November 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
This salad made me a fan of fennel. Crunchy and has a fresh, sweetly musky taste similar to liquorice and anise. Paired with apple, it masks the licorice flavor (perfect for those not keen on its taste) and adds to the freshness of this salad. Packed with many health benefits from relieving anemia to improving eye care, this salad was my intro to this herb.
In fact, it has opened the door to many more delicious Fennel recipes, which I will share with you eventually.
In the meantime, here’s the recipe adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s book, A Homemade Life.
What you need:
- 1 medium fennel bulb, about 10 ounces
- 1 small Green Apple
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
What you do:
Prepare the fennel:
- Cut off and discard the stalks and fronds.
- Using a vegetable peel or a small knife, trim away any bruises or brown spots on the bulb’s outermost layer of skin.
- Cut it in half from root to stalk, and trim the root end.
- Using a sharp knife or a mandolin and working with the one-half of the bulb at a time, slice the fennel very thinly, 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Set aside.
Prepare the Green Apple:
- Using an apple core, remove and discard core.
- Then cut the apple in half from top to bottom.
- Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice it very thinly, just like the fennel. Set aside.
Assembling the Salad:
- Make a layer of fennel slices. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Then place a layer of apple on top of the fennel. Sprinkle lightly with lemon juice, and season with salt.
- Shave thin ribbons of cheese. Drizzle with oil.
- Repeat and finish with a good sprinkle of lemon juice, a generous splash of oil and a few shavings of cheese to garnish.
- Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
July 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
Credits: Splendid Finn Now is paper in blue; zigzag stitching by shabbymissjenndesigns; Splendid Finn 4ever striped ribbon and pennets
It’s been a while… Can I tell you that I am still not spending enough time in the kitchen? So much for comfort zones and “everydays”. It’s just been a bustling kind of year for us. We’ve started a bed and breakfast up north (will write about that shortly), we just got back from a rejuvenating trip from the Holy Land, and we’ve gone on a diet since.
Nothing to do with the Holy Land, our diet, but more of a healthy resolution to keep our blood sugar and cholesterol in check. Recent check ups called for it, that’s why. So here’s sharing one of the winners (slightly tweaked from here) served on our table recently.
It’s a flavourful salad of smoked duck breast paired with a punch of a mildly sweet blueberry dressing that definitely qualified as mainstays on our table.
Arugula Salad With Smoked Duck Breast, Berries, and Hazelnuts
What You’ll Need
- 2 large handfuls Arugula
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Champagne Vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 cup dried berries (I used wild blueberries)
- 2 tbsp coco sugar
- 1 smoked duck breast, cold, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup very sharp, good aged Cheddar or Gouda
- Sea Salt
What You Do
- Place the dried arugula in a bowl and set aside.
- Place the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and berries in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir with a whisk until warm (not boiling – 3 minutes or so).
- Pour over the arugula, sprinkle with a little salt, and toss to coat.
- Place the arugula on a plate and top with the duck slices.
- With a vegetable peeler, peel thin slices of the cheddar or gouda over the salad.
- Top with the chopped hazelnuts and a little extra dressing. Sprinkle with a little salt.
September 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
If you’ve never heard of “XO Sauce”, no it’s not the expensive brand designated to a grade of Cognac. In the culinary and gourmand world, XO Sauce is known as the emperor of all sauces. Vogue China once described it as the “Caviar of the East”, it’s pricey, but a little goes a long way. I’ve written about it a few years back (here) and continue to be awed by it.
Packed with deep, rich smoky intensity, this gourmet condiment is made from dried scallop, ham, dried shrimp, red chili pepper, onions, and garlic. It gives the added oomph to stir-fried meats, seafood, tofu, and vegetables. Never fails on pasta and noodle dishes too.
XO Sauce’s fabled history started in Hong Kong, its exact circumstance surrounding its birth is unknown. It most likely first graced the table of one of Hong Kong’s pricey dining establishments and ever since then, the fascination with this sauce has continued to heighten. One does not need to dine out to satisfy one’s craving anymore.
Lee Kum Kee has bottled a very impressive version of the XO Sauce. I add it to my vegetable or seafood dishes. It is perfect to add a different flavor to fried rice too.
What I have here are simple ingredients that I found on my crisper, a teaspoon of XO Sauce gave this eggplant a great lift.
September 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
Roasting vegetables is my new favorite thing. It turns a humble, everyday vegetable into a taste sensation as it brings out sweet flavor notes of any vegetable. Cabbage is one of them. I already love how it adds texture to a dish if cooked right. Think soups and pancit (our local noodle dish). But roasted, with bacon to boot, it was mind-blowing. The sweetness of the cabbage and the salty, smoky bacon is a highly addictive union. A simple dish made to impress flavor-wise because admittedly, food porn it is not.
Roasted Cabbage with Bacon
What You Need:
- 1 head of green cabbage, outer leaves removed
- Olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices of bacon
What You Do:
- Heat the oven to 230°C.
- Cut the cabbage into eight wedges, discarding the core.
- Lay these down on a large pan, drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Cut slices of bacon into strips and scatter over the cabbage.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping the cabbage wedges once halfway through.
- Serve immediately.
July 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
Do you ever use up all the herbs you buy? They tend to either dry up or wilt on me that I almost always have to throw away the left-overs (I know, I know… I can always freeze them – my excuse? I have yet to buy those ice trays). This salad was inspired by the need to use up the leftover dill I had wilting away on my crisper. And because canned tuna is my go to when I find myself in such a dilemma (see here and here), I obviously went that route again. And I am impressed with how this turned out, satisfying, hearty salad perfect as a main lunch or dinner meal.
The tuna can be made ahead of time and kept for other uses, making this salad the easiest ever. This is something I will be making over and over during avocado season.
With avocado’s good for you fats and the high source of protein that tuna provides, this is not only the easiest thing ever but the benefits that these yields make this real winner on all aspect. Yes?
Tuna Avocado and Feta Salad
What You Need
For the tuna:
- 1 canned tuna packed in oil
- A few sprigs of dill, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sliced olives
- 1 teaspoon pimenton dulce or smoked paprika
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad:
- Salad greens
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- Feta cheese (I used the one marinated in olive oil and some herbs)
- 1 tomato, diced
What You Do:
- Drain tuna, flake apart slight with a fork and add to bowl with the chopped dill, olives, and the pimenton. Stir very gently to combine.
- Whisk together lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt and cracked pepper on a small bowl until well combined. Add honey to taste and slowly whisk in olive oil until well combined.
- Arrange salad greens, topped with tuna, feta, avocado and tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing just to coat.
August 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
I first had it at my mom’s. Succulent, crisp strips similar in texture to bamboo shoot but less fibrous. It assimilated well with the heat of the chili bean paste and the savory taste of oyster sauce.
It became an instant favorite, thanks to the lady at Wei Wang, the neighborhood oriental store my mom frequents, for recommending this bamboo shoot looking vegetable to her complete with instructions on how to cook it. She said it was a kind of shoot called “kuw-sun”.
I later find out that “kuw-sun” is also called Wild Rice Shoots, an aquatic plant widely used in China and Japan which, when stripped of its husk, reveals a smooth, very pale inside. Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and other minerals, it is sliced and eaten raw or cooked, usually prepared by stir-frying with thinly sliced pork.
Chili Wild Rice Shoots with Pork and Mushrooms
What You’ll Need
- 2 stalks of wild rice shoots, outer layer removed, and cut into strips
- 4-5 shiitake mushrooms cut into strips
- 100-150g minced pork
- 1 tablespoon Chili Bean Paste
- 1 tablespoon Premium Oyster Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- Sesame oil for drizzling
What You Do
- In a small bowl, mix together chili bean paste, oyster sauce, sugar and water. Set aside.
- Heat up a wok until smoky and add oil. Bring temperature down to medium high
- Add the pork, stir-fry until brown then add the mushrooms. Cook for seconds before adding the wild rice shoots. Toss around until the shoots are slightly brown.
- Add the chili mixture and toss until well coated.
- Drizzle with a good quality sesame oil before serving.
A dish packed with flavor and so easy to prepare.
July 21, 2013 § 1 Comment
I’ve been remiss, forgive me. This is the real world catching up with me here. It’s been a busy few months since I got back from a month-long trip that started in Casablanca and ended in Madrid with Lisbon, among other cities, in between. And now I am missing the flavors of Spain.
Spain. A country of soaring mountains, beautiful cities, towns and villages, outstanding art and architectures, and a diverse cuisine left by the Moors, Romans and the Greeks.
Although very familiar to me, its cuisine still managed to leave a lasting impression. One dish that persists three months after our pleasurable acquaintance is Salmorejo, a variation of one of Andalusia’s famous dish, Gazpacho. A close cousin, if you will.
Like gazpacho, it is a cold tomato soup, only thicker. While gazpacho has tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper and onion, the vegetable present in Salmorejo is only tomato, and it uses garlic, not onions. Not as popular as gazpacho outside of Cordoba, where this soup originated, it has lately been gaining more recognition in and outside of Spain. Both are excellent summertime dishes, great as a starter or a light meal.
Usually served with hardboiled eggs and Spanish ham (Jamon Serrano or Iberico), I opted for the lighter accompaniment of green grapes and almond, a garnish borrowed from another cold soup, Ajo Blanco.
Adapted from Food And Wine June 2013 Issue
What You Need:
- 1 kilo tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups white bread or baguette, crust removed and cubed
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- a few seedless green grapes, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. roasted almonds, chopped
What You Do:
- Scald the tomatoes: Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water. Cut a small cross at the bottom of each tomato. When the water is boiling, add the tomatoes, leave for 30-60 seconds. Remove and immediately place in ice water. The skin will peel right off.
- Cut out the cores of the tomatoes. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the bread cubes. Let stand for 15-minutes until the bread is soft.
- Transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor. Pulse with the grated garlic and vinegar until smooth. With the machine on, gradually add in the ¼ olive oil. Season with salt.
- Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the grapes, almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.
I find that the longer it sits in the fridge, the better the flavors of the ingredients meld. And on a truly hot day, the cold grapes is a burst of refreshing sweetness, combine it with the crunch of the almonds… you know you have a winner here.
For more of Spanish food goodness, check out the article I wrote for Exquise Magazine here.