Archive for Recipes

Supercook Saves the Day

You can thank me later. ūüôā

Supercook Saves the Day.

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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. ūüôā

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Quality Time and Quality Eats

Salad ingredients sans the lemon

Since I arrived in California, I’ve been preoccupied with only two things – family and myself. I am loving every moment of my slow-paced holiday as I catch up with my brother, sister and all their kids. I could not be happier about being here and am filled with¬†gratitude¬†and contentment.

I am also thrilled that I am able to focus on myself. I’ve been catching up on sleep (aka jet lag), eating healthily and working out. I am happy to report that I have already logged in two runs and intend to work out five times a week. Since there isn’t any work to do, I don’t see why it can’t be done. I am also making a conscious effort to try to eat as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.

Speaking of healthy eats, have you tried eating quinoa? Quin-what, you say? Quinoa is a grain that originates from South America. It looks a lot like couscous but has a different texture. Unlike couscous, it is not filled with starch and is in fact, very high in protein. I made a quinoa salad yesterday to accompany my sister’s fried¬†fish and it was absolutely delicious! It’s always a delight to discover such delicious and simple food and I’ve been very excited to share it with everyone. So here it is…

Quinoa salad with fish. Yum!

Quinoa Salad

1 cup, cooked quinoa 
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
fresh lemon juice, according to taste
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
 
Combine all ingredients ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate. I find that the longer it marinates, the more delicious it becomes.
 
This salad can be eaten on its own or as a side dish. 

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Pass It On: Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Ale Stew

Jamie’s (Oliver) Food Revolution is one of my favorite cookbooks. Other than the recipes, I support his advocacy to educate more people about healthy cooking and eating. In this day and age where fast food dining has become an unhealthy habit, it is important to give people better options. Jamie Oliver’s plan reads,

“I need you to get personally involved in pass it on by pledging to learn just one recipe from each chapter of this book. Master these in your own home first, and then pass it on by teaching at least two people (preferably four) how to cook them, too. ¬†Make it fun by having a bit of a cooking party where you teach your friends, family, and other guests some brilliant new skills in the comfort of your own home. Then, most importantly, you need to get your guests to promise that they’ll pass it on to more people and get those people to pass it on and on and on… It’s easy.”

So as a way of participating in his advocacy, I would like to pass on the recipe for a beef and ale stew. I followed Jamie’s basic stew recipe but made some minor modifications as well. It is a simple and delicious recipe that can make anyone feel like a pro in the kitchen. You will easily learn to love this recipe which, I hope you will share and pass on.

A page from Jamie's Food Revolution. I tried to copy the photos it didn't quite turn out the same ūüėõ

Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Ale Stew Recipe

3 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 pound diced stewing beef
2 cups brown ale, Guiness or stout
2 stalks celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots
olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon all purpose flour
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
 
If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 350 degrees F. Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the stalks. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel the carrots. slice lengthways, and roughly chop. Put a Dutch oven in medium heat. Put all the vegetables and your chosen herb into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes. 
 
 
Add your meat and flour. 
 
 
Pour in the booze and canned tomatoes.
 
 
 
Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring it to a boil, put the lid on, and either simmer slowly on your cooktop or cook in an oven for 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering and cooking and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry. When done, your meat should be tender and delicious. Remove any bay leaves or herb stalks before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper. 
 

It tastes better than it looks, I promise ūüôā

 

Sign Jamie’s petition.

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Reality (and) Bites

Yesterday was an interesting day. I met Martin, a friend that Mike made on a dive trip to Palau. Martin was in transit and had 10 hours to kill in Manila. Martin is one of the most open-minded people I have ever met. From the moment we shook hands, I instantly felt his genuine interest to get to know me and the nonexistence of judgement. It seems that that is a trait common to travelers who are so used to, and almost impervious to cultural differences. It is something that I admire in people and wish to emulate. The few hours that we got to spend with Martin were so enjoyable and refreshing and I truly hope to cross paths with him again.

Mike, Martin and LT, catching up in Manila

I told Martin that I thought he was lucky to be able to travel so much. He smiled and replied, “I’m not lucky. It’s just good karma.”

Today, on the other hand was not so great. It was my first full day at home and I did not get the lazy day I was hopping for. Instead, I did errands from the  couch and managed to stress myself out silly. Dealing with a bank, an airline and an embassy (find complete account of embassy ordeal here) put an emphasis on the reality that I am, in fact, a grown up. Reality bit me pretty hard today.

I tried distracting my distraught self by writing blog entries and cooking, as usual. I’ve had a bag of french beans waiting to be made into a salad so for a good 15 minutes, that’s all I did. There’s nothing like some quiet time in the kitchen to soothe one’s worried soul.

So here’s to new friends, simple food and hopefully, approved visas. Tomorrow will bring better things, I am sure.

French Bean Salad Dressing

2 tbsp. deli mustard 
2 tbps. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Japanes mayonnaise (or any good mayo)
salt and pepper
your choice of fresh or dried herbs
 
Toss dressing with blanched french beans. Serve chilled. 

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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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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. ūüôā

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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