Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sara's Chicken Salad

My sister, Sara, can throw together a mean chicken salad. It's really "springy" with grapes and pineapple and makes for a light and refreshing lunch. Her chicken salad has a lot of texture that makes it fun to eat - and unexpected. She puts a little curry and soy sauce in the dressing, but it is just enough to make you wonder what that flavor is, not enough to overwhelm you. I also like her chicken salad because it's a nice twist on the traditional chicken salad my mom used to make.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my mother's chicken salad. My mom took her chicken salad to the next level by grinding up the chicken. She used this scary looking "machine" (I use the word machine loosely -- it was 100% manual) that she kept on the top shelf in our laundry room storage (essentially this top shelf was our kitchen gadget graveyard). Maybe once a year she would get a ladder to reach this mysterious grinder (while all the odd-shaped and seldom used Tupperware containers fell on the floor around her) and she would make chicken salad. All those years as a kid, I would look up on that high, high shelf (probably 8 feet up) and see this inexplicable device. To make it even more chilling, when mom was grinding the chicken she would warn me sternly to stay back. She told me to keep my fingers away or the grinder would, in effect, maim me for life and leave me disfigured, disfingered and dissatisfied with my unopposable thumbs. I didn't like that grinder.

Today we have food processors which have proved to be safer on one's digits, but for some strange reason, I don't grind my chicken when I make chicken salad. Go figure!

The Dressing: Sara's chicken salad requires a little forethought. If you have three kids, you don't need to do any forethinking. If you have only yourself to feed and worry about, you should mix the dressing the night before you plan to make the salad. And then go get a pedicure or have your bikini line waxed or do whatever it is people without kids do these days.

Here my 4 year old is mixing the dressing. Don't tell my mildly neurotic husband, but I didn't make her wash her hands first. Hee hee. Jokes on him!

Slice your grapes, otherwise you'll never be able to keep them from falling out of your sandwich.

I like to slice my celery small. The four year old did wash her hands by this point. Her desire to help wasn't as fleeting as it usually is, so she lathered up and got right to work....after we looked for her apron under her bed, searched for a barrette to keep her hair back, cleaned a dirty knife because it was her size...

I used some fresh pineapple this time, but really, you don't need too. Sara uses a can of pineapple tidbits and after tasting my salad, I like her version better. Honestly, hers is waaaaay better.

Although I skipped a few photographic opportunities in the assembly process, this is the final product. Yummy, slightly sweet, slightly savory chicken salad on whole wheat Italian bread.

Sara's Chicken Salad

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Juice of ½ lemon

Combine all dressing ingredients and refrigerate overnight so the flavors marry (they have no fears of commitment and will never be unfaithful...awe...young love).

Chicken Salad:

3-4 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 can water chestnuts, drained & slivered
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
2 cups celery, sliced
1 4-oz. pack slivered almonds

Lightly toast almonds in a skillet on med-high heat. Watch and stir to prevent burning. Combine all ingredients and eat as a sandwich on fresh French bread or by itself over a bed of fresh baby greens.

If you wish to add salt, do so only on individual portions right before consumption. Adding it earlier will draw out the moisture and make for a soggy salad.

This chicken salad really lacked compared to yours. Am I doing something wrong? All I can figure is that I am missing the most important ingredient of all - good company! We miss you and will think of you with every bite.
Your sister, Kristy


Anonymous said...

It looks delicious! I'm sure the problem is that you made it, don't you know that everything taste better when someone else does the cooking. I miss you and I've been thinking about you and Ashley today. I bought a couple of cupcake books that I think you girls would love. I will send pictures if I make anything exciting.

ashley said...

I miss my sisters. We need a girl's trip. Let's all meet somewhere kid friendly for a long weekend. Somewhere warm so we can lay out and get motivated to work out :)

ashley said...

I'm sitting here planning next week's meals and I came by for some ideas but you've got nothing new for me! Aren't you guys eating?