Archive for July, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The end of my summer vacation is truly bittersweet. I feel like I could use more time before the new school year starts, but at the same time, am very eager for a new year to begin. My mind is brimming with new, collaborative ideas which will hopefully fall into place. If only this gloomy Manila weather would take a turn for the better, as the rains have been making me feel very unproductive.

The only thing I was really up to this Sunday was some easy cooking. So with my new roasting pan and large bag of watercress acquired from the weekend market, I set out to make our usual dinner -roasted chicken. I love making this dish because it gives maximum satisfaction for very minimal effort. We like. We also like to change things up a bit so I decided to experiment with my new pan and poured a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen onto it, hoping that it would give my chicken a malty flavor. This idea was inspired by the beer can chicken which would not be possible with my new roasting pan, so I improvised.

I poured the beer onto the pan, hoping that the malty vapors would give my chicken a nice flavor.

The finished product! It's so hard to make a chicken look pretty.

This roasted chicken was amazing, but tasted nothing like beer. I’m going to have to do the beer can chicken the proper way. But what was pleasantly surprising was how much faster my chicken cooked with this pan. Having the chicken’s cavity propped on a metal cone allowed the heat to be equally distributed in a shorter amount of time. This worked out very well especially since we were hungry. So rather than cooking my medium sized chicken for 1 hour and 35 minutes on a 350 degree oven, it was done in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What also made tonight’s dinner a hit was the watercress salad. I purchased a large bundle from teh weekend market for P100 and was excited to recreate a salad that we had at the Last Chukker. All I needed was a berry flavored vinaigrette. I was planning to make my own out of some blueberry jam in the fridge when I remembered that Mike had brought this baby home from Canada.

Blackberry with Cabernet Sauvignon. It was perfect with the slightly bitter watercress.

So although my chicken did not taste like beer, tonight’s Sunday dinner was absolutely divine. I kind of wish we didn’t devour it as quickly as we did.

Sunday dinner success!

I hope it’s been a good and restful weekend for everyone! Please wish me luck as I take on another school year. 🙂

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My Love Affair with Tofu

My love affair with tofu started with my first attempt at making vegetarian adobo.

Tofu Adobo

Garlic spears from Michelle's garden. Where can I find some in Manila?

Enjoying our healthy Filipino dinner at Jim and Michelle's lovely home.

Since tofu is very bland, I knew that your usual adobo marinade wouldn’t do. So, to add more flavor to the dish, I baked it with lots of garlic, some rosemary and garlic spears, freshly picked from our friend’s garden. This dish turned out to be a huge hit, even with my tofu-hating boyfriend. The tofu was so flavorful and actually had a meatiness to it. None of the carnivores at the table seemed to miss the presence of meat.

The tofu adobo went very well with this veggie dish - beans and squash cooked in coconut milk and some curry powder.

I’ve also found that the success of this dish is highly dependent on the quality of tofu that you get. Firm tofu works best with this recipe since it bakes nicely and easily gets that crunchy texture. Last night, some friends and I tried re-creating this dish with some tofu that I found at the weekend market. The tofu that I bought wasn’t as firm and was more like silken tofu. It didn’t bake as well but was still delicious. We figured that with the softer kind of tofu, sauteing would work better. With that in mind, I tried something new.

Stir Fried Tofu with Broccoli

I had another pack of the softer tofu that I got from the market so I experimented with a new and easy recipe. On a very hot non-stick pan, I drizzled about 2 tablespoons of oil and sauteed the tofu until it was golden brown on all sides. I, then, sprinkled it with some green Thai curry powder for flavor. I added some broccoli, salt and pepper.

This dish was so good, eating it felt like an indulgence. I am now thinking of other ways to cook tofu.

Any ideas?

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Goodbye, Summer. Hello, Diet.

I’m giving my liver a break. For the last month, my diet has consisted mostly of meat, starches and beer. Being a huge veggie lover, I can feel that my body is not happy with me.

At the beginning of our camping trip, Mike and I agreed to make a conscious effort to eat healthy.  We were actually quite good about not buying any junk food on the road and were constantly eating fruit and were successfully avoiding fast food chains. But later on, the healthy eating was slowly overcome by the festivities of summer and we just ate like everyday was a holiday.  It also didn’t help that camping food usually equates to grilling lots of red meat and eating s’mores.

So after 28 meat-filled days, I am going on a vegetarian break. No meat, dairy, salt, sugar, oil, and alcohol for at least 3 days. My diet will consist only of fresh fruits, vegetables and beans. As of 12:46PM today, all I’ve had is one carrot, one small cucumber, a banana, a few slices of pineapple and a cup of cooked mongo beans. I do miss the meat but I know my body will thank me after the three days are over.

Today's breakfast : Pineapple, cucumber and banana

In the meantime, let me take you on a visual tour of some of things that I ate during my North American holiday.

Costco steaks are the shiznit!

At our favorite Japanese restaurant, Akasaka where the rolls are humongous.

Portobello Mushroom sandwich and sweet potato curry soup from McMenamins. Unforgettable meal right there!

Oyster stew with foie gras butter. Extremely delicious and sinful!

Steak dinner at our hotel room in Whistler.

Fried pickles from Hooters! These came with wings, of course 🙂

My sister's turkey dumplings and siomai. Sooooo good and actually healthy 🙂

Uploading all these photos made me hungry. Now, where’s that carrot….

*all photos taken with Instagram

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