Monday, June 28, 2010
A Tree Named Willow & Caribbean Chicken Salad
This past Saturday, I awoke early to a chorus of singing birds and, still groggy, walked downstairs to prepare my pot of green tea. Before that, per usual, I opened my front door to glance out at Willow swaying in the wind; My favorite tree. As this always puts me in the right frame of mind to start my day, imagine my horror when I realized very quickly she had been hacked-- more than half of her, chopped right off in the most slipshod way by the man who owns the property next door, Mike. An otherwise nice guy.
I know it wasn't his intention to make such a mess of her, but intention or not, that's just what he did. This may sound silly to some. She...It's, ‘Just a tree,’ after all. ‘Why would anyone spend two days crying over a damn tree?’
I was there the day she was planted, more than 15 years ago. With each passing year, as she grew bigger and bigger away from the large twig-like figure she first appeared, I fell in love with the Weeping Willow who adds life, charm and personality to the last house on the one-sided dead end street where I live.
With every dawn of a new spring, she has never failed to shed her nude and tattered winter coat for a dress bursting in a celebration of pink blossoms and then another, jewel-toned green;
Symbolizing what miracles can happen, even to an ostensibly hopeless thing, with a little patience, sunlight and love. Come each season of growth, she symbolizes what miracles can happen…with just a little love.
I took this photo and the one above just the day before.
The day after...
Later in the day I put the following sign at the bottom of her trunk. (Mine is the writing in red.) Shortly thereafter, Mike wrote underneath. (His is the writing in black.) Further confirmation he meant no harm.
...with just a little love.
What do you say we talk about something delicious? This salad is!
Chili's Grilled Caribbean Chicken Salad (This is actually a Caribbean/Asian Mix)
Recipe courtesy and adapted from Squidoo
I left the recipes' in tact in case you might be sharing this with family or friends. As I was eating this by myself, I cut the original recipe you have here, by half. The original recipe easily serves four.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ cup store bought Teriyaki marinade
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
1 cup chopped red cabbage
½ cup drained mandarin orange wedges
½ cup drained pineapple chunks, cut in half
2-3 chopped scallions (optional)
1½ - 2 cups fresh fried tortilla strips (sub thin, broken tortilla chips, if preferred)
Pico de Gallo (recipe to follow)
Chili's Honey Lime Dressing (recipe to follow)
Chili's Grilled Caribbean Chicken Salad
The Process: This dish is mostly about preparation.
1. In resealable, large-sized plastic bag, add chicken breast and teriyaki sauce, seal bag securely and shake. Place bag in bowl and allow to marinate in refrigerator for no less than two hours. Overnight is preferred.
2. Prepare the lettuce mixture only a few hours before cooking the chicken. In large mixing bowl, combine lettuce and cabbage completely. Cover securely and allow to chill until ready to prepare salad.
3. When chicken is marinated, grill chicken indoors on either a George Foreman, Indoor grill or Outdoor grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
4. Allow chicken to rest for at least five minutes after cooking so you don't lose the juices. Cut grilled chicken into thin strips.
5. On 3-4 large plates, equally divide chilled salad greens.
6. Over each plate, add tortilla strips, mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, Pico de Gallo (recipe follows) and grilled chicken.
Pico De Gallo (Prepare ahead): We've done this before. You can open the directions in a new page HERE, for reference. Simply omit the corn and beans.
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup diced Red or White Onion
2 tsp. fresh, raw jalapeño... seeded, de-ribbed, and diced
2 tsp. fresh cilantro, minced (Or Parsley) (I use a mix of parsley and salt-free garlic and herb seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon salt (salt to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (pepper to taste)
Chili's Honey Lime Dressing (Prepare ahead):
¼ cup honey
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1½ tsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. sesame oil
In food processor or small bowl, combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Chopping the greens.
I cut tortilla shells into thin strips then deep-fried and salted them.
Preparing the plates.
After all that preparation, it's time to enjoy.