Friday, July 25, 2008

Being Creative

Chris and I are currently in the middle of a week of creativity. Every day for a week, we are encouraging each other to do something creative - something outside our normal realm which means creatively reorganizing the storage closet at work doesn't count.

Today's creative endeavor was in the kitchen with a no-recipe dinner of an Asian chicken salad. My favorite guilty kitchen secret is prepared salad dressing. I love it as salad dressing, marinade, quick sauce and even for a flavorful cooking oil. Such an easy way to pump up flavor on a busy weeknight without feeling like I'm simply assembling processed foods.

So, it's a super easy salad. First, take a few boneless chicken breasts and marinade them in an Asian salad dressing. I used Kraft's Light Toasted Sesame or somesuch. After they sat for an hour or so in the fridge, I had Chris fired up our grill. While it was heating, I took some diced yellow peppers and quickly sauteed them with some minced ginger and shallots. I don't care for raw peppers but didn't want them cooked so I only heated them enough to be slightly toothsome and to bloom out the ginger.

I spread that on a cooking board and got the chicken grilling. To distract me from continually poking the chicken, I tore, rinsed and dried enough red leaf lettuce for two salads. I threw that into a bowl and added the cooled pepper mixture, some diced dried apricots, sliced almonds and some ginger-garlic wonton strips I found in the salad section of the store.

I tossed the salad with some of the dressing then plated it into our favorite salad bowls. The chicken was done then sliced and put on top. We added more dressing to taste and dug in.

Mmm. My creative cooking in the kitchen was delicious. Every bite was gingery and juicy with the peppers. The chicken was moist and thanks to the beauty of the prepared dressing, all the flavors melded quickly and superbly.

An admirable creative effort if I do say so myself!

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