Pecans, and Walnuts, and Grapes, oh my!

January 23, 2011

Hey, this is Piña Colada, back for a second post! This week, we had all three of our cooking classes, a rare occurrence lately given all the snow days. We roasted chicken breasts on Tuesday, and Wednesday they were ready to be transformed into chicken salad, my favorite dish of the week.

Unfortunately for me, the recipe involved a bit more chopping than I would have liked. I have never been very comfortable using knifes, and tend to make up my own way to chop things. Somehow, my way always seems to leave Oreo gasping over the safety of my fingers, but for the record, I am working on it…

Icebox Isaac demonstates his chopping skills.

So, when we got in our groups, I chose to roast the nuts, leaving the chopping to the more skilled knife handlers, Icebox Isaac and Dr. Pepper. However, the oven wouldn’t turn on, (if it’s not snow days, then the oven won’t work), and so Crazy Cooking Joe, Alfredo, and I had the exciting task of roasting our nuts on the stovetop. The most important thing was to keep them moving, a very challenging task in an open skillet. Alfredo and I kept losing pieces, which would land on the burner, and start smoking with a lovely nutty smell. However, by the end of the roasting process, we were experts at moving and flipping the pecans and walnuts without losing any. We left lots of white scratches on the stove, proving just how much we moved those skillets.

When I got back to my group, Dr. Pepper had perfectly sliced all the grapes, and Icebox Isaac had turned our chicken breast into a pile of chicken cubes. I managed to chop some tarragon—herbs are definitely easier to cut—and then we combined everything to make our chicken salad.

Concentrating on chopping the tarragon.

We loaded up our mini croissants, the more the better, and enjoyed the amazing chicken salad, croissant, and lettuce combo. We also learned an important lesson about not over-salting your roasted chicken, since we all spent the next few periods extremely thirsty!

The finished chicken salad sandwiches--yum!

Chicken Salad Recipe:


1 roasted chicken breast, cut into a ¾ inch dice (actually, you will want to cut it smaller; our chunks were too big and not much salad fit on each sandwich)

olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup pecan halves

¼ cup walnut halves

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

½ cup green grapes, cut in halves

butter leaf lettuce leaves



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the walnuts and pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 7-8 minutes until golden, stirring once in the middle. Set aside to cool.

(Alternately, if your oven is broken, toast the nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat until you smell a nutty aroma (ours took about 3-5 minutes). Be sure to keep the nuts moving the whole time so they don’t burn.)

2. For the dressing: mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Fold in the chopped tarragon leaves.

3. Place the diced chicken in a bowl, add the pecans, grapes, and walnuts. Pour the dressing over everything, and mix well.

4. Serve on croissants with some lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

(recipe originally by Barefoot Contessa)

This recipe is quite simple, and the finished sandwiches are great!

Oreo and Crazy Cooking Joe enjoy their sandwiches.

Until next time,

Piña Colada


One Response to “Pecans, and Walnuts, and Grapes, oh my!”

  1. Those Sandwiches were tasty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: