shake your booty friday

By Friday, June 14, 2013

Tomorrow is my 11th wedding anniversary. How fast does 11 years go, you ask? Really, really fast. Our 11 years have included two cities, two houses, two kids, several new jobs, a temporary stay in a condo to find our dream house, lots of highs and some lows, too many bottles of wine to count, amazing travels and some really incredible meals. I can't wait to see what the next 11 years brings for me and Mr. Klein.
And speaking of the fabulous Mr. Klein ... can I wax poetically for a moment? He is my best friend, the person who makes me laugh the most, the guy who likes food almost as much as me and my co-conspirator on all boozy evenings during the last 11 years. He's the best dad and he's loyal to a fault. Oh, and did I mention he puts up with my crazy worrying, my bouts of perfectionism and my manic moments in the kitchen? It goes without saying, but he's the best husband a girl could have. I'm so lucky.
Love you, Babe. Here's to 11 x 11 more years.
We have a busy, busy weekend full of graduations parties, birthdays, Father's Day dinner and probably some yard work mixed in for good measure. I love having ready-made lunches for this kind of weekend. I have a real weakness for chicken salad in general, but I am proclaming the following recipe to be the best. I've modified it a little -- roasting the chicken breasts and cutting back on the raw garlic, which gives me a headache. Oh, and the extra dressing is great smeared on a cucumber and sprout sandwich on whole-grain toast. Just saying ...
photo from
 Cilantro-Almond Chicken Salad
modified only slightly from this recipe
serves many hungry bambini and their moms and pops, too

For roasting chicken:
4 large chicken breast halves (with skin and bone; about 1 lb.  each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For dressing: 2 cups slivered blanched almonds (6 oz)
1 garlic clove
1/2 to 1 fresh hot jalapeño, coarsely chopped, including seeds (optional if feeding kiddos)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
3 cups chopped cilantro

Accompaniments: mixed greens; roasted yellow, orange, or red bell peppers


For roasting chicken: Generously sprinkle the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. 
Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before roasting.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Put chicken in a pre-heated 375 degree oven. Roast until skin is browned and crisp, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to cool. When chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and shred meat (you will have about 8 cups).

Note: Chicken breasts will shred most easily and beautifully when freshly roasted and cooled, so try to refrain from the temptation to cook and chill the breasts a day ahead before shredding.

For making the dressing:In the already-preheated oven, roast almonds in a rimmed baking sheet until golden and fragrantly toasty, about 10 minutes. Cool.

With motor running, drop garlic into food processor and finely chop. Stop processor and add jalapeño, mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/2 cup lime juice, and 1 tbsp. kosher salt and blend until smooth. Add almonds and pulse until chopped. Add cilantro and pulse just to incorporate. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and lime juice.

Combine chicken with dressing in a large bowl.  Chicken salad keeps, chilled, 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Happy eating, -s.  

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