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Our home in Upstate NY was located in an historic hamlet on the shore of Lake Ontario called Pultneyville. The hamlet was originally laid out in 1806 and is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. At one time a significant Great Lakes trading port and site of a War of 1812 skirmish, it now is a quiet, Western New York bedroom community. Set between the fruit orchards and a Great Lake on the Seaway Trail, many of Pultneyville’s activities focus on summer sailing and theatre. The hamlet boasts an active marina and is home to the second-oldest little theater in the United States.
The architectural style of our home was what they term ‘Eastlake’…a 2-story structure built in 1842. During the Civil War, escaping slaves found safe shelter in a dark, damp cistern area beneath the kitchen floor. We had 10-acres of land, 5-acres of which was an old apple orchard and the remainder sprawling manicured yard with meandering lake stone paths leading to fancy perolas of various shapes and sizes that my husband Rob lovingly constructed. We named our country estate ‘Lake Watch’ and it was the go-to place for all family gatherings and neighbor get-togethers. Picnics were frequent events once the snow left. Between Rob’s and my family we’re talking 30-40 people.
Rob built a large 1,800+ square foot three-level deck attached to our home that was a beautiful outdoor living space. Adjacent to the deck was a wonderful 20×40 inground swimming pool with a gorgeous octagon building that my father and Rob built. It held the pool filtration system and swimmer’s restroom. It was indeed a very casual country resort!
If you’re familiar with Upstate NY, any given Saturday or Sunday in summer the temperature could be a hot and humid 90 degrees or a cold and breezy 60 degrees. One of the favorite pastimes was throwing everyone in the pool (with the exception of my parents and my mother and father-in-law). One of the instigators of this sport was my brother John. This is the same brother that bought our 3-year old son a shoe polishing kit and our 5-year old daughter a real makeup kit.
Back to the chicken salad recipe. I can’t think of a picnic that this wasn’t part of the menu. The original recipe called for lots more curry powder and raisins. This recipe is very versatile and I have made it with chopped apples, grapes and dried cherries. I prefer the sliced almonds, but you could substitute with either cashews or chopped walnuts or pecans.
Give this recipe a try – you’ll love it!
To make this dish a great success, I recommend using these ingredients and cooking tools: Ingredient Note: Whenever possible, I always purchase the “Culinary” size ingredients for cost savings and their canister or large seal containers. That way I’m rarely out of an ingredient when I need to put my hands on one. Also, if you’re unfamiliar with a specific brand that I recommend, you can rest assured that I’ve tested it many time before against more well-known brands and found it superior. Lastly, oftentimes the actual “pack or bulk size” of a recommended ingredient is listed. That’s for your ordering purposes. It has nothing to do with the “specific amount” called for in my recipe.
Curried Chicken SaladCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Himalayan pink salt and McCormick freshly ground pepper – to taste
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (recommend: Hellmann’s mayonnaise)
1/3 cup good dry white wine
1/4 cup chutney
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds
Head of Romaine lettuce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan
- Rub skin the skin with olive oil
- Sprinkle liberally with Himalayan pink salt and McCormick freshly ground black pepper
- Roast chicken breasts for about 45 minutes until the it reaches 165 degrees on a instant read thermometer. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Remove the meat from the bones, discard skin, and diced the chicken into large bite-size pieces
- For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, white wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Himalayan pink salt in the bowl of the Cuisinart food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.
Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and cranberries, and mix well.
- Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to incorporate. Add the almonds and serve on Romaine lettuce leaves at room temperature.