Sometimes good things can come out of rotten ones. This was the case the other day when my car battery died. My car battery dying is actually an ongoing winter problem for me. The problem lies with a feature of my car to prevent the battery dying, ironic I know. See if you leave the lights of the car running and turn off the car most of the time they go off when you open the door. Really it is a great feature, until the days that are so cold that the little button that senses the car door has opened freezes.
And really who wouldn't be overjoyed to have a dead battery when it is obnoxiously cold out? So most of the time I check on cold days to make sure the lights went out. Somehow this is preferable to me, better then turning them off and then having to remember to turn them back on. Well Wednesday I was in a hurry after parking my car, and anyway it didn't seem that cold. Actually when I went back out to my now dead car, it wasn't very cold, the snow had melted off the top. However the lights were on and the battery was dead.
So, after calling triple A I had a 45 minute to an hour wait. Thus my happy image of going to my favorite food store before picking up Julian from preschool disappeared. However we had just loaded a bunch of stuff from our storage unit in the car. I was so happy to discover the June 2006 issue of Gourmet in the trunk. This issue was from right before we moved, so I had never looked at it before. Inside I found an Asian chicken salad that provided inspiration for dinner that night. I had a very incomplete list of the vegetables called for, but that doesn't usually phase me. I also changed the dressing quite a bit, adding and subbing. The salad I made would not be recognizable to anyone reading the original, but still delicious. I only got to eat the leftovers for lunch because I beat Lewis to the fridge the next morning. The moral of the story is, if you have different vegetables to work with, go ahead and make this salad. I would not hesitate to make it with a green and some warm or cold roasted vegetables, or I would sub seasoned firm tofu or tempeh for the chicken.
Asian Chicken Salad
3/4 of a pound snow peas, trimmed and sliced into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 lb. baby spinach thoroughly washed and spun dry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice (I used a minneola tangelo)
1 Tbsp miso paste (I used white)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar (you can substitute white, cider, champagne or any other light vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste, at least 1/4 tsp
1 1/2 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tbsp grape seed oil (or vegetable or olive oil)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken from leftover roast chicken or rotisserie chicken
1/4 cups finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cups sliced almonds, toasted
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 oranges (I used minneola tangelos)
Cook the snow peas briefly in boiling salted water that you have added a splash of extra virgin olive oil to, until tender. Approximately 1 1/2 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Place in a large salad bowl with napa cabbage and spinach.
In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, orange juice, miso paste, sugar, vinegar, salt, black pepper, sesame oil and grape seed oil until emulsified. Mix the chicken with 1/3 of a cup of the dressing. Add the chicken to the greens and add toasted almonds and sesame seeds. Toss with enough of the dressing to lightly dress the whole salad.
Supreme the 2 oranges, doing the final slicing between the membranes over the salad bowl to catch the juice. When you have supremed the oranges squeeze the membranes to add the juice the salad. If you don't know how to supreme citrus good directions can be found here.