I’d like to think that I’m looking forward to some salad days in the near future. I’d like to think that we all are – that things are going to start looking up, that our worries will be lessened and our outlooks will become hopeful again. In the absence of salad days, though, today I bring you salads that might get you through days that are less than idyllic.
A strange confluence of events brought me to tonight’s dinner menu. I was faced with a fair lack of motivation and a refrigerator full of broccoli, half a rotisserie chicken and some eggs.
I began by boiling six eggs. My method for obtaining perfectly boiled eggs (sans green yolks) is pretty simple – I bring a pot of water to a boil, gently place the eggs in the boiling water using a slotted spoon, and allow them to boil for one minute. After one minute, I turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then I drain the eggs and run cold water over them to halt the cooking process. I’m rewarded with perfectly boiled eggs every time – tender whites and golden yolks, slightly translucent in the center.
I sliced the eggs in half and placed the yolks in the bowl of my food processor, I seasoned them with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I then turned on the food processor and drizzled a couple tablespoons of olive oil through the feed tube. I added a teaspoon of rice vinegar and a pinch of honey granules. The resulting yolk mixture was light, airy and delicious. I used extra virgin olive oil, so that flavor was definitely prominent – next time I’ll try using a more neutrally flavored oil (I was even thinking that avocado oil would be good for this application – or maybe just plain avocado).
So there I was with these delicious deviled eggs, but nothing else for dinner. Deviled eggs make me think of picnics and picnics make me think of salads – chicken salad, egg salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, etc. I know it’s not summer, and it doesn’t even really feel like spring outside right now, but a dinner comprised of picnic-type foods sounded like just the ticket.
I knew I had that half of a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, so chicken salad seemed like a logical choice. I’m a fan of fruit in my chicken salad, so I chopped up an apple and toasted some pumpkin seeds (I like nuts in my chicken salad – almonds in particular – but the husband is allergic, so pumpkin seeds are a great alternative). After pulling the meat off the chicken carcass, I diced it up and added the fruit and seeds and stirred it all together with about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and seasoned it with salt and pepper.
Next up was the broccoli – I decided a cold broccoli and tomato salad with artichoke hearts and pumpkin seeds would be tasty. I barely steamed two cups of broccoli florets and quartered about 15 grape tomatoes and 7 or 8 artichoke hearts. I tossed it all with two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice and some salt and pepper.
I toasted some homemade sandwich bread for the sandwiches. As an aside, this last batch of sandwich bread that I baked – perfect. Soft and light, very similar in texture to store-bought whole-wheat bread, but so much better. I plan to bake a batch tomorrow, so I’ll make sure and take pictures and post the recipe this weekend.
The whole meal was like a ray of sunshine on a dreary day – bright flavors, interesting textures and beautiful colors. The eggs were very similar to the ones from JCT. Kitchen, although I was lacking the ham and chives to really gild the lily. It was damp and windy outside, but these simple salads (did you know that some folks in the bible belt call deviled eggs “salad eggs” in an effort to avoid reference to anything devilish?) were a nice reminder that spring is on its way.