Posted by: Sally Ingraham | May 10, 2011

Cranberry-Walnut-Ramps Chicken Salad, or How I Spent This Rainy Day

I’m so much better about utilizing days off now that I’m working than I ever was before (like when I had three months off straight recently…!) Today I slept luxuriously until 9 o’clock, then I took the returnables in (and was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of the strangers who helped me unload my car while their own bottles were being counted).

I took myself out to breakfast at Martha’s Diner, and went grocery shopping and beer shopping (hurray for money from the returnables!) and book shopping at Scotties Used Books (I picked up some Agatha Christie mysteries, and a Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Whimsey novel, as well as a collection of short stories by Tobias Wolff).
Sunshine on a Rainy Day - InstagramFur and Flowers and Hops - Instagram
Back home and sick of the cold and damp I built a fire and arranged some flowers to sunny up the place, in spite of my cat Bree’s best efforts to hamper me. Then I took pictures with my iPhone and played with them in my new favorite app, Instagram, while sampling Rising Tide Brewing‘s Ursa Minor Stout (yummy!).

And finally (so far) I made a chicken salad. I discovered Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago and love Deb’s mix of fantastic food photography and great sounding recipes. I finally got around to trying one today. I can’t abide touching raw chicken, so I had to beg CP to cook me up some. He did so most accommodatingly the other day. I followed Deb’s recipe pretty closely, with one major adaptation – I used the dehydrated ramps that I brought back from West Virginia with me last month in place of the shallots. The salad is really good, if I do say so myself. I ate a bit for lunch on a bed of romaine and spinach. We’ll see just how strong the ramp flavor is by dinnertime, but I’m pretty sure the concoction will only get better.
Bowl of Many Colors - InstagramCranberry Ramp Walnut Chicken Salad - Instagram
My final project for the day is deciding if I will watch No Man’s Land or the rest of Doctor Who season 4… Cheers!


  1. I got a little salad book from the 1970s at a consignment store recently. The recipes are simple and timeless but the groovy illustrations are an added bonus. I love buying secondhand – it’s great for the environment. So far I’ve made pear salad (pear and apple cubes, plus lemon juice, sliced dates, cream cheese, and celery) and apple salad (pretty much the same thing but with mayonnaise instead of cream cheese and onion added).

    • That salad sounds yummy! I’m trying to get in the habit of going to my last remaining local used books shop when I get the book buying itch. I’ve been desiring some new Persephones or NYRB titles, which are good things to support as well, but I want this shop to stick around so I took my business there instead yesterday. Felt good – and spending over an hour poking around a bookshop on a rainy day is the perfect activity! 🙂

  2. It sounds funny, but successfully taking full advantage of a day off always feels like such an accomplishment. I think 100% commitment to whatever you decide to do, is the key – whether that’s going for a day-long hike, sleeping until noon, or doing a movie marathon. It’s no good if you’re halfway regretting that you didn’t make a different decision, which is a mistake I’ve made more than a few times.

    Anyway, this sounds like a lovely day, a lovely beer and a lovely salad!

    • You are totally right – I have spent many an off day not getting full satisfaction out of my chosen activity because I feel like I really should have done something else (watching Doctor Who all day is delectable but I’m fighting guilty feelings while doing it far too often, for example…) 100% is the ticket!

  3. I have realized recently that I have become bad at making the most of my days off although I have hardly any time. That’s certainly a bad sign! Your day sounds as if it had been really great. I love what the iPhone can do. There is the app that turns everything into a drawing. You can see the outlines only. Amazing.

    • The iPhone certainly is a nifty little tool/toy. I’m enjoying mine – I’m glad I didn’t get an e-reader or a new camera recently (was tempted to do both) as the iPhone 4 has satisfied those desires. I’ll have to look for the app you mention. Sounds fun!

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