It’s freaking hot around here. Miserably hot. Fry an egg on the sidewalk hot.
Me and heat are not the best of pals. Heat itself is one thing. I spent many a year in southern California, so I can do heat.
But in Louisiana, the heat is married to the blasted humidity, and that makes some summer days unbearably oppressive. When Dante was writing his Divine Comedy, I think Louisiana was probably the fifth circle of hell.
When the heat is particularly bad, I do whatever I can to avoid turning on my oven or stove, because doing so is like throwing gasoline onto a bonfire. My air conditioner begins to whimper when it is trying to battle both inside and outside heat, and I refuse to abuse my air conditioner. My sanity rests on the good terms of our relationship, and a pissed-off air conditioner is more frightening than the Exorcist.
In my quest to avoid heating appliances on hot days, I try to come up with meals that are the perfect antidote to the 100 degree assault going on outside my door. These meals usually involve some kind of cold sandwich or salad. I admit that my husband is not too thrilled with these meals, because he really wants hot, manly food at the end of a long work day. However, Husband also respects the air conditioner, and the fact that heat turns me into a rabid hyena, so he usually accepts these meals with good grace…or at least without too much grumbling.
Chicken salad is always a good hot-weather meal, and I usually make it just like Granny: chopped cooked chicken, some diced celery, Hellmann’s mayo and some salt and pepper. (Granny swears that Hellmann’s mayo is the only mayo a southern lady may use. If you go for the cheap stuff, then you are obviously a classless floozy. And dear Lord, don’t ever mention the words Miracle Whip in her presence. The military learned the concept of Shock and Awe from Granny.)
While Granny’s chicken salad is usually my standard, I sometimes like to shake things up a bit. I found another recipe in Southern Living, and I like this chicken salad recipe for a couple of reasons. First, it contains honey, and that gives me a good excuse to incorporate some local honey into our diets, as I hear it may help with our allergies. Second, this recipe is kind of girly, and living in a house full of males, I have to take my girl moments when I can get them.
Despite the pretty picture from Southern Living, I serve this recipe on wheat hoagie rolls. Otherwise it would be too girly, and civil disobedience would ensue.
- 4 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 3 celery ribs, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Garnish: chopped toasted pecans
1. Combine first 4 ingredients.
2. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients. Add to chicken mixture, stirring gently until combined. Garnish, if desired.