Monday, December 19, 2011

Bring a plate

I had a casual Christmas gathering at a friend's place to go to on Saturday night. This was a "bring some food to share" situation: ideal for ticking off Edmonds recipes. So, having spent the whole of Saturday morning madly baking, I cleaned up the kitchen and raced across to Pak N Save to get ingredients for pasta salad (p178).

While I was at the supermarket, I noticed a bulk pack of chicken drums on special. I knew I still had one or two recipes suitable for drums, and figured I had enough time to cook the chicken and cool it down to be served cold at the dinner.

When I got home, I got some pasta on the boil for the salad, and sat down to find a chicken recipe. I had to rethink the one I had planned to use, because I didn't have all the ingredients. I did, however, have the ingredients for cheesy sesame-coated chicken (p135) - or so I thought.

I started to combine the ingredients for the chicken coating in a bag: flour, grated parmesan, chicken stock, sesame seeds, mixed herbs, and dry breadcrumbs... except I didn't have any dry breadcrumbs. Hmmm. I considered several options as substitutes, and was toying with using rolled oats or polenta when my eye strayed to the bowl of   leftover biscuit crumbs from the morning's apricot balls. Biscuit crumbs for breadcrumbs? Not an ideal substitute, but surely closer than my other ideas? Oh well, I didn't have any other use for the biscuit crumbs anyway. In they went.

I removed the skin from the chicken drums and coated them piece by piece in the parmesan mixture.  The recipe is for eight drums, but I still had plenty of the coating left when I'd done eight, so I coated all twelve drums from the pack of chicken I'd bought, cramming them into an oven dish and putting them on to bake for 20 minutes.

While the chicken was in the oven, I fisnished the salad. The cooked pasta had been cooling while I worked with the chicken, and was now ready to use. I added chopped spring onions, celery, green pepper and tomatoes, along with one of the optional extras - cooked, chopped bacon. I'd intended to make my own mayonnaise for this salad, but I was running short on time, so just used bought mayo and stirred it through.

The salad was done and chilling in the fridge by the time the chicken came out of the oven. It didn't look very exciting - kind of anemic and soggy. It seemed cooked, but since I didn't want to be responsible for an outbreak of food poisoning, I  put it back in for an additional five minutes' cooking time.

Five minutes later the chicken was looking a bit more presentable, if still a bit pale and boring. I tried one drum and found it cooked through and reasonably tasty. So far, so good: I placed all the drums in a clean oven dish and put them in the fridge to cool.

Cooking and cooling the chicken took longer than I thought, and the chicken wasn't entirely cold as I gathered together my offerings to take to Leah's. We put them straight in her fridge when I arrived, though, so I figured no harm done.

When it was time to eat, I was quite embarrassed to see my chicken sitting on the table. It had become shrivelled and even more unappealing during the hours in Leah's fridge. Amongst the far more appetising food on offer, it actually looked quite repulsive. Only myself and one other person took a piece; I don't know if she ate hers, but I only got through half of mine before deciding it was underdone and therefore unsafe. And frankly, not very tasty.

The pasta salad, on the other hand, looked colourful and fresh and was an ideal dish for a summer barbecue. I should have done the salad and left it at that! In the end, I took home almost all of the chicken and turned it into chicken casserole.

I can recommend the pasta salad - it's fresh and summery, but filling at the same time. Cheesy sesame-coated chicken, on the other hand, is nice enough hot, but the recommendation "serve hot or cold" shouldn't be trusted. Of course, if I'd used actual breadcrumbs instead of biscuit crumbs, the coating would almost certainly have been more successful. Looks like I should be adding this one to my ever-increasing list of possible 'do-overs'!

1 comment:

  1. sounds like a salad for Christmas day what ya reckon.c


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