Archive for May, 2011

Easy Green Shrimp Curry

I don’t like shrimp. I’m not allergic to it, I just don’t like the taste and texture. The only time I can eat shrimp is when it’s completely disguised as something else, like tempura. Oh, and shrimp cocktail. I can eat that. Any other shrimp dish you put in front of me just ends up in the doggy dish.

But last Saturday, as I was walking around the weekend market, I chose to look out for something other than our usual purchases and ended up with a half a kilo of shrimp. I try not to be a selfish cook so I surrendered to the idea of having to ingest my least favorite seafood. There’s always a can of tuna in the pantry, in case things don’t go well. At home, I had a few stalks of lemongrass so it seemed like it was the perfect time to make curry paste. So shrimp curry it was.

I combined some coriander, garlic, green chillies, ginger, red onion, and lemongrass in a food processor hoping that this would quickly give me a green curry paste. The result was nothing paste-like but more like a mirepoix of some sort. I had a feeling that this wouldn’t hold as my curry’s base so I pulled out some green curry paste just in case.

Although I don’t eat shrimp. I know better than to throw it’s head and shells away. So I gathered all the heads and shells, fired up a small pot and made some shrimp stock. With this, I added some of my lemongrass mirepoix and within a few minutes, the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma, very reminiscent of tinolang manok. The result was a flavorful stock that, if combined with some tom yum powder, would have been the perfect soup dish. But we’ll save that for another day.

In a separate pot, I sauteed what was left of my lemongrass mirepoix with a little oil. 5 minutes later, I added my sliced eggplant, shrimp stock, 1/2 cup of coconut milk and about 3 tablespoons of the green curry paste. On a low flame, I allowed this mixture to simmer until the eggplant was cooked. I noticed that when you stew eggplant long enough, the meat separates from the skin and actually acts as a thickening agent. I personally like this but some people might prefer the eggplant not overcooked.

After simmering for about 20 minutes, add some chopped cauliflower and the shelled shrimp. Boil for no more than 2 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Overcooking your shrimp will make it turn rubbery so be careful. Turn the heat off and add about a cup of basil leaves into the curry. It will add a nice, fresh flavor to a very spicy dish.

Serve it with a side dish of pickled cucumbers.

If you’re wondering if I ate the shrimp curry, I did. I took one bite of the succulent shrimp and then almost instantly started fishing for the shrimp in my bowl, knowing that there’s was no way I could eat it. The sauce was delicious, but there’s just no way I could take the shrimp without gagging. Sorry, food. I was still happy with just the curry sauce, eggplant and cauliflower but I think Mike was secretly ecstatic that he had all the shrimp to himself.

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Don’t Judge An Oven

All bakers know how difficult it is find a good and reliable oven. It is, however, quite common to find problems with this appliance. The most common problem that I’ve come across is when an oven’s heating temperature is uneven. I’ve used an oven that required me to turn the baking tray every few minutes to prevent the cupcakes on one side from burning. Not fun, I tell ya, especially when you’re trying to multi-task. When baking, temperature is key, so make sure that your oven heats up evenly and that it is properly calibrated. It also helps to get an oven thermometer.

Don't be fooled by this oven's looks. My solution for it's weird temperature gauge - a thermometer!

The first time I saw my boyfriend’s oven (which, to his defense, came with the apartment), I knew right away that my cupcake-baking days were to remain on hold. The fact that it didn’t have a proper temperature gauge was all that I needed to know. Months later, I remembered that I could use an oven thermometer! So, here we are, with my first tray of muffins made in an old and unattractive, but apparently reliable oven.

Perfectly baked carrot and blueberry muffins. Thanks, Sansio!

So the moral of the story is, don’t judge an oven by it’s looks. Test it first with a relatively easy and inexpensive recipe. Examine your baked goods and do a spot check by eating one from both sides of the tray (yay!). If they’ve cooked evenly and correctly, then you’re good to go. And remember, once you’ve found that perfect oven, treat it right and don’t let it go.

Visit this link for the inspiration of this muffin recipe. 🙂

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Mustard Porkchops with Caramelized Onions

Six more working days and I’m free. Free from my alarm clock, making report cards, lunch duty and faculty meetings. I love my job but these month long vacations are extremely welcome and much appreciated. I can’t wait for June to come!

Since my mind has sort of gone on vacation mode already, I’ve had more time to take on new things. As if maintaining one blog wasn’t enough, I’ve decided to start a new blog – Keeping Up With the Purita Joneses. I’ll allow the blog to speak for itself  rather than explaining it here. So please do drop by. 🙂

I’ve also discovered a new and simple recipe which I predict will make a constant appearance in the kitchen. Porkchops marinated in mustard, my new favorite discovery! Your usual boring piece of meat will never be the same again.

Marinate your chops in your mustard of choice, overnight. When your chops are ready, heat a good amount of butter on a non-stick pan and fry chops for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. You don’t want to overcook your chops so I suggest you keep a close eye on them.

On the same pan, saute’ three red onions until soft. The sweetness from the caramelized onions add a great dimension to the chops and make them even more addicting.

Mustard pork chops were served with an avocado salad, potato salad and french beans. Delicious!

I served the pork chops with a potato salad, french beans and a spectacular avocado salad (note to self: must blog about that, too!). I wanted this meal to last longer than it did because it was so delicious. A must try!

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Angry Cook

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from relationships, it’s that no one likes being the victim of misdirected anger. So as I was on my way home, extremely livid and frustrated, I had to remind myself not to lash out on the unsuspecting boyfriend.

Beef Lasagna

I was also not excited about the fact that I still had to make two trays of lasagna after a long day at work and a bad mood. Ever since I watched the movie, Like Water for Chocolate, I’ve believed that your current mood affects your cooking. Foul mood equals foul tasting food. I was very tempted to order lasagna from somewhere but the perfectionist cook in me resisted. So I hurried over to the grocery, bought my ingredients, got home and quietly cooked.

Vegetable Lasagna

I huffed and puffed as I peeled and chopped my aromatics. I waited for the anger to subside, but the dark cloud over me just would not go away. An hour and a half later, my two trays of lasagna were cooked and I still felt horrible. So I turned to my ever reliable shoes, laced up, and stepped out for a run. The moment I took that first running stride, I knew that I was going to be fine.

I have a feeling that my lasagna is too salty but that’s ok. I think it’s better that I took it out on the food rather than on my defenseless boyfriend, right? My co-teachers will just have to load up on water during lunch. 🙂

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The Best Birthday Cake

I have been bugging my niece to make me her famous red velvet cake and on my birthday, she sent over a wonderful and extremely delicious surprise!

Two layers of red velvet cake with cream cheese filling, covered with a rich chocolate ganache.

She made it a blue velvet cake! My favorite color!

Thank you, Ge for the best birthday cake! I love you.

For more information on Little Ginger’s creations check out her Facebook page  and order.

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Kinilaw, a hangover cure-all

I’m a sucker for birthdays and get extremely excited about mine, except I get very anxious when planning my own celebration. So when my boyfriend asked me how I wanted to celebrate, I told him that I didn’t want to do anything. But we all know that when a girl says NOTHING, it translates to – I really want a huge celebration, please! And guess, what? The boyfriend picked up on that.

Mike gave no information on how we were spending my birthday, which actually made me very anxious. I am, after all, a control freak. But much to my delight, he knew exactly what to do to make it a great night. Needless to say, this has been one wonderful birthday!

The success of my birthday celebration was accompanied by a pair of monster hangovers. We woke up this morning with jackhammers in our heads. It’s 5:30PM and Mike is still moaning about how terrible he feels. So being the good and thankful girlfriend that I am, I made his favorite dish and cure-all – kinilaw. He would eat it everyday if he could. And for some reason, eating it really makes him feel better especially after a night out drinking. My theory is that the ginger in the kinilaw helps get rid of the nausea and helps in settling the stomach’s acidity. I prefer pills to natural remedies but between an Advil and kinilaw, the latter seems to be more effective in zapping the hangover headache.

So today, I am extremely grateful for my family and friends who have made me feel constantly loved and supported. But am also extremely grateful for a wonderful boyfriend who knows how to read between the lines. 🙂


1/2 kilo tanigue steak (king mackarel), diced
3 native tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
2 tbsp. ginger, minced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3 green chilies, chopped 
salt and pepper
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for 3o minutes before serving.  Serve cold. 

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What am I going to do with you?

I bought a few pieces of avocados the other day thinking I would make guacamole but now I just don’t feel like making that. What else could I make with this? I can only think of putting it in a turkey sandwich but I want to try something different. Any suggestions?

And how about these huge mangoes that my sister sent over. Their size alone threw me off. I’ve had these mangoes before and if I remember right, they’re not that sweet. Do I wait for them to ripen or do I consume them green? I was thinking of using it for a mango salad but again, new recipe suggestions are most welcome.

It's HUGE!

I love seasonal fruits but I need new recipes soon before these go bad! 😛

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