June 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
Just back from a month-long trip, which hopefully explains why this blog went without a post for so long, I thought it fitting to share a simple favorite to start the momentum going again (crossing my fingers).
You see, before a long journey, I try to do as much work as possible in the hopes that when I get back, I won’t have too much of a backlog. But we all know that that never actually happens, right? So I try to catch up.
Which means no lunch outs for at least a week (which usually happens pre and post travel), but that’s ok. I had this most of last week.
You should know by now that canned tuna never fails me and no matter what, it has to come with capers and dill. And so it goes without saying that my version of the tuna sandwich/salad – whatever you want to call it has both and more. See?
that’s tuna, capers, dill, mayo, salt and pepper to taste.
That’s pimento to add a hint of smokiness to it.
So there you have it… my tuna sandwich. Simple, I told you, and different, in a good way. Have a great weekend, you guys!
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.
September 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
This is for peanut butter lovers.
With cream cheese and whipped cream, this pie is a lighter, creamier version of the spread. So good. Ambrosially addicting, if I may say so myself.
Browsing through some recipes lately, I came across this peanut butter pie and thought of using up that slightly consumed bottle sitting in the pantry for a while now. I am not a peanut butter fan. I mean, I like it but never top of mind so I often have a bottle lying around untouched for months.
And besides, I bought a bottle of Almond Butter that’s waiting its turn to be consumed. Yes, I am anal that way.
What You’ll Need
- 1 (8-inch) graham cracker pie crust (how to make your own)
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 8 oz. whipped cream
What You Do:
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in peanut butter and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream.
Spoon mixture into pie crust. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.