Monthly Archives: July 2010

Roasted Eggplant And Feta Spread

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Next to manchego cheese, feta is my ultimate comfort cheese. A brined curd cheese, I use it best as topping on melba toasts, pesto or sundried sauces or as the final touch to my moussaka. Let’s put it this way, I can simply gobble up feta with NOTHING. Yes, eat it like I do with Chippy. I LOVE feta— enough said.

This weekend had me making some spread made of some roasted eggplant and red bell peppers smothered generously with crumbled feta cheese. It was to be the ‘crowning glory’ of my grilled whole wheat pandesal round. I was amused at the combo of this cheese and the medley of eggplant and peppers that I threw into it. The creamy-soury nature of the feta just did some kick to the almost neutral-tasting but smokey qualities of my veggie roasts. Ahhh, how I devoured this spread on my open-faced pandesal rounds! It’s a must-try, absolutely.

Roasted eggplant with feta spread

2 medium-sized eggplants. cut vertically

2 medium-sized red bell pepper, seeded and cut vertically

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsps balsamic vinegar

Season eggplant and bell peppers with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle with some olive oil. Grill until they’re cooked or bellpeppers’ skin can peel easily.

On a plate, scrape the flesh of the eggplant discarding the skin. Do the same with the bell pepper. Cube the bell peppers, cut the flesh of the eggplant into bite size pieces and mix them together. Toss in feta cheese.

Use as topping for your favorite toast.

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Cream Of Chicken Soup

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Nothing beats sipping a warm bowl of soup that was made from the heart. No offense meant to canned soup lovers, but soups made from scraps and scratch are the ones that genuinely rock. Why,  the homemade soup’s edge lies in the fact that it’s healthier, none of the ‘can’ taste and you know a hundred percent what went with the soup when it was cooked.

Okay, this soup (again) was a proud product of a makeover from a leftover (nice rhyme!). The previous evening saw me baking some lemon pepper chicken and had some leftover. Not that it wasn’t good enough to be devoured in one sitting (Ha, defensive me!) but that, Jake and I had quite a big bingeing spree shortly before dinner that left us full til the next day!

Anyway, frankly, I don’t like the idea of reheating  leftover baked chicken for my meals. The overnight period usually leaves the skin stiff, rubbery, greasy and all. The flesh too firm and totally juiceless. But the good news is– I love doing a makeover of baked chicken. First step is to chunk the meat and sometimes the skin, then stir-fry coating  it with a favorite sauce– either bbq or charsiu sauce. Either way would land in between two slices of bread! Sarap!

Today was different, my leftover surprise was made up of these chicken chunks, celery stalks and cream. Cream of chicken soup— now, are you hungry?

Cream of chicken soup

3/4 cup left over chicken (baked, boiled or even fried!), cubed

1 box all purpose cream

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 medium-sized onion, finely minced

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup quickmelting cheese (optional)

4 cups of water or whole milk

1 chicken cube

2 tbsps flour diluted in 1/2 cup water

Saute chicken, onion and celery in butter.

Add cream and cheese. Bring to mild simmer until mixture becomes thick. Add water or milk .  Add flour mixture. Let it simmer and continue stirring until desired consistency is achieved. You may actually adjust consistency (to thin the soup) by adding whole milk or water until you reach your desired consistency. Serve hot.

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Filling

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Sam pleaded to do carrot cake with me yesterday. Our bonding over this cake goes a long way. We’ve had carrot cake baking sessions quite a number of times already. Sam obsesses with all the whipping, mixing, pouring and tasting involved in baking. She’d trade baking for two episodes of Handy Manny or Angelina Bellerina at any given time.

And, because this cake is  kinda tedious to make (yeah, baking isn’t my thing. So…) , a third hand is always a welcome thing. My little hand, hands down, is the best third hand.

Inspired by a recipe I plucked out from epicurean.com. We started rolling up ur sleeves to get this cake done.

The bright orange colored carrots didn’t escape my sight as I cruised the vegetable aisles of my fave grocery. I thought they looked perfect for my carrot cake. Ahh, how I looked forward seeing Sam glow from 10 watts to 80!

And so the project began..

Carrot cake with cream cheese filling

4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/4 cup carrots, grated
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup oil
2 1/2 Tbsp
hot water
1/2 tsp baking soda

FILLING
1 box cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar

FROSTING
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Mix together egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar. Stir until yolk becomes light in color.
Throw  in carrots, nuts, flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and oil.

Combine and mix  together hot water and soda and stir into flour mixture.

Beat egg whites until foamy and slowly add remaining sugar. Beat until stiff and glossy.

Fold egg white mixture into carrot mixture.

Turn mixture into a greased 13×9-inch pan lined with greased wax paper and bake for 45 minutes or until done. Cool.

Slice in half horizontally, to form two layers.

Meantime, to do the cream cheese filling, soften the cream cheese and mix in sugar. Using an electric mixer, mix until mixture is creamy and a bit fluffy.

To make the frosting, beat the whipping cream until slightly stiff, then add the sugar and continue beating until mixture creates soft peaks. Frost the entire cake with whipped cream.

Chicken And Peas

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I’m tempted to call this dish picadillo but it didn’t use beef, it had raisins in it and I just wanted to highlight the ground chicken as the main ingredient.

Truth to tell, this dish can pass up for an arroz ala cubana meat ensemble, only saucier and uses ground chicken. I usually cook this up on days when I have to squeeze in cooking in between errands and other pressing chores. Why, it takes little time and preparation to do it.

Simple, yum-loaded and quick to make, I give this dish two thumbs-up!

Chicken with peas

1/2 kilo ground chicken

1 onion, sliced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tomato, diced

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

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In a skillet, saute onion, garlic and tomato. Add ground chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until meat is tender.

Add raisins and green peas. Continue simmering until peas are cooked. Pour tomato sauce. You may add water to thin the sauce if you wish. Let it simmer and continue stirring for five more minutes. Serve hot.

Lumpiang Gulay Na Hubad

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No, I did not forget to buy the lumpia wrapper for this dish. What I forget now is the number of times we’ve had this in our meals without going for seconds.

Jake’s favorite, this dish is so delish that we can gobble it up even minus the rice. Yes, appetizer style. Strikingly similar  with how Koreans serve their togue (bean sprouts) before the main course in a Korean meal.

I enjoy biting on the togue, baguio beans and tokwa (tofu) and savoring its symphony of flavors. And well, yeah, enclosing this dish in a lumpia wrapper should be a good option, too.

Lumpiang Gulay Na Hubad

4 squares tokwa (tofu)

2 cups of togue (bean sprouts)

10 pcs baguio beans, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red onion, sliced

1 chicken cube

salt and pepper to taste

oil

Fry tokwa until golden brown. Once cooked, pat dry with paper towel to remove excess oil. Cut each square into 9 small cubes. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion, garlic, baguio beans, togue and red bell pepper. Add chicken cube and season with salt and pepper. Continue mixing until all ingredients are cooked. Throw in tokwa. Serve hot.

Sinigang Na Talakitok Sa Miso

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Inspired by Trellis restaurant in Quezon City, my mom served her rendition of their famous sinigang sa miso using talakitok as the main ingredient. When my dad was still alive, we would troop over to Trellis for their famous sisig, crackling liempo and sinigang sa miso. How we devoured each bite of these super dishes that, upto now, still remain to be Trellis’ bestsellers.

Okay, our Sunday lunch yesterday saw me giving a third hand to mom as she prepared this sinigang for lunch that went with two large servings of crispy pata and two rounds of  tortang giniling cooked over low fire on some fresh banana leaves. Ahh, like always when I’m at mom’s place, my plate worked overtime taking in as much rice and ulam as it could while I dined.

The sinigang, hands down, was my favorite. The asim of the broth, the texture of the miso, chunkiness of the tomatoes and tastiness of the talakitok all sealed by the hot and spicy  taste of the soup just made a perfect sinigang ensemble. So easy to make, too. To date, this has got to be my fave sinigang. My five-star dish, you better make this a staple in your menu soon.

Sinigang na talakitok sa miso

3 slices talakitok (or your choice of fish)

2 pcs panga of talakitok

5 pcs luyang dilaw, peeled and sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 onion, sliced

2 tomatoes, sliced

4 tbsps miso

3 pcs green chillies (siling pang sigang)

1 pack sinigang mix

5 mustasa leaves

salt and pepper to taste

water

oil

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Fry fish until golden brown. Set aside.

Saute luyang dilaw, garlic, onion, tomatoes and miso. Season with salt and pepper. Pour about 8 cups of water. Add sinigang mix and bring to a boil. Throw in green chillies (you may break them into two to make broth hotter in taste).

Once boiling, throw  in fried fish and mustasta leaves. Simmer until it boils one last time. Serve hot:)

C Italian Dining– A Must Eat And C Place!

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Finally, there’s one great reason to drive to Pampanga. And, the reason starts and ends with the letter C!
Voted not once but twice as Restaurant of the year by The Philippine Tatler, wouldn’t you scratch the itch to hie off to Pampanga to check what C Italian restaurant is all about?

Foodies talk about this restaurant ALL THE TIME!

Nestled right smack in the bustling area of Angeles (very near the Clark airbase), I was just too happy driving over to C to finally sample the very famous Italian dishes they serve. And yeah, nevermind if I missed the television coverage of PNoy’s presidential inauguration, tsk…

The out-of-towners!

Okay, the ‘front act’ of the lunch was an awesome basket of Italian bread– dipped in pesto sauce. I was raving non-stop about the crusty-chewy-oomph loaded characteristics of the bread. It was love at first bite! And to think, we were just starting to warm up!

Italian bread in pesto dipping sauce

 The next to arrive was the jando Italian salami panizza– a certified C bestseller. The novelty of this panizza is in the way you eat it. Oh, my eyes rolled in delight even before I rolled the panizza!
C super classic panizza–jando Italian salami, Php 655.

 You eat the panizza this way: Take a strip of panizza, top with arugula leaves and alfalfa sprouts then roll or fold the strip to make a bite size piece. Arugula+cheese+perfect crust spelled YUMMY font 99!

The first pasta we ordered, Spaghetti con frutti di mare, was loaded with the bounty of the sea. Fresh salmon, mahi-mahi, grouper, prawns and imported green lip mussels sauteed with light extra virgin olive oil in pomodoro sauce, it really got us digging in for more of this yummy pasta fare.

Spaghetti con frutti di mare, Php 580.

 The second pasta was penne calebrese. Ahh, it was super. Made of chunks of US Angus oxtail meat that was tender-braised with red wine, tomatoes, green peppers and capers.

Penne calebrese, Php 580.

 We also ordered a second kind of panizza– Don Carmelo. It had spicy chorizos, anchovies, thyme and pecorino cheese. I’ve always been a fan of pizzas with anchovies and that one, I so enjoyed!

C Italian Dining

1210 Don Juico Avenue

Clarkfield, Pampanga  045.892.4059