The other night Hubby and I had dinner with friends and the conversation turned to the start of a new school term. It seems that schools are ending their summer breaks earlier each year. Teachers in my area will be returning to school on August 1 with students soon to follow. All of us were reminiscing and commented that for us school always started after the Labor Day holiday. My comment to this was that we started after Labor Day because we all grew up in the south and schools of our era were not air-conditioned.
This led me on a walk down memory lane. I grew up in North Alabama with a few short stints in Chicago. As a child schools were not air-conditioned and neither were homes, churches or cars. I remember an aunt who had an air conditioning unit in her home. After a hot, hot walk to her house I would walk into a chilled house and after a visit found myself walking home in the hot, hot sun.
Churches opened windows and had fans. No not electric fans. Paper fans where you would cool yourself off by creating a cool breeze fanning your face with the paper fan. Cars? You rolled down the windows if you or the driver didn't mind getting hair mussed.
Times have certainly changed. I am presently sitting in my house with the sound of the air conditioner humming away. I still enjoy shutting off the air-conditioner in the early morning or evening to enjoy the cool crisp air. My first car was a 1963 Pontiac Catalina and yes it did have air-conditioning. I'm not sure when things started to change but I do know that my high school had air-conditioning or we would have been goners as it didn't have any windows.
Summer is a great time for cooking lighter. Combine a lighter meal with the grill and you have a winner. Today we enjoyed a delicious recipe that I found on Eating Well. Here is my take on that delicious dinner salad.
Buttermilk-Brined Chicken Breast Salad
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 shallot or 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (A mixture of oregano, rosemary and thyme worked well)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I really didn't measure just gave the bottle a couple of shakes. So I'm guessing.)
1/2 teaspoon (generous) of freshly ground black pepper
Salad and Dressing:
2 to 3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (Same mix as used for brine.)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Again a guess.)
1 clove garlic, peeled
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 to 5 cups shredded leaf lettuce
In a plastic Ziploc bag combine the ingredients for the brine. Place the chicken in the bag, seal and put in refrigerator. Allow to marinade for 4 hours to 8 hours. Remove chicken from brine, pat dry and allow to rest for 10 minutes. While chicken is resting preheat grill to 400 degrees and prepare salad.
To a large salad bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil, red-wine vinegar and fresh herbs. Finely grate garlic clove into bowl. Add in sugar and black pepper. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Add in washed and dried shredded lettuce tossing to coat.
Rub both sides of the chicken with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Place on grill and cook with lid closed for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until chicken registers 165 degrees F. Remove chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Divide the dressed lettuce between 2 chilled plates. Top with sliced chicken and enjoy. I served this with fresh bread for a delicious and satisfying Sunday meal.
It is always fun to reminisce but I am so thankful for my modern conveniences.