May 2012

21may/12

Summer Salads Are Back – And They Brought a Friend!

For a limited time, come in and enjoy three salads that feature fresh ingredients and big flavor.

Chili-Lime Ginger Salad with seared chicken is a nod to Thai cuisine with bold flavors like ginger, mint and lime, the crunch of red pepper and chopped peanuts, and a dressing that’s sweet with a slight kick.  And with three ounces of chicken, this entrée salad is sure to satisfy.  It’s like a refreshing spring roll in a bowl.

Backyard Barbecue Chicken Salad with fresh-cut corn is new to some guests but will be familiar to others.  The salad was first introduced last summer and has been brought back by popular demand. The hearty, yet nutritious salad features marinated pulled chicken breast with fresh-cut summer corn, ripe Roma tomatoes and chopped red cabbage, and is served over mixed greens and tossed with a smoky coleslaw dressing. This “perfect picnic plate” is a leafier version of your own backyard barbeque.

Spinach & Fresh Fruit was first introduced in the summer of 2011 and quickly became a menu favorite. The salad is a wholesome meal that includes fresh strawberries, pecans, crispy bacon and house-made croutons atop tender spinach leaves finished off with blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic fig glaze. The combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy satisfies every taste bud.

16may/12

Take those tea leaves. And branch out.

Recently, we had the pleasure of having Scott Svihula in our Noodles & Company test kitchen. Scott is an official “Teasmith” with China Mist and was here to teach us a little about using tea in unexpected ways.

Now, I’ve always loved drinking tea but I have to admit, cooking with it was a completely new thing for me and I was somewhat skeptical. That didn’t last long though—as soon as I tried his Lapsang Souchong Tea Vinaigrette, I was sold!

Lapsang Souchong is a loose black tea that’s smoked over pine needles in the faraway lands of China. Steeping the tea in heated red wine vinegar imparted a wonderfully aromatic and delicate smoky flavor to our salad vinaigrette. One that left us curious and wanting more.

That’s the beauty of cooking with tea—it adds an extra secret dimension, a subtle texture and a pleasing aroma to your dishes that will leave your guests wondering just exactly how you made it. Not limited to vinaigrettes, tea can also be used as a marinade for fish or chicken, as a dry rub for meats or as a flavoring component to rice or vegetables.

Here’s a couple of recipes Scott shared with us. Try them and let me know what you think!

LAPSANG SOUCHONG TEA VINAIGRETTE

A smoky twist on a vinaigrette from a pine smoked black tea. This savory vinaigrette can be used as your favorite salad dressing, as a marinade or as a sauce for chicken, turkey or fish.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dry Organic Lapsang Souchong Tea Leaves
  • 1.5 tbsp Arizona Desert Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic, Minced
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Brewed Organic Lapsang Souchong Tea Leaves

 

Preparation:

  • In a sauce pan, combine tea and vinegar and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Strain tea from vinegar through sieve.
  • Add all other ingredients, except vegetable oil. Mix together.
  • While continuing to mix, drizzle in the vegetable oil slowly.

 

BERRY BLACK TEA VINAGRETTE

A play on modern fruity salad dressings. This sweet and savory vinaigrette can be used as your favorite salad dressing, as a marinade or as a sauce for chicken, turkey or fish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dry Organic Berry Black Tea Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Arizona Desert Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic, Minced
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Brewed Organic Berry Black Tea Leaves