Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken or ham salad spread (p. 180), Chicken noodle soup (p. 125), and Cream of watercress or purslane soup (p. 145)

TJOC has about ten different versions of chicken salad sprinkled throughout various chapters in the book. I've made most of them because I constantly have a lot of leftover poached chicken from making chicken stock. I noticed that I hadn't made Chicken or ham salad spread (p. 180) yet. It was an easy recipe--I mixed chicken, mayonnaise, pecans, bread-and-butter pickles, celery, and a little tiny bit of red pepper.

It was really good! The pickles lent a little bit of sweet and crunchy (along with the celery), the pecans were crunchy, and the flavors were really well balanced. Josh hates bread-and-butter pickles (although they are my very favorites) and even he liked this chicken salad. It was really good with crackers too. As much as I adore ham, I don't think it would be as good as it was with chicken.

I had a bunch of chicken stock and noticed that I hadn't made Chicken noodle soup (p. 125) even though it was an amazingly simple recipe. I boiled some chicken stock, stirred in some egg noodles, and cooked until tender. I also added some chicken (although the recipe doesn't call for it, which seems really odd to me).

I know the picture just looks like chicken stock but it was one of those recipes that doesn't take an impressive picture. The chicken soup was good, but boring, and needed a lot of salt. I don't think I would bother to make this again and I don't think a recipe is really needed--how difficult is it to heat up stock, throw in noodles, and then add chicken? Do you really need a recipe?

The real problem was that as I was moving the pot from the stove to the counter, boiling soup splashed out of the pot and onto my hand, scalding it. Through some miracle, I managed not to drop the pot on the floor (which would have burned my feet) and I managed not to pour it down myself. Luckily, the dog wasn't in the kitchen (for once) and didn't get burned. Even so, my hand hurt really bad and I managed to scald both the top of my hand and my palm. And since I had already started to make Cream of watercress or purslane soup (p. 145), I had to finish with an aching hand (thankfully I had a Hello Kitty! gel pack to wrap around it).

I happened to have watercress on hand because I keep meaning to make inroads in the "Salads" chapter (and I never do). Josh told me that he was excited because he liked watercress, which blew my mind. I mean, I've never even had watercress and he's had it often enough to like it? Then I realized he was talking about water chestnuts. He was a watercress novice too. If you wonder what watercress tastes like, I think it has a nice, peppery flavor.

I combined poultry stock and rice and simmered it until the rice is tender. I then added some chopped watercress (which I should have pureed rather than chopped--and I chopped them none to well), heavy cream, and a little parsley.

I then added two eggs (in the way that TJOC always recommends--I added some hot soup to the beaten eggs, mixed it together, and then added it all back to the pot.

This was really good! The watercress was novel (to me) and I really like cream soups. The eggs definitely thickened the soup and made it more filling. I would make this recipe again but I would puree the watercress instead of chopping it. And don't try to immersion blend this soup--it will just clog it up (...not that I would know from experience...).

You might notice that my posts are late again. I am desperately trying to finish my dissertation so that I can graduate! I have inverted my schedule so that I work about midnight-7 am at the office, which is working really well because nobody is around to distract me! The biggest problem is that it is nearly impossible to get to the bank, the mall, or any errands done! How do people who work at night do it??

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