XO Sauce

September 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chili Pork Strips

April 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

When was the last time you need to clean out the freezer? Me. Almost always. I’m not very good at managing my purchases and end up buying way too much. Yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder, and I regularly need to clean out the refrigerator.

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So I saw some leftover pork strips lingering in a corner of the freezer. Time to get them out of that corner and into our tummies with my tested combination of Chili Bean and Oyster Sauce.

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A combination I rely on a lot, be it tofu, or veggies or just ground meat. It (the sauce) tickles the taste buds and is so easy to make. All you need is to combine the two sauces according to your preference, some sugar to balance the saltiness then dilute with water or soup stock if available.

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I cut the strips into 1-1/2” approximately, sauté them with garlic in a little oil. Add sliced mushrooms, any should be fine, but I like shiitake or button for the dish. Pour in the chili sauce, let simmer until sauce coats the pork. Top over rice or pasta.

That’s it—a dish in no time, packed with beautiful flavors.

Tuna Avocado and Feta Salad

July 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

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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.

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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.

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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
  • Honey

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Arrange salad greens, topped with tuna, feta, avocado and tomatoes.  Drizzle with dressing just to coat.

A Happy New Year!

January 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

Sick during the holidays – how sad is that?  A week after and I am still nursing a bad cough, nose still pretty clogged.  I have so much food from the holidays but appetite eludes me.  So, I ended up with more food than ever before.  I bet the people at reception, maintenance, even the guards won’t ever forget me – either they love me to pieces for all the holiday goodies I brought their way or they are avoiding me by now for dumping so much food on them.

I trekked to the doctor’s clinic last week.  “I need to be well by Saturday”, I told him.  And like a good doctor that he is, I am feeling better now, thank you, although I am still not in creative cooking mode.   Until last night, when I whipped up a pleasant meal of leftovers, which I ate with gusto – and that is a wonderful sign that I am on the road to real recovery.

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I had some fresh mozzarella that needed to be consumed soon, what to do?  I didn’t feel like a pizza or a sandwich.  I didn’t have fresh basil and tomatoes so a salad is out too.  Besides, I wanted something more filling – a first in weeks!

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So, I beat to combine a couple of eggs and a couple of tablespoons of milk.  Sliced the mozzarella.  Washed some leftover spinach my mom sent my way before she left for abroad.  Threw some bacon bits on the pan – I always have bacon, no mater what!!  Then I threw in the spinach, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Poured the egg mixture into the pan as soon as the spinach starts to wilt.  Before turning over, I added the mozzarella cubes.  It’s smoky with a mild cheesy taste.  I think it’s awesome.

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A very belated New Year greetings to everyone.  May you cook more and eat more healthily, be blessed with more opportunities to try new foods and flavors this year.

Not Quite There Yet

February 28, 2012 § 5 Comments

Exhausting weekend.  No, I have not moved yet but my paintings and most of my furniture has though.  I spent most of last Saturday general cleaning and planning which wall the paintings go.

Tama na ba ma’am, Is this alright?  “Baba pa, taas pa, medyo kanan pa, lower, higher, a little more to the right…” – an example of the weekend I had with the workers.

The grease trap under the kitchen sink leaked, flooding the kitchen.  The drain in the balcony is clogged, the range hood doesn’t have a socket nearby, the lights are not bright enough… problems one wouldn’t know or notice until one is about to move in, I reckon.  It was so exhausting but satisfying at the end of the day.  Seeing that I’m almost there make me jump for joy.

A glimpse of my unfinished living room

While the recent purchases are settled in their own little corner in my new flat, there are the existing things that I own that needs to move with me.  That is no doubt, stressing me out.  Imagine the packing and the unpacking.

I’ve weeded out stuff that I don’t need over the past months.  I’ve sold some, given away many and ate at home so much.  Truth to tell, I’ve stopped stocking up on food.  I’ve been consuming stuff from the freezer and the cupboard (which would mainly be canned and bottled products).  The less you have, the less you’ll need to transfer, yes?  I’ve made some progress… I’ve consumed the last of my canned tuna and with it I made a quick lunch just to get us by.

Tuna with Fried Kesong Puti

I used this recipe sans the arugula and mushrooms.

You will need:

  • 1 can tuna in Olive Oil
  • ½ a tablespoon capers, slightly crushed
  • A dash chili flakes (optional)
  • A few strands fresh dill, (I snip it with a scissor)
  • Any bread will do; I used English Muffins but Ciabatta or sliced baguette will do just fine.
  • Kesong Puti (Filipino fresh cheese), sliced

What you do:

  1. Sauté the capers with a bit of oil from the can until it start to crisp.
  2. Stir in the tuna with half of the oil from the can, adding more depending on your preference (I like mine drier).
  3. Add the dill and let it simmer for a minute. Season with chili flakes, salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, pan-fry the sliced cheese in hot oil until golden brown.
  5. Spread tuna mixture on your choice of bread and top with the fried kesong puti.

Enjoy!  And being a new member of the Kulinarya Cooking Club (yay!), I was inspired to fuse in a Filipino ingredient on this dish.  It has inspired me too to learn to cook more Filipino dishes.  In my attempt to whip up new dishes, I’ve neglected our own native dishes along the way.  So here’s to more Filipino (inspired) dishes on this blog.   🙂

Great Holiday Leftover Ideas: Pulled Chicken Melt

January 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

Every year, Christmas passes and stuffs your refrigerator with so much food.  What do you do with all these?  A friend’s solution to his “too much food” dilemma is to throw a party to serve all the cold cuts, cheeses, hams and wine he received over the holidays.  A cool idea, don’t you think?

Overwhelmed with the pile of food I have in my refrigerator, I noted to myself to eat at least half of what’s in it before I leave for a trip next week.  Not an easy task really, but I shall try.

Knowing that I love pulled pork, my US-based cousin home for the holidays, brought this for me.  She said the pork was not available but this was just as yummy.

I usually have them the traditional way – on a bun but I didn’t have any.  I made Pulled Chicken Melt instead with leftover Fontina on sliced ciabatta bread.

A few minutes in the toaster oven, just to melt the cheese and lunch is ready and yummy to boot.  How easy is that?

This is great as hors d’oeuvres too.  Ahhh… I shall share this at tomorrow’s “leftover” party.  Jack Daniel’s Pulled Chicken consumed.  Fontina consumed.  More to go…

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