my own blog. I think maybe it's Nikki's gentle way of encouraging me to get back to work.
The truth is, I love food, and I really enjoy making food appropriate to the season. Summer is the season of grilled foods and fresh flavors to me, and this meal is designed to be easy to make and easy to find the ingredients for; they're probably all in your pantry and fridge right now. It worked well for my family, since I just left the lettuce and dressing out for my kids. And not only is this meal healthy and balanced, it's delicious leftover. That's a winner for me, since I really like having leftovers for lunch.
If you haven't made your own salad dressing before, you definitely need to try it. Not only are they easy and so inexpensive, I think they taste way better than bottled dressings. And they keep in your refrigerator in a mason jar for 3-4 weeks, at least, so it's a good idea to make a generous amount and keep it on hand. I've considered doing a whole post on salad dressings. A classic French vinaigrette with dijon and red wine vinegar is my favorite, but sometimes a zesty ranch or a simple Greek vinaigrette are just the thing, and it's such a simple way to feel creative or like a true chef in a kitchen.
microplane zester to grate two or three cloves of garlic, essentially adding fresh, slightly pungent garlic juice to the dressing, which can easily be distributed by whisking and doesn't leave breath-killing pieces scattered throughout. You may be thinking this is a silly thing to get worked up over, but it's been so fantastic for me!
Since I have a tendency to ramble on, I'll stop blubbering and talk about the black beans before passing out the recipe.
Refried beans are delicious, are they not? I love black beans, I love refried beans, and I love chipotle. It's always a good idea to combine them all, and it is not overwhelming to make them. I've slow-simmered beans dozens of times, just for fun, but I use canned beans if I'm in more of a hurry (meaning I don't have 7 hours to make dinner). There's very little difference in flavor, so I don't recommend the slow simmer unless you love to do it or are looking to save a dollar or two. They're cheap either way.
One last note: this salad can really be added to as summer produce comes into season. Garden fresh tomatoes would be delicious, or peas. Even avocados would go well.
Leafy Grilled Chicken Salad and Easy Refried Black Beans
2-3 lbs. chicken breasts
1 large (12 oz.) sweet onion, chopped (about 2 c.)
6-7 cloves garlic, chopped
coarse Kosher or sea salt
2 ears corn on the cob
2 15-oz. cans black beans
green leaf lettuce
Ranch Dressing, recipe follows
Chipotle Sour Cream, recipe follows
Make the salad dressing if you haven't yet. See recipe below.
Make the chipotle sour cream if you haven't yet. See recipe below.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a large dose of salt to the water, then boil the corn for 5 minutes. Remove the corn from the water. Salt it quickly, then set it on a cooling rack to air dry completely.
Let the chicken and corn rest for about 2 minutes after grilling. In the meantime, prepare enough lettuce for the amount of salads you'll be making.
Slice the chicken breasts and cut the corn from the cob. Top the lettuce with the sliced chicken, corn, and ranch dressing.
1 T. sugar
3 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. Dijon mustard
fresh herbs, if you have them (I used thyme and curly parsley; chives or tarragon would also be great)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. sour cream
15 turns fresh black pepper
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on size), freshly grated
Whisk together the sugar, vinegar, salt, and mustard. Whisk in the finely chopped herbs, about 1/2 t. each, then the olive oil. Whisk in the sour cream and mayonnaise, then whisk in the black pepper and grated garlic. Taste for salt.
Chipotle Sour Cream
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 t. blended chipotles en adobo (see notes above)
Stir ingredients together. Taste for salt.