Thursday, October 22, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Salad

A couple of nights ago I had some friends for dinner, but not in that Hannibal Lecter way with a nice little Chianti and fava beans . It was time for book club and most often we meet at a restaurant. Instead, I decided to have it at my home. Maybe I was using my friends as an impetus to get my Halloween decorations up. (Why is it we will do things for guests that we won't just go ahead and do for ourselves?) Or maybe I decided to do it because I listed "have a small dinner party"as one of my October joy moments.  Or possibly I put it on my joy list because I already knew I wanted to have them here for dinner. Who knows what my thought processes were? Certainly not me!

I did manage to get the outside of the house as decorated, as is, until Halloween night. There are  a few additional things to put out but they don't like wind or rain and I really don't want them to die or fly . (Last year some of my rats and skulls scurried away.)

The foyer, dining room and the den are somewhat decorated but the jury is still out on doing the living room.  So, I am ready for the big night except for chocolate and I refuse to buy it more than a couple of days ahead of time. ( Because I can't be trusted around a Hershey Bar?)

I wanted the table to look festive, but did not want to just throw a couple of pumpkins on it  I put a black tablecloth on the table and created a centerpiece that had more of a fall theme than true Halloween, but I anchored it on burnt orange woven placemats, so it did have a touch of a Halloween look.

Several years ago a dear friend gave me these fantastic monkey candle holders. Is it even possible to not love a monkey with a fez?  I don't think so either.  The monkeys sat on opposite ends of the placemats and I filled in the center with some fall leaves I had dried last year. My only regret is that I didn't dry more leaf branches last year because the arrangement could have used a few more.  Since the leaves have not turned here, running out in the yard and grabbing a few was not an option.  I also had some sticks with dried buds that were stuck randomly in wherever space needed a little something extra. (No idea what they are, but they made an attractive filler material.)  Last and least were the small amber, orange and brown glass pumpkins used as table scatter

The menu was very simple, but we have to work with diets and food preferences: no tomatoes, bell peppers, cheese, red sauce, basil, cooked fruit, and must have paleo options. After racking my brain (thinking about it for maybe 15 minutes) I decided to do a cold meal. The appetizer was a purchased 7 layer dip and tortilla chips, with pinot nor.

Because I was opting for a cold meal, I wanted to plate our meal in a non-traditional way. (OK the cold meal was not really a qualifier for odd plating at all.  I like to use things in an unexpected manner.)  Rather than normal plates, I pulled out a sushi set and served the main course on the sushi plates.  The side was served in the set's sauce dishes .

 I decided on was buffalo chicken salad for the entree (?), wilted cauliflower marinated in ginger dressing, sliced tomatoes rolls, wine, tea and coffee, with caramel fudge frosted pumpkin butterscotch cupcakes for dessert.

  Buffalo Chicken Salad
(Paleo or not, your choice)

1 large roasted chicken, meat removed and shredded
1 small red onion, small dice
4 ribs celery, chopped
2 small carrots, finely shredded ( I did not do this but should have for color and added texture)
1/3 cup paleo friendly mayonnaise
1/4 cup Texas Pete Hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
(If you are paleo stop here)
2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar

In a large bowl mix the first 4 ingredients.  Stir in the mayo then add the hot sauce.  Mix thoroughly
Taste a bit and season with salt and pepper. (I don't like salt much so never rely on my measurements for what will taste really good. It is easier to have a salt shaker on the table so others can salt to taste add rather then over salting).  If you want a more traditional buffalo chicken flavor, mix the blue cheese, additional mayo and vinegar together then pour it over the buffalo chicken and stir well to blend.   Serve on lettuce leaves (paleo people can wrap their chicken salad in the leaf and eat it as a roll up) and pass the rolls.  No one here ate it as a sandwich, but that was an option.  If you like a tad of heat with your chicken salad by all means make this.  Personally, I would have loved this with some bell pepper and water chestnuts too, but as I said earlier, there are foods we just do not use because of diets, allergies or taste preferences.

This was a tasty, simple meal which was made so much better by good friends, good conversation and a good portion of wine!


  1. You are so correct, no one can resist a monkey in a fez hat. I love that potato salad recipe, shall definitely have to try it.

  2. I seem to have more than a couple of fez wearing monkeys hanging out at my house. It seems once you let one in others follow!

  3. The recipe sounds delicious! Love the monkeys!

  4. You know me and my monkeys! It really is good Millie

  5. Am I the only one who thinks all of the monkeys are a little creepy? But, of course in a good way. :)

    1. They are not for everyone. They either love you or they don't, but I swear these things multiply like rabbits. Everyone that knows me has found one and brought them to me (from lamps to bookends including one tiny one who smokes and blows smoke rings).

    2. Well, smoke rings might be worth having one. :)

  6. The salad looks delicious and I really like the table!

  7. Thanks Kylie! The chicken salad was very tasty. I will do it often.