Monthly Archives: January 2011

Parsley Pesto

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My school co-parent/good friend, Annette Alberto,  had us dine at their place sometime last year for a playdate with the kids and some good evening of chat with us, parents. Her spread of salpicao, pasta and salad left me bewitched big time as we left their crib. I specifically took fancy on the pasta (of red sauced spaghetti) siding that perfectly blended with her spaghetti. She said it was to add a new dimension to the taste of the spaghetti. And what dimension it was!

I held back my peace and never asked EXACTLY what went into the sauce but the most I gathered from her was that she put parsley, olive oil and garlic.  Okay, the parsley was to be the sauce’s lead star.

Fast forward to today, I readied the chopping board for some tedious chopping of parsley, garlic and to be swigged into a good kind of olive oil. Yes, I made pesto, alright, although I had second thoughts calling it “pesto” in the strictest sense of what it means.

Pesto is a traditional  Italian sauce, made up of basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese and a handful of pine nuts. It is usually incorporated into pasta noodles, brushed onto crusty breads or used in flavoring grains, meats and other dish staples.

The sauce I made defied a coupla things–  First, the basil was replaced by pasrley, it used LOTS of chopped garlic, did  away with pine nuts (or any nuts for that matter) and used parsley leaves instead of basil leaves. Hand made and not blender-produced, ha! But lemme tell you– THIS WAS  SO GOOD!

The unique characteristic of parsley is in its subtle “fresh” taste. It was  a welcome departure from the usual strong and sometimes overpowering taste of say, basil or rosemary.

Bottle it up, use it the way you use basil pesto– you’re good!

Thanks Annette for the inspiration. Parsley is my new basil! Mabuhay ka!

3 cups parsley leaves (curly or flat), finely chopped

1 1/2 cups olive oil

2 heads of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

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Combine all ingredients. Do not use food processor. You may store for future use.

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Roasted Eggplant In Apple Cider Vinegar

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I woke up this morning with a definite meal in mind for breakfast. Crispy dilis, scrambled eggs, red rice and my precious siding of roasted eggplant smothered with all the healthy goodness of apple cider vinegar and heaps and heaps of crushed garlic.

The original version of this eggplant ensemble comes from the siding that I make for my pochero. That’s eggplant and squash combined, plus spices to boot. Pochero is not pochero to me without this killer siding that loads the pochero with all the sumptiousness it should have. Okay, it was not pochero that I had for breakfast today, alright.

Just the same, I made a version of that siding to go with my crispy dilis, hence:

I roasted 6 medium-sized eggplants. Scraped and mashed the flesh, seasoned it with salt and pepper and about 3 tbsps of apple cider vinegar. Loaded it with about 1 head of coarsely chopped garlic and meeehn, can I just say, it went perfect with the dilis ‘barkada’.

Short and sweet. I love mornings:)

Lentejas Castellana Soup

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I had 30 minutes to kill before I hit Sam’s school to pick her up. Top of mind last minute stop would be whizzing down to Terry Selection at The Podium for some quick check on what interesting stuff I might find there.

Fast, alert  and wide-eyed, I managed to score a pack of black pasta, a nice claypot, lentils and chorizos in all of 20 minutes. Ah, I was like a 5 year old taking home a brand-new Barbie scooter! Cheap thrill ba?

At home, as I dashed in my kitchen after a long day, I decided to ‘sentence’ the Salamanca chorizos and Castellana lentils that same night. I made a thick soup and peppered it with all the goodness of the chorizos. Ahh, I could almost imagine my husband, Jake, gobbling up the soup with his Chillean wine to match and my day’s stories on the side.

Harvested from Castilla and Andalucia, Castellana lentils are the most used lentils in Spain. It’s greenish-brown in color, larger and a bit more easy to make tender as opposed to the other varieties.

Meantime, Salamanca chorizos are made from pork loin and is spiced up by thick chunks of parika. I was eating and eating them while I readied them for the soup. Ahhh, sarap!

1 cup lentils

3 cups water

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1 cup chorizos, sliced

5 cloves of garlic

1 onion, finely minced

2-3 cups chicken stock

1 cup spinach leaves

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Cook lentils until tender. Drain and set aside.

Meantime in a skillet, saute garlic, onion and chorizos. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and lentils. Bring to a boil and add spinach leaves. Serve hot.

Smoked Fish With Feta On Whole Wheat Pasta

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My intense liking for smoked bangus started about six years ago when a friend had me taste what was to be my ultimate bottle of happiness that was made up of smoked bangus flakes in olive oil and powered by a number of spices that rocked my world since. The brand of that smoked bangus: Santwaryo. I believe they sell it in their resto branch somewhere in Metro Walk.

Am such a ‘groupie’ of smoked bangus. In whatever form or dish it’s mixed in, whether in pasta, pate or simply when you eat it fried (oh, yeah with a mean dish of scrambled eggs! ), the flavor just gets me going for seconds.

Last weekend saw me doing pasta using smoked bangus (packed, not the bottled). Still on the diet trail, I, of course, made sure that all ingredients I used never added up to my caloric intake (Yee, feeling! Lol). Of course! I’ve been sweating it out spinning at the gym for months now and do I just gobble up ‘cardiac delights’ at the mere presence of it? NO WAY. Well, forgive me for the cheeses though. Hee.

Okay, so what went with the pasta? Read on:

300 grams whole wheat pasta (spaghetti)

1 medium sized smoked bangus, skin, head and tail removed

2 heads of garlic, finely minced

1/2 cup chopped flat parsley

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Loosely crumble/flake smoked bangus meat. Set aside.

In a skillet, pour two rounds of olive oil. Saute garlic, smoked bangus and 1/4 cup  parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil.

Toss in pasta. Top with feta and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve with your favorite toast.

Inadobong Puso Ng Saging

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A big smile was plastered on my face as I stepped down from the weighing scale. Why, I just shed off a whopping 19 pounds in a span of 3 months. Silly me, I should have done what I had to do a long time ago to drop the weight.

Okay, can I just say, eating vegetables majorly contributed to the weight loss. Gone were the days when we were kids and how we warded off the hand that served us, what looked like, a boring plate of gulay.

Veggies need not look boring and taste awful. We can actually savor a good serving of veggies while saying, “Ay grabe ang sarap naman nito!” fifty times! I mean, really now, it’s all in the taste and presentation.

Tonight, I did inadobong puso ng saging. US certified- nutrition and diet expert, Nadine Tengco, remarked in one of her seminars, puso ng saging is an excellent source of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium and protein and would be a  perfect “rice extender” to make up for the rice “limit”. According to her, women are only supposed to consume 1/3 cup of rice per meal only. So, what she does, she eats lots of this dish to satiate her appetite.

And, I’ve been doing just that. Yeah, for three months now. This dish for the weight loss– and it’s working for me! Puso ng saging is the way to go!

Inadobong Puso Ng Saging:

1 medium sized puso ng saging (banana heart), thinly sliced

1/2 cup rock salt (for cleansing and rubbing off bitterness from the banana heart)

1 head of garlic, minced

1 onion, sliced

1/4 cup of cane vinegar

3/4 cup water

6 pcs suaje (shrimps)

salt and pepper to taste

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In a bowl, mix  sliced puso ng saging with salt. Rub mixture firmly with your two hands until the bitter taste goes off. Rinse thoroughly with running water.

In a skillet, cook shrimps until they turn pink. Set aside.

In the same skillet, saute onions and garlic. Add sliced puso ng saging, vinegar salt and pepper. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Add water. Simmer for ten more minutes or until liquid has evaporated into half. Top with shrimps. Serve hot.

Baked Bangus Belly

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Wrapped in our backyard banana leaves, stuffed with onions and tomatoes, slightly charred from the flame grilling, inihaw na bangus has got to be one of the flagship dishes of my childhood. It usually went with Dad’s ginisang munggo with a few pieces of suaje shrimps and a coupla bunches of dahon ng ampalaya for the final add on.

Fast forward to today, I usually do a spin off of my childhood’s inihaw na bangus except that I bake it, makes use of the belly part only and fired up by some few additional spices. Oh, and the price for living in a building? No banana leaves around!!!! So I usually settle for the next best thing– aluminum foil!

Healthy, totally scrumptious and easy to make, Jake and I can gobble this up (even without rice) in all of 3 minutes!

Baked Bangus Belly

2 pcs bangus belly

1 red onion, sliced

1 tomato, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsps fresh basil, chopped (optional)

1 tsp, fresh spring onions (dahon ng sibuyas)

1 stalk of lemon grass, pounded (optional)

1/4 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

aluminum foil

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Preheat oven to 300 degrees c.

Season bangus belly with salt and pepper

On a piece of bangus belly (skin down), place all ingredients. Top with the remaining slice of bangus belly. Wrap in foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Dressing:

4 tbps cane vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsps  chopped onion

1 red sili

1 clove chopped garlic

Mix everything together and pour in a small bowl. Serve with the baked bangus.