Thursday, May 08, 2008

If Only It Could Mow The Lawn

Have I ever mentioned my that my life revolves around food? Seriously, a huge percentage of my free time is spent either looking at food in the form of blogs,TV show, cookbooks, or magazines. Preparing Food for my family, friends and sometimes events like weddings or parties. Eating food (no description needed). Then of course there is the going to the gym which is not directly dealing with food but is a necessary evil as a result of the previous. Oh wait, I do often watch the Food Network WHILE I am at the gym running on the treadmill! It is no wonder that I am single, who has time? Not to mention it would take a pretty amazing man to rival my passion!

My cooking occupies me, challenges me, gives me a feeling of satisfaction, earns me praises and comforts me. But it can also frustrate me and disappoint me. (See the similarities?)Frustrating me is what the recipe for today did.

It seemed simple enough, Pecan Encrusted Chicken Salad. The recipe I tried originally had an AWESOME flavor but as soon as you tried to cut the chicken all of the "crust" fell right off. So, it tasted good but did not look so pretty. I am firm believer that you eat with your eyes first so this would not "do." So I had to make it again the next day.

I felt what was missing from the recipe was "glue" to hold the crust to the chicken. While I was at it I wanted to tweak the recipe to make it a little more waistline friendly(Maybe if I can cut down some gym time I might have some time for dating) and a little less expensive (can you believe I paid 8 dollars for a bag of Pecans?). My result looked prettier but not quite as tasty as the original. So if fiddled with it a little more and I think I have found the middle ground between tasting good and looking good. What I love about this recipe is the surprising taste of cinnamon in the salad. You know me, I love that "Hmmm" factor!I did not however change a thing about the Caramel Vinaigrette that was with the recipe that I originally found on Vicarious Foodie ( I think it compliments this salad nicely but if you are not up for making your own Vinaigrette then a nice bottled Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette would pair nicely with it also.

Pecan Encrusted Chicken Salad

serves 4
Caramel Vinaigrette
1/3 cup caramel sauce (ice cream topping)
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lime, zested
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Microwave Carmel sauce about 10 seconds ot loosen it up. Combine the caramel sauce with water and citrus juices and whisk. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil, lime zest, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

2 large Chicken breasts (aprox 8oz)
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup pecans
1 cup flour divided
2 tsp cinamon
1 egg
1tsp water
2 Tbs vegetable oil

Field Greens or other lettuce mixture
1cup dried cranberries
whole pecans for garnish.

Split chicken breast in half then cut into aprox 1 inch strips (fingers). Place chicken and buttermilk in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
Place Pecans in food processor and grind to a fine consistency. Combine 1/3 cup flour, ground pecans and cinnamon.
Cover Baking sheet in Foil. Add Oil to pan and spread evenly.
Remove Chicken from buttermilk and let drain well then pat dry Salt and Pepper to taste.

Lightly beat egg and water together. Dredge chicken in remaining flour, then egg, then pecan mixture. Place chicken on Pan and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool slightly( if desired cut into bite sized pieces) and arrange over greens. Drizzle Vinegrette over top. Garnish with Cranberries and Pecans.

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