Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cooking . . . and cooking some more

I spent much of today on food--grocery store trip, then home to make a chicken loaf out of the hen I'd stewed last night. It's a retro dish, and my kids had mixed opinions about it (some declaring it "gelatinous") but it's a nice cold supper, with the purest chicken flavor I've ever tasted--I love it with mayonnaise, but tomorrow for company I may dress up the mayo with a bit of lemon and some basil (my basil plants are already huge this early in the season). Plus I'll use basil leaves to decorate the platter. It's simple, though time-consuming--boil a hen, let it cool, skin and bone, cut meat into chunks. The wonderful lady who gave me this recipe insisted you had to cut the meat into small pieces with scissors (she died several years ago in her 90s, so that tells you this is retro). I think she made her husband cut the chicken. I put it in the food processor and try not to overdo it. Dump the meat into a bowl and process one cylinder of saltines, adding them to the meat. Then the tricky part. The original recipe says to dampen mixture with just enough chicken broth to make it hold together. My mom found, and I did too, it fell apart when sliced. So we added two packets of gelatin, softened in broth, and then a bit more broth. You put it in a loaf pan, cover with wax paper, top with another loaf pan, and weigh it down with two cans of whatever out of your cabinet. Chill overnight. Next day, pray it slices well. After doing all that, my back hurt, and I quit for the afternoon.
But tonight I made salmon tartare--it's not really tartare, since it's made with smoked salmon. My neighbor Jay (the handsome one) took it to the barbecue last week at Jordan's, and it was delicious. I made half a batch but my garlic paste didn't work--roasted garlic was hard as nuts. And typical of me, I left out the jalopeno. Stuck that in the fridge and sauteed mushrooms, cherub tomatoes, scallions, and smoked salmon and then threw in two eggs to scramble and hold it all together. Wonderful supper.
Tomorrow I'll make a salad of roasted asparagus, tiny new potatoes, and tomatoes with a basil/lime dressing, but I have not made nor planned dessert for my company tomorrow (my successor at TCU Press, his wife, and a mutual friend). Tonight I went through my recipe file to find a recipe for banana ice cream to add as a comment to a blog, and I forgot how many wonderful dessert recipes I've cut out over the years. I'll have to do better next time. In looking I found a recipe for really easy and low cal chocolate cupcakes: 1 box chocolate cake mix, 1 can pure pumpkin, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips. Mix and bake at 350 in cupcake tins for 18 minutes. Makes 18 cupcakes, and you can't taste the pumpkin--the cupcakes are dense and chocolatey and moist. If you're follow Weight Watchers, one cupcake is 2 points--can't beat that!
After all that cooking, I'm tired. Time to go read on the porch.

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