Tarragon Lemon Chicken Salad + Maple Apricot Granola

Some things will just never be as good as they were the first time… first wine buzz (“floppy,” as I referred to it), first time eating a Lean Pocket (it wasn’t even that great the first time, but it won’t ever get better than that either), second Chick-fil-A waffle fry (not quiiite as hot or crispy), for example. Other things, they get better with practice… many boy/girl things, for instance… wink wink. I’ve read recently that food is much the same in that after the first couple of bites, the flavors don’t register anymore (that’s why you chase your favorite craft beer with PBR, for instance). But sometimes, SOMETIMES, flavors penetrate (giggle word… heh heh) those murky taste regions and come alive and stay that way bite after bite after bite after bite. This chicken salad is that. 

Here are a couple more things that have pleased and satisfied us this week. In the food world. I can’t talk about other areas (heeeey, boyfriend-husband, you be lookin’ fine in that chef’s coat…)

I also need to make a public note that when DTH mentions that he likes something, I pretty much force it down his throat until he doesn’t like it anymore. For example, when we first moved into our house he commented on how much he likes V8 juice. Well turbo-wife here made sure that every. single. day. for months that guy had a full-to-overflowing glass of V8 juice beside his bed the moment his eyes opened. And not just V8. No ma’am. I collected coupons and offered him a variety of flavors for his morning tomato juice – original, Hot ‘N Spicy (his favorite), Lime, Black Pepper, Angel Wings, Holy Water. After aboutttt two months I noticed he wasn’t as excited to chase his coffee with the vegetable nectar. I said casually, “I am always going to make sure you have that because you love it, and because I love you soveryverymuch.” Ever so carefully he looked at me, his brimming glass of red juice, and said, “Yeah. I pretty much have resigned myself to the fact I’ll have a glass of V8 every morning until I die.” We then had a very nice conversation about, well, moderation. I feel like granola could be heading in that same direction, but I’m promising myself I’m just having fun experimenting with flavor bouquets. I’m kind of like the stalker that he’s legally obligated to love for the rest of his life. Which suits me just fine, thankyouverymuch.

1. Mollydooker The Boxer – We were the guests for dinner a very wine-savvy couple’s home last night, and they graciously introduced us to Mollydooker’s The Boxer Shiraz – a fruity, full-flavored, voluptuous (think Kim Kardashion pre-Kimbryo) wine that went down, well, it went down a little too smoothly. Good gracious, it was tasty.
2. Nutella Espresso Brownies – I said, Nutella. Espresso. Brownies. I hate adding the tag -gasm to anything, but this was about as close as I’ll get. These are like dessert wedding night. There you go. That’s what they are.
3. Jam – Want to know what makes you feel sexier or more desirable than nearly anything at all? Firstly, realizing that you are not Amanda Bynes, and secondly, figuring out, at 26, that making jam is the best hobby, then calling your grandmother to compare notes. So I did that. I made a lot of jam. I needed a basic recipe to really allow the flavors to shine without too much trouble (I’d decided on vanilla rosemary rhubarb and strawberry balsamic basil), and I pre-decided that I needed a recipe that didn’t include pectin. Any ingredient that’s a slant rhyme of the word “rectum,” just isn’t going to be incorporated. Thankfully, I found this and this, and I merely altered each slightly based on my taste preference. I’m dreaming of gelatinous substances now and can’t wait to mix up some more.
4. Apricot Maple Pecan Granola – After success with the Peanut Butter Banana granola, I was itching to see what else I could make. After digging around Joy the Baker’s beautiful blog, I found her recipe for Maple Granola that she created after a trip to Maine. With my husband’s roots on the Maine coastline and the jar of maple syrup from my brother-in-law’s trees in my fridge, I set to work. I over-toasted it a bit, but that actually worked really well for the flavor of the end product. Instead of goji berries I added dried cranberries and blueberries and mixed in some chia seeds as well. This morning I topped Greek yogurt with my fancy-pants-non-rectum-containing jam and my new granola and loved every bite. And I’m pretty sure Davey the Hubbers did too. 
ImageTarragon Lemon Chicken Salad
Note: There aren’t measurements given, because this is more of a personal preference assembly (but trust that the flavor combination is out of this world) (double parenthetical phrase – we love the flavor that grilling chicken thighs add, but if you’re in a pinch, grab a rotisserie chicken)… like more citrus: add more lemon. Like the bright earthiness of tarragon: throw some more in there. Like your chicken salad as mayonnaise with a touch of chicken: do that. Then call your doctor right away to have your arteries ablated.

Chicken thighs
Lemon juice
Tarragon (dried or fresh)
Mayonnaise (we are partial to Duke’s, especially being South of the Mason-Dixon, but, any brand will do)
Champagne vinegar

Season chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper. Grill thighs. Chill chicken until cool to the touch (we throw ours in the freezer for a quick chill). Chop chicken and coat in a bowl with mayonnaise. Add lemon juice, finely chopped tarragon, champagne vinegar. Mix until desired consistency – if too thin from vinegar, add more mayo, and vice versa. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.

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