most of the cooking i do is by the seat of my pants. recipes are but a suggestion in my mind and i don't do all that much planning ahead unless we're expecting guests. very often, it's 5:30 p.m. and i wander into the kitchen, bleary-eyed from the computer and open the refrigerator and take out a few things that look inspiring. and sometimes the result is worth writing down. of course, the secret to this kind of cooking is having good ingredients at hand. i can tell already that the garden is going to really help me on that front. the weekly box i have delivered helps a lot too - it means i've always got interesting vegetables and things like quinoa and couscous around. i'm also a sucker for good buys on interesting or unusual ingredients when i'm at the grocery store, so the staples in my cupboards include things like a jar of grilled artichokes or roasted red peppers. i thought i'd share with you a recent invention. i made it for the second time today, adding a bit to it from the first round and it was wonderful. it's a chicken salad made from your roast chicken leftovers.
lemony roast chicken salad
the remains of one roast chicken, diced into bite-size pieces
1 jar of grilled artichokes in seasoned olive oil, roughly chopped up on the cutting board
save the seasoned olive oil from the jar to use as your dressing
1 lemon, sliced thinly and cut into little wedges
1 60gram package of pinenuts
1 package of brown mushrooms
100 grams of quinoa, cooked as directed on the package (20 minutes in twice as much water as quinoa)
1 bunch of green onions, sliced finely
handful of spinach or kale, cut into ribbons
juice of one lemon
dice your roast chicken leftovers into bite-sized pieces (i specially-roasted a chicken for the purpose today, as we have a couchsurfer here, so it was not just going to be the three of us). remove the artichokes from the jar and roughly chop them into bite-sized pieces. save the seasoned oil from the jar to use as a seasoning. slice the lemon into thin rounds and then chop cut them into little wedges, throw them in, peel and all. clean your mushrooms and slice them in halves or fourths if they're large - sauté them off in a pan with butter and a little olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with soy sauce until they've lost their rawness (but not 'til they're shrunk down to nothingness). chop the green onions. toast off the pinenuts. put all of these ingredients into a large, flat bowl and keep tossing it together (i do it with my hands as i add each ingredient). lastly, sauté off the spinach or kale (i used fresh-picked tuscan kale from the garden). while you're chopping, cook up your quinoa - a highly nutritious and delicious grain that gives body, texture and loads of nutrition to the dish. dress it all with the seasoned oil from the artichokes, juice of a lemon and a bit of salt & pepper. can be served immediately or refrigerated and taken on a picnic. serve with plenty of fresh bread. and you can never miss with a crisp white sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio.
serves 6 - 8 (if you use a whole chicken and not just leftovers). people may leave little piles of lemon rind on their plates, but that's ok. make this for a cool lunch on a hot summer day. you won't regret it.