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January 31, 2007

Green Garbanzos

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Green Garbanzos

I went to Trader Joe's to get a jar of morello cherries and some frozen artichoke hearts and found these frozen green garbanzos (chickpeas). I'm always on the look out for new produce or food items in the groceries and these caught my eye. The packet label says it is high in fiber and protein. I would have preferred fresh, not frozen but these green garbanzos are very new here where I live, and I think the fresh ones are only available in California where they are grown (of course), I'll take these frozen ones, they're good enough for me. I boiled one packet and was undecided if I should make it into hummus as suggested by some internet sites. I ended up just drizzling them with extra virgin olive oil, a little garlic powder, salt, and lemon & herb seasoning. It has a mild sweet herby taste and I love it! I will make hummus with the other packet later this week. One of the strangest produce I saw last week is called buddha's hand or fingers, a fruit that belongs to the citrus family. I didn't buy it though, it's just too weird looking. :)

Strange Produce

And when I saw a package of figs in chocolate I just couldn't resist. Figs plus dark chocolate, what's not to love? I am a fig fiend (as my daughter would say), I love figs in any form: fresh during summer, dried are fine too, preserved whole in syrup, and in jams, either dark or greenish, but my favorite is the fresh Italian honey variety, they are to-die for!

Figments

January 30, 2007

Cream Scones

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Cream Scones With Mascarpone & Lemon Curd

I baked a batch of cream scones from the cookbook BAKING: FROM MY HOME TO YOURS by Dorie Greenspan, just to find out what is so great about them (none). I never tried making them before because of the fat content and all the recipes I've read indicate they may be bland and I was right. These are just fatty, unhealthy baking powder bread with absolutely no taste at all. You have to eat them with something good like lemon curd or clotted and Devon cream. I ate one wedge with mascarpone cheese and lemon curd, still not as good as, say ensaimada, brioche and kouign amann. Scones are blah. The reason I finally made them is because my brother-in-law and his wife sent us a Christmas package of goodies and one of them is a ready to bake scones with cinnamon chips. The scones did not rise and they tasted of...nothing. I had to slather it with lots of lemon curd but still the bread is incredibly tasteless. I thought maybe the commercially sold ones are not as good as homemade but I was wrong. I think no matter what you add to scones, before and after baking, they will just taste of baked flour and nothing else, even the taste of butter is gone, I can't believe it! I think it has something to do with the batter having so little sugar and no flavoring at all. What a waste of butter and heavy cream...

Cream Scones

Don't be fooled by the pictures. Scones are the blandest baked food I have ever eaten. Well, what do you expect from a biscuit that sounds like a wall decor thing where you put candles or something.:D

Now I have to bake me some kouign amann.


January 29, 2007

Potatoes With Spanish Chorizo

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Potatoes and Chorizo


One of our favorite Spanish dishes is a simple potatoes with chorizos.

Potatoes with Chorizos
1 pound potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
½ pound Spanish chorizo, cut in half
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon spanish paprika
¼ cup each dry white wine and water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  • Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan, fry the chorizo until brown. Add the garlic and onions and saute for 2 minutes, add potatoes, salt, paprika, bay leaf, and the wine. Let boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Add water and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 5 - 8 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

These chorizos are semi-dry homemade adapted from my cookbook CHARCUTERIE by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. The recipe is a little bit different than these fresh chorizos I posted earlier. I dry them at a very low temperature in my small food dehydrator for 6 hours, not as dry as the recipe says, then store them in the freezer.

Chorizos

Spanish Chorizos
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt, diced and chilled well
2 ounces kosher salt
1 tsp Insta Cure #2
2 tablespoons dextrose
¼ cup Bactoferm F-RM-52 (live culture)
¼ cup distilled water
¼ cup smoked Spanish paprika (no substitute)
½ minced garlic
10 ft hog casings, soaked in tepid water for 30 minutes and rinsed
  • Combine the pork with the salt, Insta Cure #2, and dextrose. Grind through the large die into a bowl of a standing mixer set in ice.
  • Dissolve the Bactoferm in the distilled water and add it, along with the remaining ingredients, to the pork. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed about 1 minute.
  • Stuff the sausage into the hog casings and use string to tie into 6-inch links. Using a sterile needle, prick the casings all over to remove any air pockets and facilitate drying. Hang the sausage (ideally at 60°F) until it feels completely stiff throughout, 18 to 20 days.
Yield: About 3 lbs.


January 28, 2007

Jap Chae (Korean Noodles, Steak and Vegetable Stir-Fry)

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Jap Chae

I regularly cook Korean style dishes like steak or chicken bulgogi and this noodle dish, Jap Chae. Most Korean recipes have very strong garlicky, sweet and salty flavors that we absolutely love. This noodle dish is specially good, the vermicelli is chewy, very different from the Chinese and Filipino noodles although it resembles our mung bean vermicelli but is a lot thicker. It is made of sweet potato and cornstarch flour and the dry noodles have a greenish tint.

Jap Chae
3 ounces Korean vermicelli ( no substitution)
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
½ pound sirloin steak, sliced into 3 x 1 inch strips
1 carrot, julienned
1 green pepper, sliced thin
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Korean sesame seed oil (no substitution)
¼ cup tree ears, soaked in warm water and rinsed well
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water, set aside. The noodles should be translucent.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, add the onion and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the beef and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and tree ears, toss the mixture then add the vermicelli, mix well. Serve while hot.
I didn't have carrots and tree ears, I used orange bell pepper for color instead. The taste is still the same though, it's the seasoning and the noodles that make this dish wonderful.

Jap Chae


January 26, 2007

Extremely Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

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Black Forest Cupcake

This chocolate cupcake, my version of Black Forest Cake, was supposed to be my entry to Sugar High Friday # 27: Chocolate by Brand hosted by David Lebovitz. I missed the January 22 deadline but I am still posting the finished cupcakes. For the chocolate I chose Hershey cocoa mixed with black cocoa from King Arthur Flour Company. The black cocoa gives the cakes a really dark and deep chocolate flavor. The recipe I used for the batter is the one on the Hershey label because of its simplicity, does not use butter, and the cakes always come out moist. You can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe but substitute no more than ¼ cup black cocoa.

Extremely Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 30 cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Hershey's cocoa
¼ cup black cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
cherry brandy
morello cherries
  • Cupcakes: Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup and one 6-cup muffin pans with paper bake cups. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
  • Kirschwasser syrup: Boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water for 2 minutes, let cool a little, add ½ cup kirschwasser/cherry brandy.
  • To serve: Peel off paper liners from cooled cupcakes, dip in syrup. Serve with slightly sweetened whipped cream and morello cherries.
You can also bake this cake using two 9-inch layer cake pans, slice each cake in half, moisten all 4 layers with syrup, layer the second with halved morello cherries, ice each layer, top, and sides with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Decorate all over with chocolate curls or shavings. Please do not use canned cherry pie filling, that would be awful. :=)


January 25, 2007

Prawns With Snow Peas

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Prawns with Snowpeas

When we were still in Manila we ate in a Chinese restaurant very often. And it was a real treat when we went to Chinatown for authentic Chinese (Fookien/Fujian) cuisine. We consider Chinese food our comfort food, that is why I own more than half a dozen Chinese cookbooks, the most in my growing cookbook 'library'. Of course when you eat in a Chinese restaurant in Manila, fried rice is always a must.

Prawns with Snow Peas
½ pound prawns, shelled and deveined
¼ pound snowpeas, ends trimmed and washed
2 spring onions, sliced
2 tablespoons rice wine
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Put prawns in a small bowl, add ¼ teaspoon salt, egg white, rice wine and cornstarch, in that particular order, don't ask me why. Mix well, set aside. In a frying pan or wok, on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and saute snow peas with ¼ teaspoon salt, stir fry for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan and saute green onions for 1 minute, add the prawns and stir fry until prawns turn pink, add a little wine or water if it appears dry. Put the snow peas back in the pan and stir to mix, about 1 minute.

Fried Rice

Chinese Fried Rice

2 eggs, well beaten
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ tsp salt
2 spring onions, sliced
1 cup diced ham
½ cup frozen petite peas
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • Cook the eggs on an oiled pan on medium heat, making sure it does not brown. Cut into chunks. Set aside. In a wok or deep pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil, add green onions and ham and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the rice and sprinkle with the soy sauce, add the salt. Stir fry to distribute the soy sauce evenly. Add the peas and stir fry for an additional 3 minutes. Drizzle the sesame seed oil, then add the cooked eggs, mix well. Serve hot. Adjust seasoning at the table.

January 24, 2007

Sandwich Roll-up

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Sandwich Roll-up


How to build a sandwich roll-up:

Sandwich Roll-up

  • Have ready thinly sliced tomatoes and shaved cucumber. Spread cheese pimiento on a rectangular whole grain soft flat bread/flour tortilla, then layer 2 slices each honey ham, mortadella and deli corned beef (forgot to photograph the layer of cheese pimiento spread). Layer tomatoes on top of meat, then layer shaved cucumber on top of tomato, then add salad mix. Roll up tightly, slice in half at an angle. Very nice with your favorite soup.
Cheese pimiento spread: char the skin of one sweet red bell pepper over stove fire (or broil in an oven toaster), wrap in a large piece of aluminum foil, let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and innards, then coarsely chop. Grate 2 cups young Gouda cheese, mix in the pepper and 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise. Store in a jar and keep in the fridge.


January 22, 2007

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (Salt Cod Casserole)

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Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa
Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa

We used to cook bacalao (salt cod) only during the Lent season, we went to a restaurant when we want to eat it at other times of the year. Nowadays, I prepare it whenever I feel like it. Salt cod is readily available in my area, rather cheap too, as there is a large Hispanic community here, from both South America and Europe. In Portugal, according to Tania Gomes, the author of the cookbook THE FLAVORS OF PORTUGAL bacalhau is an important part of the Portuguese Christmas Eve dinner.

This popular Portuguese salt cod dish is from my 17 year old cookbook THE FOOD OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
1 pound dried salt cod
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
1 pound potatoes, boiled, then sliced
16 pitted oil-cured black olives, sliced in half
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
2 large hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • Soak the cod in cold water for 24 hours, changing water often, if using Canadian (like mine) which is less salty, shorten the soaking time to 6 hours. Simmer the cod in water for 15 minutes, drain, cool, remove bones and skin, then flake meat. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions until soft but do not let it brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Grease a shallow casserole and layer potatoes, onion, cod, olives and parsley, ending in onion rings, seasoning each layer with ground pepper.
  • Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes. Serve garnished with eggs and sprinkled with more parsley. I serve mine with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

January 21, 2007

Chorizo Burger

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Chorizo Burger

I was reading a post by wysgal last night about her recent trip to Boracay and there is a photo of a sandwich called chori-burger, that is, chorizo with a sweetish sauce in a bun. The photograph looks so good, I can almost taste the sandwich. I have a lot of homemade chorizos in my freezer which I sliced lengthwise while still half frozen, removed the casing and fried in a very hot unoiled non-stick pan. For the sauce I heated up both tomato and banana ketchup, a little vinegar, worcestershire sauce, sugar, liquid smoke, and garlic powder. I had the chori-burger with 3 slices of tomatoes, yum...

Chorizo Burger

Chorizos
2 ½ pounds fatty boneless pork shoulder butt, diced
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt (do not substitute table salt or sea salt)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika, more if preferred
3 tablespoons minced garlic, more if preferred
½ tablespoon grated nutmeg, optional
6 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons chilled red wine vinegar
5 feet hog casings, soaked in tepid water for 30 minutes and rinsed

Before you begin, make sure the meat is well chilled, never leave at room temperature.
  • Combine the pork with the ingredients except water and wine, toss to distribute the seasoning. Chill until ready to grind.
  • Grind the mixture through the large die into a bowl of standing mixer set on ice. Add the water and wine vinegar to the meat mixture and mix with the paddle attachment until the liquids are incorporated and the mixture has developed a uniform appearance, about 1 minute.
  • Saute a small portion of the sausage, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stuff the sausage into the casings and twist into 6 inch links. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.
Yield: About 2 ½ pounds


January 19, 2007

Dumpling Soup

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Dumpling Soup

One of the food items I don't bother to make are dumplings, pot stickers, gyoza, wonton, etc because they are readily available at the grocery stores with a large variety of fillings. The ones I regularly buy are the Korean vegetable gyoza that have soy protein (TVP) included with the veggies. I love them because they can be steamed, fried or added to chicken broth for soup. I added some shredded baby bokchoy for color and more vegetables.

Chinese Pearl Rice Balls
Sesame Seed Rice Ball

I also got these very tiny, about ½ inch Chinese pearl rice balls that look like the Filipino bilo-bilo (sweet rice balls) but are filled with ground black sesame seeds and sugar, very similar to our mache or buchi (mochi?). They are also boiled in water like the palitaw, you know they are done when they start floating on the surface. They are so good.


January 17, 2007

Baked Rice With Chickpeas and Potatoes

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Arroz al Forno (Baked Rice with Chickpeas and Potatoes)

Last week I was going to make paella but made fideuá instead. Today I made baked rice with some unusual ingredients: chickpeas and potatoes. Once again, I adapted this recipe Arroz al Forno from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea. I did not use morcilla because I don't have them (I don't like them!). This baked rice is garlicky and delicious, with different textures and flavors, I love it!

Baked Rice with Chickpeas and Potatoes

Arroz Al Forno
½ pound chickpeas, washed, soaked in water overnight, and drained
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of saffron threads
½ cup olive oil
1 head garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
2 small potatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 3-oz chorizo, cut into ½ inch slices
1 3-oz morcilla, cut into ½ inch slices
1 green bell pepper, seeded and halved
1½ cups rice
  • In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil, add chickpeas and boil for 1 hour in medium-low heat. Strain, set chickpeas aside, reserve 3 cups of liquid and add the salt and saffron.
  • In a large pan or paella pan, heat ¼ cup olive oil, add the garlic, fry for 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and set aside. Add the potatoes to the pan and fry until golden brown, set aside. Fry the chorizo and morcilla for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 500°F.
  • Discard all the oil and add another ¼ cup oil to the pan, fry the green pepper just to flavor the oil, remove and save for another dish. Saute the tomato for 1 minute, add the potatoes, chickpeas, and sausages, stir fry for 2 minutes. On high heat, add the 3 cups liquid 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. When all the liquid has been added and the mixture begins to boil, add the rice and mix well. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the rice begins to absorb the liquid.Put the reserved garlic in the center of the pan and transfer the pan to the oven.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes . Remove from oven, cover with a lid and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

January 15, 2007

Kouign Amann

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Kouign Amann
Kouign Amann

I love breads, specially sweet and buttery breads, who doesn't? When I read this French sweet yeast bread with a strange name from David Lebovitz' blog I just have to make it. If you follow David's recipe you will be rewarded with this oh so very delicious, rich cake/bread. I assure you, after one bite you will want to make a second batch.:D

Kouign Amann


January 13, 2007

Pinasugbo

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Pinasugbo

I have been craving this Southern Philippines snack/sweet but couldn't find a recipe for the syrup. It is thinly sliced saba banana crisply fried and dipped in brown sugar syrup and encased in a piece of white paper cone. You eat the slices one at a time, sometimes struggling to separate the slices and when you are almost at the bottom, you end up eating a portion of the paper because it is super sticky and you don't want to waste good bananas and sugar coating :D

Thai Bananas

I used semi ripe Thai bananas which somewhat resemble the saba variety although smaller, at 3 x 1 inches, and the taste is not as good. For the paper I used the edible potato wafers for wrapping turrones. The paper is incredibly perfect with the brown sugar syrup. Maybe I'll just brush the wafers with syrup and eat that, heheh, mmm potato and sugar.
The syrup hardened which is not how I remember the pinasugbo. I have to adjust something in the cooking process which is frying and dipping, how complicated could it be? If somebody knows, please, please let me know.


Book Review

I'm off to a bad start in my 2007 reading list. But the year is young and there will be outstanding novels to come, I'm sure.

ABSURDISTAN by Gary Shteyngart ½ star
I borrowed this book when I read that it was one of the New York Times 2006 10 best fiction and The Washington Post Bookworld 100 best fiction. Well, I did not like this book at all, and only finished 1/3 of it. The author tried being: funny, witty, serious, political, but failed in all categories, in my opinion. All the characters are as flat as cardboard cutouts, regardless of the main character being grossly obese, if you can imagine a fat person flat as a pancake. Not one sentence or incident induced a smile, or even a smirk from me. I hate this book! It is so close to being one of the worst books I ever read.

LOVE, LIES & LIQUOR by M. C. Beaton 2 stars
I have read almost all the mystery novels written by this author, both the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin and 2 in her Edwardian series. The last 2 Agatha Raisin books were not as funny and sharp nor different from the previous ones. It's the same old, same old story line and the non-romance with Agatha's ex/future husband James Lacey is just annoying and boring. I wish M. C. Beaton kills this guy off in her next installment in this series. Or she should take a break from writing 3 books a year!

THE BOOK OF DAVE by Will Self 3½ stars
The book is brilliant, actually, but I'm giving it only 3½ stars because it was difficult to read. I am not an expert in reading cockney or mockney (mock cockney) and reading it felt like trudging through the English mire, I had to read the conversation parts twice, especially at the beginning, to familiarize myself with it. It is still highly recommended, though.

January 12, 2007

Corned Beef Hash

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Corned Beef Hash
corned beef hash, steamed rice and boiled edamame for dinner tonight

Today's "corned" beef are actually brined or pickled with salt, pink salt and spices, but the word corned (salt as big as corn kernels) stuck so people still call them corned beef. Mine is actually just beef brisket boiled for 2 hours with salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and mustard seeds. I sliced the cooked beef in half lengthwise, then shredded into thick pieces. For the hash, I diced and fried 4 medium potatoes, then sauteed for 3 minutes 1 crushed garlic, 1 sliced medium onion, and 1 chopped tomato, then added the shredded beef, the fried potatoes, and some of the broth. We Filipinos love it not just for dinner but also for breakfast with fried rice and fried eggs. Whether you use the ready brined/pickled corned beef or uncured beef, it will always be superior to the mushy canned corned beef.


January 11, 2007

Piaya

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Piaya

After several failed attempts, a lot of wasted flour and shortening, and a very messy kitchen counter, I was finally able to make piaya, the ingredients and procedure I got from inq7.net December 2005 archive, which I discovered is already gone from their site. The piaya is flaky but I could not replicate the paper thinness of the store bought. They also did not puff up because they were thicker than they should be. Nevertheless I am very happy with them and ate 2 pieces, yummy.

This is exactly what was in the inq7 article:

Piaya
½ kilo flour
½ C vegetable shortening
½ kilo muscovado sugar

Mix flour and shortening, cut into 10-gm portions, flatten/press into rounds, put 10 gms muscovado, form into balls, flatten balls and bake.

Piaya

Update: add a few tablespoons of water to the dough to make it more pliable.

January 10, 2007

Fideuá

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Fideua

My daughter has been into thin spaghetti recently, eating them with everything but tomato sauce. She has eaten them seasoned with just butter, salt and parsley and then with mesquite chicken patties, then she eyed the morcon and its rich sauce and started eating them with the spaghetti. Since then she has paired the pasta with honey ham, hotdogs, chili, chicken inasal (grilled), and corned beef hash. When she is in the mood for something, that's all she eats until she gets sick of it. One time she had PBJ sandwich for lunch everyday for almost 2 weeks! Weird. So I decided to give in and made the Spanish seafood fideuá using angel hair pasta. I was going to make paella but changed my mind because I also want to try this paella-like dish anyway.

Fideua

Fideua
½ pound Manila clams
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
5 cups water
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
½ pound medium shrimps, peeled and halved lenghtwise, shells reserved
½ pound monkfish with bones, cut into chunks, reserve the bones
pinch of saffron threads
sea salt
½ cup olive oil
½ lb angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 clove garlic, minced
1 each small green and red peppers, seeded and cut into narrow strips
½ poundb small squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
1 lemon cut into 4 wedges
  • Scrub the clams under cold water. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt and water to cover and let stand for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours for them to release any sand trapped in their shells
  • .In a stockpot. bring the 5 cups of water to a boil, add the mussels, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the mussels, set aside to cool. Add the shrimp shells and monkfish bones to the stockpot and simmer for 15 minutes. When the mussels are cool enough, remove the meats and discard the shells and any that failed to open. Set the meats aside.
  • When the broth is ready, strain through a fine mesh placed over a bowl. Measure 3 - 4 cups, add the saffron and 1 ½ teaspoons salt, set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • In a 15 inch pan or paella pan, heat the olive oil, add the pasta, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pasta and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic and peppers in the pan and stir fry until tender. Add the shrimps, fish and squid, saute for 3 minutes. Add the 3 cups reserved broth and bring to the boil. Distribute the fried pasta evenly in the pan. Drain the clams and place the clams and shelled mussels on top of the pasta. Cook on high heat for 3 minutes. Add more broth if too dry. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed, the pasta will be tender and the clams will have opened. Remove from oven, discard unopened clams and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

This recipe is adapted from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea. The dish is very very good and will appeal to seafood lovers. The amount of broth that she suggests (4 cups) is too much for the ½ pound of pasta. Add 3 cups first, then add more if the dish appears dry, before transferring to the oven.


January 8, 2007

Time for Something Green

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Edamame with Tofu Skin

For the past 2 or 3 weeks now we have been eating mostly meat and only a few vegetables so it's about time I prepare something green and therefore healthier. I first tasted this dish at a Chinese restaurant called Mama Wok. They serve the best and most authentic Chinese food in my area, in my honest opinion. I have made this a few times already, it is very simple with only 5 ingredients and really delicious.

Edamame with Tofu Skin
1 pound frozen shelled edamame
3 dried soybean sheets
light olive oil
3 cups shredded napa cabbage or any green leafy vegetable
4 spring onions, sliced into ½ inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon
water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
sea salt to taste
  • Tear tofu sheets into medium size pieces and soften for 5 minutes in 2 cups water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda. Boil edamame for 3 minutes, drain and set aside. In a wok or saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir fry spring onions for 2 minutes, add the napa cabbage, cook for 2 minutes. Drain the tofu and rinse, drain thoroughly. Add to the pan together with the bouillon and 2 cups water, simmer for 5 minutes, then add the edamame, let boil again then thicken with cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water. Cook for another minute until sauce has thickened. Adjust seasoning with salt.

January 5, 2007

Machang

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MachangMachang

I know this is not authentic machang, I don't know its ingredients nor how to cook them. All I remember is it is pyramidal in shape, a little bit sweetish and brown in color. One online site describes them as glutinous rice with mushrooms, pork fat and chestnuts seasoned with soy sauce, sugar and sesame seed oil, wrapped in banana leaves, tied with strings at the top and submerged in boiling water and cooked for 30 minutes. I made a batch yesterday according to that description and was not satisfied with the result. The rice is a bit soggy, the seasoning was not thoroughly absorbed by the rice and maybe was washed away by the boiling method. The photo is on the right. The thing is, the machang was still good, regardless. So I searched in all my Chinese cookbooks for something similar, found one in Martin Yan's cookbook. His recipe has too many ingredients and the rice bundles are wrapped in lotus leaves. Since I prefer the essence of banana leaves and the simplicity of our machang, I adapted Martin Yan's method with the ingredients I used yesterday and the result is very very good.

Filipino Chinese-Style Rice Bundles
2 cups Japanese rice
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
4 Chinese sausages, sliced
12 dried mushrooms, softened in warm water and julienned
1 100gm packet roasted chestnuts, broken into chunks
1 small can diced water chestnuts
banana leaves cut into 3 x 7 inch pieces
  • Wash rice well, drain and set aside for 30 minutes, add 2 cups water and boil/steam for 25 to 30 minutes. In a large wok, fry the sausages until brown, drain well, remove the rendered fat and return to the wok, add all the ingredients, cook for 1 minute, then add the cooked rice, separating the grains and making sure the meat, mushrooms, chestnuts and the seasoning are evenly distributed. Spoon rice in a small cup, tamp a little bit. Put 2 pieces of banana leaves on a large platter, lay one across the other, invert the cup on the middle and tap until the rice comes out in one piece. Enclose the rice with the first piece of banana leaf then pull the second towards the middle, gather and pinch, tie with twine or thin strips of banana leaf, making sure the rice is not visible and completely covered. Steam in rapidly boiling water for 30 minutes.
An updated and better recipe is here.

MachangMachang


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