Poached Chicken, Mango, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Chx Avo Mango Blueberry Salad vertical

Do you despise rubbery, tasteless chicken? I do! The only solution I’ve found that renders succulent, slice-able chicken for salads or Alfredo or whatever (without confiscating the choice parts of a whole roast chicken at the table for “later”) is poaching. Although come to think of it, that first method is “poaching” too… but let’s move on.

When chicken breasts — even the boneless, skinless variety — are submerged and cooked at the gentlest of simmers (I’m talking barely a bubble) over the lowest heat possible, magic happens! Plus, you can “influence” the chicken’s flavor by whatever you throw in to simmer along with it. (I believe the proper term is infuse.)

For this batch I alternated whole carrots and celery stalks, chunks of onion, and a couple of garlic cloves in my Dutch oven, laid the chicken breasts on top (so as not to cook them too quickly on the bottom of the pan — the higher off the heat, the better), added a half-dozen black peppercorns, several sprigs of fresh parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt and a bay leaf topped with enough cold water to cover all of the above. Let the poaching begin!

Granted, it takes a bit of patience, but the tender results are worth your time (and mine) — not to mention more chicken stock for the freezer. Win, win! And hey, how ’bout those frozen blueberries… I feel a salad coming on. (I love visual reminders, don’t you?)

Blueberries and Chx Stock

Poached Chicken, Mango, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Assorted greens (I used a “bagged mix” but anything with arugula is fine by me)

1 poached, sliced chicken breast (for an excellent tutorial on poaching click here — many thanks to The Kitchn!)

1 cup diced mango

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen, obviously)

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

(adapted from Jodee Wieland’s “Delicious Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette recipe here — thanks, Jodee!)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard (Gulden’s or Grey Poupon)

1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (the real deal)

3 drops hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot or Louisiana style hot sauce) (no doubt I used more… let’s just say “to taste”)

1 small clove garlic, minced

Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt (ditto on “to taste”)

Assemble salad greens in the bottom of a large shallow bowl.

Top with artfully arranged slices of poached chicken, mango, avocado, and blueberries drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Pour on the Maple Mustard Vinaigrette and enjoy!

Poached chicken, avocado, mango, and blueberries with Spicy Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

There’s nothin’ complicated about this salad — just start slicin’ and dicin’ whatever’s in your fridge for your very own flavor fest and throw on a tasty vinaigrette — but, please take the time to properly poach your chicken first.

Enjoying weekend wonders,

~ Kim

The Mad Dash ~ Smoked Salmon Canapes

Smoked Salmon

When I was a kid, one of my favorite games was Musical Chairs.

(Remember that one?)

There was something thrilling about circling those chairs — minus one — while trying to appear calm & in control, one ear tuned to perceive the slightest pause in the music. (The other was listening for covert plans by my circle-mates; elbowing and edging-out were entirely acceptable.) My eyes were constantly riveted on the passing prospects for my imminent future… a familiar tale.

Then, there was the inevitable mad dash. The scrambling and the squealing — the flailing of arms and legs (with more than a few nudges) — as everybody tried to find their place in this world, at least temporarily.

Minus one…

(I don’t recall if I was a winner or loser at musical chairs or not.)

More than likely I had a distinct advantage with my finely tuned auditory nerves. (Big fan of the Bionic Woman in later years!) My latent memory is rather fuzzy when it comes to traumatic childhood events masquerading under the guise of games.

Conclusion?

Shuffling between chairs (and piano benches) seems to be my lot in life.

I hadn’t really given much thought to that from a posterior perspective… in fact, this is the first time it even occurred to me. But (no pun intended), wherever I’m ‘parked’ is pretty much what I’m doing at any given moment.

At least it’s less random…

And I get to pick the music. ;)

My concert is finally behind me (no pun…) and I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief. Much as I love performing, rehearsals were taking a big bite out of my… time.

You don’t just whip off excerpts from Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique or Debussy’s Clair de Lune or Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor (among others) without a lil’ preparation — or at least I don’t.

I’m tickled to report though that it was a resounding success. Fun, too!

I added a lighthearted segment at the end including such favorites as “Moon River,” “Over The Rainbow,” “Besame Mucho” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” — which seems to be my theme song these days. Ahem…

All in all, enough funds were raised to send ten teenagers to camp this summer (hallelujah!) and in appreciation, they presented me with this:

(Ain’t it gorgeous?)

Thank You Bouquet

And… notice any resemblance to this?

Smoked Salmon 2

Smoked Salmon & Lemon Pepper Avocado Creme Canapes

4 oz. smoked salmon, flaked
Crackers of your choice (I used Glutino gluten-free multi-grain crackers)
1 ripe avocado
Juice of half a lemon
2 T. butter, softened
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt), to taste
Fresh thyme for garnish

Peel & seed the avocado; mash pulp in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and mix thoroughly to prevent discoloration. Stir in butter, pepper, and salt until creamy.

Place a dab of Lemon Butter Avocado Creme on each cracker. Top with smoked salmon and garnish with thyme. Easy, peasy!

(Believe me, I was ready for a lil’ “easy peasy” at this point!)

Life and fabulous food always have a way of coming around…

Like musical chairs.

Enjoying the mad dash,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Sometimes You Just Gotta Have A Sammich (Chicken, Cheddar, and Avocado on a Bagel)

 Howdy do.  This is going to be a quick little post because I’ve been yearning to spend an entire day with you.  (YOU, not the sandwich!)

 
 

Or… as we call them at our house, a “sammich.”

The occasion called for a spontaneous throw-together.  A whole wheat bagel.  Leftover roast chicken.  Sliced avocado.  Wisconsin cheddar.  A sprinkle of S & P.  And maybe a smidge of Green Goddess Dressing:)

There ya have it.

Enjoying a day to catch up (and a sammich!),

~ Kim