This blog entry is exactly two years old:

The other day was my son’s 14th birthday and we resorted to taking him to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Buena Park, not too far from where we live.  The signage was proudly emblazoned with the slogan “We Joust” and the arena reeked mildly of equine.  Upon entry, we patrons were quickly accosted to take a photo op with the “Princess” in hopes that we might be coaxed into purchasing this handsome souvenir.  The rogues that we are, we took a photo of the photo instead as our take home keepsake.

The evening was as campy as to be expected, but fairly enjoyable in any case, we being of the paper crowned crowd of spectators. During the performance, their fixed dinner fare of “dragon blood” (anemic tomato bisque), half a “baby dragon” (roasted chicken), a slab of rib, a stony half potato (a veritable weapon) and an apple turnover was methodically served on erstwhile pewter plates, sans utensils and with the provision of a singular napkin (which we were mindfully told to use wisely).  At the conclusion of “The Feast”, the abundance of roast chicken left us with many a breast to stuff into our non-Medieval doggy bags; the squawk of fowl practically eking during transport.

The moral of the story here is: when life gives you a sack of leftover chicken you make chicken salad.

As it turns out, when I awoke late this morning to prepare lunch, I discovered that our bread basket had been reaped to its fullest. Wisps of crumbs merely teased  my nose as I peered deep into the woven fibers.  I surveyed the refrigerator for eggs and butter and decided that for this Orchard Curry Chicken Salad, a pretty pâte à choux purse would serve nicely in place of stale rye.

I remember being very much intimated in the past in making this eggy dough, but after much trial I have grown very fond of it in all of its incarnations. You can add a little sugar to the batter for dessert puffs, such as profiteroles or eclairs, or  a little herb and cheese, like gruyère, to make savory little appetizers called gougères.

Additionally, if you take the sweetened version of the pâte à chouxand deep fry them, you are rewarded with quick and easy, puffy beignets.  Dust it with a little powdered sugar and serve with a nice fruit jam while they’re still warm.

Orchard Curry Chicken Salad

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and cored
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c golden raisins
  • 1/8 c scallions
  • 1/3 c mayonnaise
  • 2 roast chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • salt & pepper

Chop celery and apple into small cubes.  In a medium bowl, combine with remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pâte à Choux

  • 1 c water
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c flour
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Boil water, butter, and salt. Remove from heat and mix flour rapidly with a wooden spoon.  Return to low heat and mix until all flour is incorporated and dough forms a ball. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. On low speed, mix one egg at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated. With two spoons or piping bag, shape dough into golf size balls and place 2 inches apart onto parchment lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Bake at 350 degrees F for  an additional 10 minutes until golden brown. Poke with sharp knife to release steam, cool and fill.

Corky Nepomuceno

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