Thursday, August 01, 2019

Cooking Trivia: corn salad, poached chicken, pasta, pesto, and a lesson learned

A bit of everything on my mind this warm summer morning.

Corn salad

A great accompaniment for whatever you grill, from ribs to burgers.

3 cups corn, preferably from about six ears of fresh corn, but you can cook and use frozen

Salt to taste

½ c. mayonnaise

¼ c.  feta, crumbled

Juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. chili powder

            Mix and chill. At serving time, garnish with more feta and chopped cilantro

Poaching chicken

            I’ve been making a summer soup that calls for diced chicken. First time I made it, I did what’s reflexive for me—bought and boned a rotisserie bird. But I hate the chore of boning, and it’s always so greasy I feel that I’ll never get clean again. So recently, I bought one large chicken breast and poached it. The ideal is to simmer and never let it boil—a state of perfection I didn’t quite reach, so it was a bit tougher than I’d like. But far better than the rotisserie version with its seasoning.

The soup is the cucumber soup, with a base of yogurt and buttermilk, that was in this column in June.

Easy, light pasta

1 lb. linguine

½ cup good butter—I like Kerry Gold, which has a higher fat content than most butters

½ c. grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Cook pasta and leave in hot water just while you melt the butter. Use tongs to transfer pasta from water to butter in skillet. A bit at a time, add pasta water, until you get a smooth, creamy sauce—shouldn’t take more than a cup of water if that much. Sprinkle with cheese. For serving, top with chopped Italian parsley if desired.


This is so easy!

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves

4 cloves garlic

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ c. olive oil

¼ c. pecan bits (I know, pine nuts are traditional, but I’m not wild about them and one family member is allergic—you can also substitute walnut bits)

½ c. chopped parsley

            Combine ingredients in processor and blend to smooth paste. Spoon into a flexible plastic ice cube tray and freeze. When cubes are solidly frozen, pop them out (sometimes you have to use a table knife to carefully pry them out) and into a baggie. Store in freezer for use whenever.

But here’s the tiny-kitchen tip I learned, something you’d think someone who’s been cooking as long as I have would have figured out. I knew the ingredients wouldn’t fit in my counter-top processor, so I decided to do it in batches. I did it by ingredients, so the first batch was garlic, cheese, and nuts. Second batch—parsley and basil, saving the oil till last. But the processor just tossed the herbs around without processing them. Duh! The mixture needed liquid. So I put half of all ingredients, including the oil, in the first batch and then finished with the other half.

For a minute there, however, I was ready to warn that a counter-top processor just wouldn’t do a whole batch of pesto. The problem, of course, was me, not the processor.


No comments: