My grand daughter had a dinosaur birthday party. How cool is that? Lots of lizards and turtles and snakes made their way to the back yard to visit the kids so they could learn a little about our neighbors of the creepy crawly sort. Jurassic Parties did a great job. All the kids loved it. Grandma hung out in the kitchen with a quick peek once in a while. I had to guard the food, after all. After the presentation and a good hand washing (singing Happy Birthday while you wash—a good timing trick to wash thoroughly) the kids were ready for lunch. Dinosaur shaped sandwiches with ham and cheese were the choice for most of the kids, but the moms needed a little something different. We decided on an Asian chicken salad. It’s a recipe that has been in development for several months. First of all, I stole it from Sheila, my right hand chef at the Cookery, and adapted for several catered events throughout the summer and even a wedding lunch in December. Everyone loved it…so why wouldn’t the moms…and a couple dads? Light and crunchy with a good dose of meaty chicken fit the bill.
Start a couple days ahead to marinate and bake the chicken. You can have the veggies chopped and in a bag, the dressing mixed in a jar and the chicken shredded in a container the night before. Easy, delicious, and great for a crowd.
Roast an extra chicken breast without the marinade to feed your baby. Some carrots and snow peas dropped into the boiling water after blanching the peas for a couple minutes, until tender, will be ready to puree when dinner is ready.
Kids will love the chicken chunks in a wrap along with the veggies and a dipping sauce.
Asian Chicken Salad
Prep: marinate overnight, baking chicken and salad prep: 1 hour (can be done the day before), final assembly: 10 minutes.
2 pounds bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts
1/4 cup hoison sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
Place the chicken breast in a baking dish, preferably glass. Mix the hoisin sauce and soy and pour over the chicken. Turn over to make sure the sauce coats the chicken. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake, covered, until tender—45 minutes to an hour, testing with an instant read thermometer to 165 degrees. Cool slightly and remove and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat and cool to room temperature. Add back to the marinade in the pan. Mix well to coat and refrigerate.
10 square wonton wrappers, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
2 cups vegetable oil
Heat 2-cups oil in a wide heavy saucepan until it registers 350 degrees. Fry 5-6 strips at a time, turning once, until golden, about 20 seconds. Transfer to paper towels and season with salt. You can substitute packaged Chow Mein Noodles.
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Combine 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1/4 cup canola oil in a jar. Cover and shake to combine.
4 ounces snow peas, trimmed, and cut lenthwise
1 1/2 cups red cabbage, cored and cut into ¼-inch strips
4 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded carrot
6 ounces baby spinach
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop 4 ounces snow peas into the boiling water. Blanch for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Lay out on a clean towel to absorb the excess moisture. In a large salad bowl combine the snow peas, 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage, 4 cups Napa cabbage, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup shredded carrots and 6 ounces baby spinach. Drizzle with the dressing. Arrange the shredded chicken on top and Sprinkle with fried wonton strips.