Tag Archives: the eating room

Cream Of Pumpkin Soup

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Cream Of Pumpkin Soup

Now, I am so tempted to lick my computer screen to have my cream of pumpkin soup!

This photo has been in my files since a long time ago and being anything but swamped with Mommy duties now, I will be able to share the recipe for this delightfully sumptious soup right now.

Okay let’s do this:

You will need about a quarter portion of a medium-sized pumpkin or from a big squash.

1 carton of all-purpose cream

1 chicken cube

1 onion, minced

1/4 cup butter

1/8 tsp cumin powder

1/2 cup croutons

salt and pepper to taste

Peel pumpkin and chop coarsely, about 1 inch thick and wide (although honestly, it doesn’t matter! It’ll get mashed later!). Put in boiling water. Cook until tender. Drain off from excess water.

In a soup pan, saute tenderized pumpkin in butter and onion. Add chicken cube. Add about 2 cups of water. Bring to a quick boil.

In a food processor, puree the pumpkin mixture. Blend very well.

Bring back the processed pumpkin mixture back to the soup pan and simmer in medium heat. Slowly stir in cream and cumin powder. Continue simmering until soup is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Top with croutons

*Note: You may add fresh milk to adjust texture or soup consistency. Be sure to just quickly heat the soup when there’s milk. Overheating or rapid boiling will cause the milk to curdle.

Final note:

Purists, please don’t crucify me for loosely interchanging pumpkin and squash every now and then. They belong to the same specie but are two varieties that differ in size and color. Whatever you use, it will taste almost perfectly the same!

My Mama, Her Food and Me

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Tinumis. A native dish from Nueva Ecija, where my late Lolo hailed from. Definitely a must try.

Once, I was asked, “What’s your earliest memory of yourself?”.

The immediate image that got to me was my Mom cooking something one rainy morning.  What she cooked, quite understandably, escapes me now.

This leads me to believe that, just maybe, my love for cooking started right about that time. Yeah, even before I got a grip on my cooking ladle, I knew I already liked cooking!

Sopas for the soul!

What is vivid in my mind now were those episodes in my childhood when I would give a third hand to my mom in the kitchen in between commercial breaks of Sesame Street. I might have resented it in the beginning, but the long ‘haul’ turned into passion, overtime.  Needless to say, I started growing into the idea of learning, loving and experiencing serious cooking.

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Calandracas. Soup with beef, chorizos and macaroni. Two thumbs up!

Serious cooking it was for Mom.

Our kitchen was always  abuzz with all the activities she did. Back then, my Mom spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. And despite her tedious load in the office, she never failed to nourish her family with only the BEST meals.

And BEST would mean exceptionally great tasting and  well plated dishes. Yes, kinda like those that you’d be proud to serve to the Royal Family when they visit you at home.

My Dad would hover around the stove hoping to get his share of “tikim” of the food my Mom was cooking. Oh, how we always hankered for her great and well thought out meals. It perfectly went well with all the ‘growing up conversations’ my family and I shared during meal time.

Sinigang sa miso. Fish, sinigang broth and mustasa leaves-- this triumvirate just spells yumminess to the core.

Today, she is still the main moving force in the kitchen. She continues to dish out excellent meals that are loaded with love and passion.

Nueva Ecijano Afritada-- Pork made into adobo 1st before they were made into afritada. Total winner!

Buttered spareribs stew. Mom will never eat meat that's tough. This stew is something else!

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma! Please do know that everything I know in the kitchen is just a by-product of what you have taught me in the many years that you have trained me.

You are the BEST Mom!

Love you!

Garlic tapa. You can't have enough of garlic!

Recipes of Mom:

Tinumis

Calandracas

Chicken Adobo Flakes

Buttered Spareribs Stew

Garlic Tapa

Afritada Nueva Ecija Style

 

Chicken, Garlic And Tomato Roasts

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The wet market I recently swung by down east had me shamelessly hoarding a coupla kilos of some red, juicy and plump tomatoes. Why, they sold for a measly P20 per kilo! Especially now that the Yrastorza household is slowly taking the ‘healthy-food-only’  route, I thought these tomatoes would be excellent for oven baking, stewing and the like.

Over at my kitchen, I slid my baking casserole onto the counter to toss over the tomatoes for some oven-dried tomatoes for bottling. Lately, I’ve developed a penchant for any food/ingredient that is  homemade, organic and artificial processing- free. And yeah, nothing beats having your homemade tomato sauce which you can conveniently pull out from your ref when your recipe calls for it.

But the oven was too big for the few pieces of tomatoes I was to bake. So in the pan, I threw in 2 whole heads of garlic for roasting (top slightly chopped off, leaving the flesh exposed!). What do you do with it? I spread it on toasts, I put in on my mashed potatoes or I just make it as siding for a fave dish like a pasta fare or sweet and spicy tapa! Okay, there goes my 2nd dish.

3rd dish was the two chicken quarters that I turned into baked chicken in sinigang rub. All three dishes had some about two rounds of drizzles of olive oil. Time, energy and space saving for my oven, I was totally starving right after everything got cooked.

Okay, kumbaga sa bus, naunang bumaba ang mga bawang, tapos ang mga kamatis at sumunod ang mga manok galing sa oven. (Please see links for exact directions for recipes of each of the fares).

Oh, btw, the chicken was the perfect topping for the Japchae I made the day before. Can I just say, the noodles got yummier as the sauce completely got absorbed by the noodles. Yum!

Japchae

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I took a trip to a public market somewhere down east to find this stall that sold Batangas beef. Foodies literally run the extra mile just to bring home what’s deemed the best, you know. Ha! So, there I was, finding myself all prepped up for the palengke tour.

Scouring the market, I was gawking at the produce lavishly displayed at every stall, corner and bilaos. My, they were totally inexpensive, very fresh and looked picturesque. My eyes were panning from left to right, up and down!

Okay, back to my mission, I looked for a store that had a signage that read “Senya’s Batangas beef”. Upon trekking the aisles and alleys  of this market, lo and behold, I found it and what goldmine I saw. Yeah baby, two kilos of sirloin went straight to my basket.

Yesterday had me do two dishes:  Garlic Tapa and Japchae.

So, what’s the big fuss about Batangas beef? Well for one, this southwestern province of Batangas is well known for its cattle industry. It is home of the best species of cattle. Grass fed, robust in size, they are so special that meat dealers  have made it a ‘claim to fame’ label that the meat is from Batangas. A big smile was plastered on my face as I left with my beef on one hand.

The second dish was japchae. I have been bugging my good friend, Marielle, to take me back to Ye Dang for my Korean food fix but being swamped with household chores would not allow us. So, I decided to just make my own.

So here goes the recipe:

JAPCHAE

500 grams  glass noodles (soak in water for 20 minutes before cooking)

1/2 cup chopped spinach leaves

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

3 tbsps brown sugar

1/4 kilo sirloin, cut in thin strips

1 medium-sized carrot, cut into strips

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 white onion, minced

2 tsps chili flakes

salt and pepper to taste

sesame oil

water

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Season beef with salt and pepper. In a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add beef, spinach and carrots. Stir in hoisin sauce ang sugar. Pour about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Add glass noodles and reduce heat  to a medium simmer.

Cook until noodles are tender and soupiness is gone. Add chili flakes. Serve hot.

Pasta And Peas

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Still on with our interesting series on “leftover makeover” inspired by some dishes we lifted from the pages of FOODIE magazine. This second dish I cooked for Studio 23’s “US Girls” was such a big hit that it was gone instantly before I could finish saying “bon appetit” to everybody!

Simple, tasty to the core and very elegant, this dish should work its way on your menu soon.

The leftover food was the pasta. In this case, we used salad macaroni. Have you ever had the experience of over estimating your pasta, cooking more than you need  and ended up just stacking them away in the ref to grow those icky molds?  Ha!

Alright, let’s have some great-tasting solution to this leftover dilemma.

The dish I made called for about 5 cups of cooked salad macaroni (cooked according to package directions), 2 tbsps olive oil, 2 tbsps butter, 1 medium-sized chopped white onion, 3/4 cup chopped bacon or pancetta, 3/4 cup frozen sweet peas (thawed), 2 tbsps dry white wine, salt and pepper to taste and grated parmesan cheese.

I Sauted onion and bacon. Added wine and let alcohol evaporate before I mixed in peas which I had to saute a bit longer til I got it tender while still very bright green in color. Tossed them gently onto my pasta and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top.

Baked Scallops

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Baked Scallops

The maddening rush last Valentine’s day discouraged Jake, Sam and I to wriggle our way to the busy streets that lead to the uber packed date places.

So, we decided to just spend the evening at home, in the comforts of our humble dining room where I served some mean minted lamb chops with a siding of french beans and baby carrots and partnered with some rich, creamy and luscious plate of baked scallops.

Baked scallops is one dish that’s a breeze to make and makes for a rockstar viand. This particular recipe is strikingly similar with the baked tahong I always make whenever I want a delish fare pronto.

Looking at my finished product of baked scallops, I suddenly scratch my head in slight dismay. It was one of those moments when I wished I lived in faraway Capiz. Why? I got my frozen scallops from Cold Storage, P180 per dozen. In Capiz, scallops sell for P50 PER SACK!!!

Now, that ‘SACKS’! Lol.

Happy Vday!

Baked Scallops

1 dozen fresh scallops (with shell)

2 heads of garlic, chopped

1/4 cup melted butter

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

3 tbsps parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat oven to 300 deg c.

In a baking tray, assemble the scallops and brush each with butter and season with salt and pepper. Top each with a pinch of garlic and smother scallops with the cheeses.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheeses turn slightly brown and melted. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Squid Ink Pasta, Chorizos And Tuna

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I was marveling at the dried pasta selection over at Terry Selection at The Podium when I chanced upon a pack of squid ink pasta. Almost instantaneously, I visualized the pasta to be infused with red sauce, chorizos and tuna. Perfect for Jake’s dinner, excellent for my quest for a pasta eye candy that was to be quite unique and tasty.

Incidentally, my Sister, Tina, and Brother in law, Oliver, stopped by our place that night I made it. Timely and definitely a welcome surprise, I was so ganado tossing the whole pasta ensemble knowing that I had guests to sample the dish.

The black colored-pasta had a stellar taste that I momentarily forgot that I had burned a thousand calories that afternoon from a spinning class and would just gain it back(?) with the bande-bandehadong pasta that I devoured that night. Yikes!

Okay, the recipe:

1/2 kilo squid ink pasta

1 can chorizos, halved vertically and sliced

1 can Del Monte tomato sauce petite cut

2 cans tuna lite, drained

1 cup Del Monte tomato sauce (Original flavor)

1 head of garlic, minced

1 onion, minced

1/2 cup capers

1 cup black pitted olives, sliced

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add chorizos, tuna, capers and olives. Continue stirring for two minutes. Throw in basil and oregano.

Toss in pasta. Top with tuna and cheese. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot.