Thursday, September 13, 2012

Snack Attack! Charming Chicken Salad

I have been practicing up on meals that can spread out over a number of days, at least to cover lunches during the week. Obviously, one of those meals will be the staple chicken salad. My recipe is pretty basic, but I do home make everything in the recipe, there is no canned chicken or store-bought mayonnaise in this, and I think you'll agree that the taste is notably better. Plus, mayo is much easier to make than most people think...I'm starting a mayo revolution, so follow along below!

Learning to make a basic mayonnaise will change your life, you feel like a freaking kitchen rockstar after you make your first batch, and since it takes about 20 seconds to whip up, you go out and tell all of your friends. I encourage this behavior, because it means people are returning to the basics, becoming active in their kitchens, and in turn becoming more active in controlling the processed mess that most Americans unfortunately consume. Now, I won't continue on this diatribe, because we all know where I will end up, but I encourage you to keep on keepin' on when it comes to starting from scratch.

Today's delightful salad can be eaten inside a fluffy pita (I'm trying out a recipe for one of those soon, so keep a look out), between some happy whole grain bread, with slices of baguette, or on crackers. You could probably nest a scoop in a nice bed of fresh lettuce and raw veggies to make a one-bowl complete meal, just go for whatever makes you feel good, because that's what snacks are for!

Homemade Chicken Salad
2 Chicken breasts, washed and trimmed up
Red grapes, sliced in half
Celery, washed and chopped fine
Red onion, chopped fine (optional)
Eggs, hardboiled
1/2 C Flax seeds
Olive oil
Egg, uncooked
Black Pepper
Dash of chili powder

Start by poaching the chicken breasts in water and about a 1/2 cup of white wine, until they are cooked through. Take them out and set them aside to cool. When they are cool, chop them in small pieces. Place this in the bowl that you will store this lovely salad in. Then you add in the grapes, celery, and onions then give it a joyful toss. Peel the hardboiled eggs and chop fine, then throw it in the bowl, and add the flax seeds (you can also use almonds or pecans or whatever nut/seed piques your fancy). As for measurements, you can basically add as much as you have, or as much as you want--you know what a chicken salad looks like, so add as you need to.

Now it is time to make the Mayonnaise!!! That has a capital-M because it is going to start a revolution in your kitchen. Get ready! I use an immersion blender, which I think every cook should have in their kitchen, and it makes mayo in like 20-40 seconds. It is so easy, seriously go try it now. Crack an egg in the bottom of the blender cup, then add as much olive oil as you want mayonnaise. If you have a lemon, squeeze a little bit in there, if not, a dash of vinegar works fine too. Then you immerse the blender all the way to the bottom so that the blade covers the yolk and white, and then bzzzz away until you get mayonnaise. As the mayo forms, raise the blender up and up until you get the thickness you desire of mayonnaise. After this, all you do is add salt. Seriously easy and incredibly delicious. Homemade olive oil mayonnaise: if you're not having an epiphany right now, I don't know what will get you there.
Add that mayonnaise to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Then season with salt, black pepper, and chili powder to taste. Don't be afraid to experiment with this, you can throw in some golden raisins and curry, you can add carrots and ginger, you can go to the moon and back, so have fun with it!

Bon appetite!

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