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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Asian Chicken Salad

Hello everyone!  I'm back from vacation and recovered, I think.  I know, it sounds strange to be "recovered from vacation" but it's totally the truth.  Whenever Boyfriend and I come back from vacation, I feel like I need another few days off just to recuperate!  The reason is - we aren't you traditional vacation-type people.

Most people look forwards to vacation because it involves an umbrella drink (or five), a beach umbrella and some new paperbacks.  I could handle doing that too, for about two hours.  Then I want to get up and DO SOMETHING!  I either have restless leg disorder (is that still a thing??) or Adult ADHD, because I don't want to just sit around on vacation and relax.  Ask anyone, I'm not really the relaxing type.

Our trip to Morocco was anything but relaxing.  In ten days we managed to jam in all of the following...  A day in Oukaimeden rock climbing, two days in Zagora riding camels, a three-day trip to the beach for surfing lessons.  We toured the medinas of Marrakech and Casablanca and traveled on the highways, rails and tramlines of Morocco.  We ate tagines and couscous by the pound and enjoyed liters of mint tea.

Thankfully we had a direct flight home from Casablanca, I don't think I could have mustered up the energy to get on another plane after seven and a half hours sitting in coach.  Once we got home, all I wanted to eat was a big salad.  And I've been making lots of them since I managed the necessary energy to head to the grocery store!

Maybe our next vacation will be a quiet, relaxing, beach vacation...  More likely I'll plan something like that and BF will find a volcano to hike up and coral reefs to scuba dive through.

Be on the lookout over the next two weeks for Moroccan dishes and photos from our vacation!  I picked up a few tips from the locals and a beautiful Moroccan cookbook of my own.

Asian Chicken Salad
A Wilde Original

It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it really isn't!  This salad comes together quickly and makes for an amazingly fresh and crisp summer meal.  No need to slave over the stove in the heat!

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 package ramen noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium carrots
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, cored & thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into ribbons
1 cup chopped, pre-cooked chicken
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spread slivered almonds out on a baking sheet.  Toast almonds for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and pour into a large (large!) bowl.  Heat a small, non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add sesame seeds and toast.  Shimmy the pan every minute.  Let the seeds toast for about 5 minutes, or until they start to smell tasty.  Add sesame seeds to the large bowl with the almonds.

In the same small pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Break up ramen noodles inside of their package.  Remove flavor packet and pour broken noodles into the melted butter.  Stir until the noodles are coated in butter.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until slightly browned.  They will smell amazing.

To the large bowl, add cabbage, lettuce, bell pepper, basil and chicken.  Toss with your hands, it's so much easier.  In a small container with a lid, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, tamari, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  Shake to combine.  Pour dressing over the salad, adding about 1/3 of the dressing, and toss to coat.  Add half of the ramen noodles and toss again.  Add more dressing, depending on how much dressing you like.
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