Monthly Archives: May 2009

Cheesy Chicken Balls

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The super tandem of meat and cheese is back.  Recollective of the traditional cheeseburger, this dish combines ground chicken meat and cheese that’s been tucked in the ball of meat. So, when you cut it in half, the cheese greets you with the “Hello, eat me!” surprise!

I get emails from readers requesting for recipes they can execute with their kids.  This dish has to be the answered prayer. It’s easy, fanciful and tasty.

Cheesy Chicken Balls

To do this you will need:

1/2 kilo ground chicken

1 small egg, beaten

1/4  cup flour

1 onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

1 sprig of rosemary leaves, chopped (optional)

cheddar cheese cubes

1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

oil for frying

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1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Mix chicken, egg, flour, onion,garlic, rosemary and cayenne pepper.

3. Scoop some meat mixture forming a patty on your palm. Put  cheese cube on top. Now, lift the patty sides up to enclose the cheese inside. Mold into a ball.

4. Fry in medium heat until golden brown. Set aside and let stand for 5 minutes.

RED At Makati Shang

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I knew I was going to be in for a gastronomic experience when my FOODIE editor rang me up for a wine tasting event that I had to cover. It was to be held at RED at Makati Shang, yes, the same place where my husband, Jake, asked me to marry him about four years ago.

The dinner was exclusive to just about ten people. The diners were people who communed at RED for a common purpose (aside from work) — to eat, drink and be merry! Great company in one table. Did I say all of them were hardcore foodies?

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The event was Casa Lapostolle Winemaker’s Dinner hosted by Moët Hennesy Asia pacific (Full article on the wines will be for FOODIE’s July issue). Diego Urra walked us through our wine tasting experience, detailing extensively everything we needed to know about the wines we sampled.

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Anyway, the dishes that went with it really propelled us to extra high gastronomic levels.

After the cocktails, we had this:

crab and mango canneloni

crab and mango canneloni

I have to confess. I’m allergic to crabs.  Funny, I grabbed these fancy bites the moment it was laid before me without knowing that I was to have some crab-infused dish. I whispered to FOOD’s editor-in-chief Mickey Fenix, who was seated beside me, to be on stand by for a possible respiratory attack as an allergic reaction.

The guys dining with us called on the hotel’s pharmacy nurse the moment they got wind of my concern. I took antihistamine and yes, tuloy ang ligaya!

The second dish was this:

pan seared scallops wrapped in parma ham

pan seared scallops wrapped in parma ham

The choice was between this or pan seared sea bass. I thought I wanted something salty and meaty-juicy last night. The parma ham and the scallops just perfectly satisfied that craving. It went with some corn puree dripped all over the plate and basil pesto that gave extra spunk to the whole ensemble.

Then came along this:

mango sorbet with chardonnay foam

mango sorbet with chardonnay foam

 At this point, I thought they were winding down already with their food presentations. Finally, the sweet ending (or so I thought!). The sorbet had the perfect consistency. Compact but icy-soft. The mango flavor tasted very natural, almost in its naked taste. It sat on a foam of chardonnay that further kicked out the great taste of the sorbet.

I was ready to sip my tea to cap the whole dining experience when I discovered that we were just about to start with the real deal!

And this was what next popped on my plate:

grilled beef tenderloin with foie gras and chicken mousse

grilled beef tenderloin with foie gras and chicken mousse

Suddenly, I felt the food in my stomach giving space for the night’s rockstars. This dish, hands down, made my night! The beef gave away the juiciest, most scrumptious beefy goodness anybody can imagine. Cooked medium well, it just got me closing my eyes for some savor-the-moment experience!

Shortly after we finished,  we were served with this:

roasted rack of lamb

roasted rack of lamb

The photo says it all. It was served with cous cous, gremulata. Tender, oomph-loaded and very satisfying, the lamb was superior.

Finally, the fantastic ending was served:

bitter chocolate macaroon (berry compote)

bitter chocolate macaroon (berry compote)

Dream job it is. I want to work everyday.

Buffalo Wings

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I always get bitin when I munch on those mouth-watering buffalo wings at places like Chili’s or Fridays. Each serving usually has six to eight wing pieces. Why, it posesses the ‘mahirap tigilan kainin‘ effect similar to when you eat butong pakwan or chicharon balat. And, going for seconds would  mean whipping out another P400 (or thereabouts) from your wallet. Tsk, so that’s P800 plus for the 16 precious wings. Over at  the grocery, 16 pieces would only cost you P300 or less. So, there.

Now, the point: MAKE YOUR OWN!

Buffalo wings originated from Buffalo in New York. It is famous for its taste, degree of ‘hotness’ and the blue cheese dip that traditionally goes with it. It’s very definitive of American dining especially among ‘clubbers’ who wolf these wings down while drinking some beer. In our native language, we refer to this buffalo wing dish as the perfect pulutan. Its spicy nature makes these drinkers drink more to numb the throat and mouth-tingling sensation caused by the spices.

This dish can be made in two ways: baked or deep-fried. I prefer the latter. While the former advocates health benefits (since it does away with cooking in oil), the later yields a better texture, appearance and taste.

Okay, to do this, you will need:

10 chicken wings, wingtips removed

1/2 cup hot sauce

1/4 cup melted butter

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

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1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add hot sauce, butter, cayenne pepper, paprika and worcestershire sauce. Marinate for an hour.

2. Deep-fry chicken until cook. Pat dry. Set aside

3. Meantime, in a separate skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil.  Pour chicken marinade. Stir in chicken. Serve hot with dip.

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Traditionally, buffalo wings are served with blue cheese dressing. I did not have blue cheese when I cooked this today and so I settled for the next best thing, garlic-cream cheese dip.

To do it, you will need:

8 oz cream cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

(If youdon’t have sour cream, you may make your own. Just Mix in half a lemon juice or 1 calamansi or 2 tbsps vinegar onto 3/4 cup all purpose cream)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

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1. In a processor, blend in all ingredients until smooth in consistency.

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SERVE WINGS WITH CELERY STICKS.

Basil Chicken In Coconut Milk

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Coconut milk or what we call gata in the Philippines, is one of the major staple ingredients in Asian cooking. In Brunei, Malaysia  and Indonesia, it is referred to as santan. In Thailand (where a lot of great tasting coconut milk-based dishes come from), it is called ga-ti . In Brazil, it is called leite de coco. To me, I simply call it ‘yumminess overload’!

This milk is a product of some vigorous squeezing from the meat of a mature coconut. Ahh, how I love all dishes with coconut milk. It can be used in a lot of savory dishes and likewise in a great number of desserts!

Today, I made some basil chicken in coconut milk. My tastebuds demanded for a reunion of ginger, basil, chicken and coconut milk. The aromatic contribution of the basil,  the succulence and tastiness of this chicken’s red meat plus the malinamnam quality of the gata just did a mega ensemble that definitely gave us an extra scrumptious lunch.

To do this you will need:

3  thigh and leg parts, cut into bite size

1 can coconut milk

1 green bell pepper, jullienned

3 medium-sized potatoes, halved

1/2 cup green peas

8 leaves basil, chopped

2 thumb-sized ginger, sliced

3 tbsps fish sauce (patis)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium-sized red onion, chopped

water

salt and pepper to taste

oil

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1.Season chicken with salt and pepper.

2. In a skillet, saute ginger, onion and garlic. Add chicken and potatoes. Cover with water. Season with 3 tbsps fish sauce. Cook until tender and water has evaporated by half the original amount.

3. Add bell peppers, green peas and basil leaves.

4. Stir in coconut milk.  Simmer for five more minutes. Serve hot.

Paella Valenciana In A Hurry

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valenciana ala dominique

valenciana ala dominique

My series on rice continues. My last post featured some fried rice I called ‘fried rice ala dominique’ (named after my daughter Isabel Dominique). I got a coupla emails requesting for more rice twists and recipes.

fried rice ala dominique

fried rice ala dominique

The Fried rice garnered good reviews and I thought of giving it just a bit of some tweaking. This valenciana is similar to the ‘fried rice ala dominique’ (in terms of ingredients and appearance), only more labor-intensive. But hey, don’t worry, this is the ‘quick to make’ version that’s great for harried moms like me.

I used jasmine rice instead of the usual malagkit na bigas. Chorizos and mushrooms were used to replace the usual chicken and prawns.

Oh how I loved biting on the rice that’s been coated with the chicken and ginger flavor. The harmony of flavors and spices just made the dish so satiating.

Yeah, this version is the scaled down and simplified version. Culinary purists might crucify me for simplifying this, but hey, I got things to do while I still want great food— in a snap. Simple but flavor-loaded.

So, here goes:

Paella Valenciana

2  cups jasmine rice

5 cups chicken stock

*Okay fine, if you don’t have chicken stock, use 5 cups of water then add a cube of chicken broth

4 medium-sized shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1  stick chorizo de bilbao, chopped1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium-sized red onion, minced

1 large bell pepper, julienned

2 tbsps turmeric powder

1/2 tsp spanish paprika (optional)

oil

chives for garnishing

What to do:

1. Saute garlic, ginger, onion, bell peppers, chorizos and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add rice, turmeric powder and broth. Give it a quick stir.  Cover until done. Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving.

Some Great-Tasting Finale

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fried rice ala dominique

fried rice ala dominique

What a grand finale! Being the last course of the day (unless you have midnight snack..) , dinner of fried rice definitely makes a scrumptious day-ender dish. It’s pleasantly filling, aromatic and very fun to make!

Tonight, I dished out some great fried rice I named after my daughter, Sam (whose formal name is Isabel Dominique). Fried rice ala Dominique was gone on the serving plate in a flash. What a great dinner. Arg, bitin!

Why am I not surprised?  We had a  second dish that looked like this:

beef with broccoli

beef with broccoli

The conventional beef with broccoli dish served in most Chinese restaurants usually has thick sauce with thicker beef slices. The one  I made had a sauce that was a thinned out version due to the absence of starch or flour. I purposely dropped the latter since I like biting on the more natural tasting beef minus the thick sauce.

Also, if you are expecting to get the conventional Chinese resto ‘beef with broccoli’ dish, this is not the one. Oyster sauce is replaced with hoisin that is sweeter, tastier and posesses the ‘eat me! eat me!’ effect.

Now, the recipes:

Fried Rice Ala Dominique:

5 cups of cooked white rice

1 small red bell pepper, minced

3/4 cup sweet ham, cubed

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 leek stalks, sliced

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp turmeric powder

salt and pepper to taste

canola oil

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1. Saute garlic and leek stalks. Add rice, ham and bell pepper. Put worcestershire sauce and turmeric powder. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

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Beef With Broccoli

1/2 kilo rib-eye sukiyaki cut

3 tbsps hoisin sauce

5 cloves of garlic, minced

6 pcs broccoli flowers

salt and pepper to taste

oil

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1. Season beef with salt and pepper

2. Saute beef in garlic and hoisin sauce. Add broccoli. Serve hot.

‘East Meets West’– Shiitake Walnut Pasta

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Chef Ming Tsai recently  turned up in Manila to be a head judge in a culinary competition among the country’s top 6 culinary schools. As a writer for FOODIE magazine, I had the chance to do a one-on-one interview with him (full interview on June issue of FOODIE mag). I was so in awe! My smile was like:

ming tsai

I was such an avid fan of his shows, ‘East Meets West’ and ‘Ming’s Conquest’. I covered his 3-day public appearance and boy, was that awesome!

Born out of my ‘Ming exposure’, my food today was inspired by the very concept of most of his dishes– FUSION. Yes, Eastern cuisine blended in with Western ingredients. Something out of the ordinary, eh?

Ming told me (naaks!),  that we have to be adventurous with our palate, he says we can never be ‘high’ in terms of culinary taste and standard if we don’t jump over the bridge. He was referring to Filipinos who are too conservative in their palate depriving themselves of concepts like food fusion and other tastes very unfamiliar to them.

Anyway, today I made my version of ‘East Meets West’. I called it Shiitake Walnut Pasta. Shiitake is a kind of mushroom that is edible. Off white to dark brown in color, these mushrooms are quite common in East Asia and eaten in a lot of Asian countries. Can be used in cooking  as either fresh or dried. It’s a common ingredient in most Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai dishes.

Today, Shiitake of the East met Pasta of the West. It’s the my box-office hit for the day.

And now my lunch:

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 Shiitake Walnut Pasta

1/2 kilo whole wheat spaghetti noodles

10 pcs fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sesame oil

2 tsps dried rosemary

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

What to do:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a separate pan, saute garlic. Add shiitake mushrooms and hoisin sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add dried rosemary and walnuts.

3. Mix pasta and sauce. Top with cheese. Serve while hot.

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