Summer Chicken Salad & “My Writing Process Blog Tour”

Homemade Summer Chicken Salad & My Writing Process Blog TourSummer time is the perfect time to get back to kitchen basics. Those recipes that mom made which are still your favorite, with a short ingredient list and lots of love. Well, this homemade summer chicken salad recipe is just that but first, lets talk about the “My Writing Process Blog Tour”. It is an opportunity for bloggers to get to know each other better and for you to share some of your favorite bloggers that you might follow. The tour is also a great way to share what you are currently working on as well as what inspires you to blog.

I was asked to participate by Teresa Blackburn from Teresa and I have become friends not only via blog but in person through our love for food, good writing and food photography. I’m always inspired after reading one of her posts and I absolutely love the ‘warm feeling’ captured in her food styling. So thanks Teresa for inviting me along on the “My Writing Process Blog Tour”.

1. What am I working on?

By day I work in a kitchen from 7-3 pm and on the weekend I’m a Sous Chef at Mangia Nashville on Friday and Saturday. I work six days a week and I’m currently working on my desire to be a personal chef. It has been a project in the works over the last year or so that’s beginning to gain more traction and I’m super excited about it. I enjoy being creative and the ability to discuss with clients their likes and dislikes and then create a menu, just makes my heart flutter. Its what I love to do and what I’m most passionate about. So if you know anyone looking for a personal chef or wanting to take cooking lessons, click the Cook@Home or Contact tab and lets talk.

2. how does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll focus on when I’m working with clients for personal chef projects and blogging. I do my best to allow a little part of me to shine through in everything that I do. I recollect experiences from my past that are relevant to present day to tell stories of my love for food and cooking. I try to let my “love affair” with art, words and emotion all shine through in my food styling, blog posts and menu selections. I want people who admire my work to feel a sense of connection. The world is full of chefs and food bloggers alike but I want to leave an everlasting impression that isn’t like the rest.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. Its been one of my greatest outlets to release all of my creativity without having to stop and paint whenever I have something that needs to come out. Because I do love to paint, but I don’t get to do it very often.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert at writing. You may have already come across many an error but it doesn’t deter me from doing so. I have journals dating back to my pre-adolescent years, laced with dis-conjugated verbs, fragment sentences and the rambles of a frustrated boy growing up in an estrogen-filled environment.

My affinity for all things culinary runs quite deep and blogging has been a vessel in which I can share the things I love about cooking. A source that I can come back to and find ways to improve upon what I once may have believed to be the “perfect” recipe. A letter to my offspring in which they can have a little piece of me for years to come. Something filed away in the rolodex of technology that I don’t have to worry about being lost in the little tin box of an estate sale or lost in a fire.

All in all, I write what I write because I’m inspired by life and the fact that I’m blessed to have the talents that I do. I enjoy sharing food, life and all things local with people who love to do the same.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m not even sure if I have a writing process. I cook according to what’s in my refrigerator. Some meals are inspired by seasonal produce but that isn’t always the case. I may cook and photograph three recipes in an evening and they may be out of season before I even blog them. I’m not sure but sometimes I think I suffer from mild version of ADHD, if that is possible. My mind is always a little bit of everywhere. I find inspiration in so many things that reflect in the mood of my writing. Rainy days, grey skies and windy mornings are some of the best days to be inspired. I’m an observer. I watch the details of life that most may look over on a daily basis. Mothers interacting with their children, people crying on the phone and young men who open the door for the elderly all inspire me to write. Memories of my grandmother’s Saturday morning breakfast spreads, the fabricating of fish and deer on the sun porch. Her nightly bowl of wheat cornflakes, sliced bananas and %2 milk.

My mom used to make simple meals that didn’t take much time to prepare and I try to introduce that simplicity in some of my blog posts. All these things, food-related or not, all inspire my writing process. I don’t want to make a recipe several of times so I use my knowledge of food with the assistance of research tools and friends to tackle the best techniques in which to create new recipes. I’ve been known to spend up to two weeks working on a blog post that should be finished but it isn’t perfect and I’m waiting to figure out what the missing element is.

It is getting better over time as I receive offers to write for brands and do sample reviews of products that I enjoy. My lackadaisical nature is the only thing that keeps me from monetizing my site thus far. I have two jobs and I’m not quite sure three would do me any good, but one day.

…Who’s next in the blogging tour, and some bloggers whose sites I recommend you check out?…

Unfortunately, I don’t have three bloggers to tag. but you will enjoy Lindsey’s blog over at DIY Dietitian. Lindsey is a registered dietitian who’s passionate about helping you live a healthier lifestyle. I enjoy her simple recipes like the Baked Black Beans & Sweet Potato Flautas or her simple equation recipe for Basil, Goat Cheese and Tomato Bruschetta which is perfect for the summer time.

Also, check out Angela of Spinach Tiger, Matt of Real Food by Dad, and Jill of Jill Cooks Here for their blogging tour posts.

This recipe for chicken salad is so easy, you actually don’t need a recipe. Wait, scratch that, you do need a recipe or else I wouldn’t be posting this. Silly me, summer time is the best time for easy foods that are low-maintenance and reliable for quick go-to meals that can be eaten more than once. Anytime I make chicken salad, most of the time I opt to roast a whole bird. This way you can control just how much chicken salad it is you desire to make and use the remaining chicken for a different meal of some sort.

My wife and I enjoy the addition of grapes to our chicken salad for that sweet fruity burst of flavor that contrasts well with the richness of the mayonnaise and savory tang of the green onions.Homemade Chicken Salad

Homemade Summer Chicken Salad

2 pounds of pulled roasted chicken
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 halved seedless grapes
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Everyone makes chicken salad slightly different. So feel free to adjust the ingredients accordingly but I have a feeling you will enjoy this as much as we do.


Homemade Summer Chicken Salad You can find the recipe for how to roast chicken here.


Homemade Summer Chicken Salad & My Writing Process Blog Tour

Chicken & Rosemary Dumplings

Autumn is in full swing and my allergies are going bezerk, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love this time of year any less. And I’m sure Merck doesn’t mind my monthly stock on allergy meds due to the molding leaves and wacky weather. Tennessee weather enjoys the occasional roll of the dice, never staying in exactly the right box according to the equinox. But twenty-nine years later and I still find myself having to adjust (#sadface). Despite the effects this time of year has on my health I still love it for the beauty that it brings.Autumn by The Local Forkful

Autumn crept in our back doors this year and didn’t make much of a scene. You could find her trace at the end of summer with the tumble of scarlet leaves across your shoe or a subtle chill across your cheek. I’m a fool for a reason to pull out the heavy blankets, make excessive amounts of french press, and drive slowly on the back roads.Autumn by The Local Forkful

This time of year I find myself to be in a constant state of uneasiness. I’ve never been able to pinpoint it but once fall-back is in full force. I find myself twiddling my thumbs more than usual I could blame it on the dark arriving during the five o’clock hour or the weather’s cooling that causes me to slow down. But there’s nothing I want more than to sit on the couch, drink coffee and read food literature. I crave a simple life where hustle and bustle isn’t at the center of it all. Though I am clearly living in an era where this sort of lifestyle is no longer existent, or maybe it is?

Chicken & Dumplings by The Local ForkfulOne of the best things about the cool weather settling in, is the desire for comfort foods. Hearty dishes that we avoided all summer for the sake of our beach bodies. And now the guilt that once had you chained no longer bounds you when reaching for that hidden jar of Nutella (secrets out!). When I think of some of my favorite cold-weather eats, chicken and dumplings is pretty high on the list. This dish was and is still a childhood favorite. In the past few months I have been collecting chicken stock from roasting chicken for other dishes. You won’t a more flavorful rendition than collecting the jus from roasted chicken itself. Not only that but the fat that surfaces to the top, also known as schmaltz is a fantastic by-product when collecting the juice. The only thing to make this any better would be the leftover gribenes but that’s a whole nother conversation.

What’s your favorite cold-weather comfort foods?

Chicken & Dumplings: Recipe by The Local Forkful

Chicken & Dumplings by The Local ForkfulIngredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (fresh)
smidgen of kosher salt
4 tablespoons schmaltz (chilled chicken fat)
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 quarts chicken broth
1 whole roasted bird
2 bay leaves


1. preheat oven to 400 degrees. Follow Instructions here for Simple Roasted Chicken.Once chicken has cooled. Remove the meat from the bone and set aside.

2.Bring your 2 quarts of chicken stock and bay leaves to a rolling simmer. Remove bay leaves before adding dumplings.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder,kosher salt and rosemary in a bowl. Pinch the schmaltz and the flour together using your index finger and thumb.Until mixture starts to resemble coarse cornmeal.

Side Note:I enjoy getting dirty when making dough so leave the food processor under the sink.

4. Slowly add buttermilk a little at a time until dough begins to form. You may not necessarily use all of the buttermilk. Use your best judgement. The dough should be slightly moist and tacky. Roll the dough onto a floured surface. I usually dip my hands in flour to work with the dough better and cover my rolling pin in flour as well. Roll dumplings somewhere between 1/8″ and 1/4″ of inch thick. I like to roll them really thin because once they absorb liquid they slightly expand and I like thin dumplings. Cut the dumplings using some fancy gadget, a pizza cutter or a pairing knife into 1″X1″ squares or larger if you prefer. You may also go grandma’s route and forget the rolling all together, then you would just simply “pinch” the dough into the pot. Which can be fun as well. Decisions. Decisions.

5. Drop the dumplings into the hot broth and allow to cook for about 10-15 minutes. You may need to remove a dumpling or two to check for done-ness and the dumplings should be wet on the outside and a biscuity-moistness on the inside. The residual flour from your dumplings will thicken your broth as you go. I like to swirl the broth as I drop in the dumplings, kinda like poaching eggs. Once dumplings are finished, add the pulled chicken. Dinner is served. Yum!

Also if you like a thicker, creamier version of this soup then simply whisk together 1/2 a cup flour and enough water to form a runny pasty mixture. This could be called a roux or slurry(tomato…tomatuh). You are going to whisk this ‘slowly’ into your chicken and dumplings until desired consistency is reached.

Chicken & Dumplings by The Local ForkfulExtras: On day two of eating leftovers, the wife and I like our veggies. So I will dice some carrots and potatoes. Gently boil them in water with a couple of chicken bouillon cubes(to add flavor) and add that to my soup. Cornbread also makes a yummy addition. You’ll never want to leave the house with a bowl of this in hand. Enjoy!
Chicken & Dumplings by The Local Forkful

Simple Roast Chicken

Simple Roasted Chicken: Recipe by The Local ForkfulWe don’t eat a lot of red meat, pork or game in the Hunter household so I’m always hunting for ways to be more creative with the meats we consume a lot of. Chicken happens to be one of them along with turkey and assorted lunch meats from the deli. Chicken is such a simple bird to handle in the kitchen. It lends itself well to a bevy of different flavor combinations that will suit your own palate preferences.

Jenna(my wife) and I work opposite schedules which means I typically I start dinner because I arrive home before she does. And I know that if I cook chicken; the two of us can live off the bird for at least two meals. So I never hesitate cooking a whole bird as opposed to parts. It’s much more economical to do so. And our first meal is typically roasted chicken and some side veg followed by something more creative the next night, like tostadas or pot pie. Today, I’m giving it to you in this fun simplistic format. Lately, I’ve been a little obsessed with making chalkboards since I made them for a friends wedding. And so I decided to give you the step by step with my latest chalkboard creation made with a piece of scrap wood that I simply sanded the edges down. Enjoy!Simple Roasted Chicken: Recipe by The Local ForkfulSimple Roasted Chicken: Recipe by The Local ForkfulSimple Roasted Chicken: Recipe by The Local ForkfulSimple Roasted Chicken: Recipe by The Local ForkfulSimple Roasted Chicken: Recipe by The Local Forkful

And Last but not least, always make sure you’re bird is 165 degrees plus. I can’t bare the thought of anyone eating uncooked chicken.