I think I need a muse. It appears that I’ve become so distracted by “my life” that when I’m actually able to carve out a little time for “my self” I’m at a loss. I need inspiration, a creative catalyst, a bit of meaningful illumination. Seriously, I think a muse is the answer. (And just for future reference, if you should one day decide to search ‘creative muse’ on Craigslist be prepared to be surprised.) Okay, so back to my slump… I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for a new post ever since my last one two months ago. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, frankly the cooking is the easy part, it’s that I haven’t had the time to test, photograph and come up with a few snappy lines about the amazing thing I just made. So instead I’ve been pondering and considering, waiting for the ‘spirit of the whisk’ (not a real thing but it should be) to transcend upon me and simply biding my time until it does. After all you can’t rush transcendence.
I was standing in my kitchen the other morning drinking coffee and checking email when the strangest idea popped into my head: “I should really make mayonnaise.” That was it, nothing more. “Huh… Should I?” I thought to myself. I’ve made plenty of perfectly-good-as-store-bought-but-took-the-time-to-make-anyway condiments in the past (including Hollandaise the fancy cousin of mayo), so why not mayonnaise. Why not?
As it happens at the same time I was have my little egg and oil emulsification epiphany the NY Times was running a recipe for Classic Deviled Eggs written by the same co-author of the cookbook I based my mayonnaise recipe on; Sheila Lukins. Was my food processor a portal to the after life? Was Shelia trying to tell me to keep on truckin’? The answer remains unclear, but then you already know my stance on rushing the mystical, her mayonnaise however was a thing of ethereal beauty.
Simple Homemade Mayonnaise
You can totally adjust the tang of this mayo by playing with the amount of lemon juice you use.
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- Combine all the ingredients except for the oil in the bowl of a food processor and allow to run for 1 minute.
- With the motor still running slowly drizzle the oil through the feed tube, allowing the eggs and oil to emulsify. Scrape down the sides, pulse a few more times then transfer into a airtight container. Store in the refrigerator, it will keep for 5 days.
*adapted from the new basics cookbook
Sandwiches. They come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Fancy little tea sandwiches and big honkin’ heroes (sorry my New England friends, I mean grinders!), ooey gooey grilled cheese and simple avocado with hot sauce on toast. They can be the perfect accompaniment or the star player. I don’t truly believe anyone who says they don’t like sandwiches, I think it’s more likely they just haven’t tried the right one.
With all the soup I’ve been making lately it should come as no surprise that sandwiches have also been on the menu. So much so in fact that my husband bought me a panini press for Christmas. (Yes a rather self-serving gift but, since I got him a subscription to a wine club I think we’re even!)
One of my favorite sandwiches (with or without the side of soup) happens to be curried chicken salad. Sure it’s a bit more involved than say a simple ham and cheese, but it’s oh so good. And since this recipe makes a considerable amount of chicken salad you’ll have plenty leftover for more lunches, dinners and a few “I’m hungry what’s in the fridge that I can eat while standing in front of it” forkfuls during the week.
Curried Chicken Salad
I love this chicken salad between a couple of slices of bread, on a bed of salad greens or even served on crackers as an appetizer.
4 cups shredded poached chicken (see recipe below)
1/2 cup celery, diced small
1/3 cup onion, diced small
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 an apple, diced small
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. Madras curry powder (hot or mild)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, toss together the shredded chicken, celery, onion, parsley and apple. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder, raisins, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently mix to combine. Serve on multi-grain bread or refrigerate until ready to use.
To Poach Chicken:
10 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 leek quartered
10 baby carrots
2 stalks celery, halved
1 1/2 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
1 quart chicken broth
- Place the parsley, thyme, onion, carrots, celery, and chicken breasts in a medium saucepan. Cover with broth and bring to just a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and cover. Poach the chicken for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat, uncover and cool the chicken in the poaching liquid for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow cool the remainder of the way. (Reserve the poaching liquid for a later use and eat the carrots sprinkled with a bit of salt, they’ll be delicious). When the meat is cool enough to handle use a fork to shred it.
*adapted from food network