Harissa Honey Chicken Caesar with Za'atar Breadcrumbs
& I'm unimpressed with Saltburn (sorry)
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Hi hi and happy Wednesday! I’m feeling a little behind today, and it’s stressing me out, but I’m going to focus on some lighter things to keep this newsletter upbeat. Where should we start?
Grant and I watched Saltburn over the weekend, and I have to say, I was disappointed. Maybe it was because the movie was so hyped up, but it really fell flat for me. I thought the cinematography was nice, but the film felt so predictable and the tropes overdone. It felt like a mix of other shows and movies that already exist. And it felt like they relied on the shock value of the weird scenes to get people talking. I don’t know! I don’t want to be a hater, but I was unimpressed.
On the flip side, I am still reading Wellness, which is very much impressing me. It feels like a mix of non fiction and fiction, but not in a historical fiction kind of way. It’s unique in this sense — I feel like I’m learning while also getting sucked into a story.
I’ve been cold all week but also extremely humbled when I learned that people are living in -50 F temperature. Like, what?! I didn’t even know that was possible, and Grant laughed at me when I admitted this, saying it was the most California thing ever to be unaware of this. Probably true, but whatever. I like to remind him that I did indeed live in the Northeast for a chunk of my life, so I’m not totally sheltered. Anyway, maybe I feel less cold now knowing that it could be so, so much worse.
THINGS I’M LOVING
I was in need of a new small handbag, and I wanted something simple and not too expensive. This Madewell Sling Leather Crossbody Bag was perfect — you can wear it across your chest or by your sides, as the straps are adjustable. They also have it in different colors if you want something besides black!
I am a homemade salad dressing girlie through and through, and I firmly believe everyone is capable of making amazing dressings at home, especially if you have delicious ingredients! This Parasol Champagne Viniagrette from Brightland is delightful — it’s citrusy and bright, which is how I like most of my dressings! I also have a recipe coming out in collaboration with them this weekend (although this newsletter mentioned is not sponsored)!
This my hot tip of the week: ballet leotards make great bodysuits. You’re thinking, duh, right, but there are so many cheap and crappy bodysuits being sold on Amazon, and you can skip out on all those low-quality buys and just get yourself a leotard! I’ve been wearing this leotard to ballet class (and this one), and I’ll just throw jeans on after to go to lunch. The look is so cute, and they’re much higher quality and way more supportive than other bodysuits I’ve tried (and not expensive)!
Last week, I saw Rachael’s Good Eats post a hot honey Caesar salad, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I was gifted a jar of New York Shuk Harissa and realized I could make a hot honey chicken salad using harissa (a North African hot chili pepper paste).
I always do a homemade Caesar that uses mayo instead of raw egg yolk, but you can always buy a pre-made Caesar dressing (and I PROMISE I won’t judge you). If you’re a vegetarian, you can also do chickpeas instead of chicken! I am going to try that next time.
I decided to spice things up a little further in this salad by making some homemade za’atar croutons. If you’re not familiar with za’atar, it’s a Middle Eastern spice blend commonly used in places like Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Palestine. I love to buy my za’atar from Z and Z, a family-owned business. Their za’atar is amazing, and you can purchase it on Amazon!
Harissa Honey Chicken Caesar
Ingredients (serves 2)
Harissa Honey Chicken
3 tbsp harissa paste
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt & pepper
2 chicken breasts
Za’atar Sourdough Croutons
1 slice sourdough bread
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp za’atar
2 bunches of kale, stems removed and chopped (about 8 cups)
Grated Parmesan, to top
Optional: extra lemon
2 anchovy filets
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375. Start by marinating the chicken. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together harissa paste, honey, olive oil, smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to a medium bowl, and coat with the sauce. Set in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
2. Cut or rip your bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and za’atar. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through.
3. Add your kale to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and a pinch of salt, and massage with your hands to break down the fiber and soften the leaves. Set aside while you prepare the chicken and dressing.
4. To prepare the chicken, heat up a cast iron pan on medium high heat. Add the chicken breasts (with the marinade) and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into 1-inch cubes.
5. Prepare the dressing by mashing the anchovies with two forks until a paste forms, making sure to break up any chunks. Add to a small bowl or jar along with minced garlic, Dijon mustard, mayo, and lemon juice. Whisk together until smooth, and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with black pepper.
6. Toss the kale in the dressing, and then transfer to two bowls. Top with croutons, chicken, and as much grated Parmesan as desired. Finish off with lemon, if you’d like, and some more black pepper.