Chickpea & Grilled Corn Chop Salad

It has been a very long time since I’ve sat down and posted to my blog. This has been a super busy year, and somehow in my brain I knew that autumn would come, and with it much needed “time”. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, boy I have I been cooking! Add in kitchen & bathroom renovations, a new puppy, and one of our wettest fall-winter-springs on record, followed by a full on drought with smokey skies, my energies have been elsewhere… I am so happy to have these breezy, cooler, clear days that late September has brought us.

When I’m doing an event with salads as part of the buffet, I love adding robust “chop” salads. They add texture, and colour to the mix. Because a spoonful goes along way, they fit onto a plate with other foods very easily.

This salad has a little heat, and lots of texture, which is so nice with a burger or chicken dinner. It also serves well as a vegetarian main course salad for those who aren’t going for the meat from the grill. Continue reading

Bombay Chicken Wraps

IMG_7255Having wanted to design a recipe for an appetizer that didn’t include seafood, cheese, or deep-frying, I came up with a miniature chicken salad, that is usually served in tiny pastry cups, croustades. I have, on occasion, served it on tortilla chips. I’m not sure when I started making these, but do know that it was many years ago! Perhaps back when Mumbai was still Bombay, maybe the early nineties?

Recently I morphed the idea into wraps for a luncheon I was catering, they were gone in a flash. The flavours work just as well in a bigger format.

If you don’t have leftover cooked chicken to use, do what I do, buy a BBQ chicken from your grocer. Chill it, remove all the skin, fat & bones, and use all of the meat. This way you get a prefect mix of light and dark meat. It tends to be more economical than cooking even inexpensive fryer cuts. One standard BBQ chicken should give you about 650 grams of prepared meat, enough for 6 wraps.

The recipe shows amounts for 6 wraps, just use the appropriate portion if you are doing less. All of the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time, ready for assembly at your convenience. Continue reading

Wedge Salad Appetizers

IMG_5938Appetizers are a mainstay of holiday parties, lots of cheese, phyllo, puff pastry, tarts, crackers and meats.  If we’re lucky there are bowls of olives & pickles, and some raw veg to balance things out.  I think that adding a cold crisp salad is a perfect foil for the rest of the menu.

Recently I was invited to a party that was to embrace the 50’s & 60’s. Most of my time in those periods, was toddling around in nappies, skinning my knees while learning to ride a bike, watching my mom go crazy for the Beatles, and my sister becoming a hippy.

My only true memory of foods of that time was when mom & dad would have Bridge night.  A group of 8 or 12 neighbours would play once a month, rotating houses.  I well remember getting up early the next day and scavenging through the living room, eating leftover AD mints, black olives, gherkins, and the ultimate, broiled spam & cheese on open dinner rolls.  Mom would grate spam, and cheddar (not even Velveeta), mix with mayonnaise (never Miracle Whip) and then spread this on top of dinner rolls.  Broiled just until the cheese melted and the spam sputtered, they were absolutely decadent.

Okay, so my tastes have changed somewhat from when I was eight.

The Wedge Salad was an ever-present menu item for the 50’s & 60’s.  It lost favour when Romaine started edging it out in the 70’s, and open leaf lettuces with vinaigrette started to take over.  The lowly iceberg lettuce has always remained on the produce shelves because it has some amazing qualities.  First off, no other lettuce can replace its crispness.  It holds up well to tossing, and works well with other lettuces to give your salad some lift.  It also seems that the iceberg lettuce of today, is more open and green than the ones of even 20 years ago, which is great.

The lettuce is what makes this appetizer fresh & crispy, and a wonderful addition to an appetizer buffet.  The recipe is followed with notes on plating a basic Wedge Salad, if you want to go traditional. Continue reading