Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Salad Blues

I go to Panera Bread every Wednesday to meet up with my knitting group, and if I eat dinner while there, I usually order the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad.  It's been my favorite for a long time.  Sure, I eat other things there, but keep going back to the salad.

Well.  Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago that the salad, a long-time menu item, has been discontinued!  I ate my last Asian Sesame Chicken Salad and I didn't know it.  The restaurant has switched over to "all-natural" ingredients in everything and apparently, there's something in the salad that doesn't make the cut.  (My friend Rayna is bummed about no more pepperoncini in her Greek salad, apparently they didn't make the cut either.)

I'm bummed.  I get the desire for natural ingredients but sheesh!  Let people decide for themselves.  Although, I guess they ARE letting people decide, in terms of deciding to eat at Panera or not.  Since it's still a super-convenient place to hold knit night and was tough to find a new location in the first place, we'll be staying.  And most nights, eating.

So to satisfy that craving, I vowed to make an Asian Sesame Chicken salad myself.  Sauteed chicken breast, greens, cucumber, cilantro and toasted almonds, topped with a little homemade Carrot-Ginger dressing.  (Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen's "Light Cooking" cookbook.)  It wasn't the same.  However, it was still very good.  All of those flavors worked well together and made for a filling, healthy lunch.  And homemade dressing always beats the pants off of bottled store-bought, in terms of flavor, fat AND calories.

Hmmmm.   Maybe if it had tortilla strips next time, it'll be a closer match.  Probably not, but I'll keep trying.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Nostalgic Tuesday Treat

I have a soft spot for scones.  One of my favorite memories is eating them with English clotted cream in a park in London with my friend Alexi.  I'd just finished college, gotten engaged and landed my first job out of school.  Lots of things to be happy about!  I still remember the warm sunshine, the comfort of our rented lawnchairs and this incredible feeling of happiness and satisfaction.

So when I discovered that we had a ton of blueberries in the fridge and Brian suggested scones, I was all for it!  These are from Cooking Light, so there's no sugary glaze.  I like them better that way.  Lemon would also be a good addition here.

After baking I sent Lexi a text and said "I made scones, now I want clotted cream."  She texted back a selfie of her holding a big jar of the stuff, with a huge grin on her face.  Apparently there's a British goods store not that far from her.  I know another shop besides the local yarn shop that I will be visiting the next time I'm in the area!