Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dinner with Josef

Sunset Cocktail: Orange Smoothie


Chicken Curry

Iranian Bam Dates


Dice 2 large tomatoes, 1/2 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 peeled cucumbers and 1 can whole Italian plum tomatoes. Toss in a bowl with 2 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup Balasamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Puree to a consistency you like, adding some water or tomato juice to thin if necessary. Chill until ready to serve.

Chicken Curry

Cut into bite-size pieces 800 grams chicken breast filet. Puree 1-inch piece ginger, 6 garlic cloves, 1/2 red onion and 1/2 cup water. Measure out 2 tsp. cumin seeds and 1 tsp. coriander seeds. Saute seeds in 2 tsp. ghee until seeds begin to pop. Add chicken and lightly brown the pieces. Add puree mixture, 7 crushed green cardamom pods, 1 stick cinnamon and 1 tsp. turmeric, cook for about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup ground almonds, mix thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup Greek yogurt. Season with salt.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's 2008

New Year's Eve, for me, was a nice dinner with four of my guests. Later we watched several fireworks shows from the balcony of my apartment. The closest and most spectacular display went on for about an hour at the stock exchange garden on Ayala Avenue. Beautiful cascading showers of light filled the sky and the air soon became thick with smog. When our eyes began to smart from the smoke we went back inside to continue sipping champagne.

Chorizo Iberico
assorted olives
slices of french bread

Georges du Boeuf Brouilly

Snapper Fillet in Saffron Sauce
Roast Leg of Lamb
Roasted Small Potatoes
Creamed Spinach

Sticky Chocolate Pudding

Taittinger Champagne

Roast Leg of Lamb

Preheat oven to 500 F.

Pierce a 2.5 kilo leg of lamb allover with the tip of a sharp knife. Insert slivers of garlic in the slits. Rub lamb with olive oil and place large sprigs of rosemary in the bottom and top of the lamb. Roast in a roasting pan for 15 minutes or until lamb is slightly browned. Lower the heat to 350 F and continue to roast for 3 hours. This will give you a medium roast.

Place washed and halved new potatoes, sprinkled with olive oil and salt, in the pan 30 minutes before taking the roast out of the oven.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lori's Top 10 Dessert List

You must check out Lori's, of blog Desert Comes First, list of Top 10 Desserts. Food porn at its best, I almost fainted from the exhilaration! I know it sounds crazy but I assure you I am not exaggerating. I'm throwing caution to the wind this holidays when I get back to Manila and sample this lot of yumminess. I have tried Apt 1B's White Chocolate Cheesecake more than once I have to admit. It cost me. Big time.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Best Chicken Soup

I made this soup for grandpa's dinner last night and it was really good. I'm not really fond of chicken soup, but the addition of white wine in this recipe intrigued me. The ingredients are a perfect combination of vegetables, chicken, flavorings, liquids and cream. The morsels of dumplings created by the combination of flour and broth was a delicious surprise. The addition of cold ready-made broth is the key to creating these meltingly soft morsels. If you want a smooth soup base, then heat the broth and add it hot to the flour mixture using a whip.

Chicken Soup

adapted from the magazine Cuisine At Home

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
5-6 cups chicken broth
3 pieces chicken thighs (to make about 1 1/2 cooked shredded chicken)
1/2 cup frozen peas
8 pieces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup baby carrots
2 tablespoons heavy cream
chopped parsely

Cover the chicken with water and boil for 15 minutes. Cool. Shred, don't worry if it's a little raw at the core, it will cook in the soup. Reserve the broth. I used 1 liter of ready-made chicken broth and added some of the broth from cooking my chicken to the soup.

In a Dutch oven sweat the onion, garlic, celery and herbs in olive oil, butter and about 1 teaspoon salt over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.

Add the wine and stir to combine. Add some of the warm broth reserved from cooking the chicken and stir to combine. Add all of the ready-made broth and simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened. Season to taste. The bits of dough formed from adding the broth to the flour makes delicious mini dumplings.

Add chicken, carrots, peas and mushrooms. Finish with cream and parsley. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sunday Lunch

Another Sunday lunch with gramps, J, T and E. It was a hectic Saturday and I had some studying to do on Sunday so my menu had to be a quick one. I decided on grilled steaks, roasted new potatoes and sauteed mixed green peppers. Dessert couldn't be simpler, Chocolate Wafer Icebox Cake with Raspberry Coulis. Someone should give me a medal.

First thing I did was clean and slice the new potatoes in half. Placed it in a shallow pan and toss with extra-virgin olive oil and fine sea salt. I then roasted it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

I then seasoned the steaks with salt and grilled it on a cast iron grill placed on top of two burners, heated at medium high heat. While the steaks were grilling on one side I went on to the peppers. I had yellow, red and orange bell peppers sliced thick. This I sauteed in a cast iron pan with extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt. Saute the peppers one color at a time and placed in a bowl when done, continue with the rest of the peppers.

The icebox cake was delicious. Make this the night before. I followed the simple recipe, except I used a non-stick 9-inch springform pan which made it easier to chill in the refrigerator and remove from the pan before serving. The next day, cook some some raspberries in butter and sprinkled with some sugar. The raspberries will melt partially. After about 4 minutes puree the raspberry sauce. Serve it with the wafer cake which I decorated with a few raspberries around its perimeter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Get-Together with Grandpa

My dear sweet grandfather is here in SF to visit his two grandchildren. This came as a pleasant surprise and I am thoroughly enjoying his company. My cousin J is married with a fifteen year old son and she and her family came for dinner on the second day grandpa was here (he's staying with me). It's funny how my nephew and I ended up doing our homework after dinner. Now that I'm back in school, with one year to go for my degree in Geography, I seem to have common ground with the younger generation. We even have the same sneakers. I may possibly be taking this school thing to far.

The dinner was simple and went well for everybody. I served a simple roast beef with new potatoes and pan roasted brussels sprouts. The roast beef I purchased, already marinated, from Trader Joe's. So I simply placed it in a roasting pan surrounded by red and white new potatoes, drizzled the whole thing with extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and roasted in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes. Perfect.

For the brussels sprouts, I blanched the sprouts in boiling water, drained, sliced in half, then sauteed in a pan with lots of butter on medium high heat. The sprouts will caramelize slightly, careful not to burn it.

For dessert I served the most divine Banana, Cherry and White Chocolate Muffins from my book The Domestic Goddess. This is not really a proper dessert, but its ok to live a little don't you think?

Banana, Cherry & White Chocolate Muffin

125 grams (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons dried cherries, chopped
50 grams white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Melt the butter in saucepan, remove from heat and add the sugar, vanilla and bananas, mashing them with a fork. Stir in the sour cream and the eggs and continue to beat with the fork or a wooden spoon. Add the bicarb and the baking powder, stir well, then add the flour, cherries and chocolate.

When mixture is well blended, divide it into each of the 12 muffin cups lined with cases. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool muffins on a wire rack.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Casual Thank You Dinner

I gave a dinner for my aunt last night to thank her for bringing me my silverware all the way from Manila. I soon realized what a favor that was when I had to bring it back to the apartment. It was heavy. Really heavy. Then, I realized I wouldn't have an assistant to do all the food preparations so I created a simple menu that wouldn't take to long to cook from start to finish, but was still special. I usually serve Cava, as everyone probably knows by now, with some finger food before dinner but not this time because no one in this town drinks. So instead, I served a mild tea at the beginning and end of the dinner. It turned out well I must say.

My four guests included her daughter (my cousin), son-in-law and grandson. I was hoping to cheer them up, in my own way, because they have been going through a rough patch these past couple of months. There are just some years where nothing seems to go right and everything goes wrong. I certainly now how that is. Well, like someone I know said, "The year isn't over yet." So what happens on their way to their car from my apartment after dinner? My nephew skateboards down the road, tripped and cracked his chin open. I got a call at 10:30 pm from his worried mother while they were at the emergency room of the hospital. The doctors weren't able to get all the asphalt out. Nevertheless, he was very brave, not a peep when the doctors injected his open wound with an anesthetic. He got seven stitches and declared, according to his mother, "At least I had a good dinner before this happened." It seems like he will have to be on soup for a couple of weeks. Oh dear. Well, Emilio if it's any consolation, I'll cook you another meal when your ready.

Part of my menu was to make a tart tatin for dessert, which I didn't make because by the time I got home from doing the groceries and making a wrong turn which took me a good hour to find my way back, I didn't have the energy to make dessert. I served ginger snaps and organic "Oreos" with milk instead. The "Oreos" were a hit. I eventually made the tart and so I decided to go ahead and include it in this menu...

Mixed Vegetables

Arugula Salad

Lamb with Garlic Stir-Fry

Steamed Rice

Peach Tart Tatin

Chamomile Tea

Mixed Vegetables

equal amounts:
canned or bottled artichoke hearts, drain and quarter
Kalamata olives, drain
cherry peppers, preserved (from Rainbow grocery) or bottled roasted red peppers, drain and
extra-virgin olive oil

Toss ingredients together. Serve in a bowl with an extra cup for throwing the olive seeds. Place a container of toothpicks next to vegetables.

Arugula Salad

baby arugula and lamb's lettuce
extra-virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese, shaved

Toss leaves with oil, then add vinegar. Toss again with Parmesan shavings.

Lamb with Garlic Stir-Fry

450 grams (1 lb) lean lamb steak or fillet
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
2 scallions, white part only, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan (can substitute with black pepper) peppercorns, roasted and freshly ground

for the marinade:
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1.5 teasoons cornstarch

  1. Cut the lamb into thin slices and put in a bowl. Mix in all the marinade ingredients and leave for 20 minutes. Drain marinade and set the lamb aside.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan until it is very hot. Add the oil and whe it is slighly smoking add the marinated lamb pieces with just a litle of the marinade. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the scallions, garlic, ginger and black pepper and stir-fry for 4 minutes. If using Sechuan pepper, sprinkle it on the lamb just before serving.

Peach Tart Tatin

  • I used an award-winning ready-made puff pastry dough
  • It's best to use a cast iron pan
  • I peeled the small-sized peaches and placed them directly in the caramel
  • When cooking the butter and sugar, I found there was to much oil and poured it out, leaving the gooey caramel in the pan
  • make sure peaches are ripe or you'll have too much liquid when the peaches are cooking

Friday, August 24, 2007

Au Revoir Manila

I wasn’t planning on having a despedida, but my sister insisted on doing something the night before I left for San Francisco. So she, my mom and my cousins came over around four in the afternoon. We sat and chatted and ate cheese, parma ham and olives, all washed down with a glass of Cava. Then we went to Japantown and had a fantastic dinner care of my future cousin-in-law Raj. I ordered my standard orders when in a Japanese restaurant… sashimi (salmon, saba and hamachi), miso soup and grilled saba (mackarel). The saba was perfectly cooked which is important because a few seconds more on the grill and you’d have a dry and stringy piece of fish. Raj ordered the lapu lapu (grouper) sashimi with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce, which was excellent. According to Raj, who went to school in Japan, the Japanese tourists always order this dish because its relatively inexpensive in Manila and extremely expensive in Japan. So we ordered another round and soon regretted it after stuffing ourselves with the rest of the dishes we ordered. The uni (sea urchin) was unsually fresh and sweet, not normally my favorite dish, but more than tolerable this time. Everyone else was raving about it.

After dinner we went to an Irish pub called Murphy’s for drinks. The Irish cocktail was really good, I had three! It had Franjelico, hot chocolate and Grand Marnier, topped with whipped cream. Yum! I texted some friends at the last minute and three more people joined us. Two of them were still in a meeting and one had to wake up early for a motocross competition. We had a fun time, especially when Marco showed up after his late night massage.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rosanne's Birthday

I cooked dinner for 14 last June 5 in honor of my cousin's birthday. We started at 5 pm with large green olives stuffed with feta and flowing Freisinet Cordon Negro Cava. After our light cocktails we went on to dinner, the usual birthday fare was on the menu, but I added an adult twist to each dish. I was going to make a cake but R requested I make her favorite Burnt Butter Cupcakes. After dinner we went to a karaoke bar and my usually shy voice was heard by one and all. Happy birthday Rosanne and many more to come!

Salad Greens with Caramelized Walnuts, Dates & Blue Cheese

Crispy Yogurt Fried Chicken

Conchiegle with Tomato Vodka Sauce
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' recipe)

Burnt Butter Cupcakes

Crispy Fried Chicken
The addition of cornstarch makes these very crispy and the yogurt gives the chicken a nice tangy flavor.

18 - 20 pieces of chicken
yogurt, enough to coat all the chicken
2 cups flour + 1/3 cup cornstarch + 2 teaspoons sea salt
peanut or coconut oil, for frying

Marinate chicken in yogurt, overnight, in the refrigerator.

Fill pan about an inch with oil and heat to 325 degrees F.

Place flour mixture in a sealable plastic bag. Shake chicken pieces in the flour mixture, one at a time, and pat to remove excess flour. Fry in hot oil.