A Surprisingly Filling Salad.

Part of the reason why things have been so crazy for me over here is that Keith and I decided to  get all home-improvementy and do the following:

  • tear up the carpets in the living room and the study and have the hardwood floors underneath refinished
  • paint the study (Gray Area, by Behr, in case you were interested)
  • change the layout of the apartment by swapping our bedroom and the study

In order to do all that, we had to do the following:

  • move the two sofas, TV and accoutrements, “media cabinet,” coffee table and other furniture out of the living room
  • move the desk, chairs, bookshelves and other furniture out of the study

And, because we live in a five-room space — one room of which is almost entirely bed — that meant we had to temporarily place one sofa, the coffee table and a floor lamp in the kitchen, and the other sofa, television, bookshelves, desk, chairs and other miscellaneous items in the dining room.

Oh, and because the process of refinishing hardwood floors is both stinky and messy, we camped out at my parents’ in New York for about five days, and because we still haven’t assembled our new bedroom furniture, we haven’t yet moved our bedroom or the study… meaning our dining room is still full of furniture.  The sofas have been reinstated, thank god, but there are superfluous refugee chairs and storage furniture camped out.

So, my point — and I do have one — is that my apartment is in a state of flux, and I’ve been making good-for-me quick-and-easy meals as a way to reduce my stress level.  Oh, and that my living room’s and study’s floors are a lovely golden honey color and shiiiiiny, as you can see in the photo to the left.

You can also see the colorful, springy, good-for-me, quick-and-easy salad I’m dying to tell you about.  Honestly, meals don’t come much simpler than this — the most time-consuming part is  the prep: chopping up a red bell pepper and a red onion, mincing tarragon and garlic, and tearing up a chicken (which is very satisfying work indeed).

Anyway, even if this salad was hard to make — which it is not; I can’t stress this enough — the end result is certainly worth the minimal effort.  It’s crazy to think that a few ingredients make such a big impact, but it’s true.  Also true is that this salad is just as flavorful chilled or at room temperature; I’m already eagerly waiting for ideal picnic weather so I can bring it on the road.

One question for you, before we get to the recipe: Is anyone interested in nutritional information? I pretty much try to cook healthy foods at home, so I’ve got the stats for a good chunk of these recipes.  If you want them, I’ll start including them.

Potato, Chicken + Fresh Pea Salad, from Cooking Light
Makes four very generous portions

1  pound  fingerling potatoes, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (I used a mix of fingerling and baby purple potatoes)
2  cups  fresh sugar snap peas
2  cups  chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (I instead boned and poached a chicken)
½  cup  finely chopped red bell pepper (Next time I will add much more pepper)
½  cup  finely chopped red onion
2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
2  tablespoons  white wine vinegar
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
1  teaspoon  minced fresh tarragon
1  teaspoon  salt
½  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1  garlic clove, minced (I almost always double the amount of garlic)

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until almost tender. Add peas; cook 2 minutes or until peas are crisp-tender. Drain; place vegetables in a large bowl. Add chicken, bell pepper, and onion.
  2. Combine oil and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over salad; toss gently to combine.