Monday, January 23, 2012

tarragon chicken salad

Saturday 1/21/12: women's living expo. 5:00 pm. I'm waiting to start my cooking demo. The guy before might is supposed to be done and he is still handing out samples. He has been grilling meat and I can see grease everywhere.
5:05: He's still talking and hasn't started to clean up.I go up by the stage with my cooler full of my ingredients and start staring. It doesn't even phase him and he keeps talking and passing out samples and not cleaning up. About five minutes later he does a brief wipe down of the counter and stove top, gives me a glance and leaves the stage. I hop up and start setting up my ingredients. It is getting late and I decide to only make one of the two items that I had intended to prepare. I glance out and notice that most of the crowd has left with only about a half dozen seated. There are about a dozen vendors watching, so I plow ahead. Amy comes up to help wipe down the countertop as I try and figure out how to adjust the mike. The woman who facilitates the chefs has disappeared and I figure it out by myself. I start talking and making the tarragon chicken salad. It has been about 20 years since I gave a cooking demonstration, but it comes back pretty readily. I end up giving a few pointers on knife technique, which herbs I prefer, and how to poach chicken. This is the recipe:

1 cup cooked chicken, diced (poach in stock with celery, onion, carrot, thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper)
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 cup grapes, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1-2 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 T Mayo, light or regular
1 & 1/2 T Sour Cream

Toss the vegetables with the chicken. add the seasonings and mayo and sour cream and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings. It may need more tarragon. I am used to dried tarragon and usually use a lot to get that flavor.

5:30. I am done with the chicken salad. I show it a couple of ways. First is a bruchetta with fresh arugula on a baguette and the second in a croissant as a sandwich. I make several samples of each and look up. Everyone left looks hungry, so I signal Amy and she passes out the samples. No questions from the audience, but they love it. I clean up and am done for the night.

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