsley, stalk of celery, lemon pepper, black peppercorns (3 or 4) and a little salt. (I toss in a few sprigs of lemon thyme because it's thriving on my deck). I cook the chicken until it is fork tender...a gentle simmer. After it is cooked, I strain the broth and freeze it for future use. It's much better than canned and a whole lot better than the granules.

Curry Chicken Salad

3 cups shredded chicken (I use breast meat only) . I poached about 4 chicken breast. (If you make too much, you can always freeze the extra)
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 Fuji apple cut into dice (do not peel). You can also use Granny Smith Apple, but I like Fuji
1/2 cup red seedkess grapes, halved
1/2 cup sliced almonds if desired

Put the cut apple in a little bowl and sprinkle with juice of 1 lemon. (I usually add the zest of the lemon to the salad too). Shred chicken and put in large bowl with celery, grapes and diced apple. The nice thing about this salad is you can pick and choose what you want to add or delete. If you are in a hurry, you can get the plain rotisserie chicken and use that. I like to make my own...just my preference. :) Some may prefer pecans or walnuts in lieu of almonds. If you don't have honey mustard, add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of Dijon or yellow mustard. One time I made it and added tons of curry! Lesson learned the hard way... add a little more at a time if desired. I went overboard and definitely had "CURRY" chicken salad. I ate it though.... spicy, spicy, spicy!

Mix in the following dressing:

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream (or you can use Greek yogurt if you like)
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I like it heavy on the curry taste... try 1/2 tsp first and add more if you desire)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
zest of one lemon

Toss to coat. Depending on how moist you like the salad, you can add a little more mayo. This is really good on a hearty white bread from the deli.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar