Friday, June 19, 2009
This is a popular clear soup in Chinese restaurants and "paluto" restaurants here in Manila. It is not surprising, really, since this a flavorful, yet refreshing hot soup. It cleanses the palette in between eating dishes and viands of different flavors. It is healthy and nutritious and virtually non-fat.
This is definitely Hubby's favorite. The secret is getting fresh, live and clean clams. I try to prepare this every chance I get fresh clams from the market. I was just wondering myself why I have not blogged about this before :)
In this nutritious soup, the clams provide the flavor, the tofu provides the protein and I think the ingredient that makes this soup stand out in flavor is the mustard greens. Contrary to what you might suspect, these greens will not make the soup bitter. The leaves made the soup lighter and more refreshing.
1 Kilo fresh clams, clean very well
1 block soft tofu, sliced
100 gms mustard greens, cleaned, chopped
5 slices fresh ginger
1 onion, chopped
3 T canola oil
5 T minced garlic ( we prefer garlicky flavor, lessen if you prefer)
4 T Chinese cooking wine
5 C water
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a cooking pan or wok, saute ginger slices in oil until fragrant. Add in the onions and garlic. Saute until fragrant but not burnt.
2. Add in the clams. Cover for a minute. Then add in the Chinese cooking wine. Cover for another minute.
3. Add in the water. Cover and let boil.
4. When the shells of the clams are fully opened, then the soup is ready. Drop in the soft tofu and mustard greens. Let boil, and cook for a while, add salt and pepper according to taste. Ladle up and serve as soon as possible. The clam meat will shrink if cooked for a long time. Discard shells that did not open.
If you are cooking soup with strong flavor like clams, or beef, consider adding a few mustard greens. Mustard greens not only adds to the clear taste, but gives a lot of nutrition as well. This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. (source: NutritionData.com) I am surprised to learn that this is one of the few greens that contain protein because it is rich in amino acids. This means this is an ideal food for vegetarians.
Sharing this healthy and nutritious soup with the Weekend Herb Blogging community, headed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. This edition is hosted by Astrid at Paulchen's Foodblog.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Here in Asia, we simply call this dish Adobo. Anything stewed in soy sauce is Adobo. But I have heard that in the West, this is called red cooked pork. :) Of course my kids insist that the color of adobo is brown, not red. I explain that red-cooked pork sounds nicer than brown-cooked pork :)
By whatever name this dish is called, this dish is still the ultimate comfort dish for many Filipinos. Have you heard of the saying that if you do not know what dish to cook, simply prepare adobo?
This is a simple Pork Stew, easy to prepare and yet, the taste is made sublime by the addition of beer. The fragrance is more complicated as well. :) By the way, this dish is certified kid-friendly because by the time the pork is cooked, the alcoholic content of beer had already been evaporated. You cannot detect the taste of beer in the finished dish.
I confess I did the same cooking style as I did with our regular Adobo, except that instead of adding water, I added beer.
1 kilo pork belly, cut into serving sized cubes
4 T cooking oil
8 T garlic, minced (or more, if preferred)
4 T sugar
4 T cracked peppercorn
1 and 1/2 C soy sauce
2 cans Beer
1 C water, optional (my kids prefer lots of sauce)
200 gms golden mushrooms
200 gms straw mushrooms, sliced
4 pcs large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water, then chopped
Salt and sugar to taste
cilantro for garnish, optional
1. Heat the oil in a wok or a cooking pan. Add in the sugar, cook at low heat. Wait for the sugar to caramelize.
2. Add in the meat cubes and stir the meat, so that the cubes will be evenly coated and browned with the caramelized sugar. Add in the soy sauce, peppercorns, garlic. Stir to mix evenly.
3. When the mixture boils, add in the 2 cans of beer. Do not stir until the mixture boils again. Accordingly, if you stir, the sauce will have a bitter aftertaste. But I have always followed this instruction so I cannot confirm if this is true or not. :)
4. When the mixture boils, add in shiitake mushrooms and the cup of water. Let boil again and simmer for an hour and a half to two hours. Check in once in a while to see if the sauce is drying up. My kids like their adobo saucy, so I add in lots of water. (Alternately, start in the morning and just drop the contents of this pot in the slow cooker and you will have a wonderful smelling dish come dinner time).
5. Add in the straw mushrooms and golden mushroms before serving, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust taste with saklt and sugar, depending o your preference. Isn't this dish versatile?
6. Garnish with spring onions or cilantro before serving. Serve hot with rice.
Make that lots of rice. You will not be able to resist the aroma and the taste.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
During parties in my high school days, the naughty boys would spike our fruit juices with rum or brandy. These delicious, lightly intoxicating, fruit punches made us feel all grown-up indeed... :) Of course, we smart girls, would never touch any of the boys' concoction. At least, I remember being happy (and safe) with a can of soda instead. I would never risk being found out by my parents, nor risk being grounded, or worse, never to be allowed to attend parties anymore!
Of course, now that we are adults, we are allowed to add alcohol to our party drinks! Only, if we drink in moderation... :) This lightly spiked drink is reminiscent of our younger days. Try this! It healthy - it does not contain sugars from fruit juices. It is refreshing; cool for the palette and warm for the tummy. :) Of course, if you prefer a drink with no alcohol, feel free to omit the sake (rice wine). This drink will still taste good and refreshing!
3 pcs green tea bags
a handful of fresh mint, washed, dried
3 C hot, boiling water
1/2 C sake (Japanese rice wine)
1. In a large, heat-proof pitcher, steep the green tea bags and mint leaves in hot boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool before chilling in the refrigerator.
2. When ready to serve, mix in the sake. Pour into individual cocktail glasses. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.
Sending this simple, refreshing drink with Ria's birthday celebration over at Ria's Collection. Check out her blog after June 21 for the delicious treats of cookies, cakes and cocktails.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Don't be deceived by the long title of this dish. (I just do not know what to call this noodle dish I came up with.) This is actually a very easy dish to prepare. This is more like putting all the ingredients together.
Let's start with the noodles. This is another kind of potato noodle I bought. It is flat and took a few minutes longer in cooking. We first discovered potato noodle here. It was deliciously chewy and better tasting than ramen. So, I would always be on the look-out for potato noodles in the market. Simply boil the noodles in water according to package directions and set aside.
I normally would have homemade broth - either pork or chicken - on hand. Homemade broth are so versatile. And especially useful for those busy weeknights when you only have a little time to prepare for dinner. But this time, I had none! And I so wanted to make a quick noodle dinner!
This is what I made:
1 sachet (15 gms) bonito flakes (Japanese dried fish flakes)
1 C dashi
1/2 C Japanese soy sauce
1/2 C mirin
2 C water
salt and pepper to taste
12 pieces kani or Japanese crabsticks
1 sheet nori (Japanese seaweed), cut up
sesame oil with chili, optional
3 packs (350 gms) potato noodle, cooked according to package direction
1. Boil water, dashi, bonito flakes, soy sauce, mirin together to form your broth. When the soup boils, add in the kani or crabsticks. Turn off heat.
2. In individual serving bowls, portion off each serving of noodles. Top with nori. Pour in the soup with the crabsticks. Drizzle with sesame oil with chili, if preferred. You can also add chopped green onions. But I didn't have any on hand :)
A very easy, fast noodle dish to prepare, if you have the Japanese ingredients available in your pantry. We are fans of Japanese dishes because they are simple to prepare, very tasty and very healthy. So, these ingredients are regular items of my pantry. I would recommend you to start having these Japanese staple in your pantry as well.
Sharing this simple Japanese noodle soup with the Presto Pasta Nights community, headed by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast. This edition is hosted by Daphne of More Than Words.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I think I have discovered the best bread ever. At least for my little family's taste :) To veer away from our regular whole wheat bread, I added chopped fresh basil leaves and grated cheddar to our bread and the result was delicious!
This adventure all started when our German missionary friend, A, gave me a bottle of homemade salsa. (see the picture above?) She said this salsa would be delicious as dips or spread over tortillas or bread. I got her recipe, by the way, for the delicious spicy salsa, but have yet to make it :)
Anyway, I thought bread with basil would go well with the tomato salsa. And it does! I just thought of adding cheese because I have some left-over from the fridge. :)
Here's what I did:
2 and 1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C grated cheddar cheese
2 T chopped fresh basil leaves
1 and 1/2 t salt
1 and 1/2 t instant dried yeast
3 T olive oil
1 T honey
1 and 1/4 C warm water
grated parmesan cheese, for dusting
1. Put all the flours in a large bowl. Add in the cheese, basil, salt and yeast. Add the oil and honey. Gradually mix in enough water to make a smooth, soft, dough.
2. Knead well on a floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. For some techniques on kneading bread, please click here.
3. Put the dough back into the bowl. Cover with oiled clingfilm or a clean towel and leave in a warm place to rise for one to one and a half hour, until doubled in size.
4. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, knead well then cut into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12 inch length and transfer to a large greased baking sheet (I used olive oil in greasing the baking sheet.) Leave some space in between the dough rolls, to allow them to rise.
5. Make diagonal cuts along the top of each loaf, at intervals. Cover again with the oiled clingfilm and allow to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
6. Sprinkle the loaves with parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 400 F. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped with fingertips. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
These are the loaves fresh out of the oven. They smell really heavenly. I could not resist a bite. :)
This is a whole loaf, ready to be wrapped in foil. Sent this to A, whose delicious salsa was the inspiration for this bread. Guess what? She said their family liked this bread so much. (Maybe you think she is just being polite. No, ma'am. Our friendship is quite close enough to tell each other whether we like our food or not; and we do criticize each other's cooking and baking.) Even her little girl, who is a picky eater, loved it. And she asked me for the recipe. Here's the recipe, A. Enjoy! :)
Sharing this deliciously fragrant bread with the BYOB Bake Your Own Bread community, headed by Sandy at the Baker's Bench.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Say hello to Sir Lancelot - our pet lion cub! Hey! He's an authentic lion imported from South Africa! Even if he was looking intently at the siniguelas, he will not bite :) All he does is sit around the sofa the whole day!
Ok, back to Siniguelas or Spanish plums :) This is a fruit which I don't think South Africans lions are familiar with. Since it is summer here, lots of summer fruits come out and Siniguelas is one of them. It is purplish green when unripe (like the photos shown here). It tastes a bit tart and sweetish at this state, the skin is taut and crunchy when you bite into it. This is sooo yummy eaten with a few grains of salt! It makes my mouth water just writing about this. I have heard before that this is the favorite fruit of singer Gary Valenciano.
The fruit turns either yellow or deep red when ripe. Then, it becomes sweet. Still yummy and oozing with juice with every bite. Beware the large seeds however. :)
The siniguelas is a small fruit, approximately one inch to one a half inches in length. It looks like this:
Why write about this fruit? Because this fruit is a part of my childhood summer memories of playing in the streets with the neighbors. Remember jackstone, hopscotch, and Chinese garter? And of course, munching on these Siniguelas (aren't they the perfect size for small kiddie hands?) dipped in salt...
Friday, May 29, 2009
Here in Manila, we do not usually stew beef in soy sauce (adobo). Pork adobo, yes. Chicken adobo, yes. Beef adobo? Very rarely. We always cook our beef as steaks, or in soups, or smothered with tomato sauce or peanut sauce (as in Kare-kare). But then, my knowledge of Filipino food is limited to the Tagalog and the National Capital region :)
The Koreans have this mildly spicy and sweet soy sauce braised/stew beef dish. The sauce is so delicious and flavorful with rice. The kids love it. The good news is, this is so easy to prepare at home. Just dump all the ingredients in a pot and simmer away. :) Or you can add all the ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning before you go to work, (or when you do your errands) and when you come back, you will have melt-in-the mouth beef stew that goes very well with fragrant jasmine rice. :)
1 and 1/2 kilo beef ribs or beef shank, chopped (I used beef shank)
1 C soy sauce
1/2 C sugar (or more - up to 1 cup, if you prefer sweeter sauce)
1 whole garlic, peeled, chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped
1 large knob of ginger (about 2 inches), sliced
3 -4 pcs green peppers (siling haba) or jalapeno peppers (more or less according to taste)
2 pcs radish, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks spring onions, chopped
2 T sesame seeds
dash of sesame oil, optional
1. In a deep pot, add in the beef, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, onion, ginger, and green peppers. Add enough water (around 1 to 2 cups) to cover the beef pieces. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 to 1 and a half hours until beef is soft. Alternatively, you can use slow cooker and simmer for 4 hours or longer.
2. Add in the radish and cook radish in beef for 15 minutes more. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle up in a serving dish. Add in a dash or two of sesame oil. Sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onions. Serve hot with rice.
Other Korean dishes I have made:
Korean Chap Chae (Noodles with Beef)
Kimchi Fried Rice
Sharing this melt-in-the mouth beef stew with Regional Recipes, a food event created by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok. This edition's host is Wandering Chopsticks. Please check out her blog after June 15 for the round-up of delicious Korean recipes.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A pack of ginseng root. I use this for our tonic Chicken Ginseng Soup or our delicious Snow Fungus with Red Ginseng dessert. This pack costs around 16 Singapore dollars. That's roughly 500 Philippine pesos. But since I use this pack for several servings, each serving would be less than 100 pesos (less than US $ 2).
Flower teas. I tried the dried rose petals. Well, it smells like roses. But I still prefer the good ol' green tea :)
Finally, I got fennel seeds! The other pack (below) is coriander seeds, but we have that available here. I have been searching for fennel seeds for a long time here in Manila and could not find some. Now, I know what it looks like, what it smells like... I sound like a kid :) Anyway, I have baked bread with fennel seeds, this one waiting for its turn to be posted.
I have tasted this crab sauce and it is oh-so-flavorful, so I bought a bottle. I do not have to slather this on crabs. I think this would be perfect for stir-fry noodles! :)
Is this the Bak Kut Teh spice pack recommended by Noobcook? I think it is. This pack is more expensive than the other Bak Kut Teh spice packs but I think it is worth it because it contains real dried Chinese herbs. I have made soup with this and sure enough, it tasted better than the other brands of spice packs we've tried. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of my soup! But not to worry, I have several more packs and I promise to take a photo and blog about this! :)
I do feel good when I can recreate here at home some of the foods I've enjoyed in other countries, don't you?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It is pizza for dinner again! :)
After making my very first pizza, I found out that home-made pizza is not only delicious - it is better tasting than store-bought pizza. Plus, it is quite easy to do. Of course it will take some time for the dough to rise, so you have to plan and allot some time for that. But other than that, there should be no problem at all. And you will be able to save some money because store-bought ones are not exactly cheap!
Another big plus factor is that I got the kids to help me with the pizza making. Since pizza is something they love to eat, they are quite excited to help out in the kitchen. Daughter did the kneading this time. And being not used to exerting her muscles, :) she said that she realized it was not easy, but that it was good exercise!
I was ready and excited to experiment with different toppings and different types of flour for the dough. Here is my first experiment using whole wheat flour for the pizza dough and shrimp tomato pesto for the toppings - all the ingredients that my family loves!
For the dough:
3 and 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 t salt
1 t caster sugar
1 and 1/2 t instant dried yeast
3 T olive oil
1 C warm water
For the topping:
1 C tomato pesto
1/3 C sliced pitted black olives
1 C cooked, boiled (peeled) shrimps
5 T minced garlic
4 T chopped basil leaves
salt and pepper
4 T olive oil
1. In a big bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the oil and gradually mix in enough warm water to make a soft dough.
2. Knead well on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3. Grease the pizza pan (I also used olive oil). Tip the dough over to the pizza pan, and use hands to spread and shape the dough to cover the pan. I have read somewhere that using a rolling pin would alter the texture of the pizza crust. It should look like this:
4. Spread some tomato pesto (I used store-bought this time), then add boiled, peeled shrimps, chopped raw garlic, sliced pitted, black olives, chopped sweet basil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. I wrote down n estimated amount that we used. But the amount of topping actually depends on how much you prefer. I also drizzled the top with additional olive oil so that it will not dry out. It looks like this:
5. Let rest for 30 minutes, to let the dough rise again. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for 8 to 10 minutes.
Because I used quick-melt mozzarella, I had to add in the grated mozarella cheese at the 8 minute mark, returned the pizza to the oven and baked the pizza for 2 minutes more until cheese are all bubbly and melted.
6. Slice and serve immediately.
Please note the difference in oven temperature and baking time between my first pizza and this second pizza. In the first pizza, I used 375F with a longer baking time. This time, I used 425F with a shorter baking time. With this slightly higher temperature, I was able to get a nice crust - which is crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside.
Sharing another delicious pizza with the Bake Your Own Bread community, headed by Sandy at the Baker's Bench. Check out what the BYOB gang have been baking at the Sandy's site by the end of the month.
Monday, May 18, 2009
My mother-in-law says that her son - my Hubby can "sleep on a bed of vegetables." (That's my translation from Chinese.) She meant this figuratively, of course. I found this to be true early in our marriage. Hubby can eat a meal without meat (you know, the usual viand or ulam of chicken or beef or pork or fish...) Hubby can eat a meal even without rice (that is, if I serve him pasta, or noodles, or bread). Hubby can eat a meal without soup. But he will complain if I serve him a meal without vegetables. He just has to see greens on his table during meals.
I am happy our kids learned to eat veggies at an early age. And we didn't have to force them to learn. I think this came naturally as we have veggies on our table everyday.
Salad greens is a common veggie we have. We eat them raw, of course, drizzled with homemade dressings. Our current favorite green is lollo rosso lettuce. But sometimes, we have romaine. Depends on what's available fresh... Sometimes we add cucumber, onions, tomatoes. Sometimes we add fruits such as apples, or oranges or mangoes or grapes. The possibilities are endless. What is important is that I create a variety of flavors at every meal.
150 gms lettuce greens
a handful of grapes
a handful of cherry tomatoes
an orange, peeled, segmented
1 white onion, sliced
Wash all of these very well, and drain all the water. Arrange on serving plates. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing.
Orange Balamic Dressing
1/8 t salt
1/4 c orange juice (I use freshly squeezed orange juice)
2 T Balsamic vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1 1/2 t olive oil
1/4 t pepper
Mix all the dressing ingredients well. Either by using a fork, or a hand mixer, or shake them in a clean bottle, etc. Drizzle over the salad greens or serve on the side.
This is a delicious, both sweet and tart dressing that is becoming our favorite. All natural and homemade with nutritious ingredients.
Sharing these healthy salad greens with FIC: Food in Color with your personal favorite color as this month's theme. Actually, this is the family's favorite food color - Green! FIC food event is launched by Sunshine Mom of Tongue Ticklers and hosted this month at Tasty Curry Leaf. Check out her blog first week of June for tasty and colorful dishes.
Also sharing these healthy salad greens with SWC - Cooking with Greens, hosted by Sowmya of Creative Saga. Check out her blog after June 6 for the round-up of healthy and delicious green dishes. As Sowmya had said, it is very important that we have our cup of greens daily. I know this dish is not exactly cooked. But greens are better served raw! Then you will be able to get the full benefits of the nutrients present in green food.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
This is one of those dishes that sound sophisticated but is actually very easy to prepare. And I promise it tastes great, too! The recipe is also quite versatile as you can use any kind of white fish,whether filleted or not : halibut, dory, tilapia, snapper etc. And you can even substitute filleted chicken breasts or chicken tenders. This is so delicious with rice, and you can even serve this with pasta. A recipe so versatile and delicious such as this is definitely a keeper.
600 gms fish fillets, both sides sprinkled with
salt, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
flour, enough to slightly cover both sides of fillets
juice from 1 lemon (save a slice or two for garnish)
1/2 C dry white wine
1/4 C heavy cream (or sour cream or plain yogurt, whatever you have on hand)
3 T capers (drained)
3 T olive oil
3 T butter
4 T minced garlic
1/2 onion, minced
1. In a wok or skillet, heat up the olive oil and butter until butter melts. Turn up the heat and brown or sear the fish fillet on one side. Turn the fish over to sear the other side.
2. Add in the garlic and onions. The pour in the white wine and the juice of one lemon. (You can add 1/4 C water if you prefer more sauce). When the sauce boils, let simmer in low fire for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add in the capers and cream. Mix the sauce well. Let boil, lower heat until fish is cooked (This will take only a minute or two.) Serve immediately.
All these effort took less than 30 minutes of preparation and cooking. The result? A very tasty and flavorful dish we ate with fragrant jasmine rice. This is so delicious the kids had second helping of rice. :) Daughter said she thought the fish was baked because of the melt-in-the mouth texture.
Sharing this dish with the Weekend Wokking community, headed and hosted this month by Wandering Chopsticks. The featured ingredient for the month is Lemon! Check out her blog first week of June for the round-up of delicious sweet and savory lemon dishes. To see the previous round-ups of different ways to cook an ingredient, please click here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Last year, my daughter made a header for me. If you remember it was made from pink and green motif. Quite girly, but what do you expect from an 11-year-old? I am quite proud that she can even make something like that, so this site proudly wore that banner until today...
Today, my daughter presented me with a new header. Wow! Isn't this a great Mother's Day gift?
When I was 12, I did not know anything about computers. (But then, up to now, I do not know much about computers, either... ha ha ha!) Hey! I am not that old. It was just that, I do not think computers were common in ordinary homes at that time. I was out, playing hopscotch or Chinese garter on the streets. I was also a junior girl scout in school. We were not allowed to direct traffic and help other kids cross the street like what kids in more modern countries do. But I remember we were supposed to watch and guard over the playground - to keep kids safe, to keep them from fighting and to report any injuries. I do not remember if I did my job well or not, the memories are fuzzy as the movements on the playground... but I did receive a medal at the end of the year... so maybe I did do something good :)
Nowadays, kids are not allowed to play on the streets anymore. For safety and health reasons. And the kids' school removed their playground equipments because of the number of injuries and fighting (are kids more violent these days? or the parents more prone to complain?) There are no physical education subject up to grade 3! And so, what is a mom to do? I enrolled them in sports classes like swimming to keep their bodies fit.
But swimming does not occupy a whole lot of time, so the children became computer literate early. By the way, television viewing as well as computer time for kids is limited in this household. :) And we say no to violent computer games :)
I admit my kids are more computer literate than I am. My 12-year-old designed this new header. This site will be proudly wearing this banner until the time, when she makes a new banner again or maybe when my 8-year-old will be able to make his own design as well. I thank God for my kids. Soli Deo Gloria!!!