When I first met John, he lived in an old house at 3005 University Street, just north of the University of Texas main campus. He lived with his good friend, Cam. “Three-thousand five” (as everyone called it) was your typical post-college-frat-guy house. Overgrown lawn? Check. Dank couch on the back porch? Check. Lingering stench of beer and cigarettes? Check and check. But John loved that house.
And, although I joke about it now, that house does hold a special place in my heart. It was where we got engaged—while sitting on the couch on the back porch, specifically. It was where we celebrated my thirtieth birthday—a surprise party, planned by John and perfectly executed with the help of Cam. It was also where John first cooked me dinner—always a memorable occasion in a budding relationship.
John made his favorite chicken salad with creamy miso dressing. We sipped red wine from jelly jars and enjoyed our big plates of chunky salad in the living room, sitting on an old blue couch, watching The Simpsons on an even older T.V.
Now here we are, four years later, living a completely different life: Celebrating three years of marriage, with new jobs in Austin, remodeling a house, and raising a toddler. Our memories from three-thousand five seem like a lifetime ago.
But as they say, the more things change, the more things stay the same. We made John’s chicken salad for dinner last night, and it was every bit as good as I remember.
John’s Chicken Salad
Serves 2 as a main course
4 ounces baby spinach
2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium tomato, sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
4 ounces sugar-snap peas, chopped
½ cup walnut halves, chopped
½ to ¾ cup Oka’s Miso Dressing
Salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning
Place the baby spinach in a large bowl. Add the pieces of chicken, apple, tomato, carrots, peas, and walnuts.
Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
Let salad marinate at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.