Easy Curried Chicken Salad

 

Curried Chicken Salad tucked into a pita with romaine lettuce

I don’t know about you, but my work life is getting pretty hectic and will probably continue to be until the end of the year so the next few posts will be pretty quick and easy recipes.

This week I’m making a curried chicken salad, which revisits one of the first posts on the blog. This blog was originally started as a requirement for a class on Social Media (yep, you get college credit for learning how to use the social medias).  One of the assignments was to make a BuzzFeed Style listicle. I chose to make my listicle about the best sandwiches (in the world ever!) The assignment gave me a chance (read excuse) to eat/make/photograph all my favorite sandwiches. Let’s pause for a moment of wistfulness and feeling nostalgic for a time when life was arguably less complicated when I was trying to juggle home-life, studio art classes with a full load of credits and working part-time.

Anyway, one of the nice things about this salad is that you can use leftover chicken (or turkey this will be great post Thanksgiving to use up leftover turkey and crudite) and the other ingredients are optional but you probably have them in your fridge and pantry.  Nuts and celery add a nice crunch for texture and raisins, grapes, dated or dried fruit of your choice and some carrots will add a nice bit of sweetness. I used Jamaican style curry seasoning but you could just as easily use a chili powder or five-spice powder to change the flavor profile if you’re not into curry. Feel free to experiment (it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t follow my recipe and well I’d never know either way).  I usually keep it simple and enjoy the salad with crackers or on a sweet roll but you could easily serve it over a bed of mixed dressed greens or between two slices of your favorite bread.

Ingredients

2 cups shredded or cubed chicken

2 carrots peeled and diced

1 stalk of celery diced

2 scallions chopped

¼ cup diced red onion

¼ cup dried fruit like raisins, dates, mango, cranberries or fresh sliced grapes

¼ nuts or seeds

1 TBS prepared brown mustard or dijon

½ cup mayonnaise

1 TBS curry seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized mixing bowl mix the curry, mustard and mayonnaise until everything is well blended. Then add the nuts/seeds, carrots, onions, celery and fruit and mix until everything has been coated with the dressing. Now just add the chicken and mix. Enjoy…

Fig Bacon and Goat Cheese Flatbread

Store bought flatbread is dressed up with fresh sliced figs, crumbled bacon and goat cheese then drizzled with a honey balsamic syrup for sweetness

This is a really quick and easy lunch idea borne from our excess of figs and uses things you may already have in your fridge and pantry.  I took a couple of store bought flatbreads, brushed them with bacon fat and baked on a cookie sheet with a wire rack in a preheated 400F oven for 2-3 minutes. I removed them from the oven then topped them with sliced figs, crumbled bacon and goat cheese. I put the flatbread back in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the goat cheese starts to melt and brown. I removed them from the oven then drizzled with a honey and balsamic syrup which was 2 parts honey to 1 part balsamic vinegar. Then I cut it into 1-2″ wide strips for serving. If you’re thinking of this for a lunch idea then I’d add a simple spinach or arugula and goat cheese salad with a drizzle of the honey balsamic syrup for dressing. Quick and easy…

Ingredients

2 store bought flatbreads

2 TBS bacon grease (melted)

¼ crumbled goat cheese/feta or blue cheese

¼ crumbled cooked bacon

2 tsp of honey

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Mmmm Donuts…

freshly decorated donuts and fritters

A few weeks back, I made peach fritters and teased that I will show you how to make the donuts that are actually the beginning of the fritter process. Raised donut are pretty easy to make and the ingredients are inexpensive. The process takes a few hours, but that’s mostly idle time waiting for the dough to rise and proof a few times. Donuts are also a fun way to get the young’ns in the kitchen to help and have fun decorating their own donut creation. So without further stalling, here is my recipe for Yeast Raised Donuts.

Yeast Donuts Recipe

Ingredients

2 packets instant yeast

4 cups All Purpose Flour

1 ½ cups whole milk

⅓ cup shortening

⅓ cup warm water

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

¼ cup buttermilk powder

Instructions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, bloom the 2 packets of yeast in warm water and set aside.

yeast getting frothy.

While yeast is blooming, melt the shortening in the milk over low heat then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix salt, flour and buttermilk powder.  The yeast should be frothy by now. slowly add the milk shortening mixture, beaten eggs to the yeast mixture.

Gradually add the flour and mixing with the paddle attachment until all the flour has been added. Switch to the dough hook and mix for about 5 minutes or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be quite sticky but that’s ok. Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or grease cling wrap. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size. Pound it back down and let it rise a second time.

Once the dough has risen a second time, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding bench flour if the dough starts to stick. Then roll the dough out to about ½” thick and cut to desired shape and fry at 350F until golden brown. Let drain and cool on a wire rack before decorating.

The decorating

For me, the fun part is the decorating and coming up with interesting taste combinations.

Basic Glaze

Classic donut glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted butter

Pinch of salt

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup whole milk

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter salt and vanilla extract. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture. This glaze is good for fritters or for basic glazed donuts.

Chocolate Glaze

S’mores donut with easy chocolate glaze

its basically the same recipe as above with the addition of 4 TBS cocoa powder.

Chocolate and Coffee Glaze

chocolate and coffee donut with dark chocolate and coffee topping

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted butter

Pinch of salt

4 TBS Cold Brew Coffee

1/4 cup milk whole milk

4 TBS Cocoa Powder

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, salt, cocoa and coffee. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture.

Maple Glaze

Maple glaze with crispy bacon

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted bacon grease

Pinch of salt

8 TBS premium maple syrup

1/2 cup whole milk

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, bacon grease, salt, and maple syrup. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture.

Or..

You could just keep it simple and toss the donuts in some powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or plain ol’ white granulated sugar.

Bonus…

I made passionfruit curd and filled some of the donuts with it. Here’s how to make passionfruit (or any) curd:

6 Egg Yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

½ cup Passionfruit juice

3/4 stick chilled butter cut into cubes

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine egg yolks, sugar, passionfruit juice, in a heat bottomed sauce pan over low heat, stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Run mixture through strainer to remove any large pieces. Then slowly stir in the butter until all the butter has been added and is melted. Cover curd directly with cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming and let cool in the fridge before using.

To use as donut filling, Put curd into a pastry bag fitted with the largest round tip you have. Insert the tip directly into the side of the donut and slowly but firmly squeeze the pastry bag. You should be able to feel the curd filling the donut.

 

 

 

 

Turned Over

Fig Turnovers with a lemony glaze drizzled over the top

We’ve known for a few weeks that we were going to hit a mother-load of figs from the two fig trees out back. Well this week it happened. So we’re going to make fig and plum turnovers and then figure out some other stuff to do with all of figs ( fig jam and fig bars probably).

To keep things simple, I’m going to use store bought puff pastry to make the turnovers. Perhaps someday I’ll show you how to make puff pastry by hand, but its one of those things that’s extremely time consuming and takes a couple of days. I’m not a professional pastry chef and I actually have a 40 hour a week job that has nothing to do with cooking and baking so I know I don’t have that kinda time and I don’t know too many people that do. Store bought puff pastry will be just fine.

The store bought stuff is easy to find, you can find it in the freezer section in the grocery store. It’s usually next to things like frozen cream puffs, pound cake, pie shells and phyllo dough (all great things for quick easy desserts). To use, you just need to let the puff pastry thaw for 30-45 minutes at room temperature.  I rolled it out until it was about a ¼ thick then cut it into squares.

Squares of puff pastry with a tablespoon of fig and plum filling and egg wash on the edges

Then I brushed adjacent edges with egg wash, folded over corner to corner so non egg washed edge is touching the egg washed edge. To seal the edges, work the tines of a fork along the entire length of the two short edges.

You should have something that looks like this:

Turnovers with edges crimped and vented for baking

I brushed the turnovers with milk then I baked the turnovers in an oven pre-heated to 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Turnovers backed to a golden brown and cooling on a wire rack.

Plum and Fig Filling

1 cup each of diced figs and plums

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp lemon zest

Juice of ½ lemon

pinch of salt

¼ corn starch sifted

Place all the ingredients except the corn starch into a medium sized bowl and let sit for an hour or in the fridge overnight. You should see a pretty decent amount of liquid has come out of the fruit. Sift in the corn starch and stir slowly until the clumps work themselves out. It should look like this:

figs and plums with corn starch to form a slurry.

Let stand for 15 minutes. Cook on low in a heavy bottomed pan until mixture comes to a boil. Let boil for 3-5 minutes while continuously stirring.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. To cool mixture to workable temperature more quickly, put the fig mixture into a clean heat safe bowl and then place that bowl into larger bowl that’s been filled with ice. Once the mixture cools down its ready to use or you can store it in the fridge for later use.

filling cooking on stove top on low.

This same process works for making all kinds of pie fillings but will work best with fruits that are high in pectin like stone fruits and apples.

Lemoney Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 TBS lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon finely chopped

2 – 4 TBS whole milk

In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually add the milk and mix with a fork or whisk. You’re looking for a texture that allows the glaze to easily run down the tines of a fork.