I’m so bummed out right now.
I woke up a while ago and the house just didn’t feel right. Uncomfortable, steamy, hot and sticky… I like to think I’m too young for hot flashes, but obviously, something was not right.
Well apparently, the air conditioner hadn’t been working all night long. I went down to the basement thinking (hoping?!) that I probably just needed to change out the furnace filter (we’re not very good at keeping up with that sort of thing around here, if you want the truth) and all would be well. But no such luck.
The filter is fine. Much worse I fear, is that the furnace is covered in a thin layer of ice and frost, which can’t possibly be good. I find its frozen state slightly ironic, since the rest of the house feels like the rainforest, and my hair (a very reliable humidity indicator) is curling wildly even as we speak. Nice visual, right? Yeah, it ain’t good.
I hate problems with the house. They always give me a bad feeling in the pit of my checkbook.
While I’m sitting around waiting for the repairman to show his face and give me the bad news, I’ve turned my attention to dinner. You’re probably wondering how and/or WHY I would possibly be thinking about dinner at a time like this? When I’m so hot and crabby?! Well, that’s how I roll. Planning dinner is a great diversion from the problem at hand. Also, I’m a little obsessed. It’s an illness.
Any hoo, I’m an absolute fool for a good Cobb Salad, which is what I decided to make tonight. Light and fresh, they’re the perfect warm weather dinner. I adore them so much in fact, that I ate a Cobb Salad from the North Shore Bistro every single week for the full nine months that I was pregnant with my third kiddo. Do the math, that’s like, 40 salads. Don’t believe me? Ask my husband. He was my Cobb Salad courier every time I had a craving. A Cobb Salad mule, that’s what he was. I’m sure he’d be thrilled with the title. Let’s just see if he really reads my blog like he says he does.
This version is dressed up a bit with the addition of fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts, and a lovely, light vinaigrette. I used the sale marinated chicken breasts from the meat counter (Italian, they were terrific), sale romaine lettuce, stem tomatoes, and Patrick Cudahy bacon. Economical AND delicious, does it get any better?
Impress your diners by chilling off your plates in the freezer before you plate the salads; it adds a nice touch and will make you look like a pro!
At least something around here will be nice and cold. Humph.
COBB SALAD WITH HERBS AND SHERRY VINAIGRETTE
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, August/September 2008 p. 55
- 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (again, I used the marinated ones from the meat counter)
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- ¾ c. fresh herbs (I used Italian parsley, basil, mint, and chives), chopped (not minced)
- 2 large avocados, pitted and diced
- 2 larged stem tomatoes, seeded and diced
- ¾ c. crumbled blue cheese of your choice
- 1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted (you could easily swap in pecans or walnuts for much less $$ than the pine nuts)
- 8 slices bacon, cooked crisp, cooled, and crumbled
- Sherry Vinaigrette, recipe follows
- Additional fresh chives, chopped for garnish
Place 6 large salad plates in the freezer to chill.
Preheat your grill to medium high. Grill the chicken breasts until well marked and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cool; cut in to small dice.
Combine romaine and herbs in a large mixing bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat lightly, 4 – 5 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
In a medium mixing bowl, toss the avocado, tomatoes, blue cheese, pinenuts, and chicken together with 3 – 4 tablespoons of the dressing. Remove the plates from the freezer. Divide the greens among the plates, arranging the lettuce in a circle with a small hole in the center. Mound the chicken mixture in the center of the lettuce on each plate, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with the crumbled bacon and chopped chives and serve.
- ¾ c. extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ c. good quality sherry vinegar
- 2 t. finely grated lemon zest (from about one lemon)
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced finely or pressed
- ½ t. Dijon mustard
- ½ t. salt
- ¼ t. ground black pepper
Put all of the ingredients in a glass measuring cup or jar with a tight fitting lid and whisk or vigorously shake to combine. You can refrigerate this for up to five days, but allow it to come to room temperature and stir well (or shake again) before serving.
Posted by Leah DamronLeah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."
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