Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Feed your head

It has been hot as hell around here lately, making the thought of eating hot food slightly unbearable. So this weekend faced with the prospect of feeding 12 people, I decided that the meal should resemble a picnic and feature lots of different salads and absolutely nothing that requires oven mitts. On the menu was Mark Bittman's Tomato-Melon Gazpacho (which is fast becoming the go-to recipe for cold summer soup in this household), as well as his Bean Salad (Italian Style), Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Salad which I yanked from Bon Appetit via Epicurious.com and Santa Rosa Plum Crumble (another summer favorite), among other tasty salad and not so salad-like items. (Yes, this is a lot of food. It's in my genes- I can't help it. It was my sister and me in the kitchen. "We don't have enough food" neuroses abound.) I'm sharing the chicken salad recipe. It was super easy and really good. Lemon and tarragon are the sandals and short skirts of summer fare-light and elegant. We ate it for three days straight-over lettuce and in sandwich form. Highly recommended.

Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Salad
Adapted from Bon Apettit, August 2001, via Epicurious

1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 3)

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
, plus a handful for the poaching liquid
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Bring large saucepan of salted water (or chicken broth, if you so desire) to boil. Add a handful of tarragon sprigs and chicken breasts; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; cool.

Mix celery, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, onion, tarragon, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes; stir into mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)

Serves 6.

In other unrelated news, I am moving at the end of this month, I need to finish my thesis by the middle of September and last night I went out on a blind date that was so bad it could have been a scene out of a rom-com (you know, part of that ubiquitous montage of bad dates that the heroine has to endure before she meets the one. I'm not so fond of rom-coms, but maybe that's because I have been on one too many bad dates) It was so awful it was funny. But these are tales for another post.

Thesis Watch: See above

Music Rec: Kings of the Rodeo, Kings of Leon

Cubbie Watch: How is it that we suck and yet are only 3.5 games out? It's like a cosmic tease or something.

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