Party Favorite

May 21, 2012 § 6 Comments

This is not about fancy food fare.  This salad accompanies almost any ‘inihaw” (grilled) dish that might be served during a fiesta or in my case, any gatherings at home.  Easy to put together and never fails to liven up a table of food fare.  I think this dish paved the way to my loving eggplants.

This month’s KCC challenge (hosted by Elizabeth and Dudut) was to feature a regional “Fiesta” specialty of one’s province.  I grew up in Quezon City and fiestas I only came to know (and sometimes attend) when I am a grown up already.  But this refreshing ensalada (salad) is almost always present during parties thrown at home so I think it should count as the family specialty.

Ensaladang Talong

The roasted flavor of the eggplant is the key that gives this dish a hint of the “ihaw” or charred flavor while the sili (chili) gives it a nice kick.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsps. shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 salad tomato, diced
  • 1 small green or red bell pepper
  • 1 green finger chili (siling pangsigang), seed, deveined and chopped
  • 3 eggplants (about 150g. / pc)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper

What you do:

  1. Roast the eggplants directly over an open fire until charred or in the oven.  Allow to cool.  Peel the eggplants and discard stems.
  2. Cut the peeled eggplants into small chunks.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix all other ingredients together and drizzle with Coconut Vinaigrette.
  4. Garnish with the remaining portions of the bell peppers and green finger chili.

Coconut Vinaigrette

What you need:

  • 1/8 cup coconut cream
  • 1 gm. ginger, peeled and minced.
  • ½ green finger chili, seed, deveined and chopped
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (I used sukang niyog)
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Combine coconut cream, ginger, green finger, chili and vinegar in a bowl.  Stir well.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Stir again.

Just Can’t Get Enough

November 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

Do you ever order the same dish again and again?  At my gym’s cafe, I’d order a “Spinach Salad” almost every single time and the woman at the counter will give me a smile, already predicting the order.  Not that there’s nothing else that is worth ordering… I simply love this salad to pieces even if in most days, there really isn’t a single leaf of spinach on it.  Sometimes I’d get a plate of mixed greens or a mix of spinach and arugula… so I do get the variety in that sense.  But whatever the greens are, it has become a staple lunch order when I’m at the gym.

It’s really not the greens but what goes with it that I love.  Imagine… sweet caramelized apples and raisins with chunks of blue cheese and bits of bacon.  A winner through and through, don’t you think?  But because I can have that prepared for me once or twice a week, I thought to use this as inspiration instead.  I loosely adapted Donna Hay’s recipe and came up with this terrific salad.  It has the same sweet-savory combination that goes so well with the peppery taste of Arugula but with an added crunch from the walnuts.

Caramelized Apples and Arugula Salad

(adapted from Donna Hay’s The Instant Cook Cookbook)

Blue cheese and the sweet, buttery apple dressing contrasts well together, add in the peppery tang of the Arugula – perfect.  If walnut’s not your thing, almonds are great too.

What You Need:

  • 60 grams (2oz.) butter
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar (apple cider should be good too)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or 2 tablespoons coco sugar
  • 1 med size apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • Rocket (Arugula) leaves
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 25 grams soft blue cheese, cubed

What you do:

  1. Place the butter, vinegar and sugar in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the apple and walnuts and cook for 4 minutes or until apples are just soft.
  3. Place the leaves on serving plates and top with the apple and walnuts.
  4. Spoon over the pan juices and top with the blue cheese.


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