I used to be a diehard recipe follower. Now I'm less afraid of messing up something. I'm not completely at ease just mixing random things without measuring. Ingredients are too expensive to throw away and I am too picky to eat my mistakes. But I have come to trust my palate more and will occasionally wing it.
I must really be taking risks in my sleep-deprived state of late because I mixed up some chicken salad for sandwich filling to serve at a church luncheon reception with only a vague notion of what I was going for and a quick glance at a couple of recipes. Tyler Florence helped only marginally. I didn't boil my chicken with onion, carrots and celery and save the stock but someday I will. A review of Baltimore's Atwater's restaurant sparked the notion of adding dried cherries as well as the golden raisins I planned. The resulting sandwich wasn't bad -- no complaints but no requests for the recipe (unlike my Rocky Road Brownies, which drew raves.)
Here's what I did -- as best as I can remember as I threw it together early this morning on just a couple of hours' sleep. I'll give you the brownie recipe for good measure.
CYNTHIA'S CHICKEN SALAD
1 4-pound whole chicken
McCormick's French Herb Roasting Rub
1 small jar Hellman's Mayonnaise mixed with a heaping tablespoon of powdered mustard
a cup or so toasted walnuts, chopped
a half-cup or less dried cherries, coarsely chopped
a half-cup or so golden raisins
a couple of stalks of celery, cleaned and finely chopped
3-4 green onions, finely chopped
Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with the seasoning mix. Roast. Cool. Skin, debone and cube the chicken meat.
Mix with the other ingredients and spread on white or wheat sandwich bread. Cut in halves and arrange artfully on a platter.
ROCKY ROAD BROWNIES
1 box Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
1/2 cup or so chocolate chips
a couple of tablespoons of milk
Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions for fudgy brownies. Within the last 5 minutes of bake time, scatter some mini marshmallows on top of the batter. Don't make it a solid layer, but get it even. Return the pan to the oven to finish baking the brownies and melt and toast the marshmallows. Remove from oven and sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top. In a saucepan or the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the milk and stir until smooth. Dribble on top of the brownies. Cool, cut and serve by, uh, arranging artfully on a platter. ;)