Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crunchy Romaine Toss

As the soup simmers I throw together Crunchy Romaine Toss.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodles, broken
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper; shake well. Discard seasoning packet from noodles or save for another use. In a skillet, saute noodles in butter until golden. In a large bowl, combine noodles, broccoli, romaine and onions. Just before serving, toss with dressing and walnuts.

Pork Kilawin Recipe

Pork Kilawin Ingredients:
1 kilo pork
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Vinegar
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt

Pork Kilawin Cooking Instructions:
In a casserole, put pork in water and some salt.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pork is tender and the skin is soft.
Remove pork from water.
Slice the pork into bite sized pieces while still hot.
Place in a bowl and add vinegar, soy sauce and chopped, uncooked onions.

Serve Immediately If Possible!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coffee Jelly

A refreshing Japanese summertime treat! My favorite way to serve it is with frozen whipped cream and chocolate sauce, although it's also delicious with ice cream, regular whipped cream, or flavored coffee cream! It can be served solid in glasses, or cubed in bowls.

Original Recipe Yield 4 servings

1 (.25 ounce) package unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups fresh brewed coffee

Dissolve gelatin in the hot water in a small bowl. Pour gelatin mixture, coffee, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour coffee mixture into glasses for individual servings or a large pan for cubing. Chill in the refrigerator until solidified, 6 to 7 hours.

Filipino Leche Flan Recipe

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Estimated cooking time: 1 hour

Leche Flan Ingredients:
1 can (390g) evaporated milk
1 can (390g) condensed milk
10 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or lemon essence
For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

Leche Flan Cooking Instructions:
In a saucepan, mix the sugar & water. Bring to a boil for a few minutes until the sugar caramelize.
Pour the caramelized sugar into aluminum moulds - you can use any shape: oval, round or square. Spread the caramel on the bottom of the moulds.
Mix well the evaporated milk, condensed milk, egg yolks and vanilla by hand or blender.
Gently pour the mixture on top of the caramel on the aluminum moulds. Fill the moulds to about 1 to 1 1/4 inch thick.
Cover moulds individually with aluminum foil.
Steam for about 20 minutes (the traditional way to make Leche Flan is by open-air steaming on either an open cooking fire or stove top) OR
Bake for about 45 minutes. Before baking the Leche Flan, place the moulds on a larger baking pan half filled with very hot water. Pre-heat oven to about 370 degrees before baking.
Let cool then refrigerate.
To serve: run a thin knife around the edges of the mould to loosen the Leche Flan. Place a platter on top of the mould and quickly turn upside down to position the golden brown caramel on top.

Cooking Tips:
You can tell when the Leche Flan is cooked by inserting a knife -if it comes out clean, it is cooked.

Atole (Mexican Warm Cornmeal Beverage)

Atole (ah-TOH-lay) is an ancient Mexican beverage with origins in pre-Columbian times. Similar warm drinks, thickened with cornmeal, are found throughout Central America and are especially popular for breakfast. Mexican atole is traditional at dia de los muertos celebrations, and it's chocolate version, champurrado, is popular at Christmastime. The consistency of atole varies anywhere from almost porridge-like to a thin, pourable drink.

4 servings

5 cups Milk or water
1/2 cup Masa harina
1/4 cup Brown sugar or piloncillo
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Whisk the milk or water, masa harina, sugar or piloncillo and cinnamon in a large saucepan until smooth.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and serve hot in mugs.

Champurrado (Chocolate atole): After removing from heat, whisk in 4 ounces of chopped Mexican chocolate until completely dissolved. Or use 4 ounces of chopped baking chocolate. Adjust sugar as needed. Champurrado is traditionally whisked with a wooden utensil called a molinillo until it is frothy. The beverage is then served with a generous serving of foam spooned on top of each serving.
Atole de Fruta: Eliminate the cinnamon and stir in 1 cup of pureed pineapple or strawberries after removing the atole from heat.
Vary the amount of masa harina to make the atole thicker or thinner according to your personal taste.
Use oatmeal instead of masa harina. Puree until smooth in a blender before cooking.
Use half milk and half water if you like.

Arepas (Venezuelan Corn Cakes)

Arepas were originally made by the indigenous inhabitants of Venezuela and Colombia. These small corncakes are sold in Venezuelan restaurants called areperías and are stuffed with all manner of fillings like a sandwich. In Colombia, arepas are made a little smaller and are spread with butter or topped with cheese.
Makes 5-10 arepas

2 cups Pre-cooked cornmeal (see notes)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Boiling water
3 tablespoons Oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal and salt. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon to form a mass. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Using wetted hands, form balls of dough out of about 1/4 cup of dough and press to form a cake about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. If the dough cracks at the edges, mix in a little more water and then form the cakes.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the patties, a few at a time, to form a light brown crust on one side, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side.
When all the patties have been browned, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they sound lightly hollow when tapped. Serve immediately.

Filled Arepas: Split the arepas in half when finished and scoop out a little of the soft dough filling. Stuff with your chosen filling.
Arepa de Pabellón: shredded, seasoned meat and black beans.
Reina Pepeada: chopped chicken, avocado, and mayonnaise mashed together.
Arepa de Dominó: black beans and crumbled white cheese.
Arepa de Perico: scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Columbian Arepas: make smaller and thicker and don't bake. Top with butter and melted cheese.
Other possible fillings: grated white or cheddar cheese; guasacaca, ham and cheese, hard-boiled quails eggs.
The sautéing step is sometimes skipped and the arepas are simply baked. In the countryside arepas are often cooked on the grill.
Small arepas can be made and served as appetizers with garnishes on top instead of inside. Or they can be eaten as small biscuits.
Sometimes a little sugar is mixed in with the dough to form sweet arepas (arepas dulces).

The cornmeal used to make arepas is a special, precooked type that usually goes by the name masarepa, or masa precocida. It can often be found in Latino markets. The more commonly found masa harina is not the correct type to use for this recipe.

Agua Fresca (Mexican Fresh Fruit Beverage)

Aguas frescas are fresh fruit drinks that are very popular all over Mexico. These refreshing beverages are typically served from large barrel-shaped glass containers. Some of the more traditional varieties are watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberry.
Makes about 2 1/2 quarts

3 cups Fresh fruit (see notes), chopped coarsely
6-8 cups Water
1/2 to 3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Lime juice (optional)

Add the fruit and 2-3 cups of the water to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher.
Add the rest of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and lime juice if using. Stir well and add more water and sugar as needed. Serve well chilled.

Agua de Fresa: Use strawberries.
Agua de Jamaica: see Sorrel Punch recipe.
Agua de Melón: Use cantaloupe or any other melon.
Agua de Papaya: Use papaya. The addition of lime juice makes a tastier beverage here.
Agua de Sandía: Use watermelon.
Agua Fresca de Pepino: Use peeled, seeded cucumbers and lime juice. Cut down on the sugar. Very refreshing.
The lime juice is not required, but can add a welcome tartness to some aguas frescas.

Akkra (Senegalese Black-Eyed Pea Fritters)

These bean fritters originated in Western Africa, but with the slave trade they spread to the Caribbean and Brazil. Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, they are variously known as akra, acra, accra, acrat and acarajé.

Makes 25 to 30 fritters

1 pound Black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 Onion, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup Water
1 or 2 tablespoons Hot pepper sauce
to taste Salt and pepper
Oil for deep frying

Place the beans in a large bowl and add water to cover. Rub the beans back and forth with your hands to remove their skins. The skins will rise to the surface and can then be skimmed off. Drain the beans.
Place the beans and the chopped onion in a food processor. Process to a puree, adding just enough water to form a thick paste. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high flame until it shimmers. Or use a deep fryer and heat the oil to 365 to 375ºF. Drop spoonsful of the batter into the hot oil, turning until they brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate hold warm until all the batter has been used up. Serve immediately with hot pepper sauce.

Akkra are traditionally fried in red palm, or dendê, oil, but peanut or any vegetable oil will do if you can't find palm oil.
Add minced chile pepper to the bean puree for a little added heat.
Dried shrimp is sometimes added to the batter. Use about 1/4 cup dried, ground shrimp to the above recipe. Or press a whole dried shrimp into each ball of batter before frying.
Some recipes call for the onion to be minced and sautéed before it is stirred into the bean puree. The onion can also be eliminated if you like.
A little beaten egg or breadcrumbs can be stirred into the batter to keep it from falling apart in the oil as it fries.

In Brazil, these fritters, called acarajé, are popular street food. They split in half, stuffed with tasty sauces or stews and served like a sandwich.
A similar fritter, also called akkra or accrat, is made in many Caribbean islands. But these are made with ground malanga root or a yeast flour batter instead of pureed black-eyed peas. Cooked, flaked salt cod is usually stirred into the batter.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shashlik (Central Asian Grilled Skewered Lamb)

Shashlik, or shashlyk, (Russian: шашлык) is essential picnic food in the countries of the former USSR. Succulent lamb is marinated simply, then skewered and cooked until meltingly tender on an outdoor grill. The word comes from the Turkish "shish" as in shish kebabs. Shashlik is known as mtsvadi in Georgia.
4 to 6 servings

2 pounds Lamb leg or shoulder, boneless, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Onion, thinly sliced
to season Salt and pepper
2 Lemons, juice only
3 tablespoons Oil

Toss the lamb, onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and oil together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marinate. Overnight is best.
Thread the chunks of meat on skewers and set at room temperature while you get a hot fire going in a grill.
Grill the meat skewers over the hot grill flame, turning frequently, until done to your liking.
Serve the skewers with a vegetable salad, slices of rye bread and shots of vodka or a nice Georgian wine.

Vegetable Skewers: Shashlik is often accompanied by grilled vegetable skewers. Popular veggies include cherry tomatoes, chunks of bell pepper, mushrooms and onion wedges. Toss the vegetables with a little lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil and any remaining marinade. Skewer separately and grill until cooked through.
Shashlik is usually made with lamb, but you can try beef, pork or chicken if you like. There is even such a thing as sturgeon shashlik!
Instead of lemon juice, some cooks use vinegar or a dry white wine. Others eliminate the acidic element altogether.

Baleadas (Honduran Flour Tortillas With Beans And Cheese)

A quick and satisfying breakfast or evening meal, baleadas are thick flour tortillas folded over a variety of fillings. The most common filling for baleadas is a simple mix of beans, cheese and the Honduran-style sour cream known as mantequilla.

More elaborate fillings include meat, eggs and avocado. Customize to your taste. For a fast snack, you can use store-bought flour tortillas. But for authentic flavor, make your own. It's easy!

4 to 6 servings

8 Flour tortillas (recipe below)
2 cups Refried beans
1/2 cup Crumbled queso duro, cotija or feta cheese
1/4 cup Mexican-style sour cream (cream agria)

Heat an ungreased griddle, comal or skillet over medium flame. Meanwhile, heat up the refried beans in a saucepan, stirring in a little water.
Place a tortilla into the skillet and heat it on both sides to soften it up. Place the tortilla on a serving plate. Smear some refried beans on one half of the tortilla, sprinkle it with some crumbled cheese and drizzle it with a little sour cream. Fold the tortilla in half over the filling.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas and serve hot.

Other Baleadas Fillings: Scrambled eggs; cooked and seasoned ground beef or pork, sliced avocado, pickled jalapeños, or repollo coleslaw (see curtido recipe).
Tortillas de Harina (Homemade flour tortillas): Flour tortillas in Honduras are a little thicker than those of their Mexican friends to the north. Making your own at home is easy, but it does take a little time. You'll fall in love with the results:
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
pinch Salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup Water or milk
3 tablespoons Butter, lard or oil
Mix together the flour baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of the water or milk to form a dough. Work in the butter, lard or oil until smooth. Add more liquid or flour as needed to form a smooth dough that isn't too sticky.
Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Heat an ungreased comal, griddle or skillet over medium flame. Cut the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Roll each ball out into roughly an 8-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick.
Place a dough round onto the hot comal and cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until the tortilla has browned spots and is lightly puffed. Set aside and repeat with the remaining dough rounds.

Menudo Rojo (Mexican Spicy Beef Tripe Soup)

Menudo is a tasty Mexican stew that is popular for big family gatherings. It is also served as a late-night or breakfast hangover cure for a night of drinking. The red (rojo) version adds the mild spice of dried chiles. White (blanco) menudo, without the spice, is more popular in the north of the country.

Making menudo is a long process, requiring slow simmering for hours to tenderize the tripe. Which is just fine, because menudo's flavor improves if it is made the day before it is served. Menudo leftovers freeze well. The Gulf Coast of Mexico has a similar tripe soup with vegetables called sopa de mondongo.

4 to 6 servings

2 pounds Tripe, cleaned, trimmed of excess fat
3 Limes or lemons
1 tablespoon Salt
1 Onion, chopped
1 head Garlic
1 tablespoon Oregano
3 quarts Broth or water
3 or 4 Dried New Mexico or ancho chiles
2 teaspoons Cumin
to season Salt and pepper
4 or 5 Limes, quartered
1 Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup Dried oregano
1 bunch Cilantro, chopped
to taste Chile piquín powder or red chile flakes

Rinse the tripe well under cold water. Then add it to a large bowl and rub it well with the lime or lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of salt. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Rinse the tripe again with cold water, then cut it 2-inch by 1/2-inch strips. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the trip and boil for 10 minutes to blanch it. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
Rinse out the pot and add the blanched tripe, chopped onion, garlic, oregano and broth or water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the tripe is very tender. Regulary skim off any foam that forms on the surface and discard.
While the tripe is simmering, heat a dry skillet over medium-high flame. Add the dried chiles to the skillet and press them down with a spatula to toast them. When they are toasted and softened on one side, flip and toast on the other side. Take care not to burn the chiles or they will be bitter.
Remove the chiles, cool, and using gloved hands, remove and discard the stems and seeds. Tear the chiles into pieces, add them to a blender, along with the cumin and about 1 cup of the tripe broth and puree.
About 30 minutes before the trip is done, stir in chile puree and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another half hour and adjust seasoning. The menudo can be refrigerated or frozen at this point and served later.
Serve the menudo hot in large bowls with warm corn tortillas or bolillos rolls. Each diner stirs in his or her choice of condiments.

Menudo Blanco (White menudo): The northern Mexican version served in Sinaloa and Sonora states. Eliminate the chiles and cumin. You can also add 1 28-ounce can of pozole, drained, about 30 minutes before the soup is finished.
Many recipes add a cow's foot (pata) to the simmering soup to give the broth added body. Have your butcher split the foot in half to get all the flavor. Add the foot to the broth at the same time to add the tripe.

Plantain Porridge (Nigerian Plantain And Vegetable Stew)

Plantain porridge is a Nigerian vegetable stew made with the starchy cousin of common bananas. Plantains are simmered until tender in a flavorful broth along with assorted vegetables and sometimes fish, beans or meat.

There is no one recipe for this nutritious dish. Versions of plantain porridge vary widely from region to region and household to household. Adjust ingredient amounts according to your taste.

4 to 6 servings

6 Green plantains, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 Onion, chopped
1/3 cup Ground dried crawfish or dried shrimp
Red palm oil or vegetable oil
1 quart Broth or water
1 pound Spinach, ugu (pumpkin) leaf, spinach or other greens, chopped
to taste Salt and pepper

Put the plantains, onion, dried crawfish or shrimp, broth or water and oil into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the plantains are nice and soft.
Mash the plantain a little with a potato masher to lightly thicken the stew. Stir in the spinach, ugu leaf or other greens and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes to cook the greens through.
Adjust seasoning and serve. Popular accompaniments include grilled or fried fish or chicken.

Variations For Plantain Porridge
Additional Ingredients: As with many stews, plantain porridge can be varied according to your taste and what you have on hand. Try any of the following additions:
1 pound Chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks
1 pound Smoked or dried fish, cut into chunks
2 cups Cooked black-eyed peas
2 cups Chopped tomatoes
to your taste Chile peppers, chopped
Dried, ground crawfish is a popular flavoring in Nigerian cuisine. Dried, ground shrimp can be found in many Latin or Asian markets and is a good substitute.

Frittata (Italian Open-Faced Omelet)

A frittata (Italian plural: frittate) is an Italian egg dish, similar to a crustless French quiche, that is studded with a variety of flavorful, seasonal ingredients. Often referred to as an "open-faced omelet," frittatas are cut into wedges and served warm or at room temperature as part of a breakfast, brunch or light meal.
4 to 6 servings

6 to 8 Eggs
3 or 4 tablespoons Milk
1 to 2 cups Optional ingredients (see variations)
to taste Salt and pepper
2 or 3 tablespoons Olive oil

Beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl until smooth.
Prepare the optional ingredients as needed. Allow to cool if necessary and stir into the eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium-low flame. Give the egg mixture a big stir and pour into the skillet and cook over low heat until the frittata is well set but still runny on the top, 6 to 8 minutes.
Set the frittata in the oven under a broiler from until the eggs are cooked through and just lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Let the frittata rest for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve with a side salad and slices of crusty bread.

How To Finish Your Frittata on the Stove: When the frittata is mostly set, place a large platter over the skillet and carefully flip the skillet to drop the frittata on the platter. Slide the frittata back into the skillet to finish cooking the other side.
How To Cook your Frittata in the Oven: Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the egg mixture into an oiled, ovenproof skillet, baking dish or cake pan. Bake until well set and lightly browned on the top, 20 to 30 minutes.
Frittata al Quattro Formaggi (Four-cheese frittata): Mix together 1/4 cup of each of four different cheeses. Try mozzarella, Swiss, asiago and Parmesan.
Frittata al Tonno (Tuna frittata): Stir in 1 (8-ounce) can tuna in oil, drained, 1 chopped roasted red bell pepper and some chopped parsley.
Frittata di Asparagi (Asparagus frittata): Use 1 bunch of blanched, chopped asparagus and 1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino cheese.
Frittata di Carciofi (Artichoke heart frittata): Use cooked, chopped artichoke hearts.
Frittata di Funghi (Mushroom frittata): Stir in sliced and sauteed mushrooms. Use a variety of mushrooms for more flavor. Great for fall or winter frittatas.
Frittata di Menta (Mint frittata): Add 1 bunch of chopped parsley, 1/2 bunch mint leaves.
Frittata di Pasta (Pasta frittata): Use up pasta leftovers. Stir in 1 or 2 cups of cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of ricotta and some Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Bucatini is a traditional pasta for this frittata, but any cooked pasta will do. Frittatas di pasta are great for picnics.
Frittata di Pinoli (Pine nut frittata): A unique frittata from northern Italy. Use 1/2 cup pine nuts. Grind half the pine nuts in a spice or coffee grinder and stir into the eggs. Saute the remaining pine nuts in the olive oil until lightly toasted. Do not overcook! Reduce heat to low, stir in the egg mixture and cook as directed. Sometimes this frittata incorporates sliced, sauteed zucchini.
Frittate di Pomodori (Tomato Frittata): Slice two tomatoes 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the tomato slices into the pan in a neat pattern and saute for 1 or 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and carefully pour in the eggs — flavored with some chopped basil and Parmesan cheese). Finish cooking as directed.
Frittata di Riso agli Asparagi (Rice and asparagus frittata): Use 1 cup cooked rice or risotta, some chopped, blanch asparagus, 2 or 3 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Frittata Rustica (Rustic vegetable frittata): Stir in some sauteed onion, sauteed mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts and a little chopped parsley.
Frittata di Salciccia (Sausage frittata): Add sauteed mild or spice Italian sausage. Saute some sliced onions with the sausage too.
Frittate di Zucchine (Zucchini frittata): Saute 1 medium, sliced zucchini and a little minced garlic in some olive oil until the zucchini is just tender but not totally cooked through. Cool the zucchini, then stir the zucchini, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and some chopped fresh basil or thyme into the egg. Cook as directed.
Frittata Tre Sapori (Frittata of 3 Flavors): Add 1/2 pound cubed mortadella, 1/2 cup cooked green beans, 1/4 cup cubed fresh mozzarella, chopped, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. The mortadella can be lightly browned first if you like.
Other optional Ingredients: Cooked potatoes, broccoli, ham.

Ginger Beef (Canadian Ginger And Crispy Beef Stir Fry)

Ginger beef is a Candianized version of an old beef stir fry standard from northeast China. In the 1970s, restauranteurs in Calgary altered the dish to suit Canadian tastes, making it sweeter and coating the beef with a crunchy, deep-fried batter. The popularity of ginger beef has been spreading to other areas of Canada in recent years.

4 to 6 servings

1 pound Beef flank or sirloin, partially frozen
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sherry or rice wine
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 Egg white
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Water or chicken stock
1/4 cup Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Rice wine or sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons Sherry or rice wine
2 teaspoons Sesame oil
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Cornstarch

2 or 3 Dried red chile peppers
3 Scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Ginger, minced
2 or 3 cloves Garlic, mined
1 Red bell pepper, julienne
1 Carrot, julienne
Oil for deep frying

Slice the beef into thin strips. Putting the beef into the freezer until it is partially frozen makes this easier. Add the beef and marinade ingredients to a bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the batter, beat the egg white with the water, and then stir in the cornstarch, flour and salt until smooth. Set the batter aside.
Stir together the ingredients for the sauce except for the cornstarch. Adjust seasoning to your taste, then stir in the cornstarch and set aside.
Prepare all of the vegetables for the stir fry and have them close at hand, along with the sauce and the beef.
Heat 4 to 5 cups of vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high flame. Mix the batter into the beef strips. Drop 1/3 of the beef into the hot oil and deep fry until browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining beef, deep frying it in batches.
Pour out all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oil (the oil can be strained and used again) and return to medium-high heat. Add the chile peppers and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 1 minute, taking care not to burn it. Add the peppers and carrots and continue stir frying until cooked through but still crunchy.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Give the sauce a big stir to mix in the cornstarch and pour into the wok. Toss together with the vegetables and cook until the sauce is heated through and lightly thickened.
Add the beef and toss to coat. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Vegetables: Use other vegetables as you like. Try blanched broccoli, celery, snow peas or blanched green beans.
Sauce: Add more or less sugar to your taste. For a darker sauce, substitute mushroom or dark soy for some of the soy sauce in the sauce.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ANZAC Biscuits(Australian, New Zealand Oatmeal And Coconut Cookies)

These tasty biscuits (called "cookies" in the U.S.) got their beginning during World War I. Mothers and wives with boys in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) worried they weren't eating well. So they devised a sweet treat in a time of rationing that would travel well in care packages sent a world away.

Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup Rolled oats
1 cup Flour
1 cup Shredded coconut
1 cup Sugar
8 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Golden syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons Water
1 teaspoon Baking soda

Preheat oven to 375°F. Add the oats, flour, coconut and sugar to a large bowl and mix together.
Add the butter, golden or corn syrup and water to small saucepan. Set over a low flame and heat until the butter is completely melted, whisking all the ingredients together. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and use a spatula or fork to mix the ingredients together.
Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter onto a greased baking pan, leaving room for them spread out a bit. Bake for anywhere from 12 to 18 minutes. The shorter time will yield chewy biscuits. Baked for the longer time, the biscuits become more crispy.

Alfajores (South American Dulce De Leche Sandwich Cookies)

While they have origins in Moorish Spain, alfajores are especially popular in South America. They are simple shortbread sandwich cookies with a sweet filling of dulce de leche. Different doughs are used for the cookies depending on the country. Some use normal flour dough, while others add cornstarch or even cassava flour for a more delicate crumb. This recipe uses a mixture of flour and cornstach.

Makes 20 cookies

1 cup Cornstarch
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted butter
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Egg yolks
1 cup Dulce de leche

Sift the cornstarch, flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. In a mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, beating until they are incorporated.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, allowing each batch to become incorporated before adding the next.
Form the dough into a disc without handling it too much. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 40 2-inch rounds, and carefully place the rounds on two lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, but not so long that they begin to brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.
Spread about 2 teaspoons of dulce de leche on the flat half of a cookie and cover it with the flat half of another cookie to form a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cookies. If desired, sprinkle the finished cookies with powdered sugar.

For extra flavor, try adding one or more of these to the dough when you add the eggs: 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract; 1 tablespoon of brandy or cognac; 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon zest.
Use more dulce de leche on each cookie so that some squeezes out the sides. Then roll the edges in grated coconut or ground nuts.
Fill the cookies with your favorite jam instead of dulce de leche.

Pupusas (Salvadoran Stuffed Masa Flatbread)

Pupusas are similar to corn tortillas, only thicker and stuffed with cheese, beans or meat. The pupusa originated in El Salvador, but it is also popular in neighboring Honduras. Pupusas are traditionally made by slapping the dough back and forth between greased palms. A tortilla press is quicker and easier for beginners.

Makes 4 or 5 pupusas

2 cups Masa harina
1 cup Warm water
1 cup Filling (see variations)

In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Knead in more water, one tablespoonful at a time if needed, to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Press an indentation in each ball with your thumb. Put about 1 tablespoon of desired filling into each indentation and fold the dough over to completely enclose it. Press the ball out with your palms to form a disc, taking care that that the filling doesn't spill out.
Line a tortilla press with plastic and press out each ball to about 5 or 6 inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick. If you don't have a tortilla press, place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin.
Heat a greased skillet over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and hold warm until all pupusas are done. Serve with curtido and salsa roja.

This recipe uses masa harina, a special dried cornmeal flour used in making tortillas, tamales, etc. If you are able to get fresh masa, definitely use it instead. The flavor will be much fresher. Just substitute the masa harina and water with fresh masa. One pound will make about 4 to 6 pupusas depending on size.
Pupusas de Queso: With a cheese filling. Use grated quesillo, queso fresco, farmer's cheese, mozzarella, Swiss cheese or a combination. Add some minced green chile if you like.
Pupusas de Chicharrones: With a filling of fried chopped pork and a little tomato sauce. A reasonable facsimile can be made by pulsing 1 cup of cooked bacon with a little bit of tomato sauce in a food processor.
Pupusas de Frijoles Refritos: With a refried bean filling.
Pupusas Revueltas: Use a mixture of chicharrones, cheese and refried beans.
Pupusas de Queso y Loroco: With a cheese and tropical vine flower filling. Loroco can be found in jars at many Latin markets.
Pupusas de Arroz: A variety of pupusa that uses rice flour instead of corn masa.
Other Fillings: Cooked potatoes or finely minced, sautéed jalapeño peppers are also tasty fillings. Try a mixture of different fillings.

The pupusa is so fundamental to the cuisine of El Salvador that the country has even declared November 13th "National Pupusa Day."
Estimated cooking time: 2 hours

Kare Kare Ingredients:
1 kilo of beef (round or sirloin cut) cut into cubes, beef tripe or oxtail (cut 2 inch long) or a combination of all three (beef, tripe and oxtail)
3 cups of peanut butter
1/4 cup grounded toasted rice
1/2 cup cooked bagoong alamang (anchovies)
2 pieces onions, diced
2 heads of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons atsuete oil
4 pieces eggplant, sliced 1 inch thick
1 bundle Pechay (Bok choy) cut into 2 pieces
1 bundle of sitaw (string beans) cut to 2" long
1 banana bud, cut similar to eggplant slices, blanch in boiling water
1/2 cup oil
8 cups of water
Salt to taste

Kare Kare Cooking Instructions:
In a stock pot, boil beef, tripe and oxtails in water for an hour or until cooked. Strain and keep the stock.
In a big pan or wok, heat oil and atsuete oil.
Sauté garlic, onions until golden brown, then add the stock, toasted rice, beef, oxtail and peanut butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Salt to taste.
Add the eggplant, string beans, pechay and banana bud. Cook the vegetables for a few minutes - Do not overcook the vegetables.
Serve with bagoong on the side and hot plain rice.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Orzo With Parmesan And Basil Recipe

"This is a simple recipe that everyone loves. For a quick Mediterranean macaroni and cheese, omit the basil. Easily doubled, too!"

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.
Stir in chicken stock and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 - 20 minutes.
Mix in Parmesan cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to shallow bowl. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Creamy Vidalia Onion Soup Recipe

"This is a robust and creamy onion soup. The addition of egg yolks adds a lovely creamy texture."

4 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
ground black pepper to taste
1/8 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add onions: saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in flour and salt, and mix thoroughly. Gradually add chicken broth, stirring constantly. Cover, and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
When onions are very tender, stir in milk and cream. Heat through. Remove 1/2 cup soup, and mix in egg yolks. Slowly stir egg yolk mixture into soup in pan. Heat through, but do not allow soup to boil. Stir in paprika, black pepper, and red hot pepper sauce. Serve hot, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Strawberry Ribbon Bread Recipe

"It's a big hit with everyone. The cream cheese filling pairs well with the strawberry flavor."

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
1 teaspoon red food coloring

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine eggs, oil, strawberries and food coloring if desired. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
For filling, beat cream cheese. Add the egg, sugar, flour and extract; beat well. Spoon a fourth of the batter into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Spread half of the filling over each. Top with the remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 70-80 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if top browns to quickly. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Store in the refrigerator.

Easy Chicken Alfredo II Recipe

"Leftover chicken breast in a cottage cheese sauce, served on a bed of fettuccine pasta."

8 ounces dry fettuccini pasta
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups diced, cooked chicken breast meat

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain, and set aside.
In a food processor, place the milk, flour, cottage cheese, garlic powder, onion, salt and pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth.
Transfer the blended mixture to a saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the chicken, and cook until heated through. Serve hot over pasta.

California Cole Slaw Recipe

"A sweet summer slaw filled with fresh vegetables. It tastes better the second day after the vegetables have soaked in the marinade."

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 small white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large salad bowl, place the cabbage, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper and carrot. Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and vegetable oil in the bowl with the vegetables. Toss the mixture until the vegetables are fully coated with the marinade.

Bicol Express Recipe

Estimated preparation time: 30 minutes
Estimated cooking time: 30 minutes

Bicol Express Ingredients:
1 kilo of pork meat; cut lengthwise
1/2 cup of Philippine bird's eye pepper (siling labuyo)
3 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup sauted shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
4 cloves garlic; crushed
1 small onion; chopped

Bicol Express Cooking Preparation:
In a saucepan, sauté garlic and onion. Drop the pork and bird’s eye pepper. Continue sauteing until pork starts to render fat and edges turn to brown. Add sauted shrimp paste and stir, then pour the coconut milk (you may pour gradually in preference to the amount of sauce you want). Cook in low fire until pork becomes tender and until a saucy consistency is achieved. Serve hot!

Kaldereta Recipe

Estimated cooking time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Beef Kaldereta Ingredients:
1 kilo beef, cut into chunks
1 big can (350g) liver spread or ground liver
5 onions, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup tomato sauce
3 green peppers, diced
3 red peppers, diced
4 pieces hot chilli peppers, minced
3/4 cup grated cheese
2 cups beef stock or water
1/4 cup cooking or olive oil

Kaldereta Cooking Instructions:
In a casserole, sauté: garlic and onions in oil. Then add tomatoes, red & green pepper and chilli peppers.
Add in the beef, tomato sauce, liver spread and water or stock. Salt to taste and let simmer for at least 1 hour or until the beef is tender.
Add cheese and olives (optional) and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens.
Serve with plain rice

Cooking Tips:
Instead of beef, goat's meat (kambing) can be used. If goat's meat is used, marinate the meat in vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper for at least 15 minutes.
For a special kaldereta, do not use water or beef stock. Use an equivalent weight of onions to the beef (1 kg of onions : 1 kg of beef). The onions will serve as water to the dish.

Beef Guisado Recipe

Estimated cooking time: 30 minutes.

Beef Guisado Ingredients:
1 kilo beef tenderloin, cut into strips
3 tomatoes, sliced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 small head minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 cups of beef broth or bouillon
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons of cooking oil

Guisado Cooking Instructions:
Heat oil in a cooking pan.
Sauté the garlic and onions.
Add the sliced tomatoes
Then add the beef, soy sauce, beef broth, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then simmer until beef is tender.

Cooking Tips:
The above beef guisado recipe can be used for vegetables and other meats.
For vegetable dishes, replace the beef with about 200 grams of pork and add the vegetable (e.g. Baguio beans). The salt and pepper can be omitted.
Reduce the broth to 2 cups for vegetable dishes or use plain water instead.

Crispy Pata Recipe

Preparation & drying: 4 hours to 1 day
Estimated cooking time: 20 minutes

Crispy Pata Ingredients:
1 Pata (front or hind leg of a pig including the knuckles)
1 bottle of soda (7Up or sprite)
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon of monosodium glutamate (MSG)
4 tablespoons of flour
Enough oil for deep frying
Enough water for boiling

Crispy Pata Cooking Instructions:
Clean the pork pata by removing all hairs and by scraping the skin with a knife. Wash thoroughly.
Make four to five inch cuts on the sides of the pata.
On a deep stock pot, place the pata in water with soda and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the baking soda and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Remove the pata from the pot and hang and allow to drip dry for 24 hours. An alternative to this is to thoroughly drain the pork pata and refrigerate for a few hours.
After the above process, rub patis on the pata and sprinkle flour liberally.
In a deep frying pot, heat cooking oil and deep fry the pork pata until golden brown.

Crispy Pata Dip Sauce:
Mix 3/4 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 head of diced onion and 1 hot pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.

Beef Tapa Recipe

Estimated preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes

Beef Tapa Ingredients:
1/2 kilo lean beef, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fish sauce (patis)
1/4 cup refined sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 head garlic, crushed and minced
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup cooking oil

Beef Tapa Cooking Instructions:
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl
Marinate for at least an hour or keep in the refrigerator overnight.
In a large wok, heat cooking oil.
Fry the marinated beef for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve hot with steamed rice or fried rice.

Serving Tip:
Beef tapa goes great with any of the following:

Atchara (pickled green papaya).
White vinegar with hot chili peppers
Sliced red tomatoes.
With fried egg and fried rice (Tapsilog)

Pork / Chicken Adobo Recipe

Estimated cooking time: 50 minutes. Adobo is the most popular Filipino dish enjoyed by all classes. Adobo is typically served with steamed white rice.

Adobo Ingredients:
1/2 kilo pork cut in cubes + 1/2 kilo chicken, cut into pieces or
choice of either 1 kilo of pork or 1 kilo of chicken
1 head garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup vinegar
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon paprika
5 laurel leaves (bay leaves)
4 tablespoons of cooking oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons water

Adobo Cooking Instructions:
In a big sauce pan or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil then sauté the minced garlic and onions.
Add the pork and chicken to the pan. Add 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, vinegar, paprika and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or when meat is tender.
Remove the pork and chicken from the sauce pan and on another pan, heat cooking oil and brown the pork and chicken for a few minutes.
Mix the browned pork and chicken back to the sauce and add cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken.
Add salt and/or pepper if desired
Bring to a boil then simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve hot with the adobo gravy and rice.

Adobo Cooking Tips:
You have the option to add crushed ginger to the onions and garlic when sautéing. Ginger adds a unique flavor to your pork/chicken adobo.