Friday, August 10, 2012

Salad to soothe you

It's official. I'm over summer. I'm done. I'm tired of the heat, the sweating, and the humidity that is making my hair a little bit crazy. This summer has just been nothing but endless cups of iced coffee. Please keep the hot stuff away from me, I can barely even look at it. This summer has been endless cups of root beer floats. I can't seem to keep enough vanilla ice cream in the house any more, we run out in the blink of an eye.
How trite, you're saying, complaining about the heat. We all know it's hot out! It's August for Pete's sake! Well, here's what I did one Monday afternoon to combat the August ickiness. I made salad. Cool crunchy salad, loaded with lettuce (duh), veggies (double duh), and lots of other Thai flavors. Intrigued yet? Yeah, me too!

First, I started with the most important step in cooking, I made myself a snack to eat while I cook. This here is some yummy wine-soaked cheese I picked up at TJ's. I get lost staring at their cheese display. There's just so many kinds and flavors and cheeses I haven't even heard of but really, must take home, Right. Now. Then eat half the block, by myself.

The good news about this salad is that it uses a lot of the produce that you've probably been bringing home from the grocery store and markets in abundance. Cucumbers, fresh lettuces, beans, and snap peas. Heaps of cilantro (if you're into that kind of thing) and basil that are so fragrant your entire house smells like an herb garden. I can barely contain myself when I enter a market in summer. All I want to do is run through the aisles yelling Yipppeeeee!!! But that would be strange and we can't be having that can we? Nope, no strangeness going on here. No sirree!

Speaking of strangeness, I found this carrot at the bottom of my vegetable drawer. I didn't get the greatest picture, but if you look closely you can see that it's all hairy. The carrot is growing a beard. How knew carrots could even grow beards? I certainly didn't. So, I did what any self-respecting person would do, I peeled the carrot to shave off it's beard. Hello, it's summer, no one should be sporting extra hair.

What are you doing to escape the summer heat?

Spicy Thai Chicken Salad
Serves 4

1 Head of Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
2 c Shredded cabbage
2 Carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 Red bell pepper, julienned
4-6 Scallions, sliced
1/2 Zucchini, julienned
1/3 c Peanuts
2-3 Chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded

Dressing and Marinade:
1c Sweet chili sauce
1/2 c Rice vinegar
1/2c Coconut milk
5 tbsp Brown sugar
4-5 Garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp Peanut butter
3 tsp Ginger, grated
2 Limes, zested and juiced
1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Make the dressing and marinade. Pour half over the chicken breasts for at least 2 hours. I actually didn't do this step, instead I cooked a whole bunch of chicken in my crock pot to make for several meals throughout the week. Do what feels right to you. Set the remaining dressing aside.
2. Chop all the veggies. I prefer the julienned method, but if you are feeling lazy and don't want to spend quite that much time chopping, just go for a rough chop.
3. Grill the chicken until done and then chop or shred into bit sized pieces.
4. Assemble the salad and sprinkle with peanuts for some extra crunch. The salad would also be good with cilantro or basil. I had no basil and think that cilantro tastes like sticking a bar of soap in my mouth so I left that out. Again, do what feels right for you. Pour dressing on top.
5. Devour.


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