Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chicken Salad

By Paul Briand

The idea here is for a portable meal -- to take on a picnic, take to the beach, take outside on the porch.

It also smacks of summer, clean and sweet, enhanced by the dried cherries.

We've had this straight up and we've had it as a wrap.

One diversion we made from the original recipe, which we found in Relish magazine, was to replace grilled chicken with a roasted chicken from the grocery. It made a simple meal to prepare even more simple.

1 roasted chicken with meat removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 pound chicken tenders

1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard (Creole mustard is suggested in recipe, I went with Dijon)
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Black pepper

1. To prepare the grilled chicken, combine all ingredients except chicken in a large bowl. Stir well. Add chicken to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least an hour;
2. Prepare grill to medium heat;
3. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the marinade. Grill chicken for about 3 minutes each side until thoroughly cooked;
4. To prepare salad, combine all ingredients. Add cooked grilled chicken (or the meat -- sans skin -- you had stripped from the roasted chicken). Toss well and serve.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Caprese Salad

By Paul Briand

It's not often that you'd describe something you ate as refreshing. Satisfying, certainly. But refreshing?

Yet that was the case the other evening when we sat down to eat after an afternoon in the summer heat at a Boston Red Sox - Texas Rangers baseball game in Fenway Park.

My sister Margaret served a Caprese Salad that was refreshing in its burst of tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.

Here's her version of a Rachel Ray recipe:

3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf on top, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Margaret says she changes it up a bit by drizzling a dressing made of olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of just olive oil.


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce

By Paul Briand

So, what do you do when you have just about six ounces of whiskey left in your bottle of Jack Daniel's?

Any sane man or woman would drink it. I made barbecue sauce. All was not lost ... I used four ounces in the recipe and drank the remaining two over ice while I made the sauce.

I used the barbecue sauce first on some grilled chicken then used the rest on some ribs.

You can definitely taste the sour corn mash that comes from the whiskey, but it doesn't overpower and adds a particular sweetness to whatever you're cooking.

1/2 cup of Jack Daniel's whiskey
1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat;
2. Add onions and garlic, saute until tender;
3. Stir in rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally;
4. The yield, about 1 1/4 cups keeps well in the refrigerator.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Barbecue Bacon and Bean Salad

By Paul Briand

This struck me as an odd collection for a salad. Fennel? Barbecue sauce?

I was especially struck by the fennel, a strong herb that has the taste of anise (think licorice). I was worried that the fennel would be overwhelming but it was absorbed nicely into the dish.

I found the recipe while cruising through stories from the Associated Press, which described it as " a rich, but not heavy salad that is the perfect partner for ribs, burgers, dogs, cobs or whatever you got on the grill."

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (a low-fat substitute is Canadian bacon)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
15-ounce can corn kernels, drained (or kernels cut from about 4 ears)
Two 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
1 medium bulb fennel, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped chives

1. In a large saute pan over medium-high, cook the bacon for 4 minutes;
2. Add the onion and continue cooking until the bacon is crispy and the onion tender. Remove the pan from the heat. If there is more than about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan, drain most of it, leaving the bacon and onions in the pan;
3. Stir in the smoked paprika and barbecue sauce;
4. Transfer to a bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool quickly;
5.In a large bowl, mix together the corn, beans and fennel. Mix in the cooled bacon mixture, tossing well. Sprinkle in the cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives.
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