Monday, April 5, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Mandarin Chicken Salad

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So I have to admit we didn't make it to 8 glasses of wine at Passover this weekend - BUT we sure tried.

So the next morning - around 7 a.m. when Percy started scratching on our bedroom door - banging really - I mean he had to really put his little shoulder in it - my day died a little. The little guy had been accidentally locked out all night and had reached his breaking point. I woke up in a terrible mood with a black cloud of hazy Kosher wine abuse following me around and then 2 hungry attention starved cats joined the parade. I walked out into our blessed home which had been the scene of an unrivaled Seder. One of the best we've ever hosted. I found my pink slippers ( actual photo of what I look like when I wake up in the morning ) and ate a leftover vegan hamantaschen. . . and made a real effort to do more than just survive.

Dan handles these things so much better than I do. He can poison himself and just keep on ticking. He didn't flinch at the tower of dishes, scattered haystacks of dirty linens and sticky little splatters everywhere. It really was an exceptional night. 3 tables of loved ones, wine and vegan food. Elijah stood us up again  - but that happens. The afterglow was helping a bit but after hours of cleaning the kitchen - we didn't really want to mess it up again with a casserole or something saucy. It was - literally - not in a Cleopatra way - a Salad Day.

I have to admit from the beginning - I was giving Betty a hard time with her ALREADY VEGAN Mandarin Salad Recipe. I'm not sure why really - I blame the black cloud. The very first step - Sugaring the Almonds - seemed unnecessary. Just extra flavor and calories . . . for people who drink too much soda to enjoy a good raw almond. But I was wrong. It took very little time and it really did make a nice extra detail to the salad. Though I think next time I would leave out the sugar and just roast the almond slices. . . PLUS it made our kitchen smell really good.
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Sugar
In a saucepan, cook  Almonds and Sugar over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until Sugar is melted and Almonds are cool and a little roasty looking.
We also didn't love the Sweet & Sour Dressing. . . but I am willing to admit we may have been playing favorites. I mean we just made the Caesar dressing - which is an ambrosia and this just isn't ambrosia - not everything can be ambrosia. . . but it was the right choice for this salad. . . we tweaked it a little ( maybe a lot ) but this was pretty much the recipe :
  • 1/4 Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons copped Fresh Parsley
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Braggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Texas Pete Hot Sauce
  • Dash of ground Black Pepper

Put it all together in a tight container and shake - refrigerate till serving. 

Now Betty had a little side recipe for Crunchy Chicken Mandarin Salad - really you just add Chow Mein Noodles and some grilled Chicken Breasts. We were going for a meal so we upgraded.

P.F. Chang's has an amazing. . . breathtaking really . . . Vegan Lettuce Wrap that one might daydream about from time to time while they eat leftovers for lunch or write blogs about Mandarin salads. . . that was our inspiration.

Heat Olive Oil in an iron skillet. Add the Chikn Strips and stir occasionally. . . be sure and scrap up the crunchy parts from the skillet. Once it starts to brown - add the Water Chestnuts and Braggs and keep moving the mix around. Pull off heat and set aside on a separate plate to cool once the mix is fully cooked and golden brown.
Once the Faux P.F. Chang mix is room temperature -  it is time for the SALAD!
  • 2 bowls or plates if your favorite Lettuce - we use Organic Spring Mix 
  • 3 Stalks of Celery ( chopped )
  • 2 Green Onions ( chopped ) 
  • 1 Can of Mandarin Orange Slices ( drained ) 
  • 2 Tablespoons of French Fried Onions ( replaces the Chow Mein Noodles ) 
Toss the Salad ingredients in a bowl. Separate into 2 separate servings. Then add the Faux P.F.Chang Mix, then Almonds. Add dressing and EAT!  


  1. Oh Nice!

    Sounds delightfully fresh and delicious.

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