Posts Tagged recipes

Supercook Saves the Day

You can thank me later. ūüôā

Supercook Saves the Day.

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Our Kinilaw Will Never Be The Same Again

This isn’t the first time I’ve made sinamak or spiced vinegar. I’ve made it before for the purpose of having it with Filipino dishes and just as a staple condiment. This time, I’m making it for a dish that has already become a weekend habit. Our favorite, kinilaw.

For this bottle, I added all the usual spices – garlic, shallots, ginger, pepper, and chillies. The only thing I did different was that I added the zest of one lemon. I am hoping that echoing all the ingredients in the dish will intensify the flavors even more. I’m going to let the flavors marinate for about two weeks before I use it and am hoping that there will be a noticeable difference with our usual weekend meal.

Since we have been using vinegar so much in our diet, I did some research and tried to see what it’s health benefits are. The results were quite interesting.

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I am now savoring the last few hours of my weekend. I am extremely exhausted as the weekend was spent moving, cleaning, sorting and organizing all my things into my new address. Considering how small my previous apartment was, I was surprised to see how much I had accumulated in a year. I realized that I might be time to down size.

It’s going to be a long and busy week ahead and inasmuch as I would like to babble on, I should really be getting some shut eye soon. Tata, for now folks!

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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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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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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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