I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!

And the second runner up is......

{drum roll, please} Chicken Waldorf Salad.

Why is it that even though I've found what I consider THE perfect recipe for something, I'm still compelled to try others? Maybe I just need to be reassured that it is, in fact, THE perfect recipe. Maybe I think I'll find a MORE PERFECT recipe. Is there such a thing? I think not. Case in point....

Last summer I posted my all-time favorite recipe for chicken salad but when I saw this recipe in the December 2007 Bon Appetit, I just had to try it. Could it be better than mine, I wondered? There was only one way to find out and so it rolled around on my marathon menu plan for this week.

Wednesday's menu was supposed to be Chicken Waldorf Salad and a dessert called Floating Islands with Lemon-Scented Custard Sauce and Raspberries (sounds absolutely DIVINE, doesn't it?). Notice I say supposed to be. See that lovely drink in the background? It's called a "Blue Lagoon Martini" but we can just call it the "After Two (okay, three) of These, There Ain't No Way I Can Make Dessert" martini. Let's just say that I had a really bad day yesterday, and a drink (times three) was well deserved.

I was quite pleased with the outcome, but only after the flavors had a chance to meld (I seem to be a huge fan of day old food, eh?). You should plan to make this early in the day - or even the day before you plan to eat it. I was a little leery of the red onion so I only used about half of what was called for but was pleasantly surprised by the little burst of savory it added to the sweetness of the fruit. I still think my chicken salad is better, but this ranks right up there as a close second. Maybe it will become your numero uno chicken salad recipe. And just in case that it turns out that you've had a really bad day, go ahead and have yourself one of these little blue beauties with it....

Chicken Waldorf Salad by Bon Appetit

1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I used a rotisserie chicken from the deli)
1-1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1-1/2 cup halved red seedless grapes
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion (I only used about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
spring lettuce mix

Boil apple juice and pineapple juice until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 10 minutes). Cool completely.

Whisk mayo, honey, mustard, and turmeric in bowl. Gradually whisk in juice, then oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For salad, mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Serve salad over spring greens and garnish with walnuts.

Blue Lagoon Martini

1/2 ounce Blue Curacao
1-1/2 ounce vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Kick back and enjoy!

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