December 30, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

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Breakfast Pizza
with grated Romano cheese, Virginia country ham, and egg

Have you had cold leftover pizza for breakfast? If you do, then why not make individual pizza for breakfast. They're hot and delicious!

I used my favorite pizza dough from ARTISAN BREADS EVERY DAY by Peter Reinhart and topped them with country ham and eggs. You can top the pizza with sliced and cooked breakfast sausage or half-cooked strips of bacon. Put the egg/s in the middle surrounded by the meat to prevent the whites from running all over. Then bake at 500°F oven on a hot stone or on top of a preheated inverted cookie pan until dark brown on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.

I got a bit lazy to type the recipe but you can read it at Peter Reinhart's Pizza Quest website. It's a great website for pizza enthusiasts. It has Peter's stories, recipes, and videos on everything pizza. Enjoy!

December 24, 2010

Food Friday: Chestnuts

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candied chestnuts


Roasted and candied chestnuts are my all-time favorites during Christmas season. I specially love the aroma of roasting chestnuts. And when I have the time I candy (marrons glacés) some of them which are a real treat...sooo delicious.

December 23, 2010

The Daring Bakers: Stollen

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The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Stollen is one of the regular Christmas goodies that we have in our house year after year for more than 20 years. This is the second year I have not bought them from the store since discovering homebaked is much much better.

For this challenge, we were given a choice of shaping it into a wreath. I baked a small batch of stollen a few days before the challenge was announced and they have been shaped into the usual rectangular cakes. I wanted to try this recipe and the wreath shape so I baked just half of the recipe. To view the complete recipe and instructions click here. A few changes I made: I used 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of half a cup, omitted the cinnamon and orange and lemon extracts, used almond flour instead of flaked, and added 1 more cup of dried fruits and candied peels. These are the fruits I used: golden and dark raisins, dried cranberries, dried tart cherries, and candied citron, lemon, and orange peels. I also used vanilla infused powdered sugar for the coating because I love the extra vanilla flavor. The fruit cake is very yummy and I can't wait for it to age for 1 week which is how I like stollen. And I always leave some slices on the kitchen counter for weeks until they are very very dry and crunchy, sort of like biscotti without baking them a second time. The crunchy stollen slices are very good for dunking on my morning coffee.


These are the ones I made November 29, 2010 and last year both using Peter Reinhart's recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

2010 Christmas stollen

2009 Christmas stollen

December 19, 2010

Kulinarya Cooking Club: Homemade Food Gifts

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Pan de Leche
Pan de Leche
pan de leche


Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney (Kath, Trisha, and Trissa), who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

The December KCC theme is Homemade Food Gifts and our hosts are Joy and Maribel. Thank you ladies.

The easiest and most convenient for me would be either baked goods or candies and desserts. I chose to bake pan de leche (milk bread) and filled half of the dough balls with yema made with caramelized condensed milk and egg yolks and the other half I topped with chopped macapuno preserves. I didn't like any of the recipes I found online and adapted the pain au lait (milk bread) from ADVANCED BREAD AND PASTRY by Michel Suas. They are basically the same milk bread but Michel Suas' recipe has less sugar and eggs and the dough requires an overnight refrigeration producing delicious, soft, milky, and not too sweet [even with the addition of 1 more tablespoon of sugar]. They are perfect little rolls in a gift box that I believe anyone would love for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Pain au Lait/Pan de Leche


14½ ounces bread flour
6½ ounces warm (90°F) milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1½ ounces sugar, less or more to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1¼ teaspoons instant yeast
5 ounces butter, room temperature
egg wash, optional
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached, mix all the ingredients except egg wash on first speed for 5 minutes. Increase to second speed and mix for 8 minutes. Transfer dough into a container, cover with plastic wrap and leave on the kitchen counter for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and scale into 1½ ounce pieces, shape into balls, cover lightly, and let rest for 15 minutes. Flatten each ball and fill with half a tablespoon of preferred filling. Gather the edges and pinch to close. Place each filled ball seam-side down on paper-lined cupcake pans . Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour to 1½ hours. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops of the rolls are golden brown. These are best eaten while still warm. Rewarm leftover rolls in a preheated 325°F oven for 5 to 8 minutes.

Pan de Leche
top: filled with yema
bottom: topped with macapuno

December 16, 2010

Food Friday: Duck Soup

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Duck Soup

food friday chiclet

We had our first snowfall of the season today. It's very light though, accumulation is only 2 inches but it's very very cold, as in below freezing. Brrrr! It's time for an easy to make steaming hot duck soup. I had several cups of duck broth and added to it a little of the duck meat, scallions, cubed tofu, sliced snow peas, ginger, rice wine, dried shiitake mushrooms, sea salt, and soy sauce. Very yummy, and together with hot freshly brewed loose jasmine tea leaves, I'm now warm, toasty, and ready to watch Duck Soup.:D

Light Snow

December 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks Poach to Perfection

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Poached Egg On Brioche

Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci) have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

Thank you Jenn and Jill for choosing this wonderful challenge. I love eggs, specially fried sunny-side-up with runny yolks. I also like poached eggs but it's too much work and I tend to lose a lot of the whites during cooking resulting in a much smaller egg which means less protein. For this challenge, I poached just one egg according to the recipe and the smallish egg reminded me why I bought an egg-poaching pan many years ago which has an insert [with several nonstick cups] that sits on the simmering water in the pan without the eggs touching the water. This way you cook perfectly poached eggs with all the whites intact.

Seitan Sausage

Well anyway, I had the egg on top of a toasted thick slice of brioche and a slice of home cured pork belly ham but did not top it with hollandaise sauce. I sprinkled the egg with sea salt and chopped Italian parsley and had it with slices of the yummy seitan sausage. My sausages are not perfect because they're a bit soft rather than chewy which is how I like seitan sausages but the flavor is fantastic. I'll make them again and will use less liquid; I'm also inspired and will be making Spanish seitan chorizos later this week.

Homemade Sun-dried Tomato And Pine Nut Seitan Sausages
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ of a red onion, diced
1 red chili, chopped
1 cup whole sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2½ cups vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika

for the poaching liquid:
6 cups vegetable stock
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves

cheesecloth to wrap the sausages
  • Place 6 cups of stock, the garlic cloves, and the bay leaves in a deep sauté pan or stock pot. Heat on medium.
  • In a food processor finely mince the toasted pine nuts, red onion, chili, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the vital wheat gluten, dried thyme and paprika to the pine nut mixture and process till combined. In a measuring bowl, whisk the stock with the tomato paste and olive oil. Slowly add to the vital wheat gluten mixture and pulse until you have a smooth dough. You probably will not need all the liquid. Start with ¾ cups of the liquid and add more if needed. Whatever liquid you have left can be added to the poaching liquid.
  • Divide the dough into 10 portions and shape into 6-inch sausages. Wrap each section tightly in cheesecloth and tie off the ends with twine.
  • If the poaching liquid is not yet boiling, turn up the heat until it does. Add the sausages and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer gently for 45–50 minutes, or until the sausages are firm. Remove the sausages from the poaching liquid (reserve the liquid if you don’t plan on eating all the sausages immediately). Allow the sausages to cool a little and gently unwrap. These may be refrigerated in their poaching liquid for a week.

Click here to view more Daring Cooks Poached to Perfection

December 10, 2010

Food Friday: Cookies

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Christmas Cookies

food friday chiclet

I'm a bit Christmas-y lately and baked shortbread cookies adding two of my favorite Christmas goodie ingredients, candied cherries and golden raisins. I baked the paciencia with red and green swirls, the recipe will be on a future post.

Cherry Sultana Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped red candied cherries
½ cup green candies cherries
½ cup coarsely chopped sultanas (golden raisins)
3 tablespoons cherry brandy
  • Soak sultanas in brandy for 1 hour. Drain, reserving the brandy, then toss them in 1 tablespoon of the flour. Set aside. Whisk together the rest of the flour, tapioca flour, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until softened. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium-high until fluffy. Add milk and reserved cherry brandy and beat on low for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until well incorporated. Stir in cherries and golden raisins.
  • Shape into two 9 inch-long logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the logs into ¼ inch-thick slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 1 inch apart and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned. Remove from baking sheets and let cookies cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers.

December 8, 2010

Bibingka Muffins

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Bibingka Muffins

Bibingka, a Philippine rice cake, baked with slices of native white cheese and salted duck eggs is an all-time Filipino favorite merienda (snack) specially the ones from Ferino's and Via Mare restaurants. I remember them so soft, fluffy, and buttery and topped with more butter, a sprinkling of sugar, and freshly grated coconut. These 8-inch cakes are baked on top of small clay ovens filled with live coals and the top of the clay oven is covered with an iron sheet filled with more live coals. It takes just a few minutes to bake them. The cakes can be baked in regular ovens but I find the toaster oven on a very high heat does an excellent job similar to the clay ovens.

A package of store-bought bibingka mix has been waiting for a few weeks now for my attention. I have always made bibingka from scratch with rice flour but sometimes I get lazy and want to have them right away. The thing is, there's really not much difference with the flavor and the amount of time I spent mixing because the packaged bibingka has only baking powder and salt added to the rice flour and maybe preservatives or anti-caking agents and nothing else. I baked half of the mix in muffin cups and the rest in small molds, all lined with cut banana leaves. I didn't have salted duck eggs and topped the muffins with small pieces of kesong puti (farmer's white cheese) which you can substitute with Indian paneer or well-drained and salted cottage cheese. You can also use mild white cheddar cheese or better yet, make some kesong puti. Heck, you can even top the bibingka with chocolate chips, Nutella, or salted caramel and they will still be soft and fluffy and will taste heavenly.

banana leaves, optional
1½ cups rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup powdered sugar
4 eggs, beaten until thick and lemon-colored
1½ cups coconut milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
kesong puti (farmer's white cheese), sliced into 1 inch x ¼-inch thick pieces
grated or scraped fresh coconut
butter and sugar, optional

Bibingka muffins
  • Preheat toaster oven to 425°F.
  • Line muffin cups with banana leaves. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients, except cheese, grated coconut, and optional butter and sugar, until well incorporated. Batter should be runny; add more milk to adjust consistency. Fill the cups half-full. Top with 2 pieces of cheese and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
  • Spread some butter and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Top with grated coconut.
soft, fluffy, and buttery

December 3, 2010

Food Friday: Eggnog

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food friday chiclet

It's been very cold the past few days [25°F at night and doesn't get much higher during the day]. What could be better to warm up than a cup of eggnog? Soup,of course, but it doesn't have bourbon, rum, and brandy.^__^

2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups half and half
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon brandy
2 egg whites (powdered)
½ tablespoon sugar
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and the 3 tablespoons sugar until thick.
  • In a small pan, heat the half and half and nutmeg to just boiling. Temper the egg yolks: with the beater on medium-low speed, slowly pour about a cup of the hot half and half mixture until thoroughly mixed. Pour the tempered yolks back into the pan, stir to mix. Cook on medium-low heat until mixture reaches 160°F. Stir in the bourbon, rum, and brandy.
  • Transfer into a measuring cup, cover with plastic, and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, add the half tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture. Serve each glass with freshly grated nutmeg.

December 1, 2010

Christmas Fruit Breads: Panettone and Stollen

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One of the breads in The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge that I didn't rate favorably was Panettone. It's only fair to give it another try, this time I followed the recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day also by Peter Reinhart. The cake/bread has sourdough starter which gives it a better texture and flavor, IMHO and I love it. This formula can also be used to make stollen and brioche but strangely, I didn't like the flavor of the stollen using this recipe. So I baked a batch of the BBA recipe which I knew a year ago was a keeper. The bread, or cake did not disappoint. It is delicious!

adapted from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart

sourdough starter
1½ ounces mother starter, room temperature
6 ounces bread flour
3 ounces water, room temperature

all of the starter
1 tablespoon honey
2 ounces lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brandy, rum, or orange juice
7½ ounces bread flour
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups candied fruit (citron, orange peels, lemon peels, golden raisins, cranberries)
  • Make the starter: Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. With paddle attachment, mix on lowest speed for 1 minute, increase to medium and mix for 30 seconds. The starter should be dough-like, sticky but not tacky. Adjust with flour or water as needed. Transfer into the work surface and knead by hand for 30 seconds. Place on a lightly oiled container, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 8 hours. It will double in size.
  • Make the dough: Cut the starter into 10 pieces and put in the bowl of a standing mixer. In a small bowl, stir the honey into the warm water until dissolved then whisk in the instant yeast. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute then add it to the starter. Stir to soften the starter. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and brandy then add to the starter mixture and stir until evenly incorporated. Add the flour and salt. With the paddle attachment, mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes. The dough will be coarse, wet, and sticky but will hold together. Continue mixing on lowest speed, gradually adding the sugar. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low, adding butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each addition is well incorporated before adding the next piece. Mix until the dough is shiny, soft, and very supple, this should take about 5 minutes. Mix on medium for 5 minutes more until you are able to pull out long, taffy-like strands of dough.
the dough should be shiny almost silky, soft, and taffy-like
  • Shape the panettone: Add the fruits, mixing on lowest speed for 1 minute finishing by hand on the work surface. You may use dried fruits instead of candied citrus; or more, less, or none at all. Weigh out the desired size, form into balls, and place in oiled molds: 24 ounces for a full size panettone mold; for very small molds, about 3½ to 4 ounces. Each mold should be 1/3 full. Place the filled molds on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Place the sheet inside a food-grade plastic bag and let rise for 12 hours at room temperature.
  • Bake the panettone: Preheat the oven to 350°F, 325°F for large size. Bake small ones for 30 minutes and large ones for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown all over. Internal temperature should read 185°F. Cool the large panettone upside down on a rack.
Here is a preview of the marzipan-filled stollen. I'll publish the recipe in a separate post soon.:-)


November 26, 2010

Chicken Relleno

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Advent Calendar Banner 2010

One of the must-have dishes for Noche Buena, the feast served at Christmas midnight in the Philippines is Chicken Relleno, a whole boneless chicken stuffed with ground pork and seasonings and baked until golden brown. The dish is usually cooked-to-order from stores or the household cooks prepare them. Whether it's homemade or store-bought the Chicken Relleno is always at the center of the Filipino Christmas dinner table celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Chicken Relleno
by Glenda Rosales-Barretto

2½ pounds whole chicken
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon soft butter for brushing

4 pieces Vienna sausage, chopped
2 pieces Spanish chorizo, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground pork
¼ cup roasted red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup sliced stuffed olives
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons grated Edam cheese
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 hard boiled eggs
  • Debone the chicken then season inside and out with salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, mix all the stuffing ingredients except hard boiled eggs. Fry a teaspoon of the filling and adjust seasoning if needed. Stuff the chicken with the mixture and arrange the hard boiled eggs by pushing the meat filling along the sides of the cavity. Sew the opening securely with kitchen thread.
  • Brush the chicken all over with the soft butter. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 1½ hours or until the skin is golden brown.
Read more international Christmas recipes here or click on the banner above starting December 1, 2010. Enjoy.

November 23, 2010

Stuffed Prawns

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Stuffed Prawns

The theme for November 2010 Kulinarya Cooking Club is Relleno or Stuffed meat, seafood, or vegetables which is great because I love making and eating rellenos. The rellenos I have made are boneless chicken, squid, crabs, and our favorite, eggplants and green bell peppers and I have also stuffed mushrooms, vegetable marrows, tomatoes, and potatoes. I guess I'm just relleno-happy. ^__^

The only other ingredients left that I haven't made into Philippine-style relleno are prawns, and I would love to stuff whole frogs too if only they were readily available. For the prawn stuffing, I used a combination of smoked ham [instead of the usual ground pork], scallions, chives, and Italian parsley and wrapped them in lumpia (spring roll) wrapper before deep frying until crispy. They are crunchilicious and are the perfect appetizers for the coming holiday meals. I love them served with sweet chilli sauce or spicy banana ketchup.

Stuffed Prawns Ingredients

Stuffed Prawns
12 large prawns, shelled but leave tails intact
¾ cup finely chopped smoked honey ham
1 tablespoon each finely chopped scallions, chives, and Italian parsley
6 sheets lumpia (spring roll) wrapper, cut in half
light olive oil for frying
  • Slit the back of the prawns. Combine ham, scallions, chives, and parsley. Fill each prawn with one tablespoon of the mixture and wrap with spring roll wrapper. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately with sweet chilli sauce on the side.
Stuffed Prawns


Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

Thank you Anna and Dahlia for choosing Relleno and for hosting this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club edition.

November 21, 2010

Uraro (Arrowroot) Cookies

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Uraro Cookies
Uraro Cookie

Uraro cookies are a childhood favorite of mine, and of many Filipinos I know. These are dry crunchy cookies that have very simple clean flavor, not too sweet, and slightly buttery and milky. My preferred drink with these cookies is iced whole milk. Makes me feel like a kid again.

Although these cookies are occasionally available at the Philippine grocery stores, most of them have more tapioca flour than arrowroot. Since arrowroot flour is now available at most grocery stores, I made them..twice. The first batch was plain, and delicious BTW, and I added chopped dried fruits into the second [half] batch which didn't turn out great. Plain is better IMHO but I'm thinking of adding puffed pinipig or rice crispies next time.

Uraro Cookies
8 ounces sugar
3 large eggs
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces arrowroot flour
4 ounces tapioca flour
2 ounces very fine dry milk powder
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Place the sugar in a blender and blend to a powder.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until thick and light yellow in color. Transfer into a small bowl.
  • Place the butter in the same bowl and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  • Blend in the beaten eggs and vanilla extract on low until thoroughly combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, and milk, and slowly add into the butter mixture, beating on low until well incorporated. Sprinkle more arrowroot flour if the dough appears too soft; or refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes until firm enough for the cookie press.
  • Fill cookie press. With flower or snowflake design plate, form cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies on wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight jars. Yield: about 120 1½ inch cookies.
Uraro Cookies

November 18, 2010

Baked Root and Leaf Vegetable Crisps

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Baked Chips
taro, sweet potato, and beet crisps
kale crisps

food friday chiclet

One of the leafy green vegetables I love is kale. It's so good simply sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onion, and sea salt, and is an excellent addition to soups. My favorite preparation of kale is baking them until crispy. The kale crisps are nutty and have an appealing slight bitterness. Absolutely delicious and addicting. Baked root vegetable crisps such as sweet potatoes, beets, taro, and parsnips are also very good for snacking.

  • To make root vegetable crisps: Sweet potatoes, parsnips, and beets: scrub well, leave unpeeled; peel taro. Slice thinly using a mandoline slicer or by hand. In separate bowls, drizzle each root with olive oil, lightly toss, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place a single layer on baking sheets and bake in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Flip the pieces and bake for another 10 minutes or until the edges are curly and browned. The beets will take longer to bake, about 10 minute more.
  • To make kale crisps: Remove the leaves from the stem and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and spin dry thoroughly. Drizzle olive oil, lightly massaging it on the leaf surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and place a single layer on baking sheets. Bake in a 325°F oven for 10 minutes. Flip the leaves and bake for another 6 to 10 minutes.

November 17, 2010

José Andrés Red Wine Sangria

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According to José Andrés, his red wine sangria is one of the most popular drinks in his Jaleo restaurants and I can understand why. The boozy drink is refreshing and can be taken any time of the year, not just during summer. This not-your-typical sangria goes very well with Spanish food, of course.

I used tiny mandarin oranges because that's what I have on my kitchen counter. The original recipe has 1 piece of peeled and sliced [regular size navel] orange.

Red Wine Sangria
adapted from Made in Spain by José Andrés

1 bottle fruity red wine
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup Cointreau
¼ cup vodka
a splash of ruby port
2 mandarin oranges, sliced
2 granny smith apples, diced
1 strip of lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup fresh orange juice
a splash of soda water
  • Combine the wine, brandy, Cointreau, vodka, port, orange slices, apples, and cinnamon stick in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Pour the mixture into a pitcher filled halfway with ice. Add the orange juice and soda water, give a quick stir and serve.
  • Make sure each glass gets ice and fruit.
Check out José's White Wine Sangria recipe here, and a recipe for regular Red Wine Sangria here.

November 12, 2010

Food Friday: Pilipit

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food friday chiclet

Pilipit, Tagalog word for twisted or twist, are hard crunchy sugar-glazed bread of my favorite snacks back in the Philippines. I have been waiting for them for months now to become available at the Philippine grocer. I made some because I couldn't wait any longer and I really have the munchies for them. It's not complicated to make but isn't easy as pie either.

bread twists
2 cups bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup milk
oil for frying
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
  • Pilipit: In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except oil and knead on the kitchen counter until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide into 2 equal portions, wrap one half in plastic and set aside. Roll the other half into 1 inch thick log and cut into 1 ½ inch-long pieces. Roll each piece into a pencil-thin rope. Roll both ends in opposite directions which will twist the rope. Bring the ends together, pinch, and twist. Lay each twist on a flat surface, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Heat the oil to 375°F and fry the pilipit until golden brown. Drain on colander lined with paper towels. Let cool completely on wire rack/s.
  • Glaze: Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar has melted. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and dip the cooled twists one at a time. Let dry on a wire rack, turning them so that both sides dry completely.
  • Store the Twists: Keep the glazed twists in a jar and leave for a few days until they become hard and crunchy.

November 10, 2010

Capellini with Romanesco

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I didn't know what this strange-looking vegetable was when I picked it up from the vegetable bin at the store. The label was missing and I asked one of the staff; I was told it's called broccoli romanesco. Although it belongs to the broccoli and cauliflower family, it looks more like a spiky cauliflower than broccoli. After photographing the vegetable, I actually find it pretty, rather than a vegetable that came from outer space. I especially love its chartreuse-like hue. And I liked it even more after blanching and adding to pasta. It has a mild sweet taste not unlike cauliflower but no bitterness that cauliflower sometimes has. It also doesn't have a strong smell.

Capellini with Romanesco, Fennel, and Capers
adapted from here

Capellini with Romanesco, Fennel, and Capers

6 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 fennel bulb with some fronds
1 medium onion
1 romanesco, separated into florets
¼ cup capers, drained
sea salt to taste
1 pound angel hair pasta
  • In a large pot heat salt and water and bring to a boil. When water comes to a boil, add the romanesco florets. Cook no more than 2 minutes to retain its color and crunch. Remove with a skimmer and set aside. Keep the water boiling.
  • Thinly slice the fennel and onion and sautée in 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan until caramelized. Push the caramelized onion and fennel to the side of the pan, turn the heat to high, and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add drained capers into the olive oil and fry until almost crackly.
  • Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.
  • While pasta is boiling, toss the drained florets into the sauce pan of onions, fennel, and capers and cook until heated through. Turn the heat off.
  • Set aside 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta then add to the skillet and toss gently, adding some of the reserved water if it appears too dry. Transfer into a serving platter and serve while hot (I also like it at room temperature).

it looks like a miniature Christmas tree

November 8, 2010

Hot-Smoked Duck Ham

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Smoked Duck Ham

I never thought duck ham could be so delicious. I bought a whole duck which I was going to grill Peking-style but it got very cold outside at 30°F last Saturday. I didn't want to look ridiculous grilling while wearing a winter jacket so I abandoned the idea of Peking duck as it is a very involved process if cooked in a regular oven. I started to debone the bird but stopped to check for duck preparations in CHARCUTERIE by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. Hot-smoked duck ham instantly caught my attention. It takes 2 to 3 days to prepare but it's worth all the work. The ham is flavorful, tender, and the sweetish salty fat deliciously melts in the mouth. If it's a little bit drier, it's almost like prosciutto or Spanish jamon Serrano. I'll see if I can find already boned duck breasts at the stores and will definitely make again for the coming holiday.

If you are planning to smoke the ham indoors in the oven you can use 2 large disposable aluminum roasting pans, one smaller aluminum pan to catch the drippings, a metal rack, and strips of aluminum foil. Soak 1 cup of hickory chips in water for 30 minutes and place them on both sides of one of the pans, then place the small aluminum pan in the middle, place the rack on top of the small pan, then lay the duck breasts on the metal rack. Cover with the second roasting pan, covering the sides where the pans join with strips of aluminum foil. If you have a kettle smoker, set the temperature to 180° F.

Hot-Smoked Duck Ham
adapted from CHARCUTERIE by Michael Ruhlman

2 quarts water
¾ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons pink salt
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup Madeira
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon chopped sage


6 boneless Long Island duck breasts, skin on
  • Brine: Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled.
  • Duck: Add to the chilled brine and weight down with a plate. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. Rinse the breasts under cold water and pat them dry. Refrigerate them on a rack set over a small baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
  • Hot-smoke: Preheat the oven to 180 or 200°F and cook the breasts for 2½ hours or until internal temperature registers 160°F. Refrigerate until chilled.
Smoked Duck Ham
the most delicious breakfast I ever had: smoked duck ham, scrambled eggs, sweet rolls and sour cherry preserves, and espresso coffee

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