Walnut Plum Summer Salad with Homemade Honey Mustard

If these pictures are giving you flashbacks to blogging days gone by, you'd be right. I was back home visiting and I obviously can't go that long without posting and I don't exactly plan ahead. I sorta plan ahead in the way that I know I'll post something but I can't promise I'll do the work ahead of time. I'll mostly scramble to get it together in the moment, which forces me to use my creativity, which I like. I break up the monotony with some spontaneity. It also sometimes leads me to be a disorganized cluttered mess, but hey, sometimes that works too. It's nice to be able to work with new ingredients, in a new environment and try and remember where the best light in the house is while you wander aimlessly with your tray of food and $1.99 plant you bought from the local Lowe's, just for old times sake. 

So this is what I came up with, and it's amazing, if you're into the whole sweet and spicy thing. On another note, I always thought that plain mustard was the grossest thing. It kind of feels like yellow mayonnaise. I just didn't quite get it. Then I worked in this restaurant in Arizona called Murphy's. If you happen to ever be in Prescott, Az, it is in fact the best upscale restaurant in downtown Prescott. It just is. Anyways they made this amazing honey mustard dressing and I loved it. I asked the main chef what was in the honey mustard dressing he looked at me confused and said, "Honey... and mustard." I guess that would make sense. I feel like people in Arizona were always looking at me like that. I'm right brained, what can I say?

Here's what you'll need: 

For the salad:

  • About two cups of salad mix - this is Spring Mix
  • 1/2 black plum sliced 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cucumber - peeled - I used a carrot peeler to get it into strips 

For the dressing: 

  • 2 parts mustard - make sure you use whole grain
  • 1 part honey - I like Trader Joe's raw honey
  • 1 part oil - I used olive oil 

Naturally (Super) Sweet Kale Pecan Salad

"According to the supermarkets, there is no such thing as, 'out of season.' Berries in the middle of February? Why not? Seafood flown in from Japan? Sure. While it adds up to appetizing and varied meals throughout the year, regardless of the weather, it comes with a price tag — both ethical and financial." - Homaro Cantu

Maybe it's too early in the day to get into the politics of food but, man, I have really got to get on a season eating plan. Homaro Cantu has really got me thinking about social responsibility and the consequences of my actions. Farmer's markets it is. Well, I'll try. 

So, about this salad. It is very, very sweet. So if you want to cut your dressing with a dash of rice or white vinegar that would definitely mellow the sweetness, but if you've got a massive sweet tooth + kale aversion like me, stick to the recipe because, because it's good. :) 

So there are a few issues with kale: 1. The texture. Oh, the chewy texture. 2. Taste. I'm a huge fan of the benefits of kale, but getting it down is a whole 'nother gambit. Lucky for you, I learned this trick a few years ago to get your kale texture to mellow out. Massage it. You read that right, you're going to massage your kale. 

Here's what you do:

  • Soak kale in lukewarm water for 15 minutes. 
  • Rinse well with cool water. 
  • Massage the kale as you tear it into pieces. Awkward at first, it works. 

As for the unique flavor, honey is sweet enough to conquer it and sesame oil is a nutty, complimentary flavor. If you're ever working against the grain flavor-wise, just remember one complimentary and one contrast. It's sort of the interior design rule of cooking. It works, you'll see. 

 

Here's what you'll need: 

Directions: 

  • Mix kale with pecans, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. 
  • In a different container mix up oil, honey and salt. 
  • Serve salad immediately after dressing.

This salad does not keep well after dressed. So, if you need it for the next day keep your dressing and salad separate until it's time to serve. 

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad With Peanut Dressing

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad With Peanut Dressing sweetdisasters.com

Hello, I've been thinking I need to start adding spoons and forks to my food styling. Maybe even knives, maybe. I'm not sure I'm there yet. I prefer the lazy girl's guide to food styling. 

Even with my minimalist styling, this salad is one of the best ones I've had in a while. It was inspired by my favorite salad from Gelson's grocery store. I tried to memorize the ingredients in about 30 seconds, with the crowds of paying customers gathering behind me. My life is like that often. There's lots of quizzical loitering involved in my day-to-day life, but I can't complain because in my own way I get from one point to the next. 

I guess my loitering worked because I like this recipe even better than the ones I've had before (sorry, Gelson's, your produce section is still the best in town.)

There are a few things you should know about this salad. 1. It's best the day of. Really, not something you should make ahead of time. 2. It seems like there are a lot of steps, but it's totally manageable. I just wanted it to be perfect, which is why I choose to lightly cook the cabbage. I also made a brine and used this cooking method that I love from the Kitchn, for making the chicken. It seriously comes out perfectly every single time. I'm going to give you the layman's version, but you can click over to the site to see more detailed instructions. 

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad With Peanut Dressing sweetdisasters.com

Here's what you'll need:

For the chicken: 

  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 teaspoons of salt - I used Himalayan
  • 1 1/4 lbs of boneless chicken breast - thinly sliced

For the salad:

  • 3 oz of soba noodles cooked - I used one bunch of this kind - You can do this ahead of time since it's a cold salad
  • 2 large mangos - sliced
  • 1 cucumber - sliced about 1" thick and then quartered
  • 1 medium batch of green onions - diced
  • 1/2 cup of peanuts
  • 1/2 of a medium sized red cabbage - diced
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 large carrot - julianned

For the dressing:

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad With Peanut Dressing sweetdisasters.com

Directions:

For the chicken:

  • Mix 4 teaspoons of salt with 4 cups of water. In a bowl large enough to fit the chicken with some room add salt water brine and make sure chicken is fully covered. 
  • Set aside to marinated for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the brine and pat dry.
  • Next in a skilled heat up 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and tablespoon of sesame oil on high for one minute.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add in chicken breast with a tight lid to cook for 10 minutes. Don't take the lid off.
  • After 10 minutes remove from heat and allow it to cook with the lid on for another 10 minutes. Don't take the lid off. It's only 20 minutes, you can deal with it for perfectly cooked chicken. Check the link for internal temperatures. 

For the salad:

  • Add all salad ingredients, except cabbage into a very large bowl and toss well.
  • Take your cabbage and one tablespoon of coconut oil and cook on medium-high for 2 min, stirring constantly. You don't want it cooked, just softened. Set cabbage aside to cool. 

For the dressing:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until they turn a light brown color. It's not necessary for the peanuts to be completely processed, they can be chunky.

Putting it together:

  • Tear or cut cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in the salad bowl, along with the cooled cabbage.
  • Add in dressing and mix all ingredients well. 

That's all there is to it. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did. 

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad With Peanut Dressing sweetdisasters.com