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25 April: Saturday

Old Town La Quinta, California: Another scorcher in the desert. Our county may allow pools in private clubs to re-open on May 1st... but get this: only one person can be in the pool at a time! How is this ever going to work? They also will be requiring all chairs/loungers to be removed so no one can hang out poolside. I am 100% pro-social-distancing, but this isn’t going to fly... or swim.

We had visitors again this morning - Momma Duck and her six ducklings. They are getting huge. The babies were chomping on grass and their mom was watching over her brood. We think the babies are big enough now the carp can’t grab them from under the water... the demise of so many new hatchlings. Mother Nature can be a Bitch... as if we needed a reminder of that since the havoc over the past several months.

The other exciting event today was switching out our duvet for a top sheet and light quilt/blanket. This annual event should have happened several nights ago, as the past several nights the duvet has been thrown off and we sleep with a wall of down between us... sorta like a married-for-forty-years version of Amish bundling?

The meal plan for this evening was my version of the SW BBQ Chicken Salad served at Stuft Pizza in Old Town La Quinta. Stuft (not a typo) ARE doing curbside take-out - always a large portion of their daily business for years - but we just haven’t done take-out yet. I know we should be supporting our local favorites, but DT promises to drop all sorts of huge tips when we are ever able to go to a restaurant again. Maybe next month we will order take-out. My brother is ordering out one night a week, simply to support his favorite places in Colorado. Lisa and Lenny do the same. In Los Angeles, the restaurant will drop the food at your door. No need to even see anyone!

I had the shredded meat and bones from a supermarket rotisserie chicken, so started there this morning for the salad. While I made a half-portion of the salad recipe, I boiled up the bones for stock and used the other half of the can of black beans, corn, two over-ripe tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, onion, garlic and jalapeño, etc., to make a no-recipe tortilla soup for Monday night. Two meals readied in one hour.

And then it was two o’clock and I had absolutely nothing else to do all day.

With such an easy and early-prepped salad as our main course this evening, you would think I would have taken extra care with our appetizer plate. No. I did I not. It was 102°.

It did contain a lot of crunchy veg, considering we were having a salad for dinner.

This salad is still best with chopped-up chicken fingers from the supermarket deli counter, but in Corona times, we make do with what we have. The salad was quite cold and refreshing on such a hot evening.

Until my next update, I remain your crunchy correspondent.


SOUTHWEST BBQ CHICKEN SALAD

Another "concept" salad here, folks. You can vary the ingredients as much as you desire - the secret to this salad is the tangy dressing. Use chopped grilled or poached chicken, or chop-up deep-fried chicken tenders. Your family doesn't like green pepper? Omit it. Want some spice? Add a diced jalapeno. Vegetarian? Don't add chicken. The first eight salad ingredients can be prepped earlier in the day - just add the avocado, cheese and lettuce at the last minute, then toss with the dressing and serve.

DRESSING:
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup your favorite BBQ sauce

SALAD:
1 cup frozen corn kernels, rinsed under hot water and drained
One 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 or 3 green onions, sliced
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups chilled cooked chicken, diced
One 2.25 ounce can sliced ripe black olives, drained
One avocado, diced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2-3 cups chopped crunchy lettuce, such as iceberg or romaine

GARNISH:
Crunched-up tortilla chips or Fritos

Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Place the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Toss with the salad dressing and garnish with corn chips or Fritos (I vote for Fritos). Serves 6 as a main course.