kruizing with kikukat

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sesame Chicken Pasta Spinach Salad

I played tennis when I was in high school.  While I was good enough to make the team and get regular playing time, I was not good enough (not good enough=too lazy) to continue competitive tennis in college.  There were tennis courts near my dorm, but I think I never went to hit more than twice (okay, once).  There was a cute guy in the dorm next door who was a paraplegic as a result of an MVA.  He competed in wheelchair athletic events and always suggested we challenge.  Uh, no. . .cute or not, I always politely declined.  Ask me to dinner, not a tennis match, you moron!

My tennis hobby remained dormant for over a decade before I decided to play again.  By that time, racket engineering had come a long way so the racket I played with in high school was a total relic.  Yes, I seized the opportunity to buy a new racket.  I had to.  I was too embarrassed to be seen with my Pro Kennex Silver Ace.  Okay, anyway, back to my tennis story. . .

When I finally decided to play tennis again, I got rated (USTA) and joined a team for the HTL (Honolulu Tennis League) season to warm up for USTA season.  We had so much fun, we continued playing together for the USTA season.  What I liked about playing league tennis on Oahu was the orderliness of matches.  You show up to the site, play your match, then leave.  Our team got together at the end of the season for a potluck.  That was it.  Being fairly antisocial (group gatherings are really not my thing), this pattern was a good fit for me.  I liked that I could play a morning match and then meet friends for lunch.  In other words, my whole day wasn't taken up with tennis.

When I moved to Hilo, things were so different.  You show up to the site, play your match, have a potluck, and then hang out until dark at the courts.  The Hilo tennis day was indeed a full day long!  I never enjoyed that part of league tennis, which was just another reason why it was so easy to stop playing.  Of course, Hilo being Hilo, standard tennis equipment also included a squeegee.  One would expect, in a town known for rain, there would be ample covered tennis courts in order to provide a venue independent of the weather.  There are 3 (three, in case numbers aren't your thing) public covered tennis courts in Hilo.  There may be a few private covered tennis courts, but they are certainly not available for public play.

But not every aspect of the Hilo tennis scene was a bad experience.  At one of the after-league match potlucks, someone from another team (yes, you had to put on a smiley face even after they whooped yo' ass on the court/made bad calls/argued with you about the score) brought this fabulous salad to share. 

I used to make this salad quite often, but I noticed I had a real gritty feel in my mouth after eating all that spinach, so I stopped making this and forgot about the recipe.  But last school year, D1 would come home and rave about her friend Casey making the best chicken pasta salad.  I decided to try this recipe again, using baby spinach instead of regular spinach leaves.  The baby spinach leaves didn't leave my mouth as gritty.  And the kicker. . .D1 said the salad was good!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     3/4 - 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
     6 oz curly pasta
     2 tbsp parsley
     1/4 c green onion, chopped
     6 oz (around 6 c) baby spinach leaves
     1/2 c vegetable oil
     1 tsp sesame oil
     1/3 c shoyu
     1/3 c rice vinegar
     3 tbsp sugar
     1/4 c sesame seeds
     1/4 tsp pepper
     1/2 tsp grated ginger

Boil chicken for 10-15 minutes.  Shred into strips.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  drain well.  Combine vegetable oil, sesame oil, shoyu, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds, pepper, and grated ginger.  Toss with chicken and pasta.  Add spinach, parsley, and green onions just before serving.

Upon the advice of coworkers, I took a few minutes to acquaint myself with a TLC show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  My coworkers felt the family resembled a common acquaintance we have.  While they were right on the money, I was only able to watch 25 minutes of it before straying.  It was awful.  Talk about lepo!

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