Our friends Cathy and Daniel picnic like it's their job. They take it seriously and they're good at it. We experienced this firsthand when visiting them in Baltimore while on Spring Break. We met up at the park atop Federal Hill. They brought a delicious picnic lunch in a beautiful traditional picnic basket, because details matter to Cathy, a former opera director and stage manager turned interior designer.
Together we unpacked curry chicken sandwiches in mini pitas and -- for dessert -- homemade (by Daniel and nearly 3-year-old Gregory) oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. We poured Orangina into plastic picnic stemware.
The chicken salad was sooooo good that I had to make it as soon as we got home. Cathy told me all of the ingredients, which she mostly eyeballs. That's what I do a lot when I cook, too. I would say my version (below) turned out slightly more powerful on the curry than Cathy's, while hers was creamier. I still want to work on getting mine to be more like Cathy's in creaminess.
Anyhow, play with it and make it your own. My tweaks included using some of the whites of the green onions and adding some red bell pepper.
One thing Cathy and I agree on: the mayonnaise. I've said it before and I will again. It's gotta be Duke's. (See my Deviled Egg Sampler.)
I love how Cathy used mini pitas, which sadly I didn't find at the grocery. The ones I bought were too teeny to be filled with more than a thimble-full of chicken salad.
So, I wish I'd taken a picture of Cathy's sandwiches, because they were so cute and pretty. Oh well...I was too busy stuffing my face. And taking in a beautiful day in Baltimore. And picnicking with my friends, the professional picnickers.
PS: I did get Penny to eat this in her school lunch.
Curry Chicken Salad with Grapes and Cashews
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of boneless chicken breast, cooked and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 heaping cup of seedless grapes -- red or white -- cut in half
3 green onions, white and green parts sliced ultra thin
1/2 to 1 whole red pepper, diced small
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 teaspoons curry
Salt and pepper to taste
Cashew pieces for garnish
Mix all ingredients except for cashews together and chill thoroughly before serving. Add cashews just before serving.
And here is a trick with the red pepper, which can make a salad super watery if you aren't careful. After you dice the pepper, roll the pieces in a paper towel to get out some of the water.