Chicken Salad in Choux Pastry

For our shoe making party we prepared our regular chicken salad recipe.

Chopped almonds, craisins, and celery were added to chicken in equal parts.
Chopped almonds, craisins, and celery were added to chicken in equal parts.

The chicken salad is easy:

  • chopped rotisserie chicken,
  • craisins,
  • celery,
  • pan toasted sliced almonds,
  • mayonnaise.
I chopped the sliced almonds then browned them lightly in butter/olive oil.
I chopped the sliced almonds then browned them lightly in butter/olive oil.

This time we finely chopped all the ingredients because we planned to fill small choux pastry balls with the mixture.

Craisins were chopped.
Craisins were chopped.

I used the recipe for Basic Cream Puff Dough from Epicurious. 

The small points need to be flattened with a wetted fingertip.
The small points need to be flattened with a wetted fingertip.

After following the directions for mixing the dough I put it in a pastry bag and piped small blobs onto a baking sheet.

We cooked the pate a choux on parchment paper and removed immediately upon removal from the oven to deter sticking.
We cooked the pate a choux on parchment paper and removed immediately upon removal from the oven to deter sticking.

After baking for 10 minutes at 425 degrees then turning the oven down to 350 for another 12 minutes we cooled the balls.

A small scoop conveniently filled the choux pastry balls.
A small scoop conveniently filled the choux pastry balls.

Then the bite-size pastry were sliced in half and filled with chicken salad.

We served the small chicken salad balls on the buffet in a glass-topped platter.
We served the small chicken salad balls on the buffet in a glass-topped platter.

One recipe makes about 50 balls.

What do you like in your chicken salad?

Mid-Afternoon Menu for the Shoe Party

In a little more than a week we’ll be throwing our Party with a Purpose, cutting out shoe tops for Sole Hope.

We'll be using yellow gourds as table and mantel decorations.
We’ll be using yellow gourds as table and mantel decorations.

Even though it’s taking place from 1 to 4 in the afternoon I always like to have a little nosh.

We'll use the kitchen island as a buffet station.
We’ll use the kitchen island as a buffet station.

This time we’ll try to keep the food in the kitchen so there are no crumbs in the shoe shipment.

The kitchen island
The kitchen island

The menu is simple:

  •  Mini-quiches
  • Chicken salad in choux (shoe) pastry
  • Lady finger sandwiches with pumpkin pastry cream
This Ham and Swiss Quiche will be miniaturized.
This Ham and Swiss Quiche will be miniaturized.

I have a favorite recipe for quiche which I’m going to try to reinvent as individual bites either without crust or with fillo dough.

Previously I served chicken salad on potato rolls, this time in tiny choux pastry balls.
Previously I served chicken salad on potato rolls, this time in tiny choux pastry balls.

My chicken salad is usually made with rotisserie chicken, craisins, celery, and toasted almonds. This time I’ll chop the salad up a little more to fit into the wee pâte à choux balls.

Choux pastry
Choux pastry

I like to take recipes that have been successful and put a little twist on them. This time trading out rolls for pastry balls.

Pastry cream layered between 2 store-bought lady fingers.
Pastry cream layered between 2 store-bought lady fingers.

The last item is dessert-like.  I got the idea from our chef at work who made a nice, light dessert with lady fingers and pastry cream.  I thought I could do the same thing substituting pumpkin pastry cream.

What’s your go-to food for a crowd?

Facilitate

I like to have get-togethers at our home.

A party can be simple or elegant.
A party can be simple or elegant.

But sometimes actually entertaining at home is not possible.

Lurman Woodland Theatre has free concerts on Saturday and Sunday nights in summer.
Lurman Woodland Theatre has free concerts on Saturday and Sunday nights in summer.

In our area there is an abundance of free music and free films.

Last night 6 of us visited a church (not ours) to watch God's Not Dead 2.
Last night 6 of us visited a church (not ours) to watch God’s Not Dead 2.

When I find something that really interests me I email a group of friends and tell them I’ll be there. I don’t judge the interest I just make the invitation; I facilitate.

Texting is an easy way to hook up.
Texting is an easy way to hook up.

I’m sure to add my cell number to the email with the instruction to text or call when they arrive at the venue, especially if it is a big venue like the parade grounds at our local Army base.

This cannon actually fires.
This cannon actually fires.

If it’s something I have done previously I add any details that might sway someone who is on the fence. For instance the U.S. Army Field Band is performing the 1812 Overture with real canons.  I’ve heard it before and it’s fabulous.  I reminded everyone to bring their own lawn chair.

Bug spray is de rigeur in Maryland in summer.

I encourage you to do some research and contact your social circle for a fun and different and free event.  Provide as much or as little as you like. Don’t for get the bug spray.

What event can you facilitate for your friends?

We Came, We Ate, We Watched

Friday night we had our choir over to watch the documentary Young @ Heart.

Air-popped popcorn. What's a movie without popcorn.?
Air-popped popcorn. What’s a movie without popcorn.?

I planned a simple menu that could easily be put together in an hour after I came home from work.

Cover the sandwiches with a damp dish towel to keep the sandwiches moist.
Cover the sandwiches with a damp dish towel to keep the sandwiches moist.

Instead of making individual sandwiches I bought baguettes and made four large sandwiches.

Turkey breast and avocado on baguette.
Turkey breast and avocado on baguette.

In additional to a traditional ham and Swiss with lettuce and tomato, I combined turkey and avocado.

Grating the red bell pepper makes the texture more pleasant in the sandwich than chopping it.
Grating the red bell pepper makes the texture more pleasant in the sandwich than chopping it.

I added grated red bell pepper to the turkey and avocado. Three grocery stores were out of sprouts or those would have been on the sandwich, too.

Folks could mix and match their sandwich choices.
Folks could mix and match their sandwich choices. The condiments: Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, pesto, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.

Then we cut the sandwiches into smaller sections and provided condiments to be applied by the eater.

Charlie provided the fudge filled pretzels in the foreground.
Charlie provided the fudge filled pretzels in the foreground.

I also supplied movie candy and popcorn.

Movie snacks individualized for easy eating.
Movie snacks individualized for easy eating.

One friend brought a mixture of pretzels, popcorn, Chex cereal, slivered almonds, craisins, and M&Ms covered with white chocolate individually packaged. Totally addictive.

What’s the last movie you saw?

A Busy Week

This week started off busy and is slated to continue that way.

Tennis Racquets -- all for one price.
Tennis Racquets — all for one price.

Yesterday I sold our old tennis racquets for $15 after listing them on Craigslist. It was a bargain and the buyer arrived in a Lincoln. I gave her a 2-hour window and of course she arrived at the end of the window.

The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.
The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.

Tuesday night we start our summer book club.

The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We'll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.
The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We’ll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.

I’ve rearranged the furniture in the conservatory so 10 of us can fit in this room to discuss To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.
Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.

I told Charlie he has to clear out his stuff from the conservatory floor.

The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner -- unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.
The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner — unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.

I also asked him “very nicely” to put an air conditioner in the window in the corner.  Generally the house stays at a comfortable temperature but we’re expecting hot and humid days and some of my guests suffer from over heating.

The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.
The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.

Then on Friday we’re hosting a screening of Young @ Heart for my choir.  This is also happening in the conservatory.

The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.
The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.

I invited 19 people but am realistically expecting 10 to 12.  We’ll move the coffee table out of the room (under the dining room table) and set up chairs facing the television.

Do you like to entertain?

Screening Room Menu

We’re planning a movie night with the documentary “Young @ Heart”.

The loveseats which usually face each other have been turned toward the television.
The loveseats which usually face each other have been turned toward the television.

In addition to rearranging the furniture in the conservatory/screening room I need a non-messy, easy-to-eat menu that can be consumed during the movie.

The invitation lets everyone know we'll have food.
The invitation lets everyone know we’ll have food.

The invitation says we’ll be serving sandwiches and drinks so I decided to pin down the menu. I needed a low cholesterol option which is the first sandwich below.

For the sandwiches I'll cook just a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.
For the sandwiches I’ll cook just a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.

Menu:

  • Sandwiches on baguette:
    • Turkey, avocado, sprouts, red bell pepper
    • Ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato
  • Popcorn
  • Movie candy:
    • Lemonheads

      Lemonheads
      Lemonheads
    • Junior Mints

      Junior Mints
      Junior Mints
    • M&Ms

      M&Ms
      M&Ms
  • Beverages:
    • Glade Fizz –  The original (which I invented so I should know) is about one (1) part chilled cran-grape to three (3) parts chilled gingerale . You may add ice if you desire.
    • Iced tea
    • Coffee – regular or decaf

Do you have a favorite low-fat, low-cholesterol food?

Another Get Together, Another Invitation

I have finally ordered a film called “Young @ Heart” on DVD.

This award-winning documentary film documents the final weeks of rehearsal for the Y@H Chorus, whose average age is 81, and many of whom must overcome health adversities to participate. Their music is unexpected, going against the stereotype of their age, performing songs by James Brown, and Sonic Youth. Although they've toured the world, this account focuses on preparing new songs, not an easy endeavor, for a concert in their home town, which succeeds in spite of several real heart breaking events.
This award-winning documentary film documents the final weeks of rehearsal for the Y@H Chorus, whose average age is 81, and many of whom must overcome health adversities to participate.

Since I direct a small choir at a Baptist church I was eager to see how another choir works through its music.

My choir.
My choir.

After watching the video I was excited for my choir to see the film as well. The film Young @ Heart is both poignant and humorous.

This invitation is simple because everyone in the choir knows where we live.
This invitation is simple because everyone in the choir knows where we live.

Ergo, let’s have a party private screening on a Friday night. The only invitees will be members of the choir. (I know after the Book Swap I said I was done with that for awhile but I changed my mind.)

We'll have to rearrange seating in the conservatory to accommodate over a dozen people to watch a movie.
We’ll have to rearrange seating in the conservatory to accommodate over a dozen people to watch a movie.

The only entry requirement beyond being a member of the choir is to know the secret passcode: I FEEL GOOD!

We'll adjust the seating in the conservatory so everyone can watch a movie in comfort.
We’ll have to move the TV also.

Working on a simple menu since the screening is on a Friday night when I don’t have much preparation time.

Do you have a favorite movie?