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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hello World/ Cherry Almond Chicken Salad

With the strokes of these keys my next big adventure begins. They say when one door closes another opens, well as my undergraduate career has come to an end and the in between period before my adventures into culinary school start I find myself with a bunch of free time on my hands. With a life long passion for food and a developing need to share that love with the rest of the world grows the only thing that makes sense is to start a blog. Now it must be noted that while I have thought about this a time or two on my own it is the power of suggestion that has really pushed me over the edge. Because while my love for food is strong it is really other's interest in what I create in the kitchen that has me on a path of sharing. 

When it comes to food I am still as much of a student as I feel like I can be a teacher. I know a lot but I have a lot more to learn. Here I will share recipes that I have made up on my own, have been passed through family or dear friends, or have been found amongst my cookbooks or other food blogs that I follow. Inspiration is only one ingredient away and in the kitchen anything is possible. 

I hope to inspire others like I myself have been inspired in the past and continue to be in the present and future. I hope to show people how easy and fun cooking can be and I hope from here people will be able to find answers to culinary questions they might have or bring some to the table that I can help solve. 

With that being said let the fun begin!

Cherry Almond Chicken Salad


In my opinion there are many ways one can mess up a simple chicken salad sandwich, one of which includes shredding the chicken. There are not many things I despise in the world of food but for some reason the texture of shredded meat really turns me off. Another way you can mess up a good chicken salad is being careless when it comes to the selection of meat you choose, nothing is worse than enjoying a good chicken salad sandwich and biting into a tendon or a piece of fat YUCK! 

These are easy enough things to avoid, take the time to cut up your chicken ( usually faster than shredding it anyways!) and simply pay attention to what you are doing.

This version was a combination of convenience of what was in the fridge and a craving for an old favorite!

What you will need:
A rotisserie chicken ( you can likely pick up one of these for about 5 bucks at your local grocery store)
  - I used about 2 cups of meat from the bird for this recipe
White Onion diced ( red or yellow onions would work just as well, whatever you have on hand!)
  -1/4 cup
Salt 
  - 1tsp
Pepper
  -1 tsp.
Roasted almonds chopped in half
  -1/4 cup
Mayonaise ( I like the kind Hellmann's makes with olive oil)
  - I used about 3-4 Tbsp. 
Fresh Cherries 
  -1 cup pitted


First you want to remove the chicken from the bone, I also remove the skin, while the flavor is good and tempting to keep, it is terrible when mixed into the chicken salad. Trust me I have tried it both ways.

Once you have removed all of the chicken from the bone next you want to start chopping it up. Paying special attention to any fat or unsavory parts. 

After you have chopped up all of your chicken set it aside in a bowl. 

Now chop your almonds in half. You can leave them whole if you prefer but I wanted to spread them out in the mix so I cut mine in half. 

Mix in your salt and pepper.

Now add in your mayo. I only used about four tablespoons for my recipe and it was enough to cover the chicken and the almonds lightly. If you prefer creamier chicken salad you are welcome to add more.  I just caution you to do this slowly, I tablespoon or even a teaspoon at a time. You only have so much chicken and if you ruin it with too much mayo well, there isn't a whole lot I can suggest to bring it back to life! I just prefer to be able to keep the taste of the chicken and other ingredients pure and find that less mayo is not only healthier but also does a good job of not overpowering the other ingredients.  

The last thing I do is add in the pitted cherries. I only want to mix them in lightly as to not let their juice bleed all over the chicken salad and also to not coat them in the mayo. 

If you have never pitted a cherry before this is a very easy thing to do. Simply take a knife. I use a small butchers knife. Remove the stem place your knife in the center where the stem comes from and circle it around the cherry's pit creating a slit all the way around. Next twist one side of the cherry gently off the pit and then pop out the pit. Voila pitted cherries not that hard, just a little tedious. But so worth it!

After you have mixed in the cherries you are ready to eat!

I served mine over a piece of toast with a little extra mayo spread on the bread( I didn't eat it right away and being in the fridge overnight it needed a little extra love)  with a piece of kale. 

Modifications:

I don't always use cherries, often I actually use purple grapes but cherries were what I had on hand. Also I often add some celery in for a little extra crunch but didn't have anything on hand and the onions and almonds did plenty in that department. 

It can also be enjoyed without bread. Sometimes I will eat this by itself ( like the few forkfuls I ate over the kitchen counter straight out of the bowl, you know for the sake of ummm taste testing.) Or I will put it on top of a salad as well. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!