Washington, D.C is always a pleasant road trip from New York. If we don’t encounter traffic along the way, it’s even a better drive. Road trips provide a chance to have “catch-up” conversations, read a book and relax. Most of all, seeing family is always fun. At our destination, my sister served strawberry margaritas, and she cooked breakfast the next morning. It was a relaxing vacation from my kitchen.
The boyfriend and I work together beautifully when traveling by car. He organizes the maps and drives towards the destination. My responsibility is planning and cooking our road trip picnics. I’m also the map-reader as he drives, but sleepiness interferes with that task.
My food responsibility is always successful. We don’t want to spend a couple hours in a restaurant, nor do we want to eat the unlimited fast food options available on the New Jersey Turnpike. This time, a Curry Chicken Salad was served with whole-wheat pita bread. In addition cherries; organic, unsalted pretzels; mangoes that are peeled and chopped; water with lemon slices; and freshly brewed unsweetened mint-lemon tea was served.
By Sunday night, we returned to New York exhausted. Thanks to The Holland Tunnel, our little road-trip went from being relaxing to anxious, nerve-wrecking stress. It was New York’s lovely way of welcoming us home.
Curry Chicken Salad
2 to 3 cups poached/steamed chicken; finely chopped or shredded*
1/8 to 1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 to 1-1/2 cup fresh basil, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, cilantro and/or mint; finely chopped
(Optional) 1 Serrano chili; ribs and seeds discarded; finely diced
1 green bell pepper or 2 Italian/Cuban peppers; seeds discarded and finely diced
1 small Granny Smith Apple; peeled and cored; diced (or use halved grape tomatoes or grapes)***
1/3 cup raisins, cranberries or dried cherries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 to 2 tbsp. mango chutney**
1 to 2 tsp. fresh ginger; grated
Sea salt and pepper; to taste
2-3 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. honey
The juice of one lime, plus more as needed
3 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
(Optional) A pinch of crushed red pepper, to taste
2/3 to 1 cup olive oil mayo or plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
1. Place chicken, red onion, fresh herbs, optional serrano chili, green bell pepper, fruit, dried fruit and almonds in a large bowl.
2. Whisk Mango chutney, fresh ginger, sea salt, fresh black pepper, curry powder, honey, lime juice, garlic, crushed red pepper, mayo/yogurt and olive oil in a medium bowl to make a curry sauce.
3. Mix the curry sauce into the chicken mix. Taste and adjust seasoning or add a little mayo/yogurt if too dry. If needed, add more lime juice.
4. Serve as a sandwich on toasted buttered bread or as a salad.
* Use skinless and boneless chicken. Method 1: Poach or steam chicken breast with one crushed garlic, roughly chopped onion, a few twigs of thyme, the juice of one lemon, a dash of white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Method 2: Roast about 3 chicken breasts seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground garlic, dried or fresh thyme leaves and olive oil over a foil lined baking sheet in preheated 350°F oven for about 30 to 45 minutes or until throughly cooked. Remove from oven to completely cool. Finely chop or shred chicken.
** Before purchasing mango chutney, read the ingredients on the label. A good brand doesn’t have corn syrup, artificial coloring and synthetic flavoring.
***Use diced apples in the winter, halved grape tomatoes in the summer and/or halved grapes in autumn or spring