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.
May 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
We’re in the middle of summer and fruity salads are my thing of late.
Nectarines. I don’t see them often in my tropical world but once in a while I chance upon them. Like last week. And so before it get all mushy, I am on apricot overload. I’d bring have it for breakfast with cottage cheese (another thing I can’t live with but, unfortunately, Nestle decided to not sell them anymore and so I wait for this whenever available). But I digress. Of course, I have to have it on my salad.
Nectarines and beef tapa is not surprisingly a winning combination. The sweet fragrant freshness of nectarines complement well with the salty, slightly sour beef. And the peppery, spicy arugula caps to the whole flavor adventure. Mangoes will be a good substitute I think for when nectarines or peaches aren’t in season.
Nectarine, Beef and Arugula Salad
What You Need:
o A few button mushrooms, sliced
o 1 pcs. nectarine, quartered
o Salt and Pepper to taste
For the dressing:
o ¼ cup Honey Cider Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
o 1-2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What You Do:
- On a frying pan, fry the beef until done. Set aside.
- On the same pan, leave just about a tablespoon of oil from the beef and discard the rest. Cook the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper.
- Combine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bottle with the cap closed tightly. Shake to combine.
- On a salad bowl, toss the nectarines, beef, mushrooms and arugula. Drizzle dressing on salad before serving.
February 13, 2014 § 1 Comment
We’ve been experiencing cold climate of record-breaking proportion (relative, of course, to my part of the globe) since the start of the year. This wonderful weather seemed to have followed us from San Francisco, where I spent my Christmas break with friends and family. They say though that summer officially starts right after the Chinese New Year. And true enough, a few days after the lunar calendar started, the temperature began rising.
Although a cold front has hit the country again this week, last week was particularly warm and humid. I’ve also been spending a lot of time at work, and the heat and exhaustion averts my desire to sweat out in the kitchen.
And so my new cast iron Panini grill has come to the rescue several times last week. I love my Panini on focaccia, but any kind of bread will come out a winner really.
A few nights ago, I layered generous slices of Milano salami (I always have those on hand), sliced brown mushrooms (sautéed in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper), and arugula on whole wheat focaccia bread.
Then off it went to the grill, pressed into this gorgeous sandwich. Yummy!
October 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
More often what brings a smile to my face are the little things in life.
Beautiful blooms, the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, the whiff of fresh bread, a brand new day… So many things to be thankful for and those little things that life seems to take for granted are what we need to zoom in on.
I was up in Baguio for work recently and the cool weather was just perfect for a planning session. Freshly baked blueberry muffins, especially that of Baguio Country Club brings sunshine to my day. And sunshine always makes me smile. I love rain too for without it there would never be rainbows, yes? I love the sound of raindrops – it soothes my senses and makes me want to cozy up in my little corner with some hot tea
and this addictive lemon pie that can perk even the gloomiest person at one bite.
Using graham cracker crust makes it so easy to make – no need to labor over a traditional crust.
The touch of sweetness in the graham is a wonderful balance to the tart, lemony filling.
When life hands you lemons, lots of them, make lemon pie.
What makes you happy?
Credits: Papers and elements from Scrap Matter’s Life Little Surprises kit. Alphas from Akiloune Designs
What you need:
- 10 graham crackers or 1 cup crushed
- 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Whipped cream for serving
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Break the graham crackers into large pieces and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times, until you have fine crumbs. Place the crumbs in a medium bowl. Alternatively, if you can find crushed graham crackers in your grocery store, use about 1 cup – it makes life so much simpler.
- Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped, then add them to the crumbs.
- Mix the butter with the crumb mixture until well blended, then press the mixture along the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
- Bake the crust for about 12 minutes, until it’s lightly browned. Set the crust aside.
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl. Mix on medium until the yolks are pale yellow and slightly thickened, about two minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the condensed milk. Slowly add the lemon juice, then turn off the mixer and stir in the lemon zest.
- Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until the filling is almost set but still moist.
- Allow the pie to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
September 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
Me, I am not. Snooze is my best friend. Funny that the sound of the alarm does not exactly wake me up but rather does the opposite. It’s in the mindset, some say, but I don’t know…
I, however, love breakfast and no matter how late I wake up, I hardly skip it. On weekdays, I usually have something simple like jam and butter on bread, granola with either milk or yogurt or just yogurt and some fruit – anything that is fast and easy because I’m always late.
Now, breakfast on weekends is a different story. It usually is more special, grander, prepared with more love and attention. Eggs are usually reserved for the weekend and I am, at the moment, enchanted with Paprika on eggs. Not any kind of paprika, mind you.
Although a staple in my spice rack, Paprika was only meant to add color to chicken, stews, potatoes… until Pimentón de la Vera came into my life, that is. Smoked Paprika from the Tietar River valley in La Vera, Spain changed my concept of Paprika forever. It is the precious spice used in Spanish chorizo distinctly known for its amazing smoky flavor and aroma.
I am loving it in anything and everything, but most especially on eggs. They come in 3 variants – dulce (sweet and mild), agridulce (bittersweet and med hot), and picante (hot). The slightly sweet smokiness of my favorite variant, dulce, perks up the flavor of the eggs. Makes me excited to wake up in the morning… hmmm, maybe I should try making this on weekdays?
Baked Eggs with Pimentón de la Vera
What You’ll Need
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. heavy cream
- ½ tsp. unsalted butter
- Pimenton de la Vera (dulce or picante)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
What You Do
- Preheat broiler for 5 minutes and place oven rack 6 inches below the heat.
- Crack eggs without breaking the yolks on a small bowl. Set aside.
- Place cream and butter on a ramekin dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Quickly pour the eggs into the ramekin dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the a few dashes of pimentón.
- Return under the broiler for 5-6 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. The eggs will continue to cook after taken out of the oven.
- Cool for a minute and serve hot with toasted bread.
September 3, 2012 § 1 Comment
I have a thing about sausages. It is my comfort food. Growing up, my brother and I would make hotdogs with caramelized onion rings cooked in ketchup. It was my brother’s idea, I think. We grew up on that and once in a while, I’d still make these for old time’s sake. But I’ve come a long way with my sausages. I’ve soon learned to love all kinds of sausages from chorizo to kielbasa to our local longganisa.
Credits: Kaboks’ SFJ Christmas Treasure papers.
So when I saw sausages drying on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang, I knew I had to get my hands on some of those and ordered the first sausage I spotted on the menu. Luang Prabang has exceptionally good sausages. Sweet and herby with a hint of heat from the chili peppers. The lemongrass and the juice from Kaffir lime delivered a flavor that is so distinctly indochina.
That and sticky red rice, add the casual, cozy open-air ambience of Mango Tree and it was pure bliss.Mango Tree Ban Vat Nong, Sakkarine Road, Luang Prabang, Laos +856 71 253-888 / 253-750
May 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
Trips with the family always involve a lot of eating. On our (not so) recent trip to Hong Kong, it was with no surprise that the entire itinerary focused on where to eat. A few good ones picked out from a 2-page list and reservations made even before we boarded. Yes, if there is such a thing as food geeks, that’s us.
First stop was Hutong in Tsim Sha Tsui. The restaurant was set out to impress not only in the food department. It starts with a stylish old China interior and a view to die for from the 28th floor overlooking Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline. The dim interior creates drama and intends to highlight the city’s colorfully lit nightscape, particularly the nightly light show at 8pm. So try to get a table by the window for the best view.
Clockwise: Floor to ceiling windows overlooking the harbor / dim interior, Cod fish tossed with fermented bean and chilies, Red Lantern, various desserts, the light show, Crispy De-boned Lamb Ribs
Specializing in traditional northern Chinese cuisine, the food is can be quite spicy. Make sure to order the Crispy De-boned Lamb Ribs, it is their house specialty and never disappoints. Its crispness resembles that of Peking duck skin and the meat slow-cooked to tenderness but still retaining the flavor of lamb. If you can handle the heat, their Red Lantern is a must try. Crispy chicken with Sichuan pepper bursts with great flavor and intense heat if you bite into the chilies. Even without touching the chilies, I can only eat so much. Another favorite is the Cod fish tossed with fermented bean and chilies.
Clockwise: Grilled Zucchini, Green Tea Banana Cake, the sushi counter, Hamachi Roll, Tuna Tartare with Miso, Grilled Chicken Wings
A friend invited for dinner at a different time I was in Hong Kong, we met at the Mandarin for drinks and walked over to The Landmark for what she said would be Japanese tapas. Given the prestigious address, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a cramped sushi bar but the interior still blew me away. Zuma has 2 levels with a grand spiral staircase that greets as one step out of the elevator. We took a table at the terrace where a garden surrounds. Memorable dishes include Seared Beef with a Yuzu-Ponzu dressing, Tuna Tartare with Miso, a Chicken Yakitori and a very yummy Green Tea Banana Cake with coconut ice cream. Authentic Japanese cuisine prepared non-traditionally and served Izakaya style – small dishes designed for sharing. Zuma boasts of a pretty good selection with a robota grill and a sushi counter. Second time around with the family registers the same satisfaction if not better.
Clockwise: Flan con Dulce de Leche, Provoleta Cheese with Olive Oil and Herbs, Grilled Beef Tenderloin Steak (250g), the street of Soho in Central.
Steak – is always on our radar. Our usual haunt is Morton of Chicago but this time around, we felt like a change. At the heart of SOHO in Central is a place where carnivores find pleasure. La Pampas specializes in Argentinean cuisine, particularly in steaks and grilled meats. Flown fresh from Argentina, the organic beef is tender and tasty. Other Argentinean dishes worth ordering from their menu include sausages, chorizo, and cheeses. And speaking of cheese, their Provoleta cheese with olive oil and herbs is a delightful starter and the Flan con Dulce de Leche, a divine cap to the scrumptious meal.
Clockwise: Noodle and congee counter, stylish interior, my fish congee, Stir-fried Chinese Broccoli, The chef behind the counter, fried Beef Noodle.
With the excessive feasting, it is just proper to take a rest and end with some congee. Tasty Congee and Noodle Wanton Shop should be your last stop to somewhat clean the system. Before taking the train to the airport, spare some time to go to the IFC Mall for some really good congee or noodles on level 3. If you prefer to head straight to the airport, head out to the food court of Departure east hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. This one Michelin star restaurant definitely does not disappoint. So good, it even got listed on the premier edition of the Miele Guide. So even if you don’t really need to “cleanse”, head out to one of their establishments for some “tasty” comfort food. Outside of their congee, we loved their Fried Beef Noodle, which we spotted from the table beside us. Dimsums and wantons are excellent too.Zuma Levels 5 & 6, The Landmark 15 Queen’s Road, Central. HK (852) 3657-6388 (reservations recommended) Hutong 1 Peking Road, 28th Floor, Tsim Sha Tsui, HK (852) 3428-8342 (reservations a must) Tasty Congee & Noodle Wanton Shop Shop 3016 Podium 3, IFC Mall 8 Finance Street, Central, HK (852) 2295-0101 / 2295-0505 (reservations recommended) La Pampas G/F 32 B & C, Staunton Street, SOHO, Central (852) 2868-6959 (reservations a must)
March 23, 2012 § 12 Comments
We used to live in a compound. It has four houses, the main house was my lola’s (grandmother’s), one was our house and the two others were my father’s siblings’. We lived there most of my life until we moved house after college. There were so many memories in that compound but summers (as a child) were especially memorable as the days were spent playing with cousins in that compound – patintero, touch-taya, Chinese garter… there even was a baseball phase. I remember catching tadpoles at the canal outside our house. Yeah those were carefree times. I can’t imagine any parent allowing their kids to play in a canal today. 😯 We’d climb and pick santol and indian mangoes from the tree in my lola’s garden, devouring it with salt or toyo (soysauce). I’d always look forward to my uncle’s treats to Sunshine Market, our neighborhood grocery. I’d go straight to the snack section and pick-up Carol-Ann’s potato chips. Oh how I love that greasy but crispy, thin chips seasoned only with salt. To this day, nothing beats Carol-Ann’s and you don’t find them anymore. I love Choco vim — I’d shake it till the chocolate at the bottom dissolves, such a thrill . And there was Magnolia’s Twin Popsies, I like both the chocolate and the orange variant. A perfect heat quencher. Childhood memories… always make me smile.
The Kulinarya Cooking Club is a club that showcases Filipino dishes by way of a monthly challenge among the members. And this is my first attempt on a fairly easy but so much fun challenge this month, thanks to Arnold of Inuyaki and Jun of Jun-blog.
The theme is “ice candy” or popsicle treats, which aptly signals the start of summer. In spite of the heat, summer is always a favorite time of the year. It means I get to soak up the sun in some remote island with some frozen delights on hand. I usually go for fresh shakes nowadays but ice candy brought back so many memories that I feel like having twin popsies right now.
My take on the theme is an adult version of a childhood favorite. I made 2 versions in honor of the 2 Magnolia Twin Popsies variants. One is a delightful orange and mango flavor with a hint of ginger while the other is a chocolate popsicle made of native cacao balls and since I love a hint of orange in my chocolate, I added some orange zest to give it a twist.
What you need:
- 3-4 pcs. Navel oranges
- 2-3 pcs. Ripe Philippine mangoes
- 3-4 slices of ginger
- ¼ cup sugar
- A dash of Cinnamon powder or stick
What you do:
- To make the ginger syrup: In a pot, dissolve sugar with ½ cup water. Add ginger slices and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile make into juice all the oranges and 1 mango*. Combine orange/mango juice and the ginger syrup in a pitcher (for ease in pouring).
- Slice the rest of the mangoes into bite-sized pieces distribute in popsicle molds**.
- Pour the juice mixture. Place popsicle sticks over the mold and freeze.
* You may use ready to drink juices too if desired. About 2 cups of orange juice to 1 cup of mango.
** The frozen mango makes a lot of different so fill it to the bream and then pour the juice.
Orange-flavored Choco Frozen Delight
What you need:
- 10 balls or more of native chocolate*
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp orange zest
- A dash of cinnamon powder or stick
What you do:
- Dissolve choco balls in water, adding more depending on desired thickness.**
- Add a dash of cinnamon or place the stick of cinnamon while cooking the chocolate.
- When chocolate is ready, add the zest before turning off heat.
- Strain into a pitcher and let cool.
- Pour into popsicle molds, place popsicle sticks and freeze.
* Native chocolates are made differently; it is best that you know what kind you’re using or follow instructions if it they have it.
** The thicker the chocolate, the richer the popsicle. If you make it thick enough, it is like biting into a frozen chocolate bar.
Both were delightfully refreshing. At the last-minute I decided to add the mango on the orange version and did a happy dance when I bit into the finish product. It really made a lot of difference biting into frozen mangoes. The ginger is a great twist to a familiar flavor. Makes sure though not to overdo the ginger or it will overpower the light fruity flavor.
The chocolate version, on the hand is less sweet and much richer than that of Magnolia’s. The orange zest added a fruity dimension to dark chocolate. I intentionally didn’t add milk or cream, as I wanted it dark. If milk chocolate is the preference, go ahead and add a bit of cream.
If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you may use disposable cups. To hold the sticks in place, tape over a plastic wrap and bore a hole in the middle where the stick will go. This will make the stick stay in the middle.
Stay cool everyone!
March 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
Credits: Papers by Sahlin Studio from the Art and Soul kit and Crystal Wilkerson from the Room Collection kit; Elements by Sahlin Studio from the Art and Soul kit for the lace, Ezane from ScrapMatters’ Life’s Little Surprises kit for the journal.
It’s not just another Saturday – it’s the 3rd Saturday since I moved to my new place. It has been 2 weeks of unpacking, arranging and cleaning whenever I’m home.
Today I declared a cleaning and arranging time out. I just want to rest and appreciate my new home. To celebrate my moving in – so to speak, I invited some friends over for dessert and coffee after dinner. I’m not ready to invite them for the real deal. Kitchen still not ready for that, or should I say, I’m not ready for that… haha!
Anyhow, I made tiramisu, my 2nd attempt actually. The first one failed because I used our local broas – you know the one I used to make this. It went all watery on me. The broas was too light, it soaked up a lot of the espresso;
I went and bought this instead. It’s much denser and holds well when soaked in liquid.
What you need:
- 3 large Eggs, with yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 8 oz. Mascarpone
- 20 Lady Fingers
- 1 cup Espresso or Strong Coffee
- 2 tbsp. Cognac or Brandy
- 1 cup Cocoa
What you do:
1. Combine 3 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon Espresso, sugar, and Cognac into the large mixing bowl.
2. Beat 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add Mascarpone and beat 3 to 5 minutes until consistency is smooth.
4. In another bowl, combine 3 egg whites and a pinch of sugar. Beat until mixture forms stiff peaks.
5. Gently fold into Mascarpone mixture.
6. Pour rest of Espresso into a flat dish, dip one side of each Lady Finger, and layer on bottom of serving dish.
7. Spread 1/3 of the Mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa.
8. Continue layering and finish with a Mascarpone layer.
9. Sprinkle with cocoa and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
This is the way to dazzle, I must say. A no bake dessert that is impressive in flavors – it’s the Cognac. Simple enough allowing me lots of time before dinner to relax and enjoy the flat.
March 8, 2012 § 5 Comments
Walking along Rua do Almirante Sergio after our scrumptious lunch at A Lorcha last August, I chanced upon Restaurante Litoral – the other Macanese restaurant I wanted to try. I took note of it for when we return. I never thought that I would be trying this other famous Macanese restaurant so soon.
The family decided to spend the holidays in Hong Kong and Macau. For a family of foodies, what better way to spend the holidays than in gastronome paradise? Restaurante Litoral, when I suggested it, was a unanimous yes.
To others, Macau is more of a gambling mecca, to me it is a food haven. You will find Western and Chinese cuisines in hotels and clubs as well as in small sidewalk stalls, but the main point of a Macau visit (at least to me) is to delight in Macanese cuisine. The 500 years of multicultural influence lead to a fusion of Portuguese, Chinese, African, and Indian flavors that is now uniquely Macanese. Many dishes evolved from the spice blends the Portuguese women used attempting to replicate European dishes.
Housed in a 2-storey building in a quiet street, Restaurante Litoral is packed to the bream during our visit and I have a sneaking suspicion it is every night. We were shown to our table on the 2nd floor where (again), a Filipina served us.
We started with a squid salad tossed in lemon and olive oil dressing. Then came the clams, just as scrumptious as the one in A Lorcha. The soup infused with the delicious flavors of clams simmered in white wine, olive oil and lemon is fantastic especially when dipped in bread.
Then the dishes came one after the other.
Baked Duck Rice – a cut above the rest. Rice simmered in duck stock and fat with succulent duck confit thrown in and then topped with bacon and chorizo. A dish with everything I love.
With the Baked Duck Rice, who would think we’d order another rice dish? But by the sound of it, Suckling Pig on Fried Rice, we just had to try it. It had us at suckling pig. Glad we did. It was lighter than the Duck Rice but the flavor and the crispy skin of the suckling pig was to die for.
Bacalhau a Lagareiro or grilled cod-fish with potatoes and garlic. A common dish in Portugal, Spain and in some Portuguese colonies like Angola, Macau and Brazil. Its essential ingredient is salted codfish so be ready for the saltiness. I, for one, love Bacalhau, some are however put off by the saltiness. Salted cod has been around since 500 years ago when there was no refrigeration. Just like our daings and our danggits, drying and salting are ancient methods of preserving the nutrients and can actually make the fish tastier.
Braised Oxtail in Red Wine Sauce – extremely soft oxtail in very tasty sauce. Two thumbs up!!
For dessert, we wanted to try the egg yolk soufflé but they ran out of stock so we settled with their chocolate mousse, mango pudding and of course their version of Serradurra, biscuit mousse.
It was as yummy as the one we tried at A Lorcha. I will attempt to make this one of these days or I will be burning miles to get my fix of this very addictive dessert.
My verdict: Maybe it’s the number of dishes we tried but in my humble opinion, Litoral wins over A Lorcha by a hair. Both restaurants are worth visiting again. Perhaps I’ll need to go back to A Lorcha to try more dishes next time.
Restaurante Litoral Rua do Almirante Sergio 216-A r/c, Macau Tel: +853 2896-7878 Cafe Litoral Rua do Regedor, Bloco 4 Wai Chin Kok Taipa, Macau Tel: +853 2882-5255