Chicken Salad & A {Very Special} Chocolate Cake


Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad  |  Chocolate Bundt Cake {Gluten-Free}

Intro Collage

Back in April I made this amazing chicken salad.  The ingredients are simple…simmered oranges, saffron and honey  puréed into a dressing, fresh basil and mint, salad greens…but, when combined, produce an incredibly flavorful and satisfying salad.  For this evening’s dinner, I used left-over Grilled Chicken from our Sunday Dinner last night making this salad a quick and easy weeknight dinner.  When I first made this salad and posted it  as our dinner on April 26th, I did not include the recipe as I had followed it exactly from Jerusalem, A Cookbook {Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi} but for tonight’s dinner I made a few, slight adaptations {namely using the left-over grilled chicken and substituting some sliced green onion and baby arugula for the fennel} so the recipe, as adapted, follows…

Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad {adapted from Jerusalem, A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, Ten Speed Press, 2012}

  • 1 orange
  • 2½ tablespoons raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked chicken meat {leftover from Grilled Whole Chickens}
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large handful baby arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 red chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and pushed through a garlic press
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Remove left-over chicken from refrigerator, chop into bite-sized pieces and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Trim and discard 3/8-inch off the tope and tail of the orange and cut into 12 wedges, keeping the skin on.  Remove any seeds.
  3. Place the wedges in a small saucepan with the honey, saffron, vinegar and enough water to cover the orange wedges. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 1½ hours.  At the end, you should be left with soft orange and about 3 tablespoons of thick syrup; add water during the simmering process if the liquid gets very low.  Using a food processor, purée the orange and the syrup into a smooth, runny paste; again, add a little water, if needed.
  4. Place chicken in a large bowl and pour over half the orange paste, and stir well. {The remaining orange paste can be refrigerated for a few days.  I am going to try it as a topping to grilled salmon this weekend}.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and toss gently.  Taste, add salt and pepper and, if needed, more olive oil and lemon juice.

Orange Dressing Collage

The mint & basil for the salad was picked from our own garden!

Mint-Basil Collage



The finished salad…


Now for dessert…

If you are a frequent dinner guest here you may have noticed an absence of baked treats lately.  Well, about a month ago, Maddie shared a book with me…a book that her chemistry professor often lectured from…which she found to be fascinating.  This book, as it happened, was also brought to my attention by a friend who was aware of my continued interest in health and nutrition.  Although a bit “put off” by the book’s title, I downloaded it to my iPad and began reading it at one of Max’s baseball practices.  I couldn’t put the book down and finished it, cover-to-cover, within 48 hours.  The research and facts set forth in the book, based on the principles of chemistry, left me unable to regard processed white sugar and flour in the same way I have been all of my life.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten or dairy-free…I have never found myself fitting into any of these categories.  We enjoy eating a variety of foods and have always tried to limit our intake of sweets…a balanced diet, so-to-speak.  Dining on tofu and lettuce and then reaching for peanut butter cups to satiate ourselves is not our style.  But, I now have an urgent desire to pursue a diet, free {as much as possible} from processed foods…focusing especially on the elimination of processed white sugar & flour.

The following cake represents my 8th attempt at baking a cake free of traditional white or wheat flours as well as white sugar.  Yes, my 8th attempt!  Baking without these traditional ingredients has proven to be a challenge but I came across this book which has brought the baked treat back into our home.  The original recipe calls for using a traditional cocoa powder {Dutch-processed} but I substituted a natural cocoa powder {click here to read a discussion by David Lebovitz as to the differences between natural vs. Dutch-processed cocoa powders}.  Accordingly, I needed to make the change from baking powder to baking soda {read the article by David Lebovitz and you will understand}.  I also omitted the frosting as we usually enjoy berries, of some sort, with homemade whipped cream alongside our cakes.  But this cake we enjoyed simply, savoring the rich chocolate taste and moist, dense texture…it was a “slice of heaven”.  We all agreed, this is now our go-to chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake {adapted from Cooking With Coconut Flour, by Bruce Fife, N.D.}

  • ¾ cup butter {plus additional for greasing pan}
  • 1 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1½ cups whole cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted coconut flour {plus additional coconut flour for dusting pan}
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

{NOTE:  it is very important that eggs and milk be at room temperature as colder temps will result in some clumping of the coconut flour}

  1. Prepare a bundt pan by greasing {with butter} and flouring {with coconut flour} the inside.  Set aside.
  2. Melt ¾ cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in cocoa powder until thoroughly combined and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a bowl mix together eggs, coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Stir in cocoa mixture.  Combine 1 cup of unsifted coconut flour with baking powder and, using an electric mixer, mix into batter until there are no lumps. Pour batter {it will be very runny} into prepared pan.  Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes {ovens vary so be sure to start checking the cake after 25 minutes} or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes.  Invert pan to release cake onto the wire rack and let cool completely.

Cake Collage




K Initial


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2 thoughts on “Chicken Salad & A {Very Special} Chocolate Cake

  1. I am so excited that you figured out the secret to baking such a beautiful gluten free cake. My significant other cannot eat gluten, so I will be baking this for our special meal this weekend. And thank you for the information on cocoa. I’ve been learning so much from your blog lately. Gets better all the time!

    • Beverly…SOOO excited for you to try the cake! It was delicious. Can’t wait to tackle a yellow cake, pound cake & chocolate chip cookies. Enjoy and let me know how it all turns out.

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