Saturday, June 15, 2013
Jan has been experimenting a lot with salads lately. Perhaps he has observed my alarming horizontal growth and has seen the error of his ways. So now I sometimes get salad for breakfast. Haha!
I don't mind though. To Jan, making a salad is just like writing poetry. The work should be inspired and the resulting masterpiece should have elements that are unique but are in perfect agreement with each other.
4 leaves Romain lettuce
6 pcs. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
4 tsp. pesto
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 tsp. olive oil
cheese, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1. Arrange the lettuce on a plate. Drizzle with half of the olive oil.
2. Arrange the eggs and cherry tomatoes on top of the lettuce. Top each slice of egg with pesto.
3. Add salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining oil.
4. Top with thin slices of cheese.
Wife's Verdict: Surprisingly eye popping but light at the same time. To me that's a little bit of a contradiction that just happened to make sense. The egg made it quite filling despite the absence of meat and was evened out by the zesty and mildly sour mix of flavors.
Jan's Quip: "Cooking is all about imagination and feelings."
Friday, May 10, 2013
Jan discovered pesto for sale for the first time in the grocery store a few weeks ago. He has since been eagerly using the ingredient here, there and everywhere.
His salads with pesto have been pretty good, but I never imagined that the ingredient can be added in tuna spread too.
1 can tuna flakes in vegetable oil
4 tbsps. mayonnaise
1 white onion, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp pesto
1 tsp pepper
Sliced loaf bread
1. Lightly toast bread and set aside.
2. Drain tuna and mix with mayonnaise, onions, basil, pesto and pepper. Chill.
3. Put lettuce over a piece of bread and top with the tuna pesto spread. Cover with another slice of bread. Enjoy.
Wife’s Verdict: Another strangely comforting creation.
Jan’s Quip: “I’m good.”
Yes, we’ve established that Jan.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Again we have Bobby Flay’s genius and the PSC girls who bought his book for us to thank for a deliciously fattening Sunday meal. This time Jan, used Flay’s Miami Burger and Cuban Seasoning recipes as cheat sheets.
The original recipe called for ground turkey, smoked ham and Swiss cheese. Due to the limitations of our local grocery store, these had to be promptly substituted with ground beef, bacon strips and cheese squares. The rest of the ingredients were easy enough to obtain --- regular burger buns, mustard, mayonnaise and cucumber.
This treat was extra special because instead of cooking on a skillet, Jan grilled the patties over hot coals. I have a bias for grilled patties. I think they’re a lot tastier than fried ones. There’s just so much more juice and the smoked flavor is a welcome bonus.
The shoestring potatoes Jan seasoned with Flay’s Cuban seasoning, a mixture of ground bay leaves, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano and turmeric. Yum. So this is how Cuba "tastes" like.
It’ll probably take another month for my weight to normalize after this feast, but the weight gain was worth it. I hope we do this again on another Sunday.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Jan and I like to pretend to be healthy, so we sometimes use ingredients that have a positive reputation among health buffs, like tuna, olive oil and capers. If you look closely at the other ingredients of this recipe however, you’ll see what it’s really all about. Get a load of cholesterol with all that cream and milk. Yum.
2 180g cans tuna in vegetable oil, drained
250ml all purpose cream
231ml evaporated milk
40ml olive oil
½ cup garlic, minced
5 small onions, chopped
1 small bell pepper, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2. Heat olive oil in pan and saute garlic, onions, bell pepper.
3. Add tuna and mix for one minute.
5. Add cream and simmer for another minute.
6. Add evaporated milk and salt and simmer for four minutes.
7. Add capers, marjoram and white pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
8. Top pasta with sauce and parsley and serve.
Wife’s Verdict: White sauce for pasta, specially the rich, overflowing type that many of us Filipinos are partial to, always seems too excessive in taste and appearance. So I think the tuna and capers created just the perfect balance. The taste was strangely comforting but didn’t smother.
Friday, February 15, 2013
We have a love affair with burgers. Well okay, we have a love affair with food in general, but burgers are special. Whenever Jan has to extend his work shifts late into the night, he’d often come home with quarter pounder burgers. Even if my work schedule is early dawn, I’d always get up and we’d eat our midnight snack together.
Clearly, this doesn’t seem like a very healthy practice, but I can’t put a stop to it now. Our best conversations happen during our late night burger feasts and somehow, that has made us better.
It was therefore understandably a happy moment when Jan came home with one of Bobby Flay’s burger books, a gift from his female officemates. Last year, they also gave him a pasta cookbook. I’m close to becoming eternally indebted to these girls.
Jan’s first reproduction is Flay’s Garlic Butter Burger. Like almost every other recipe he recreates, we couldn’t follow the instructions to the letter due to limitations in ingredients and equipment. I’m still not entirely sure though if I can post the complete recipe here without infringing on copyright. You’d probably have to get Flay’s book from Amazon to get the complete recipe.
Just to give you an idea though, our version simply involved throwing in onions, garlic, butter and parsley into a blender and using the mixture to top the patties while cooking. We also tried to follow Flay’s advice on making patties. He makes his with a depression in the middle and seasoned only with salt and pepper on both sides.
I don’t need to make a verdict on this. The photo should make it obvious that this was a hit. It was so good, I ate three.
Jan says he’d like to try recreating more of Flay’s masterpieces before he ventures on creating his own burger recipes. Now I have a new dream for him. I hope one day he opens his own burger only restaurant.Then we could have more regular late night burger chats.
|Thank you to our girl friends in PSC.|
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Bicol Express is perhaps one of the country's most popular dishes. It draws its inspiration from traditional Bicolano cooking which is characterized by the generous application of coconut milk and chili peppers.
Like many popular Philippine culinary creations, there are countless versions of this recipe. This one is from Jan's Bicolano co-worker and unlike the toned down versions, this has little meat and has no Baguio or string beans. Instead, it's chock-full of chilies and incorporates salted shrimp fry.
2 cups pecante chilies, chopped
½ cup minced garlic
2 cups coconut milk
½ cup minced ginger
1 cup salted shrimp fry
½ cup bird's eye chilies, finely chopped
¾ cup pork fat, thinly sliced
1. Pour coconut milk in wok at medium heat.
2. Add ginger and garlic and let it stand for 2 mins.
3. Add the chopped chilies.
4. After 3 minutes add the pork fat.
5. After 2 minutes add the shrimp fry.
6. Add salt to taste. The amount of salt to add should depend on the saltiness of the shrimp fry.
7. Remove from heat while there is still a little of the coconut milk left.
Wife's Verdict: HOT!
Jan's Quip: "I've brought grown men to tears with my cooking."
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Jan and I both come from families that put a premium on ensuring that nothing goes to waste in the kitchen and the dining table. In military school, my father was told to lick his plate clean while Jan's father came from a poor family and food was scarce, so there was always the need to utilize every edible bit. Sometimes my father-in-law went to bed with nothing but water in his stomach.
On regular days in our own household we try to make sure we carry on with the food values we were taught as kids. We try even harder on the days following the usual Filipino Christmas and New Year feasts.
This year, the concept for one of Jan's holiday leftovers recipes is inspired by Food Magazine. The original recipe by Jill Sandique featured couscous. Ours are filled with bits of holiday ham topped with cheese.
2 leaves lettuce, finely chopped
1 pc. hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
½ white onion, minced
1 cup diced Christmas ham
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 pc. cucumber, peeled
½ cup thin slices of queso de bola
1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except for the cucumber and queso de bola.
2. For the cucumber cups, cut most of the cucumber into ¾ inch slices and remove the core. Cut an equal number of ¼ inch slices. Place the thicker cut on top of the thinner cut.
3. Fill the cucumber with the mixture and top with the thin slices of queso de bola.
Wife's Verdict: Quick, simple and feels healthy. After all the Christmas binging, this is exactly what you'd want to snack on.
Jan's Quip: "Back to dieting."