Sunday, September 26, 2010

1 chicken 4 ways: number 4

Finally I'm getting around to telling you how I finished using the beer-can chicken--after about a month of avoiding it.  Whenever I make a whole chicken, the last step is using the bones to make chicken broth.  I made a summery zucchini basil soup from the last batch of broth.  If you've got zucchini coming out of your ears, this is a great way to use quite a few up.  I happened to be overrun with pattypan squashes at that time, and they worked just as well.  I wasn't happy with any of the available recipes that I found, so I combined a couple.

Creamy Basil Summer Squash Soup
adapted from myrecipes and epicurious

This soup gets nice and creamy and tastes like summer.  We liked it topped with grated parmesan, roasted red pepper strips, and pine nuts.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 lbs zucchini or other summer squash, chopped (about 6-8 cups)
4 c reduced-sodium or homemade chicken broth
1 c loosely-packed rinsed basil leaves
2-4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add squash and cook another 2 minutes; then add chicken broth and 1 cup basil leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.  Purée the soup in batches in a blender. Pour the soup through a strainer into a bowl, using a ladle to push any solid bits through. Add the cayenne pepper. Season with salt to taste.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"the best tuna salad"

I'm not kidding.  I have a recipe for the tastiest, best-textured tuna salad I've ever had.  And yes, you do need a recipe for tuna salad.  Plus, making easy flavorful lunches is what I'm all about during the school year.

I've had a love/hate relationship with canned tuna over the course of my life.  When I was little, I don't think I knew that it was fish.  And once I realized that it was not some sort of canned chicken, I was done.  Since then, I've been back and forth, craving tuna salad and then taking a hiatus after gagging on the fish taste.  I recently got over my fish issues (Japan had a great deal to do with that), so I was ready to hop back on the tuna saddle.  I know that's a catfish--use your imagination.  

I have tried many different kinds of canned tuna with varied satisfaction.  At the suggestion of Cook's Country, I'm sticking with white albacore packed in water from now on.  I ate some of this on a spinach flatbread with lettuce and tomato today.  So good.

The Best Tuna Salad
from Cook's Country magazine

3 cans white albacore tuna packed in water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c minced onion
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp mayo
1 celery stalk, minced (I always skip this because I don't like crunchy tuna salad)

Drain tuna and pat dry with paper towel (so the olive oil won't bead up on the water).  Microwave olive oil and minced onion for about 2 minutes, until onion begins to soften.  Mix onion mixture with tuna, lemon juice, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Let marinate for 10 minutes.  Stir in mayonnaise.  You can add dill or roasted red peppers and capers for something different.

Oh, and by the way, this is me.