Saturday, April 29, 2006

Paula Deen and Mayonnaise

This post isn't about a restaurant, but instead about a meal we cooked ourselves this evening. Paula Deen is one of our favorites on the Food Network because of her liberal use of butter, cream and bacon--we watch her religiously on Saturday mornings as part of our drink coffee/read the paper routine. So for Christmas I bought Paula's cookbook for Peter. We had yet to make anything from it and decided tonight was the night. Peter chose the Hot Chicken Salad and I avoided watching the specific ingredients he used so I wouldn't freak out about how much weight was going to be instantly added to my hips. It's a very simple recipe: mix together rotisserie chicken with some celery and chesse, and glue it all together with mayonnaise. Our first problem came when the amount of mixed ingredients didn't come anywhere close to needing a 9x13 pan--an 8x8 square was much more appropriate. It was sprinkled with potato chips before a quick 20 minutes in the oven until brown and bubbly.

The dish looked promising enough when it came out, but when we went to dish it up, we saw that nearly the entire 8x8 pan fit into just our two bowls. This would've been fine, except that the recipe indicated that it served 8-10. The taste was just okay--not terrible, but much too salty and it had a definite oily sheen. I got about halfway through my portion when Peter told me he'd used an entire cup of mayonnaise in the mix. So given that we were already eating portions meant to feed 4 people, I now had 1/2 CUP of mayo in my serving alone? I had to put the bowl aside and put my hand to my mouth to keep from seeing what I'd already swallowed come back up. That was the end of that. To say the least, we won't be repeating this recipe again. Good thing that we bought some popcorn to go along with our viewing of King Kong tonight. If only Peter could keep the popcorn off the floor.

My mom has a similar but vastly improved recipe, and if readers are interested I'd be happy to post it here. It's much lighter and has the additional crunch of water chestnuts. Peter will vehemently disagree with me here, but there's no earthly reason to use full-fat mayo when the light stuff tastes so good.

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