Monthly Archives: January 2010

Cheesy Lasagna

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Marvelling at this Lasagna, a party guest once asked me what cheese I used to make it. Without hesitation I gave away the secret– EDEN cheese and a box of another local quick-melting cheese. To which, the other eavesdropping party people cracked up thinking it was a big foodie joke. Well, that joke happened to be the yummiest amusement to date.  

This recipe is an instant party crowd pleaser, no fail. The 1-2-3 punch comes from the perfect play of the meat sauce and the bechamel. The harmonious and rythmic combo of  spicy, a bit sweet (from the sweet onion and red bell peppers), sour and salty components in this dish give it the oomph that’s to die for (or yeah, live for!).

No, this is not a sponsored blog (how I wish!) neither is it a testimonial dish. I just underscored the fact that you DON’T need expensive cheese to make a killer lasagna. Before some lasagna purists crucify me for publishing this recipe using Eden cheese, let me challenge them first to try this. Then, hand me down the verdict!

Okay, today saw me baking this lasagna for friends Faye and Kristine for a belated New Year catching up.

Kristine, moi and Faye

The lunch also included in the menu some parmesan-crusted calamari with tartar sauce, a plate of greens with some fruit-infused vinegrette dressing and lots of laughter, catching up  and updates from all the stories that went with it. Nothing beats great chats with comfort food at the backdrop.

Lasagna:

1 box  curly lasagna noodles

1 box quickmelt cheese, grated

Meat Sauce:

1/2 kilo ground beef

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium-sized white onion, minced

1 tomato, chopped

1 large bell pepper, minced

salt and pepper to taste

750 grams tomato sauce, Italian blend

1 can chorizos, cut lengthwise and sliced horizontally (optional)

Bechamel Sauce:

1 box all purpose cream

1 cup milk

1 box Eden cheese

 cheese, grated

1/4 cup  butter

salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsps flour

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1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a separate pan, saute garlic, bell pepper, onion and tomato. Add beef. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until cooked. Add tomato sauce and chorizos. Continue stirring for the next ten minutes.  Set aside.

3. In a skillet, heat  butter then add all-purpose  creamand milk. Mix well. Add Eden cheese. Slowly add flour to thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. In a baking dish, assemble the pasta. The bottom part gets a scoop of meat sauce as base. Smother with a generous amount of bechamel sauce on top of the beef mixture. Lay lasagna noodles. Repeat the layering thrice.

5. Top the dish with the quickmelting cheese.

6. Preheat the oven to 350c and bake for 15 minutes or  until cheeses are turned into golden brown. Once cooked, let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with you favorite toast.

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The Perfect Corned Beef!

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Two nicely-packaged cans of corned beef greeted me as I arrived home the other day. A friend, Nina Daza-Puyat, had them sent over to my place for tasting. And, what tasting I had!

Now, what to do…

This morning saw me opening a can of Delimondo corned beef by Chef Ed Quimson  to go with some nicely-browned diced potatoes.

Initially, I was tempted to do my classic favorite — a mega combo of corned beef and pork and beans that my lola always cooked for us when we were kids. However, my curiousity killed my impulse and decided to whip up something that wouldn’t mask the original taste of this corned beef that Nina likes so much.

Upon opening the can, I giddily scooped up some corned beef. Haay, I swear, it would’ve gone straight into my tummy before it hit the pan had I not forced myself to STOP! It had the right play of saltiness and linamnam.

Thought, too, that  this corned beef had the perfect color of corned beef. Not too red and definitely not too pale.

The bomb was actually the bits of chunky litid/fat that it had in it. Sarap!!!! Very reminiscent of those homemade corned beef that had some good cuts of beef brisket. It just melted in my mouth with my eyes closed.

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To do this dish, you will need:

1 big can of corned beef

3 medium-sized potatoes, diced

4 cloves of galic, minced

1 onion, minced

1 tsp dahon ng sibuyas, chopped

oil

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In a frying pan, deep fry potatoes until golden brown. Drain and set aside.

Meantime, using a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add corned beef. Cook for three minutes. Add potatoes. Serve warm.

Cocktails In A Hurry

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In a trip to Paris, France about two years ago, I was amused at how regular I saw this olive-cheddar cheese combo in most clubs that we checked out. Quite similarly, its counterpart here would be our usual ‘adobong mani’ that we nibble on along with the booze.

Quite a staple on the club tables, it instantly greets you once you’re seated. Usually free and replenishable, I enjoyed having it there to match with the red wine I took.

Fast forward to now, I make these when I invite family and friends over at our place. That’s cubed sharp cheddar cheese and pitted black olives skewered on a toothpick. Looks elegant, easy to make and perfect to go with wine. Cheers!

Chicken Stock

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I find it very useful boiling chicken for some old-fashioned chicken stock. Like they always say, chicken soup is the better alternative to a tranquilizer. I can’t agree more.

I love, too, the many ways and purposes it serves. You may, 1) Eat the chicken-soup ensemble as nilagang manok dish  2) Pour over the chicken stock on ice trays to make ice cubes for future stock use 3) Shred or cube chicken meat for future use like in pansit, pasta or sahog to dishes like pancit molo, chicken sopas or sotanghon soup or to just sip the that warm, comforting sabaw powered by all its chicken goodness.

Now, that’s  hitting several birds with one stone!

It’s never enough to just season your chicken with salt and pepper to make the stock. You want your chicken smothered by all the flavor-enhancing spices and ingredients that make up the perfect stock.

To make this stock, you will need:

1 1/2 kilo whole chicken

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced (1 and 1/2 inch thick)

1 large onion, quartered

3 stalks of celery, peeled

1 bunch scallions

3 thumbsized-ginger, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

water

Season chicken with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

In a boiling pan, place chicken with all the remaining ingredients. Cover with water.

Using low heat, cook chicken until tender.

Stories Made Of Tempura And Maki

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Okay, today’s lunch ballooned my waistline 2 inches bigger. Translation: 5k run must happen asap. If you had this today, you would forget about diet:

Spicy Tuna Crunch

My high school barkada decided to troop over to Ebisu restaurant in Eastwood for a catch-up lunch that would extend all the way to meryenda. Haaay, like always, everybody grappled for ‘airtime’, haha. Our hubbies were tormented following the broken vignette of stories each one had to tell!

Nothing beats a lively and animated kwentuhan with good food on the table, right? The starters were made up of shrimp tempura, salmon crisp and spicy tuna crunch.I was stuffed way before the main course was served!

Shrimp Tempura

It’s always one funny sitcom when my HS barkada meets up. I don’t know, these guys are anything but flat. I mean, their personalities just make up for great movie characters, lol. Meaning, we are a body of characters (go figure!)— and I love it! Yeah, I do love them dearly.

Yes, with or without food.
Pero sana meron.

I knew I was in for an uber fantastic lunch today. This maki was so good! Pesto, cucumber and bacon combination really kicked a_s big time!

Ebisu chicken that Jake and I shared:

Love this. Rice and everything nice!

Steak from Jay and Sheila’s meal:

 

Us during our talkathon break:

These guys are my friends (READ: FRIENDS) Jo, Marra, Carla and Sheila (guy in blue is Jake, the hunk I married) and Jay (who took this shot  but his pic down below!). If there is such a thing as comfort food, they’re my ‘comfort friends’. Friends I am keeping beyond forever

Sweet ending at Le Creperie:

Brownie crepe ala mode