Summer of '89

In the summer of 1989, I had just turned 16, had a drivers' license and pocket money from my summer job, and I can tell you I was feeling pretty cool.  Using my newfound freedom wisely, my friends and I started frequenting the mall, of course, and for lunch we would often end up at a nearby Chinese restaurant called Hunan.  Every time, we would all order the Chinese Chicken Salad as it was 1) on the $5 lunch special menu and 2) freaking awesome.  I still order a Chinese Chicken Salad anytime I see it on the menu, but, sadly, it's a rare salad that can make me feel like I'm 16 again.  And yet, one can always dream ...

Tuesday, September 20th:
Chinatown Chicken Salad
Sesame Noodles
Spicy Asian Green Beans
Vegetarian Option:  Chinatown Salad with Tofu
Kids Option:  Bento Box of Chicken, plain noodles & edamame beans ($6)
Dessert:  Chocolate Caramel Brownies ($6)
GYTTW:  King Ranch Casserole ($22, with chicken or veggie)

My version of the Chinatown Chicken Salad is the closest I can get to replicating the original - grilled chicken, fresh veggies, green onions, sesame seeds, toasted almonds* and crunchy wontons served over lettuce in a delicious sesame dressing.  I add a little quinoa (breaking from tradition), just because I like the crunch and it's so healthy.  The vegetarian version with tofu is just as good, so if you're trying to eat less meat, this would be a great week to go meatless.  I know you will like this salad, and I would not be at all surprised if you felt 16 again too!  (Just don't go puffing up your hair or splatter-painting your clothes - I can't take responsibility for that.)

Sesame Noodles are another food that I think I could at eat virtually any time of day or night.  I was recently at a potluck where someone had brought a bowl of them, and my husband finally sort of moved me away from the buffet table where I was lingering near the noodles for longer than was acceptable.  The obvious solution to my noodle-lust was to put them on the DOTP menu asap!  Made with red peppers, edamame, and green onions, these noodles are light and healthy, great hot or cold, with just enough spice to make them positively addictive.

Our Asian Green Beans are flavorful and fun to eat, plus healthy and colorful - just like the green beans you remember from your elementary school lunch trays, right?

I usually don't make a plug for the kids' meals, because they are normally just a very plain version of the main meal, but this week since everyone is getting back into the school routine, I thought I would suggest that these little boxes would make a perfect school lunch if you're feeling the grind of solving that annoying problem every morning.  It's healthy, doesn't require a fork, and the aesthetic of separate little portions may appeal to even the most discriminating eater.

This week's dessert sounds pretty amazing to me - Chocolate Caramel Brownies!  They are a dessert trifecta - cake-y, chewy & fudge-y thanks to the caramel baked right into the brownie.  It might be wise to order extra if you think you will have to share them!

This week's Get You Through the Week Meal - the King Ranch Casserole - is one we've done before, and it's always a big hit.  You may remember that the name of the casserole comes from the King Ranch, the largest cattle ranch in Texas, but the dish is actually made with chicken, not beef.  Go figure.  The casserole is flavorful without being spicy, full of good things like shredded chicken breast, tomatoes, bell peppers, cheese, green olives and onions, and layered with corn tortillas.  Serve it with a green salad, chips and guacamole and you have a dinner that's fit for company!

That's all we've got going on this week y'all.  Thanks so much for all of your first-week enthusiasm and for spreading the word to so many new friends.  We're looking forward to seeing all your faces on the porch!

Claire & Alex

*The almonds will be packaged separately, and we take care not to mix nuts with other foods, but if you have a life-threatening nut allergy, please let us know - we don't want to take any chances with your health!!