Over the weekend, we took a friend on a drive up to Napa Valley for some wine tasting and gorgeous views. I packed a picnic lunch and we stopped at the gorgeous Diamond Oaks winery to eat.
On the menu were chicken salad sandwiches, olives and roasted peppers, fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market, olive oil cookies, and Diamond Oaks Mina Ranch Chalk Hill Chardonnay.
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Tarragon
I’ve seen this combination pop up on menus and most recently, on Barefoot Contessa. She’s got a couple different versions, but I mostly improvised. To make mine, I roasted a mix of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs on 350 for about a half hour. I used about five pieces combined. Before baking, I drizzled them with some olive oil and salt and pepper, but other than that, I kept it simple.
After they had cooled, I diced the chicken up into small cubes, and tossed it with a small shallot, a cup or so of green grapes that I had halved and quartered (cut before measuring), and a tablespoon of tarragon. I mixed it all together with about a half cup of mayonnaise, maybe a bit more, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
I served the salad on thick slices of Acme’s pain au levain. It’s the best bread ever. If you live in the Bay area and have not tried it yet, go buy some now. It’s like the perfect mix of sourdough and wheat bread and makes any sandwich taste magical.
I stumbled upon Joy’s blog doing a Google search for olive oil cookies. I had never eaten one, but I figured that they must exist and I wanted them for my wine country lunch.
This is a really fun recipe. The cookies had a wonderful flavor – very fruity and light. I didn’t want to buy almond extract for the glaze that she recommends, so I mixed the confectioner’s sugar with one part milk and one part orange juice, then added a pinch of lemon and orange zest to the mix. I think the almond glaze would probably taste better, though I did like my improvisation.
They are very cake like cookies, so I definitely want to make them again, but I’m thinking of making them into sandwich cookies with a fluffier icing in the middle, sort of like a food snob’s whoopie pie.
All in all, a delicious lunch.