April 12, 2009

Rabo de Toro (Oxtail Stew)

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rabo de toro (Spanish oxtail stew)

My daughter says this dish is rather unusual for Easter Sunday lunch. I told her growing up in the Philippines, my family (excluding my atheist dad) celebrated Easter by going to church, and that's about it. My older sister and I used to join the 2 separate dawn processions to re-enact the meeting of the risen Christ and Mary (His mother, not the other Mary); this is called Salubong (meet and greet). The processions, one led by the statue of the risen Christ and the second by Mary, start out from church going in different directions, they meet on the main street, then back to church for mass, with Christ and Mary together side by side at the front of the now joined procession. Holy Week and Easter when we were children were exclusively about Christ, I'm not sure if this is still being practiced in my hometown of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, though. In several places in the Philippines, Lenten season is a serious religious event, check out Sidney's Salubong photos.

Now, back to food, we had ordinary everyday food on Easter Sundays. We also never had Easter egg hunts nor we associated the Resurrection with the carrot-muncher lagomorphs, not even as a dinner fare. Hmm, maybe next year I'll make Conejo en Salmorejo, a Spanish spicy stew with sauce made of hot chili, wine, vinegar, garlic, and paprika. Sounds delicious! ^__^

Spanish Oxtail Stew
Serves 4
4 pounds oxtail, jointed
flour for dredging
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
beef stock or water
  • Wash oxtail, pat dry with paper towels. Season the flour with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Dredge the oxtail pieces, shaking to remove excess.
  • In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and brown oxtail on all sides. Lift out and transfer into a Dutch oven or deep casserole.
  • Discard the fat in the skillet and wipe with paper towel. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and saute the onions until soft, add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add to the casserole with half of the carrots, celery, bay leaf, and thyme. Pour in the wine and enough stock or water to barely cover the oxtail. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 hours or until oxtail is tender. Add the rest of the carrots and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Lift the meat out onto a warmed platter, cover with foil, and leave in a warm oven.
  • Skim as much fat as possible, taste and adjust sesoning. If the sauce is too thin, reduce by boiling uncovered until of desired thickness. Return meat to the casserole, remove bay leaf and thyme, and serve with fingerling potatoes and green beans.

the pesky cottontail wabbit that was plaguing my vegetables last year
Happy Easter peeps!

April 8, 2009

Eggplant Salad

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eggplant salad with coconut milk dressing

I like the sweetish small Indian eggplants with an unusual name Hybrid Black Chu-Chu. The size of these eggplants, about 3 inches, is perfect for the Filipino eggplant salad recipe from the guidebook KULINARYA. I love the salad's refreshing coconut milk, vinegar, and ginger dressing which goes well with the deep smokey flavor of the stove-charred eggplants. The simple eggplant salad I usually make has grated fresh ginger, salt, and chopped tomatoes which is also very good but I'm liking this KULINARYA version better because of the dressing, sweet red onions, and crunchy sweet green and red bell peppers. Simply delicious spring or summer salad.

 Eggplant Salad
adapted from KULINARYA
1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 cup diced sweet red bell pepper
1 cup diced sweet green bell pepper 1 green finger chili, thinly sliced
10 small Indian eggplants (or 6 Asian eggplants)
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
coconut milk vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine ½ cup thick coconut milk, 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, ¼ teaspoon finely minced seeded green finger chili, 3 tablespoons white cane vinegar, and salt to taste.
  • Pierce surface of eggplants with the tip of a paring knife. Roast over an open flame until skin is charred all over. Peel off skin under cold running water. Flatten each eggplant with a fork. If using long-ish Asian eggplants, cut into 3-inch pieces. Season with salt.
  • Lay one piece of eggplant on a plate, top with 1 slice each of tomato and onion ring, sprinkle with red and green bell peppers, spring onions, and chili. Top with another piece of flattened eggplant, decorate with a few bell peppers, chili, and spring onions. Repeat with the rest of the eggplants.
  • Drizzle with coconut milk dressing. Serve at room temperature or chilled, if preferred.

slightly sweet and tart eggplant salad, specially good with any fried dish

Eggplant Salad is the second entry in my KULINARYA recipe series.

April 5, 2009

Lasang Pinoy Sundays: MELTed Bliss

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Croque Madame and Croque Monsieur

One of the simplest but satisfying treats is grilled cheese sandwich. All you need are 2 slices of bread, a little butter, plenty of cheese, and a hot skillet to cook the sandwich until the cheese has melted. The French version is the Croque Monsieur with added ham in the filling, the Croque Madame has a fried egg on top. This is a rather heavy and filling sandwich, perfect for brunch or lunch.

Lasang Pinoy Sundays, hosted by SpiCes, is a weekly gallery of food photography. Melted Bliss is this week's theme.

Croque Madame: brioche slices smeared with Dijon mustard, filled with sliced Black Forest ham, sliced Swiss cheese, then topped with grated Swiss and Parmesan cheese, and a fried egg

April 1, 2009

Tourte Milanese

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I have seen on PBS more than 4 times the episode of Baking With Julia with chef Michel Richard making Tourte Milanese. The recipe is in the companion cookbook with the same title which I regularly borrow from the library. *I should probably get my own copy already but my cookbook cupboard cannot take anymore cookbooks*

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