Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicken Salad, Pioneer Woman Style

If you're a Chicken Salad purist, you might want to look away. This is a far cry from the classic Chicken Salad recipe which typically is very plain- some mayo, lemon juice and celery. Maybe a nut of some sort like almonds. Or for the more adventurous: grape halves and walnuts. This Pioneer Woman recipe anything but classic. Blueberries? In Chicken Salad? An unexpected and sort of questionable ingredient, but it really works! The addition of Feta to the dressing and dill to the salad make it bright and tangy and fresh. From here on out, I don't think I'll make Chicken Salad any other way. It's that good...

And isn't it pretty? I envision this being a very versatile dish: It would be a great low carb dinner as-is, a beautiful addition to a bridal shower luncheon or even a super bowl finger food scooped onto mini buns and made into sliders. I plan on eating this new favorite year round.

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman. Measurements below make4- 6 servings, depending on appetites :) 

2 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
Olive Oil
Salt And pepper, to taste 

2 stalks celery finely diced, plus some leaves, chopped
1 ear of corn, roasted
1/4 of a medium red onion, diced 
2 Tablespoons Fresh Dill, Minced 
1/2 cup sliced almonds, dry toasted in a pan 
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

For the dressing:
2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise 
2 Tablespoons Sour Cream 
2 Tablespoons Half & half (or milk if you don't have half & half)
1/2 a lemon 
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
salt & pepper to taste


Cook chicken breasts using your preferred method. You could use a grill pan, frying pan, bake it, poach it or BBQ it.

*Since it is summer, I BBQ'd mine. I simply fire up the grill on high to pre-heat. Meanwhile, drizzle the chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on a hot grill, then turn down the heat to medium low. Pull down the cover on your BBQ and let cook, undisturbed for about 7 minutes. Flip them and continue cooking (covered) for another 5-7 minutes. They are done when the internal temperature reaches 165.

When you flip your chicken, grab your corn and place it on the grill. Let it go, rotating it every so often, until your chicken is done. The original recipe calls for just plain raw corn, which is really good, but I like it when corn gets a little blackened and takes on a sweeter, less raw flavor. You could do it either way.

Take everything off the grill. Let chicken cool.

When your corn is cool enough to handle, shave the kernels off the cob. Combine corn with the onion and celery. Set aside.

Into a canning jar with lid, add mayonnaise, sour cream, feta, and half & half. Add sugar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Shake to combine. Taste it and add more salt if needed. It does need quite a bit of salt.

Cut your chicken up into bite sized pieces. The Pioneer Woman sort of slices hers on the bias into randomly sized pieces, but I like mine a little more uniform. Put your chicken in the bowl with celery, onion, and corn. Stir to combine. Sprinkle in the dill. Pour half the dressing over the ingredients and toss gently. Add more dressing as needed. I think I used the whole thing, but you don't want to over dress this, so go easy at first.

When ready to serve, toss in the blueberries to lightly coat them in the dressing. Sprinkle with feta and almonds... and a few more blueberries if you're feeling extra non-traditional.

Delicious, right?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fig & Gorgonzola Crostini

The fig tree in our backyard is going crazy!! We have so many figs even after the army of birds comes every morning to eat to their hearts content. While fig jam is on my to-make list, it is still a major production... one that I am not ready to take on during nap time. Maybe next time my mother in law watches the babe for us and I have a solid 2-3 hour block of time, then I can commit to jam making. But this super simple crostini recipe on the other hand was one I could whip up in a few minutes. If you are buying figs in the store, pick them up within a day or two of when you plan on eating them. They do not keep well so should be eaten asap. If you have a fig tree (or know someone who does), all the better! Pick them and eat them the same day. As these bake, the Gorgonzola gets melty/creamy and the figs take on a softer texture and a sweeter (if that's even possible) flavor than they have in their raw state. A beautiful combination between salty & sweet, in my opinion.

You'll need:

1 baguette or any other rustic bread
4-5 fresh figs
Gorgonzola cheese
Honey (preferably local!)

Preheat your oven to 400 and then wash and stem your figs.
Slice the baguette into slices about a half inch thick. If you slice on the bias, you'll get more surface area for holding Gorgonzola/fig/honey goodness.
Sprinkle with a tablespoon of Gorgonzola, then top with a few slices of fresh fig. You can simply cut the figs in half and lay them cut side up or slice them into multiple slices.
Pop into the oven and bake until the cheese starts to melt, about 6-8 minutes.
Remove from oven and drizzle with honey, then sprinkle with thyme leaves.
Eat warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy with a nice chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc and you'll feel like you're at a top notch wine bar. Cheers!