September 9, 2007

Chicken Pie

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This morning I was reading an article in the Travel Section of the Sunday Washington Post about the annual pie suppers in Vermont held in September and October. The picture of the chicken pie topped with biscuits instead of pie crust made me get up and prepared one for lunch. That's some power of suggestion, heheh. Mine is actually more of a chicken hash pie because I used leftover Dutch oven baked chicken (AKA pinaupong manok) which has other stuff like bacon, tomatoes and onions and then I added carrots and peas. I topped the pie with biscuits just like the Vermont chicken pie and made some gravy to pour on top of the pie. It's so autumn-y and yummy!!

Chicken Pie
3 - 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups chicken gravy (recipe below)
salt & pepper to taste
store bought or home made biscuits
1 tablespoon melted butter
  • In a square baking pan, mix the chicken and gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange biscuits on top. Brush with melted butter. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven until biscuits are golden brown, 15 - 20 minutes. Serve with gravy on the side.
Chicken gravy (makes 4½ cups)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 tseaspoons chicken bouillon powder
¾ cup bisquick
salt & pepper to taste
  • Mix all ingredients in a blender. Transfer into a saucepan and cook until thick. Adjust seasoning. Reserve 2 cups for the pie. Serve hot with the chicken pie or fried chicken.
Flaky Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons very cold diced salted butter
¾ cup very cold milk
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. With fingertips, mix in the cold butter. Slowly mix the cold milk using a fork. Transfer onto a flat work surface and roll into a 6 x 10 inch rectangle. Fold both short ends to meet at the middle. Fold in half again to form 4 layers. Roll into an 8 inch square. With a sharp knife cut into 9 squares or rounds with a biscuit cutter.

September 7, 2007

White Nectarines With Honey

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white nectarines fried in butter and sweetened with honey

If you love summer fruits I recommend white nectarines. I was never into nectarines but I'm liking the white variety because they are sweeter than the yellow ones. I already canned some and cooked a few pieces by frying in butter with a couple of fresh bay leaves. I heated ¼ cup of honey until it's a little bit brown then added 2 T of water (you can add port or marsala). I drizzled the honey syrup on top of the cooked nectarines. There is a hint of bay leaf flavor and the honey is perfect with the mild sweet flavor of the fruit. This fruit recipe pairs very well with vanilla flavored yoghurt or ice cream, simply delicious! A sprinkling of in-season berries is optional. Also good with nectarine is ginger syrup and topped with chopped candied ginger. Yum.

September 4, 2007

Kesong Puti (Filipino White Cheese)

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While I was churning butter my daughter asked me suspiciously and with one raised eyebrow, "You're not going to make cheese next, are you?". I said, "No, of course not, it won't be as easy as butter". But then one of my blog visitors lamented that it's not that easy to find mascarpone cheese in Manila. In my reply I linked a website that teaches how to make mascarpone with heavy cream and tartaric acid. That gave me the bright idea of looking for the recipe for making kesong puti online. The ones I remember being peddled by ambulant hawkers were milky white, soft, slightly salty, and wrapped in banana leaves. I haven't had them since we left the Philippines in 1988 and I was craving for it so badly all of a sudden. I found this which is rather vague and of little help with the amount of ingredients. I borrowed a cheese making book from the library and tried the paneer and farmer's cheese which require no special ingredients, you only need milk (not ultra pasteurized), lemon juice or vinegar, a heat-proof spatula, and a large pot. I combined both recipes using whole milk then soaked the sliced cheese in the salt, water & vinegar bath from the Filipino recipe and voila - kesong puti that is so soft and tasty and almost like the real thing. If I had used carabao (water buffalo) milk, the cheese would have been authentic Filipino kesong puti. Buffalo milk is actually available in Vermont, I think, but the milk is being sold exclusively to mozzarella cheese manufacturers here in the US. BTW, in Italy mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk.

Kesong Puti (Fresh White Cheese)
1 gallon whole milk or a combination of whole and reconstituted instant non-fat dry milk
¼ C white or apple cider vinegar
2 C hot water (optional)

Salt bath
4 cups water
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup salt (add more for saltier cheese)
  1. In a large pot, heat milk to a rolling (gentle) boil, stirring often to avoid burning the bottom.
  2. Drizzle the vinegar, cook for 15 seconds while stirring.
  3. Turn off heat and continue stirring until curds form (whey should be clear and not milky). For softer cheese, stir in hot water now.
  4. Once you obtain clear separation of curds and whey, let set for 10 minutes.
  5. When the curds have settled below the whey, ladle the curds onto the muslin lined colander. Tie corners into a knot and hold the bag under running lukewarm water to wash off the vinegar. Gently twist the top of the muslin to squeeze out more whey.
  6. Shape the cheese in the muslin into a 2½-inch thick log, return to the colander and place a bowl of water or a 5-lb weight on top for 20 minutes.
  7. Unwrap cheese, cut into ½-inch slices and let soak in the salt bath for 15 minutes.
  8. Store in refrigerator with a little of the salt bath. Will keep for 2 weeks.

the bad plus prog review

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I've been listening to this cd prog by my favorite jazz band the bad plus for the past four months now. It's time to write what I think of the songs. I rate this cd A++.

the bad plus is:
  • ethan iverson, piano
  • reid anderson, bass
  • david king, drums
  1. everybody rules the world (tears for fears) - a wonderful and sweet cover of one of tff's best songs. hushed but beautiful.
  2. physical cities (reid anderson original) - very original and exciting music, a jazz purist perhaps will not like it but I LOVE IT! the pounding of all instruments in perfect sync is just magnificent.
  3. life on mars (david bowie) - my favorite of the four covers. the bad plus playing a david bowie song = perfection.
  4. mint (ethan iverson original) - playful and fun, I wish it's longer than 5:20.
  5. giant (reid anderson original) - what can I say, this song makes me hum along with it, which is extremely difficult to do when there are no lyrics and the tune varies. I just love love love this song.
  6. thriftstore jewelry (david king original) - easy on the ears with a slight latin beat, I thoroughly enjoy the drum solo, brilliant as well as entertaining.
  7. tom sawyer (rush) - always a crowd pleaser at live performances. I didn't know this song but when I first heard it live I instantly liked it (I listened to the original song several times after the concert). excellent deconstruction without losing the original tune.
  8. this guy's in love with you (burt bacharach) - my least favorite but does not mean it's bad. I just don't like the tune itself.
  9. the world is the same (reid anderson original) - oh my god! my current favorite song. this starts very very slow, building up as it goes, quickening the pace, becoming more urgent towards the end of this most beautiful song, and the conclusion is almost orgasmic, further emphasized by the fade out of drums and bass, then the coda.
  10. 1980 world champion (david king original) - what an ending to david's trilogy of medalists (this one is for ski jumping) and anchoring this cd. the song is so lively and fast paced, I can't help but tap my foot or hands each and everytime I listen to it. it has a good mood feel and the champion's speech near the end of the song is a nice touch. I imagine myself right there when the champion made his jump and won. this song makes me happy, want to dance or ski jump.
I am in a dilemma right now because the bad plus is coming to Washington, DC in late October but my daughter and I also want to see La Boheme this month. La Boheme is a bit expensive, the cheapest is $100 for a not-so-ideal-seat and I'm sure the tickets for tbp will also be higher than the normal they charge because of the venue. And there is a tribute concert to Jimi Hendrix also in October. Sigh, can't decide.

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