May 16, 2008

A Beery Peanut Brittle

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slightly spicy and beery peanut brittle

Gizelle at Was zum kochen und essen invited me to join the Food For Which My City is Known For. Her city of Vienna is the home of one of my favorite cakes, the world famous Sacher Torte. When I was working at the Asian Development Bank in their old building at Roxas Blvd, my co-workers and I went to The Holiday Inn Hotel regularly to have their Sacher Torte. I believe the hotel's pastry chef at the time was a native of Austria and Sacher Torte was his specialty.

I knew it would be tough to find any food that is associated with my city of Ashburn, Virginia located 30 miles west of Washington D.C. It headquarters some well-known big technology companies such as AOL, Verizon, and MCI and the home base of the Washington Redskins is located here but food or some delicacy, there's nothing. Unless you consider beer a food, then we have the microbrewery Old Dominion Brewing Company which is semi-famous here in the Northeast. Yes, what we have here in Ashburn is the perfect pair of football and beer. Because I don't care much for both football and beer I thought of making something with beer that I will definitely love and maybe will make me start watching the Redskins' games this coming season. My daughter suggested beer peanut brittle, Virginia is a peanut producing state after all. I made beer peanut brittle once and loved it. This time I added chipotle powder for a little bit of spice. The brittle is very very good, slightly spicy and has the subtle taste of the beer. Sooo good for munching while watching football. I chose Dominion's Spring brew, a Belgian-style blonde ale that has honey, orange peels, and chamomile, very unmacho which is just right for a girl like me who does not drink beer. As expected I liked it, it is the very first beer I tasted that did not repulse me, ever. I don't think Ashburn's food renown can compare with Vienna's Sacher Torte but at least I tried to put it on the map and I hope y'all could come down to Ashburn and drink a bottle of Old Dominion beer or snack on beery peanut brittle with me.

Beery Peanut Brittle
1 cup toasted peanuts
½ teaspoon flaked sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cold butter, diced
1 cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 cup Old Dominion Spring Brew beer
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • Butter a large baking pan or line with silpat, set aside. Mix first 4 ingredients, set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, mix the beer, sugar, corn syrup, and chipotle powder. Boil over moderate heat for 12 minutes until golden in color. Stir in the peanut mixture and quickly spread on the prepared pan.
  • Let cool and break into small pieces. Store in an airtight jar.
Old Dominion Brewing Company And Pub Photos

pub and brewery looks like a warehouse, an old brewing thingie the pub/restaurant, a small part of brewing machine

the old brewing machine

May 13, 2008

Chicken Kamameshi

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Writing about rice and finding out there are several to choose from American grown got me busy for a while. I inventoried my rice stash and was not really that surprised at the number of rice bags in my pantry: Thai jasmine and black glutinous, US (Koda Farms) short grain, glutinous and brown, and Italian arborio, 6 kinds of rice! We are Filipinos and we eat rice every night, we also love sushi, onigiri, risotto, paella, and various Filipino rice snacks. I opened the newly bought bag of short grain and suddenly I thought of kamameshi. We used to eat this Japanese rice dish at a restaurant in Makati called Kamameshi House or something. They serve very good Japanese food and the most delicious Chicken And Vegetables Kamameshi. This rice dish is unheard of in Japanese restaurants where I live *yes I live in the boondocks*. One or two authentic Japanese restaurants in Washington D.C have kamameshi in their menus but we rarely drive to D.C. The place is teeming with tourists on weekends and the streets are chaotic during weekdays, and I'm a little scared of getting lost and it's very possible that with one wrong turn we will end up in the notorious part of the District. I don't want to be mugged for a bowl of kamameshi.:DAnyways, I am happy with my homecooked kamameshi but will still try to look for Japanese restaurants that make them.

Chicken Kamameshi
2 tablespoonssoy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sliced onion
¼ teaspoon finely minced garlic
¼ cup sliced asparagus or carrots
¼ cup green peas
2 cups Japanese short grain rice
¼ cup sliced shiitake
2 cups bite-size pieces boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Wash and drain rice on a fine sieve, leave for 30 minutes. Mix first 6 ingredients until sugar and salt are dissolved, taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and cook in a rice cooker, earthen pot, or non-stick saucepan for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Serve kamameshi with warm sake or cold green tea.

May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Brunch

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Happy Mother's Day!

For Mother's Day brunch we had Roasted Asparagus with slightly sweetened and reduced balsamic vinegar, poached egg, and shaved Parmesan cheese. I got the asparagus and eggs from the farmer's market yesterday morning (I went despite the rain and chilly wind) and yes, they taste better than store bought.

Roasted Asparagus And Poached Eggs
adapted from recipe at Martha
1 bunch asparagus, preferably thin ones
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon raw sugar
shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Wash and trim asparagus. Place in a small roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt evenly. Bake in a 400 degree oven until wilted and beginning to brown. While asparagus is roasting, heat the vinegar and sugar in a small skillet until reduced by half. Poach eggs in a medium pan of simmering water mixed with a tsp of cider vinegar. Divide roasted asparagus into 2 individual plates. Drizzle balsamic vinegar all over. Arrange a poached egg on top. Shave Parmesan cheese over the asparagus and egg. Serve immediately with crusty bread or brioche.

May 4, 2008

Fiesta Beef Pot Pie

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I baked another pie, a savory pie. I'm into pie lately because I looove flaky crusts. We still have a few pieces of beef empanadas I made last week but that did not stop me from making a beef pie for lunch today. This is my favorite beef pie recipe adapted from a 1990 Good Housekeeping magazine issue which I have clipped, saved, and filed in a binder with all the other magazine/newspaper recipes. (I should probably organize and put them in my computer already.) The ingredients that make this pie so delicious are the corn meal, toasted wheat germ, and grated cheese in its crust. I love its flavors and textures paired with the slightly spicy Tex-Mex seasoning of the beef and vegetables filling.

*This pie recipe by Mary King was the Grand-Prize Winner of Crisco's 1990 American Pie Celebration.

Fiesta Beef Pot Pie

beef and vegetable filling
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1½ pounds very lean stew beef, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
4 fresh jalapeƱo pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 16-ounce can tomatoes, or 2 C chopped fresh tomatoes
1½ cups sweet corn kernels
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup water
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
½ cup sliced ripe olives

flaky Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow corn meal
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold diced butter
1/3 cup very cold diced butter flavor Crisco
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 - 10 tablespoon ice water
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and saute beef until well browned. Add garlic, onions, and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except olives. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in olives, set aside to cool slightly.
  • Prepare the crust: In a bowl combine flour, cornmeal, wheat germ, and salt. With your fingertips cut in butter, Crisco, and cheese until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in ice water 1 T at a time until it forms a ball. Divide dough in half. Roll one ball into an 11-inch circle. Ease into a pie plate. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spoon filling into pie crust. Roll the other dough into an 11-inch circle. Lift top crust onto filled pie. Cut slits on top crust to allow steam to escape while baking. Fold top edge under bottom crust, flute or pinch. Glaze with egg wash or heavy cream. Bake fro 35 minutes or until meat filling begins to bubble and crust is golden brown. Sprinkle top with more shredded cheese, if desired.

spicy juicy beef filling in crunchy cheese-y flaky crust

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