January 20, 2006

salad night

Part of the current goal for lighter meals ( at least on weekdays ) is our 'salad night' featuring three kinds of salads - a lentil & portabella salad, pesto chicken salad and the all-time favorite green salad with garlic honey mustard dressing. The lentil, portabella & diced tomato combo with an olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice & cumin dressing is light and has a bit of a Southwestern - Mediterranean flair. We like the combination of flavors. For the chicken pesto salad, boneless chicken fillets were poached but I must have done something wrong with the technique because the chicken ended up tough. Based on my research about it later, the chicken must be simmered over low fire until tender. I remember I was in hurry to get done and made a mistake about the simmering technique. The basil pesto came out really good though. Fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt & pepper to taste & a little fresh milk or cream was pureed together and used as a dressing for the poached chicken. Gave me the idea of using this pesto as a filling for baked chicken fillets or pork tenderloin. The third one we had was the usual combination of salad greens but I added a little grated garlic to the honey mustard to give it a little kick ( bam! as Emeril would say ) but has a rather strong garlicky taste, so next time when I make this again, I'll try to roast the garlic bulb and use the soft garlic paste instead. Roasting the whole garlic bulb mellows the flavor which I guess is preferable for salad dressings.

Rye bread is a good kind to go with the salads. This one's a Hodgson Mill brand caraway bread mix that I have been getting and making in the bread machine. I've been trying out a few of the Hodgson Mill whole grain products including their assortment of organic whole grain pasta. We like the variety and so far, everything we've tried is good particularly this rye bread. I add a tablespoon of caraway seeds to the mixture. There's nothing like freshly baked and warm bread straight from the oven.

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