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Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Attack of the Rubber Chicken! ~ Part Three

I know that you sharpie-sharpingtons have been keeping track, and know that I have two chicken thighs, and one breast left from the amazingly flexible birdy, so today.....we are making meal number two. The original challenge, as you recall, was to make stock, a snack and three meals from that mighty bird. Here's the scorecard; Stock, buffalo wings (the snack), and chicken piccata. Today, we make the second complete meal. From two thighs. That's right....TWO thighs. Our remaining thighs will become.....Chinese Chicken Salad.  So...here's the star of our show...


First, take these ingredients...


Clockwise from left to right..pepper, salt, sesame oil, soy sauce, vegetable oil, garlic and ginger. Throw them in the baking dish with the chicken thighs in the following amounts; 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, salt & pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and the minced up garlic & ginger (approximately a teaspoon of each). Rub all over the chicken thighs, and place skin-side up. They should look like this..


Pop those into a 350 oven for about an hour, until they are cooked through, and the skin has become all crispy-golden delicious. Like this...


Remove the skin, and eat with unbridled enthusiasm do with it what you will, and set the thighs aside to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. Then, place in the fridge while you prepare the rest. Take some sliced almonds and toast them in your non-stick skillet....here's the before & after shots...


Just gently toasted, over medium heat, until fragrant and a lovely nutty brown.




Then, assemble the base salads on your serving plates. I used a combination of romaine and iceberg lettuces, and added shredded carrot & cabbage, scallions and celery. Spinach works great in this as well. You could also add water chestnuts, baby corn, etc. Be creative!


Then, add your chicken...diced or shredded, whichever you like..



 
Then, mix the following for a nice dressing. Two Tb. vegetable oil, 2 Tb. sesame seed oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake to emulsify, and use immediately, or prepare to shake again at the last moment...it will separate on you. Look at the pretty pink the dressing is, with the red wine vinegar!
 
 
Now, prepare for finishing this light, healthy Springtime supper! Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top, some Mandarin orange segments, and some white and black sesame seeds. Cilantro is great on and in this as well.  Pour the dressing all over it, and prepare to enjoy.....The results?  Have a peek...
 

And.....

 
Yes, it was crunch-tastic! A lovely Spring or Summer meal without spending hours over the hot stove! Hint: this is great with any leftover chicken you are trying to use up as well. Now....since we were such health nuts for supper, I think we deserve a little sweet treat tonight, don't you? Why, yes...I thought you'd say that! How about strawberry pie?  I really miss a nice strawberry pie, as Northern California has spoiled me for those sweet berry treats.  First, let's get our raw ingredients washed and ready to go...just a quick rinse will do..
 
 
Look at those beauties! Then, take a ready-to-use pie crust, and put it into your favorite pie tin...
 
 
Then, using your fingers, crimp the edges into a nice, scalloped edge, like so...
 
 
Now, put some foil down in the center, fill with dried beans or pie weights (I have some lentils that I use for pie weights) and bake at 350 for ten minutes.
 
 
Guess what? You are now done baking. The rest of this pie is all no-bake fun!  Oh, and since I thought a mere one pound of strawberries was not going to cut it, I also thawed out the rest of a bag of beautiful frozen raspberries. Strawberry/Raspberry pie it is!
 
 
Then, you mash a small portion of strawberries and raspberries in a sauce pan. I used my potato masher..
 
 
You then add sugar to this mixture, and bring to a boil...what lovely berry tones this dessert has!

 

Next you mix cornstarch and water, and add to the berry mixture, bring back up to temperature, and simmer until thickened. Here's the cornstarch/water mixture going into the pot..



Now, here comes the fun part! You've baked and cooled that pie crust...removing whatever you used for pie weights, right? I don't know about you, but I have enough trouble when I eat COOKED beans, never mind raw. Then, fill that shell will your lovely sliced strawberries and thawed raspberries....


Oh my.....we've got pie!  Another beauty shot..


Now, you pour over the mixture of the smashed berries, sugar, water and cornstarch, and throw it in the fridge to cool for a few hours. Here's mine on it's way to chillax. Hahahah...I know, just like the kids say...I'm so hopelessly nerdy hip!


After our cool Springtime supper of Chinese Chicken salad, all I had to do was reach into the fridge, grab the pie, and a can of whipped cream. OK, I ADMIT IT! I DID NOT WHIP THE CREAM FROM SCRATCH!! I know, I'm turning into a real slacker, here. But oh my.....look!




It was so very...berry...delicious! And, that's the point of this post. Cool Spring and Summer meals and desserts need not be a ton of work. Goodness, just working, raising children, being a wife, or running a home are work enough! 

What are your favorite warm-weather meals?

Eat well, my friends, and stay tuned for the Finale ~ our rubber chickens' final appearance! And a story of our new life in the country, and a visit from that wild woman, Kitchen Angel. Love and kindness to all,

Pixie

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