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

November 4, 2010

Pork Menudo Pie

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Pork Menudo Pie

I suddenly was craving for savory pie earlier today. I have pie dough already divided into very small disks in the refrigerator and with some leftover pork menudo, I baked a few small pies. Pork menudo and buttery crust, it's so good!

food friday chiclet

Pork Menudo
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ pounds pork, diced into ¼ inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 teaspoons sea salt
ground black pepper
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup water or chicken broth
1 large potato, diced into ¼ inch pieces
½ cup diced pork liver, sauteed in 1 teaspoon oil, optional
1 cup frozen green peas
  • In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil, add garlic and onion, stir fry for 2 minutes. Add red bell pepper, and pork. Stir fry for 3 minutes. Add tomato, salt, black pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add potatoes, simmer for 5 minutes. Mixture should be thick and saucy. Add cooked pork liver, if using, and peas and cook 2 minutes until peas are heated through. Serve with rice, in pan de sal. Or bake them in flaky pie shells.

November 1, 2010

Red Anjou Pear Tart

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Red Anjou Pear Tart
Red Anjou Pear Tart

Pears are not a favorite of mine but once in a while when I see a really interesting recipe using red anjou or Starkrimson pears I get easily seduced. It is hard to resist this pear tart and I have to admit I have fallen head over heels in love after one bite. The tart has the right amount of sweetness, the spices are not overwhelming, and the tender but not mushy pears are not gritty at all. What a wonderful fall dessert and just perfect for this year's Thanksgiving dinner.

Red Anjou Pears

Red Anjou Pear Tart
adapted from Vanilla-spiced Caramel and Pear Tart
November 2010 issue of bon appétit


1 pound puff pastry, store-bought or homemade

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
pinch of coarse kosher salt
half of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 medium firm but ripe red Anjou pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored


¼ cup unsalted butter
half of a cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 whole star anise
6 whole cloves
half of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half
4 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
a pinch of coarse kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour
1 egg white, beaten
  • Crust: Roll out pastry into a 12-inch round. Transfer pastry to a 10-inch springform pan, pressing pastry firmly onto bottom and 1 ½ inches up sides of pan. Cover with plastic film and freeze crust until firm, about 2 hours, or leave in the freezer overnight until ready to bake.
  • Pears: Melt butter in heavy large skillet over low heat. Add sugar, spices, and salt. Scrape the seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and seeds to the skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring until sugar melts and turns brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add pears, rounded side down. Cook until pears are almost tender, turning and moving skillet around occasionally for even cooking, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on ripeness of pears. With a rubber spatula, carefully turn pears over and continue to cook until pears are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Remove skillet from heat. Let the pears cool in skillet with the spices.
  • Filling: Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Scrape seeds and add to the skillet along with the bean. Add cinnamon, star anise, and cloves. Increase heat to medium; cook until butter is golden, about 3 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and spices from butter; discard. Whisk sugar, salt, and egg together in a medium bowl then whisk in flour. Gradually whisk in the browned butter into egg mixture.
  • Bake the tart: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Brush frozen crust with beaten egg white. Pour filling into crust; spread evenly over bottom of crust. Using a slotted spatula, remove pears from skillet, allowing excess syrup to drain back into skillet; reserve syrup. Arrange pears, rounded side up, atop filling. Bake for 1 hour or until crust is deep golden and filling is set and brown at the edges. Run a small knife around sides of pan to loosen the tart. Release pan sides. Transfer tart to a platter and let stand uncovered for a few minutes to cool slightly.
  • To serve: Just before serving, boil syrup in skillet until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard spices. Drizzle syrup over pears. Serve tart slightly warm.
Red Anjou Pear Tart

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