Archive for the ‘Veggies’ Category

Thanksgiving With A Twist

It was Thanksgiving for our friends in the States a couple of days back.  And although we normally do not celebrate this holiday in our family, I thought it was a good idea to ride the “thankfulness wave” this year and give this decidedly western holiday some Pinoy flair. 😉

I was pretty excited with the simple spread we came up with since it became a “kitchen comeback” of sorts for me – that is, after nearly five months of being mostly a “spectator” in terms of food planning, prep and cooking.

Without further ado, allow me to let you in on what we all enjoyed for our first-ever Thanksgiving meal. Frankly speaking, I think I wouldn’t mind doing something like this again next year… time, skill, and resources-permitting, of course.

For starters, I followed the lead of my sister-in-law, Ayn, who served up two kinds of pasta during a recent birthday party for her son two days before – one in red sauce and another in white.

Here’s the red…

 …while this one is the white. 

Having two pasta bases was a brilliant idea, if I may say so, since I found that more grown-ups preferred the red pasta while the kids gravitated towards the white.  In other words: everybody happy! 😀

This, on the other hand, was the “main event” (in lieu of the usual turkey – which I admittedly still need A LOT of  practice in preparing and baking!). 

Of course, the chicken wouldn’t be complete without these yummy sides…

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take any  “decent” pictures of the desserts – Sans Rival and Mango Bravo cakes – since we were probably all too stuffed already to think straight (think blood flowing more to our stomachs to aid digestion vs going to our brains – hahaha!).

Inspite of our “dessert photo waterloo”, I would say that the evening was still a “success”.  After all, a good meal coupled with the love and laughter of family are always blessings we should remain ever-thankful for.

Bon appetit, everyone, be grateful and stay blessed! :mrgreen: 

Fab French Fungi

Before all of you let out a collective “Eeeeewwww!” at the title of my post, please do read on… I’m sure most of you will hopefully see how close to reality this “claim” is later on …  😉

As mentioned in my previous entry, thanks to my sister’s good friend (our fave French monsieur also known as “Louis Pierre”), we got over our initial biases and were pleasantly acquainted with traditional French cuisine.

Although admittedly a bit pricier than the usual “plate of the day”  in Spain or in Portugal, our gastronomic adventure led us to a quaint and cozy restaurant in the heart of Paris – Truffes Folies – where, you guessed it – the specialty is the so-called “diamond of the kitchen” – the fab fungus that is the truffle.

Sure, I’ve heard of truffles before – why, I’ve even tasted its chocolatey version! 😳  Little did I realize though how chocolate truffles were in a totally different league till I tasted the delicate flavor of the “real thing” – that I too would inevitably fall prey to the charms of this “fungal fruit”- especially after sampling these savory truffle-ized culinary creations…

Too bad I never got around asking the chef what the creamy, sorbet-like scoop was… 😦 It was delicious nonetheless!

How’s this for upping the status of the lowly omelette? 😉

My order. Y-U-M-M-Y.

Hubby’s order. Y-U-M-M-I-E-R!

And for those of us (i.e., my brother) who weren’t huge truffle fans that adventurous with their food, there’s always this…

Still tasty and delish!

Of course, if, for some weird reason, you feel that flavor was still wanting, you can always have dashes of these…

or this  – to ultimately “level up” the “delish factor” of your dish!

Needless to say, our traditional French lunch that day will set the bar “way up” for our future foodie adventures.

And if only for this, I can definitely say, “Vive la France!” 😎

Eggplant Omelet (Tortang Talong)

Although my finished product is a far cry from the look of my “inspiration dish“, taste-wise, it was a winner! 😆

Our whole family loved it so much that I actually made it twice already – in a span of one week – eversince I got the recipe from blogger pal and “photonut – extra-ordinaire” Thess

And yes, the addition of cilantro to the meat mixture (btw, I used ground chicken in my version 😉 ) gave that added “oomph” that interestingly reminded me of the delicate flavor of  authentic Thai food – something which we sorely miss in these parts .

Nothing much to add except – T4 (aka Tortang Talong ala Tita Thess!) – j’adore! 😉

Crabstick Salad

In Japan, a couple of small side dishes are often served with a main dish.  This is a traditional recipe which harmonizes well within main courses. – Masaki Ko in Classic Japanese

And so, after following the instructions carefully, I came up with this…

Not bad, huh? 😉 Very simple and refreshing – truly a perfect complement to almost any dish. 😀

Sure wish I was able to prepare the salad earlier to match this… not exactly a main course, I know, but I’m sure it would’ve worked well for me!

The easy salad recipe is as follows:

WHAT YOU NEED: 1 1/4 oz dried wakame seaweed (didn’t have this so I used nori strips instead), 6 crabsticks, 1 medium cucumber, 1 tsp salt

FOR THE VINEGAR DRESSING: 4 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/3 tsp salt, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce (used the regular Kikkoman instead)

HOW TO:

  1. Make the vinegar dressing. Dissolve the sugar and salt thoroughly in the vinegar, then stir in the soy sauce and chill.  NOTE: Usukuchi soy sauce is light in color and it has a saltier taste than dark soy sauce, which is stronger and richer in flavor.  This type of vinegar is good for boiling vegetables and for flavoring delicate dishes such as clear soup.
  2. Soak the dried wakame seaweed in warm water for 5 minutes (did not do this step anymore as I preferred the crunch of the nori strips).  Drain the wakame and cut into 1 1/2 inch long pieces and place in a dish.  Cover and chill.
  3. Shred the crabsticks.
  4. Cut the cucumber into 1/4 inch slices.  Dissolve 1 tsp of salt in 1 cup water and submerge the cucumber.  Set aside for 5-6 minutes.  Careful not to soak cucumber longer than this so as to preserve its flavor.
  5. Drain the cucumber and dry with a dish cloth.  Wrap the cloth around the cucumber slices and gently squeeze out excess water.  Remove the cucumber slices and wrap it in clear film and chill.
  6. When ready to serve the dish, mix all the prepared dry ingredients together.  Add the dressing according to taste and toss lightly.

And for all Japanese foodies out there, don’t just take my word for it… give it a go in your own kitchen and I’m sure you’ll love it!

Tabemasho! :mrgreen:

Oatmeal-Crusted Fish Fillet and Garlic Potato Wedges

It’s the lenten season once more.  For many Catholic mommies like myself, in addition to the usual spiritual exercises involved during this time, this also means looking for new and yummy meatless (i.e., non-beef, pork or chicken) dishes to serve the family.

What I prepared for lunch today, though not exactly new, has long been an almost forgotten dish in our home – which is a pity, really, since it’s relatively simple to prepare.

Of course, I’m referring to none other than the classic combo of  fish and chips! Or, to be more, er, specific, oatmeal-crusted fish fillet with garlic potato wedges.

Though I used my mom’s “classic” fish fillet recipe (with a small twist with the addition of the oatmeal crust), I googled the chips recipe here.

Here’s how the finished product looked like…

Plated with steamed jasmine rice and tomato thousand island salsa, I’m pleased to say that my hungry brood gave it their unanimous “seal of approval” 😎 with Little Diva even requesting that I save some for her “baon” (packed lunch) for school.

Lent or not, this will certainly make a comeback in my kitchen more often than before!

Sharing with you my easy-peasy fish fillet recipe below.

YOU NEED:  3/4 to 1 kilo white fish fillet, cut into 3″ squares (I used hammour this time but back home my mom always used labahita), juice from 1/2 lemon, 2 eggs, 8 tbsps cornstarch, 2 tsps baking powder, 1 tbsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, raw oatmeal for coating

HOW TO: Season fillets with salt, pepper and lemon and leave in refrigerator overnight. Prepare batter mixture by adding cornstarch and baking powder to the 2 beaten eggs. Dip seasoned fillets in batter mixture and coat with oatmeal (this is the part I added – pleasantly surprised to find that oatmeal makes for an excellent substitute to panko breadcrumbs!) before deep-frying in very hot canola oil.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Bon appetit!

Happy Super-Blessed New Year!

After two (yes, you read it right – TWO 😀 ) fun New Year’s Eve parties with our friends – with the last one finding us crawling into bed at 3 am the following morning – I was too tired to wake up to prepare a “proper” New Year’s day meal for the family.  Next best thing?

Do a “proper” New Year’s dinner – yay!   After all, I wanted to treat hubby and the kids to something special to start 2010 right 😉

Here’s what I came up with…

For starters:

Pardon the photo of the clam chowder – I actually took it the day after since we weren’t able to take a decent photo of it from the night before… this was all that was left! 😳

Then on to the “main event”… we very rarely have beef dishes (mainly due to health reasons) but I decided that New Year’s would be an exception. 😉

Since the main was already quite heavy on the tummy, our dessert was kept as simple as possible…

And in the true spirit of celebration, all these were washed down with some (non-alcoholic) bubbly – with a few strawberries thrown in, of course!

Cheers, everyone! And to quote my fave preacher Bo, here’s to a super-blessed year for all of us!

“I declare I’ll have a super-blessed year in 2010! I claim a year of amazing abundance for my life. This year, I shall receive more love and give more love. I shall experience more joy, greater generosity, dreams fulfilled, financial increase, open doors, new opportunities, divine connections, supernatural appointments, great miracles, answered prayers, and exponential growth—Amen!”

 

Chicken Potato Apple Salad

During this season of parties and even more parties, many times it becomes quite stressful just  thinking about what to bring to share…

Until I stumbled upon this recipe for potato salad… and things thankfully got a little bit more interesting 😉

Served this recently as a side to baked wings and then again as an appetizer for a party we hosted for friends.  Happy to say that during both occasions, it was a success!

I tweaked the original recipe a bit to accomodate what ingredients were readily available to me.  Summary of minor adjustments as follows:

  1. Replaced whole grain mustard with yellow mustard and disregarded the dijon mustard altogether
  2. Replaced apple cider vinegar with 1 tsp rice vinegar
  3. Added 4 stalks of chopped celery
  4. Added 2 pieces pre-cooked and cubed chicken breasts
  5. Added 2 pieces Gala apples (roughly cut into 2 inch wedges)
  6. Added hard-boiled eggs for garnish

For salad lovers, this is highly recommended! 😀  Happy eating!