Saturday, August 28, 2010

Apple Pecan Salad and Coconut Chicken Strips

Okay. It was DELISH.

For the pecans:
Spiced Candied Pecans
2 1/2 cups raw pecans
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F (just in case). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir the pecans with the egg white until pecans are coated, then add vanilla and honey. Stir well.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Pour over the nuts and stir until evenly coated.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Slide parchment paper (with nuts still on it) off of the baking sheet and onto a wire rack (or the counter) to cool.
Break nuts up into a bowl to serve or store at room temperature in an airtight container.

For the chicken:

Cut chicken breasts into small thin strips (mine were too large so I had to cook them for longer in the oven after frying them -- which was fine and actually crisped them up all the more). In a large bowl combine one can coconut milk and about 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1 egg. Place chicken in this mixture, making sure all chicken is covered. Let stand (in fridge if you like) for about 20-30 minutes.

In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients. I really had to play with it to keep it the right combination of ingredients. The more chicken I dredged in it the more chunky it became making it harder for the good stuff to stick to the chicken. I used approximately equal parts flour, panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut as well as a few tsps. of (Lawry's would be good) seasoning salt. (Follow your instinct on all of this.) If it's not sticking well after a while, add a little extra everything until it's dry enough to stick again. (We had LOTS of chicken so if you are cooking less you might not have this problem as much.)

Dredge the chicken in the coconut mixture and place in about 1 1/2 inches of hot oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side (until dark golden-brown.) Remove to a paper towel lined plate. If the chicken is not fully cooked, place it on a baking sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

For the salad:

1 head of red leaf lettuce
1 head of butter lettuce
1 pkg. crumbled feta
1 cup of dried cranberries
3 small apples (or 2 large), peeled and sliced thin
the candied pecans (you'll want a lot... trust me)
3 green onions sliced (I didn't use these but it begged for it.

And your favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing (homemade if possible because everything is better homemade!!)

There you go! :^)