Thursday, July 12, 2007

RECIPE! "Eggsestential" Chicken Salad

THIS RECIPE NEEDS a better name, perhaps, but my uncle's sarcastic moniker has stuck since no one else in my family has come up with anything better. Chicken-less Chicken Salad? A bit obvious, not to mention redundant. Egg salad? Not by any definition of the stuff. So, like it or not, "Eggsestential" Chicken Salad it is for now.

This recipe is also the first in what will hopefully be a growing list of work-friendly meals, as in: make it the night before, bring the leftovers along for lunch the following day. It's all part of my attempt to save some cash and eat well. An actual written recipe for this creation has never existed, so the following is a list of improvised ingredients inspired from the fashion in which my mother has previously combined them, or those like them:

3-4 cups cooked rice
4 hard-boiled egg whites
3 plum tomatoes
1 head of broccoli
1 shallot
1/2 cup chopped, cooked tempeh
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
+ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dijon Nayonaise
1/4 cup of olives
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt & pepper

Chop well tomatoes (remove seeds), broccoli (cooked, if desired), shallot, and olives; cook tempeh and chop into small pieces; grate cheese. Set all aside. Cook rice (Note: About 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice yielded more than enough for this recipe). Mix rice and all ingredients in large bowl. Add Nayonaise and stir well, adding more if needed. Wash and chop a small handful basil leaves; mix in and season to tase. Serve on a roll, sliced bread, or whatever-- hot or cold.

Easy (if somewhat time-consuming) to make, and delicious warm or cold, it's a great recipe to take to work, a picnic, a barbecue, etc. Using Nayonaise, a soy-based mayo, keeps the nutrition level leaning towards healthy, although the cheese and (when fried) tempeh threaten to spoil the effort. Perhaps I'll work on a non-fried way to cook the tempeh.

Feel free to improvise this list. The basil was used mostly because we have some growing in the kitchen (which was an amazingly sweet inclusion). If making to be consumed by a crowd in one sitting, I would probably include avocado. Pistachios or celery would add some crunch. Using the hard-boiled egg yolks would probably create a more savory flavor; plain Nayonaise and honey, a sweeter one. Enjoy!

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