8.31.2008

Elvis inspired quickie!

I was watching Dinner Impossible on the Food Network the other night and the challenge was to cook an Elvis inspired dinner for about 100 fans. The dinner was personally selected by Priscilla and her goal was to have a dinner that she would typically cook for Elvis and try to end the myth that Elvis only liked junk food. I guess the truth is that he was just a fan of traditional southern food!

The Menu was great:
Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Buttermilk Marinated Deep-Fried Chicken Thighs

Creamed Corn

Creamed Spinach

Gold Cadillac Mac 'n Cheese

Love Me Tenderloin Minute-Steaks with Fried Okra

Memphis-Style Meatloaf

Pork Chops with Apple Compote

Southern Fried Catfish

Sweet Potato Mash
Watermelon Salad
"The King's" Cornbread

Tupelo Tomato Salad

Viva Las Vanilla Wafer Pudding

Well, I was home alone and it was late so there was no way I was going to make all of that for dinner, but DANG did it look good. Well, my creative compromise was this....I made the watermelon salad and bought some hot fried chicken from the grocery store!

Watermelon Salad
For the vinaigrette
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, from about 3 or 4 sprigs - didn't use
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
- olive oil

For the salad
1 head arugula, soaked to remove all grit, stiff spines of leaves removed, dried in a salad spinner, and torn into bite-sized pieces - ready-to-go organic arugula
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 ounces feta cheese, cubed
- med flavored

  • Prepare vinaigrette just before use.
  • Through the feed opening of a running blender, add 1 at a time: champagne vinegar, lemon juice, chopped mint, salt and pepper. Leaving the blender running, add the oil in a slow stream. Adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and pepper. - To save on time from hainvg to wash my blender, I wisked it in a bowl
  • Toss together arugula and onion.
  • Fold in watermelon.
  • Gently stir in enough of the vinaigrette to coat.
  • Top with feta cheese. Serve with any extra dressing on the side.

Photobucket
Watermelon salad (photo from foodnetwork.com)

The salad was pretty good. Everything worked well together. I modifed the dressing a lot so I can't give a totally accurate review but the general idea is great. The salad is refreshing and light. If you are a little nervous about the feta, the idea is that in the south people put salt on watermelon and the feta adds salt. The only negative was that the red onion was a little overpowering. Also, I used a flavored feta, I would recommend sticking with an original feta. Overall, I say go for it! With the store bought hot fried chicken, the dinner is simple, inexpensive, quick and filling!!

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