Friday, April 20, 2012

Chinese chicken salad

Hi there, how is everyone? I’ve been keeping busy with work, creating a new web site for my business, working through the tower of receipts for tax preparations (and, of course, the writing of the large checks ceremony), celebrating birthdays with family members, our anniversary, a little gardening. 

We celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary by spending a night at The Benson, a very old hotel in downtown Portland. I felt very spoiled after cocktails, a dinner out, a long sleep, and room service breakfast! But not for long, since upon my return home I went straight to work preparing food, and my messy house, for the 12 guests expecting Easter brunch at our house the next morning. 

It’s times like this when I long to be a person who can easily go with the flow and let people bring food and enjoy a relaxing day together. Instead, I put too much pressure on myself thinking I need to make all the food from scratch, have fresh flowers on the table and on my porch, a spotless house. So I make myself, and everyone around me, crazy and tend to forget that it’s all just supposed to be a fun day with family.

Do you have a California Pizza Kitchen restaurant near you? If you do, go try their Chinese chicken salad. It’s good! My daughter loves it, but parking there is difficult, so we created a version at home we think tastes similar, if not better.


Chinese Chicken Salad 
(similar to California Pizza Kitchen’s)

Serves 5-6
5 Tablespoons hoisin sauce 
3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter 
3 teaspoons brown sugar 
1 teaspoon Asian chili paste 
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated 
5 Tablespoons rice vinegar 
1 1/2 Tablespoons sesame oil 
Whisk together the above ingredients and set aside.  
2-3 large cooked chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, chopped into chunks 
Sesame seeds 
1 Head Napa cabbage, chopped 
1 Head Romaine, chopped 
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 
2 carrots, peeled and grated 
3/4 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 bunch (about 8) green onions, white and light green parts, chopped 
In a really big salad bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuce, cilantro and green onions and toss gently. Sprinkle in the sesame seeds and peanuts. Add the chicken. Pour in the dressing and toss. 

This tends to get soggy by day two, so eat it up. My daughter consumed three bowls lickety-split. 

With any luck, and some sunshine, I’ll have a few of these ingredients growing in my garden this year. I just planted the peanuts and Asian chilies last week. (Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.) 


mariza said...

cilandro makes everything taste better!
I always admire people who have gardens. I tried having one several times, but I didn't succeed. I might try again sometime. Actually, I WILL try again soon.

Cindy said...

Hi Mariza, Gardens are especially challenging with chickens running amok. I'm planting low growing veggies and herbs this year so I can keep plants covered and protected from our little munchers.