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

In My Kitchen ~ June 2014

Simon & Garfunkel Chicken

In My Kitchen… is Simon & Garfunkel Chicken.

(Try saying that fast 3 times!)

It all began with my burgeoning crop of herbs. I couldn’t help but sing a lil’ tune as I stuffed this organic bird with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. ;)

The next day it led to this.

Scarborough Fair Salad

In My Kitchen… is Scarborough Fair Salad.

This impromptu plateful included sliced chicken, red pears, gluten-free tri-colored pasta and a sassy vinaigrette with the aforementioned herb quartet adding grace notes — colorful and carefree, like going to the fair. The flavor was downright melodic, too!

I love it when food sings back to me.

Sorry folks, no recipe per se… just an “oldie but goodie” concoction consisting of Dijon mustard, a smidge of honey, balsamic vinegar, EVOO, fresh herbs o’the day, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and capers to taste. Whisk away!

In My Kitchen… not a whole lot has been going on.

Hello, summer!

I’ve been outdoors more than in, spent more time cooking other folks’ recipes than my own (future post material) and haven’t added any new kitchen toys or gizmos, other than this plate, bowl, and utensils from the local Goodwill Store — shown here with Bacon & Créme Fraiche Quiche Lorraine, thanks to my friend Gintare’s fabulous recipe — and a lil’ Spanish rice ala moi. ;)

Welcome to breakfast in Oklahoma!

Bacon Quiche and Spanish Rice

(I foresee more flea market shopping and friend’s-recipes-cooking in my future.) ;)

Between all of that — or lack thereof — I’m perfectly content with the status quo — which may help explain my fascination with In My Kitchen.

Each month Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts this forum with links to posts from around the world (see the side bar on her blog) where you & I can ogle or add to every gadget & goodie imaginable… sorta like window shopping, only with real-life (and wonderful) writing and photography!

Thank you, Celia, and everyone who participates in IMK. You appease my foodie soul during the dry spells, and that’s definitely something to sing about!

Speaking of which…

Do you sing while you cook?

Enjoying oldies but goodies — sung or otherwise,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Grilled Artichoke Heart Salad

Grilled Artichoke Heart Salad I

I’ve been on a salad kick lately. Not intentionally (there’s no such word as *diet* in my dictionary), but sometimes my eating goes in streaks. Ever had that happen? If it can be chopped, torn, scattered on a plate or tossed in a bowl, it’s potential salad.

Everything in the fridge is fair game. The same goes for my pantry.

The other day I was rummaging around in the ol’ larder when I spied a small jar of grilled artichoke hearts. Hmmm… what to make with them? Although they’re perfectly delectable on an antipasto platter or all by their lonesome, this time they ended up as salad…

Grilled Artichoke Heart Salad

Grilled Artichoke Heart Salad

1 (6.7 oz.) jar Mezzetta Grilled Artichoke Hearts, drained

6 to 8 Romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed, drained, & patted dry

4 slices of bacon, sauteed until crisp, drained on paper towels, & crumbled

1 orange, peeled, segmented, & cubed

1/2 c. toasted pecans

1 Tbsp. capers (optional, but I love capers)

Assemble ingredients in an artful way. Drizzle with your choice of vinaigrette.* Serves 2.

(*I made Andrew Zimmern’s Orange-Tarragon Vinaigrette — it’s fabulous!)

On a “bloggy” note, I’m taking two weeks off to work on a few projects (in case you don’t see me around the block) and will be back after the upcoming annual feast.

Quite possibly with a turkey salad…

Wishing you a gracious, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving!

Enjoying following my (grilled artichoke) heart,

~ Kimby

If Desired…

If Desired Salad

A phrase that pops up frequently in recipes is “if desired.”  (Add x, if desired…)  I like that.  I like that a lot.  Not just as a cooking term, but for the myriad possibilities it presents in life.

Generally, I make choices because something needs to be done.

Laundry or dishes?  Vacuum or sweep?  Some days it doesn’t feel like a choice at all!

What if I added “if desired” to life’s lil’ recipe?

Vacuum, if desired…

(That just inspired me to tidy up the house, ha!)

But first, I desire salad…

If Desired Salad

“If Desired” Salad

Assorted greens (add baby spinach, if desired)

Cooked chicken breast, coarsely chopped

Avocado slices, sprinkled with fresh lime juice

Red onions, thinly sliced

Cherry tomatoes, quartered

Bleu cheese, crumbled (or Feta — whatever cheese you desire)

Freshly ground pepper & sea salt

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

How to… layer ingredients on a plate.  EAT!

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A few other things on my “if desired” list…

Finish my novel (which requires even less time online…)

Write a song that doesn’t repeat the chorus 400 times (lol) and continue to write “symphonic music.”  (Workin’ on it.)  I LOVED what I learned in the recent songwriting class, but sometimes music can’t be expressed in 26 letters of the alphabet. (!)  Notes without words… aaahhh.

Eventually share some of my music here.  (Also workin’ on it!)

Rid myself of “winter weight.”  Aarrggh!  It seems my metabolism has changed (again) and my penchant for pasta and baked goods MUST be curtailed…

Write with a pen and paper more often than I spend time on my computer.  Hoohah, it’s deck season!

I don’t consider it an indulgence to write in front of a scenic vista, because I worked long and hard to get to this point (trucking comes to mind, as do a multitude of other jobs) and I’m grateful for this blessing.  I desire to write here, as often as possible…

“Office hours ala Spring”

Spring at the lake

Most days I don’t mind making decisions, but when I desire to do things, life’s a lot more fun!

How ’bout you?  What would you do, if desired?

Enjoying myriad possibilities,

~ Kimby

The Heart of the Matter (Roasted Artichoke Heart, Red Bell Pepper, & Caper Salad)

Roasted Artichoke Heart Salad

I did something just now that I haven’t done in a long time.  I scrolled through six months’ worth of my posts and read what I wrote.

“Holy cow!  I’m all over the map!” I declared in my pre-dawn stupor.

Then I laughed. :)

Have you read what you’ve written lately?  (You should.)

And while you’re at it, pat yourself on the back.

The heart of the matter is:  You’re expressing yourself to the world!

That’s something to be proud of.  (I am.)

Life is a tasty hodgepodge, just like this salad…

A Tasty Hodgepodge

Roasted Artichoke Heart, Red Bell Pepper, & Caper Salad

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on Food Network)

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1/2 jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained & diced

2 Tbsp. capers, drained

Basil Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Pat artichoke hearts dry; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Toss gently; transfer to a baking sheet.

Roast until browned, 25 to 30 minutes, turning once.  (I added the drained peppers at the 20 minute mark to heat them.)

Meanwhile, make vinaigrette.

Basil Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion

1 Tbsp. dried basil (I’m sure fresh would be stellar)

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar

Dijon mustard, to taste

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine dressing ingredients in a measuring cup.  Whisk until incorporated; set aside.

Remove artichoke hearts and peppers from oven.  Drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette to allow them to soak up the flavor as they cool.

Transfer roasted veggies to a bowl.  Add capers and additional vinaigrette to taste; toss gently.

Serve warm with crusty bread and a glass of Chardonnay.

When Life Tosses You Crumbs, Eat Them!

No matter how “un-related” your posts (or mine) may (or may not) be, the important thing is: you’re expressing your heart!

The world’s a better place for it and I thank you for blessing my life with your presence.

Enjoying random thoughts and recipes,

~ Kimby

Chopped Salad

Today is officially the first day of Summer (woohoo!) and what could be more fitting than a summertime salad filled with veggies?

Unless, of course… you add salami and provolone to produce a cross between a Muffuletta sandwich and an Antipasto platter… in a bowl.

(I love one dish meals.)

My friend, Rachel, at The Fromagette posted this beauty a few months back and I’ve wanted to try it ever since.  In fact, I’ve been trying lots of recipes, which accounts for why I don’t post more often.

If I listed all of the incredible food we’ve enjoyed this past year, it would fill two posts and require untold hours of linking.  (Hmmm… maybe I will someday.)  For now, allow me to say:  Thank you from the bottom of our stomachs!

Getting back to this gem, it inspired a picnic!  It also required The Man Of Few Words’ assistance for the action shots.  (He’s so helpful…xo!)

Chopped Salad  (adapted from the original recipe here)

12 small pimiento stuffed green olives, halved

1/2 c. water-packed roasted red peppers, drained & diced

1/4 c. green onions, chopped

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/4 c. pepperoncini, drained & sliced into rings

1 small head of Romaine lettuce, chopped

2 oz. provolone cheese, cubed

2 oz. salami, diced

Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. sugar, or to taste

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together vinaigrette; drizzle over salad and toss lightly.

Makes two generous servings.

Paired with a slice of garlic toast, it was the perfect welcome to the Summer months ahead!

Enjoying “friend-ly” food,

~ Kim

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Go, Green!

Something about this time of year makes me crave Green Goddess Dressing.

The mere thought of it evokes images of Mother Nature, the vernal equinox, and Aphrodite — although she wasn’t green.

I was so enthralled with the idea of making a batch, I completely forgot to put it in the blender!  (It still tasted wonderful — although not quite as green.)

Green Goddess Dressing

(Adapted from the recipe on a bottle of Reese Tarragon Sprig Wine Vinegar)

1/2 c. mayonnaise (regular or low-fat)

1/2 c. sour cream (regular or low-fat)

1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley

1-1/2 Tbsp. tarragon, chopped

3 green onion tops, minced

1 tsp. dried chervil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt (or to taste)

1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar

1 to 2 Tbsp. water (use less for a “dip-like” consistency; more for “dressing”)

Combine ingredients in a small bowl; mix well.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Serve on a bed of butter lettuce (which is not as calorie-laden as the name implies!) or use as a dip with fresh vegetables.

Homemade croutons optional.  (Not!) :)

For traditional Green Goddess Dressing, whirl everything in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Enjoying all things green,

~ Kim

(Yes, Gumby, that includes you.)