Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hot Summer, Cool Dinner

Janet here: I'm holding down the blog fort on my own this week as Rachel recovers from having a baby — Maxine! — and gets used to life with an infant. It's hotter than hell here in the Northeast where I'm based, so the idea of standing in front of a hot stove and oven is not that appealing. I also find myself less hungry in general when it's really hot.

The joy of summer is that you can whip up a salad with just about anything you've got in the fridge and voila! Instant dinner. That's often a harder sell for the young men in my house. What? Just cold veggies for dinner? Adding this buffalo chicken — which was cooked on the grill, keeping the kitchen cool — made this an easy sell. Basically I could add buffalo chicken to arsenic and they would be willing to try it. Happily, this salad was declared anything but poisonous. I served this with my homemade onion rings and it was a major hit. Son G declared that he would ask for this as his last meal if he could. Now that made me feel great.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

serves 4

1 pound boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders if you're in a rush
2-3 tablespoons hot sauce (We're a Frank's family but whatever is your favorite will work)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Romaine lettuce, ripped into bite-size pieces
4 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 scallions, green and white part, thinly sliced

Blue Cheese Dressing
from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave

1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the oil and hot sauce in a bowl. If you've got tenders, put them in and toss with the sauce until coated. If you've got breasts, pound them into thinner slab and cut into strips. Then toss with the sauce.

Make up the salad plates with the ingredients above.

Make the blue cheese dressing. If you make Ellie's be aware that you should strain the yogurt for 30 minutes (put a paper towel over a small bowl to act as a strainer and then spoon the yogurt on top to get rid of the excess liquid). I did not do this and my dressing while tasty was a little more liquidy than I like my blue cheese dressing. After the yogurt is strained, whisk all the ingredients together.

When you're ready to eat, grill the chicken, place on top of the salad, add the dressing and you're good to go.

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