Saturday, July 28, 2012

SoCal Chicken Salad with Avocado & Cilantro

The Farm-to-Table movement is one that’s new to a whole lot of people out there, but there are those of us who were raised that way and for whom it has always been a “thing.” 

I grew up in the city – just barely, mind you.  We lived in Lincoln Place just a couple of houses down from the West Mifflin line.  These days that might not sound like country, but back then, in the quiet of the evening, you could hear cows mooing from across the hills.  And there were train whistles in the distance mingled in with the lowing of the cows that melded into a sleepy nighttime lullaby.

As kids, my dad always bought our veggies and fruits from the back of the farm truck that drove up and down the neighborhood streets – the same farm that produced those beautiful night sounds produced produce!   Besides our local farm delivery, we regularly took Sunday drives into the country visiting farm stands along the way.

We’d all pile into the car - no seatbelts back then – and drive north on Route 19 in whatever car we owned in those days.  I remember our turquoise and white 1969 Chevy Impala with the fins and owl eye tail lights especially…it’s considered “classic” these days.  (Just a thought here…why are old cars considered classic and old broads like me are just old?  From now on I think I'd like to be referred to as a “classic broad.”  I like the sound of that.)  

Anyway, we’d count cows and pigs and horses – whoever saw the most got a whole nickel!  A nickel bought a lot of penny candy!  And we’d stop at the farm markets to stock up on apples, beets, corn, jars of jellies, jams and apple butters, maybe even a fresh rhubarb or blueberry pie – whatever was beautiful, fresh and struck my dad’s fancy. 

I was really lucky to grow up always knowing that “fresh is best.”  And I’ve passed that on to my kids who grew up visiting the family farms here north of Pittsburgh - Soergels, Shenots, Kaelins and the now long-lamented Altmyers – all within a 5 minute drive.  (Okay, maybe 8 minutes on a busy weekend.)

Which brings me to today’s recipe using avocados.  Which are not local.  But if avocados could be grown locally, you can bet I’d be driving out to get the freshest ones available!  Until global warming produces local avocados, I’ll just keep buying the freshest ones available at Whole Foods.

SoCal Chicken Salad with Avocado & Cilantro

  • 2 chicken breast halves, cooked, leftover is perfect
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 small avocado, ripe and buttery, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 smashed
  • 1/2 lime, juice - make sure it's a big juicy lime!
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, cut into thin, short slivers
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Shred the chicken coarsely in a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients mixing until well blended, but the avocado cubes still retain some shape.
Mound onto a plate with tomatoes and whatever else you'd like or mound it onto buns to make a great sandwich. 
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