[chicken stock and sauteed breast meat]

I use this recipe when I need chicken meat for soups, pastas or salads. It's completely fool-proof, (unless you're really stupid - then you're on your own). The bonus is I get the chicken I need, and real chicken stock to use for the same dish, or the next night. I usually half the recipe and use the wings and thighs only.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 whole chicken cut up with the bone and skin
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
2 quarts (8 cups) boiling water
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves

Heat oil in a large stock pot or soup kettle. When oil shimmers and starts to smoke, add chicken breast halves, saute until brown on both side, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken breast pieces and set aside. Add onion to the pot; saute until colored and softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer onion to large bowl.

Add half of chicken pieces to pot; saute until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to bowl with onion. Saute remaining chicken pieces. Return onion and chicken pieces (excluding breasts) to pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.

Increase heat to high; add boiling water, chicken breasts, salt and bay leaves. Return to simmer, then cover and barely simmer until chicken breasts are cooked through and broth is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes.

Remove chicken breasts from pot; when cool enough to handle, remove skin from breasts, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-sized pieces discard skin and bone. Strain broth into separate container and discard solids. Skim fat and reserve for later use in soups or other recipes.

The shredded chicken and broth can be covered and refrigerated separately up to 2 days.

[ho-made mayonnaise]

I had a recipe that called for mayonnaise and realized I didn't have any... so I took it as an opportunity to make it from scratch. Sure, it's a little scary and tiring, but tastes SO much better than the store stuff.
1 large egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
3/4 cup oil (corn or vegetable)

Whisk egg yolk vigorously in a medium bowl for 15 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except the oil and whisk until yolk thickens and color brightens, about 30 seconds.
Add 1/4 cup oil in slow, steady stream, continuing to whisk vigorously until oil is incorporated completely and mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Add another 1/4 cup oil in the same manner, whisking until incorporated completely, about 30 seconds more. Add last 1/4 cup oil all at once and whisk until incorporated completely, about 30 seconds.

Makes about 3/4 cup.
Can be stored refrigerated in airtight container for several days.

[corn chowder]

Adapted from Rachel Ray's 'Bacon-Makes-It-Better Corn Chowder' This soup is really filling and can serve 4 - so we had two bowls of leftovers. They re-heat really well from the fridge and keep for a few days after.

1 quart chicken stock or broth (4 cups)
4 ears of fresh corn, shucked
1 tbsp olive oil
6-7 slices bacon, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
4-8 dashes hot sauce, Tapatio (we like some heat, but if you don't - try 4 small dashes)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper

Place the chicken stock/broth in a large pot (3 quart pan will do), over high heat, bring to a boil. While it comes to a boil, prepare the corn - cut off the corn kernels from the cobs and reserve the kernels. Add the cobs to the stock cover and simmer over low heat. (Let is simmer until you add it to everything else later).

Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon (leave as much liquid as possible in the pot) and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Return the pot to the heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the yellow onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, hot sauce, salt and pepper (just a little - adjust later). Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are starting to brown.

Add the reserved corn kernels to the onions in the soup pot and cook for 2 minutes (stirring). Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove the corn cobs from the broth and add the broth to the onions and corn in the soup pot. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Serve the soup garnished with lots of the crispy bacon pieces and saltines, oyster crackers or crusty bread.
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