Archive for May, 2009

Rainy Days and Muffins

IMG_5310I was supposed to join today’s Earth Run at Mckinley Hill, but early morning rains prevented me from doing so. I told myself that attending a seemingly poorly organized event alone, in the rain was not worth getting sick over and getting up for on a Sunday. I tried consoling myself with the thought that my registration fee went to a good environmental cause, but there’s something about looking at an unused singlet and race number that makes you feel uneasy. Runner’s regret, perhaps? A part of me was thinking, “What if it turned out to be a good race?” or “What if today was the day I set a new PB?” I knew there was no point on pondering on these thoughts so to distract myself from staring at my untouched singlet, I baked.

The recipe I’m featuring today is from a blog that is easily becoming a favorite. Noble Pig highlights interesting recipes with humorous writing to boot. I’m sure I will end up recreating more than one recipe from this food blog.

I tweaked Noble Pig’s recipe for Crunchy Maple-Banana-Pecan Breakfast Muffins and excluded the chocolate chips and replaced the pecans with walnuts. These muffins were moister than my whole wheat muffins since the recipe called for a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. The mashed bananas were surely a factor, as well.

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This and a glass of fresh orange juice will be perfect for breakfast tomorrow. Let’s hope the rains let up so that I can run outdoors again.

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Apple Tamarillo Chutney (Part 2)

Some of you may ask, “What do I do with this chutney?” A lot! It’s only 11:39 am and I’ve already tried two dishes using my apple tamarillo chutney. Why can’t I be one of those cooks who doesn’t eat what they cook?

pork and chutney are a good combination

pork and chutney are a good combination

Whenever I eat porkchops, I always have to have something sweet to go along with it. Sometimes, UFC Banana Ketchup will suffice but when my tastebuds are feeling more sophicticated, I look for chutney. I had this for brunch and was utterly pleased with the combination of savory and sweet flavors that were swirling in my mouth. Pork and chutney make for a wonderful marriage and truly deserve a happily ever after.

grilled cheese with apple tamrillo chutney

grilled cheese with apple tamrillo chutney

This second dish is truly a great find and should be a staple in people’s list of comfort food – grilled cheese sandwich with apple tamarillo chutney. Again, the combination of the salty cheese,  sweetness of the chutney and the crunchiness of the toasted bread is juts to die for. I know chutney in a sandwich sounds a bit strange but this is one of those ‘don’t-knock-it-until-you’ve-tried-it’ moments. They say that a good dish needs to have 3 T’s – Taste, Texture and Temperature. This sandwich has got them all. Insanely delicious and dangerously addicting.

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Apple Tamarillo Chutney

Apple Tamarillo Chutney

Apple Tamarillo Chutney

The great thing about a fruit is that if you don’t feel like eating it as it is, you can always turn it into something else – juice, jam, or in this case chutney. Inasmuch as I did enjoy our new fruit find, the tamarillo, I couldn’t quite eat all of it. So not wanting them to go to waste, I turned them into chutney.

There weren’t enough tamarillos so I combined them with Fuji apples, which are always a good fruit to turn into chutney. Most chutneys contain vinegar, a certain fruit and onions, then simmered slowly until it reaches a thick and almost jam-like consistency.

Chutney has become quite popular as the perfect condiment to go along with pork dishes, specifically pork chops. I think they go fairly well with fried or grilled chicken and curry dishes, of course. Some people enjoy certain chutneys with crackers or pita bread.

I can’t wait for tomorrow because I’ll be making breaded porkchops to go with my apple tamarillo chutney…

Apple Tamarillo Chutney

  • 7 tamrillo, meat removed from skin
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. all spice
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, saute onions in butter until soft. Add apples and water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about an hour or until it has a jam like consistency.  Transfer and cool in a jar.

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Sunday Dinner

I am a carnivore and cannot imagine living my life without hamburgers, hotdogs and steaks. But just because I love meat, it doesn’t mean I cannot love vegetables and fruits just as much. I am quite proud of being a very balanced eater, always making it a point to have a serving of vegetables with every meal.

This Sunday, I prepared (an almost completely) vegetarian meal for dinner. Whoever said that vegetables can’t fill you up should try to prepare these dishes and see that they can have the same gratification as a meat-filled spread.

Stuffed tomatoes

Stuffed tomatoes

I wanted to make use of the tomatoes that my Mom brought back from Baguio and made something similar to my couscous stuffed peppers, except this time, I added a little protein in the form of chicken breast. This was actually a meal in itself, but knowing my family, I had to prepare something else. I paired these tomatoes with a roasted garlic and potato soup that was naturally creamy and had a slight sweetness that came from the roasted garlic. With so much tomatoes available, my Mom also decided to make a  tomato basil bruschetta with kesong puti.

garlic is good for managing your cholesterol.

garlic is good for managing your cholesterol.

After having a little bit of everything, I was substantially full and happy.  There’s something about filling yourself up with healthy eats that makes you feel good about yourself.

I’m off to my regular Sunday badminton game now… Have a healthy Sunday, everyone!

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup

  • 3 garlic heads, roasted          IMG_5208
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk or all purpose cream
  • rosemary or basil (optional)

In a pot, saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until soft. Add cubed potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.  Add garlic, milk or cream and rosemary. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blend mixture using an immersion blender or a food processor.  If soup is a little too thick, you can choose to add more chicken stock.

Drizzle with a little olive oil, garnish with herbs and serve.

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Mystery Fruit

Ever since I started this blog, I have been more interested and have been on the look out for more fascinating produce.  Knowing that my mom had arrived from an out of town trip, I excitedly searched our kitchen for one of a kind food finds which she always manages to bring home. Lo and behold! There they were, lying in our fruit basket beside the marmande tomatoes. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t around to tell me what they were so I asked our helper hoping that she was told what it was. All she knew was that it was some tomato variety. That didn’t help much.

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Hoping that my taste buds would lead me to the answer, I sliced one open and tried it. This fruit’s skin resembled the texture of a plum and had a bitter aftertaste. The fruit itself tasted like a mild guava but smelled a lot like kiwi.  There was that taste of sweetness that lingered in my mouth that reminded me of tomatoes but I was still unclear. I couldn’t wait to find out what this curious fruit was!

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Much to my dismay, my mom told me that she too had no idea what this fruit was. She was merely attracted to it for it’s unique appearance and didn’t bother to inquire about the fruit itself. Great.

After describing the fruit as best as I could to Google, I still could not get an answer. So I leave this to you now my cherished readers.  Help me identify this mystery fruit. 🙂

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Sinamak (Spiced Vinegar)

My entire family loves to cook – from my mom, to my siblings and I, down to our nephews and nieces. Our love for food has transcended all generations. But my favorite cook was probably my Dad.  I remember watching him on some Sundays as he made his favorite kinilaw or tokwa’t baboy. Dad loved to eat and enjoyed preparing his meals as well.

an assortment of cured fish from Cebu

an assortment of daing (cured fish) from Cebu

My Dad was born in Cebu and was quite adept with Visayan cooking. Visayans are known for curing their food, especially seafood and my Dad was in love with cured fish or as we call it in the Philippines, daing. Knowing that his love for this cured fish would affect his health, he wittingly found a solution so that he could continue his love affair with this salty fish. He would soak the cured fish in water to remove some of the salt and would dry them out in the sun again. This way, he could enjoy his food (almost) guilt-free! But that’s not all – these salted fish meals were not complete unless paired with his favorite condiment, his revered spicy vinegar or sinamak in the Visayas.  Dad (and I cannot stress this enough) LOVED his vinegar. He couldn’t eat his meals unless his small bottle was beside him. In fact, whenever there was a new house helper who was not aware of this, he made it known to them by giving this short speech said in Filipino, “In my life, only three things matter – GOD, FAMILY and VINEGAR.”  Yes, we were only a notch above vinegar.

shallots, ginger, garlic, chili, and peppercorns  - ingredients for sinamak

shallots, ginger, garlic, chili, and peppercorns - ingredients for sinamak

I seem to have inherited my Dad’s love for this spiced vinegar  and also look for it whenever having your usual Visayan breakfast. So when I looked for it this morning and realized that we had run out, I did what my Dad would’ve done – I made my own bottle of sinamak.

So this is for you, Daddy. I miss you.

Sinamak (Spiced Vinegar)

Sinamak (Spiced Vinegar)

Sinamak

  • 10 shallots, peeled
  • 1 garlic head, peeled
  • 1/4 cup peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup ginger, sliced
  • vinegar
  • salt
  • chilis

Combine all ingredients in a bottle and steep for 2 weeks before using.


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Portobello Mushroom Ravioli

What do you do when you have a good amount of baby Portobello mushrooms, relatively strong muscles and the whole afternoon? Make mushroom ravioli!

Baby Portobello Mushrooms

Baby Portobello Mushrooms

Among all the mushrooms, Portobellos have got to be my favorite, probably because it of it’s meaty and earthy taste.  I love grilling these mushrooms because doing so intensifies the flavor.  Considering that these mushrooms are quite pricey, I wasn’t about to let them rot in the ref and go to waste.

mushrooms on a stove-top grill

mushrooms on a stove-top grill

I’ve only made ravioli once before and was not that successful. I remember that first batch being too thick so the ravioli wasn’t as delicate as it should be. This time, I made sure to make it as thin as possible and since I was only using a rolling pin, I was in for a good workout. Making ravioli is quite easy, only requiring eggs and flour as the main ingredients.  The challenge is in the rolling. Making this dish is really a labor of love. (My forearms are hurting as I type this.

For the filling, I cooked the mushrooms on a stove-top grill

combine all ingredients in a food processor and chop coarsley

combine all ingredients in a food processor and chop coarsley

until soft and caramelized five white onions.  I chopped them coarsely in a food processor along with a few sprigs of flat leaf parsely, half a cup of mozzarella cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  This is a very simple but very flavorful ravioli recipe that could stand alone or go well with a basil pesto sauce or a marinara sauce.   I thought it went perfectly with a glass of white wine.

Portobello Mushroom with Caramelized Onion Ravioli

For the Filling:

•    200 g. Portobello mushrooms
•    5 white onions
•    2 cloves of garlic
•    4-5 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
•    ¼ c. olive oil
•    ½ c. mozzarella cheese
•    salt and pepper

Ravioli dough recipe.

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Cut out circles about 3” in diameter using a cookie cutter. Place 1 ½ tsp. of filling onto on circle. Making sure that sides are moist, cover with another circle and secure sides by pinching.  Boil ravioli in water for 5 minutes ot until they float to the top. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or sauce of your choice.

Portobello Mushroom Ravioli

Portobello Mushroom Ravioli

Enjoy, preferrably with a glass of wine 🙂

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