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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cook the Cover: Canadian Living May 2014

Happy spring everyone! Although it still doesn't feel like spring here in Toronto, we're still getting bouts of cool temperature and snow flurries. It'll truly be spring when I can wear my ballet flats and spring jacket to work. For now, I'm still rocking the boots and wool coat.

This month, we were given a salad recipe to try. For me, this was an adventurous one to try. I love a good salad, but I like them green! Iceberg lettuce, arugula, or even spring mix, those are my favourite leafy greens. But cabbage, let alone red cabbage? Fennel? These two ingredients were out of my comfort zone. I do have to acknowledge that I like that Canadian Living is challenging me, it's the reason I signed up to cook the covers in the first place! I want to learn about new things that I normally wouldn't pick up and expand my tastebuds, so to speak.
Sesame Chicken with Fennel and Orange Salad
Shopping List: boneless skinless chicken breasts, salt and pepper, sesame seeds, liquid honey, lime juice, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, fennel, red cabbage, cilantro, and orange.
I whisked together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and garlic.

Sob! I really dislike mayonnaise. It is not a staple in my pantry and I never use it on sandwiches or anything else. But, I wanted to give this recipe a true test so I could report back to you, so I bought mayo. Even Howard cringed when it went into our shopping basket. Another condiment I dislike is mustard - Howard's not with me on this one though - and we had this in the fridge. I was starting to wonder if I would like this salad dressing. So far it included two ingredients that I normally don't eat.
I had to take a photograph of the first fennel I ever purchased. It looks pretty cute, like a little heart in some ways. I had no idea how to prepare it so I may have watched a YouTube video to find out. If you're trying it out for the first time too, this is how you core and slice fennel:
  1. Slice the bottom of the bulb (the line on the left of the top photograph).
  2. Remove the outer white layer.
  3. No stalks in this recipe, so slice those off as well (the line on the right of the top photograph).
  4. Cut the bulb in half. To core it, make two cuts (the green lines on the top photograph) on the bottom half.
  5. You're finished coring it! Thinly slice the fennel. It'll smell like licorice.
I also took a photo of the first red cabbage I bought. It's such a deep purple and felt like shiny leather. It was pretty tough too, I wonder if there's a way to soften up the cabbage?
Mixing in the fennel and cilantro with the salad dressing.
For the chicken, mix the honey, sesame seeds, and lime juice together. Sorry that I don't have a photo of the grilling chicken. I'm not able to work carefully with heat and my camera yet. Plus, the instructions told me to cover the chicken with a lid!
While the chicken is cooking, slice the orange, this should go on the salad last. Once the chicken is done, slice and top it on the fennel and orange salad, serve right away!

What can I say about this recipe? The chicken I would add to my repertoire for future use. I like eating honey glazed chicken and the sesame seeds were a nice touch. Orange slices in my salad? I like that too.

But . . . this salad isn't something I would want to eat again. It includes a lot of strong flavours - fennel, red cabbage, and cilantro. It also includes things I personally don't like - mayonnaise, mustard, and fennel. But that's just me. Howard didn't seem to mind it, his only comment being that the dressing was really creamy. That surprised me too because the image on the cover doesn't show the creamy dressing. However, if I were to make the salad again, I would probably slice the fennel even smaller. And I would use a mandolin for the red cabbage.

See what other bloggers thought about the recipe here.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Canadian Living and I received compensation for it. There was no requirement to produce a positive review of this recipe. All opinions are our own.

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