Monday, October 11, 2010

Sausage, mushroom and apple stuffing

This was our Thanksgiving table this year :-)

I made this stuffing (in the boat-shaped container on the left), which I baked outside the turkey. I find that that gives me better control of how cooked I want the stuffing and the bird to be. Plus I like my stuffing with some crisp parts, which you can't get if you cook it inside the bird. Don't forget the gravy and cranberry sauce!

500g package mild Italian sausage, casing removed
2 apples, chopped into half inch cubes
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used cremini)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mined
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp. dried fennel
1 whole baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 7-8 cups of bread cubes)

1. Saute the sausage and break up the meat as it cooks.
2. When the sausage is no longer pink, add the onion and garlic.
3. When the onionis soft, add the celery. Saute for a few minutes until the celery softens.
4. Add the apples and mushrooms, season with salt, pepper, thyme and fennel.
5. Saute until everything is cooked and the flavors meld together.
6. In a large bowl, put the bread and pour in the sausage mixture.
7. Pour in the milk, broth and eggs.
8. Mix everything well until the bread has soaked up all the liquid.
9. Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

Pecan Tarts

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Yesterday, I made this...a yummy, gooey, nutty version of pecan tarts. I like my pecan tarts with LOTS of pecans and not too sweet. This tart fit that bill perfectly :-) And yes, I cheated. I used premade tart crusts. But one has got to prioritize when making a full on Thanksgiving dinner, right?

24 tart crusts
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1. Mix sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, butter, eggs and salt.
2. Fill tarts with chopped pecans (about halfway full)
3. Slowly fill the tarts with the gooey mixture.
4. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
5. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or nothing!

So good!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Banana Oat Bread

The hubby doesn't like it when banana bread is too banana-y (they should add that word to the Mirriam and Webster dictionary). I tried this recipe and he liked it much more than this one. Plus this one kept for much longer and stayed moist for days.

I've been leaning toward quick breads that use oil as the fat rather than those with butter. I find that they stay fresh much longer and don't get tough when refrigerated. Don't get me wrong, butter is irreplaceable in some cakes, cookies, scones, short breads and whole host of baked goodies, but quick breads have so many other flavors that you don't really miss the richness that butter gives.'s the recipe.

3 cups flour (I used half all purpose and half whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 cup whole rolled oats
1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil.
3. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
4. Mix in bananas and buttermilk.
5. Divide batter between two 9x5 loaf pans.
6. Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Zucchini muffins

I have to confess, I don't really care much for zucchinis. So when my weekly vegetable delivery service dropped off 4 zucchinis, I knew I had to get creative or to the compost bin they would go. These resulting muffins were moist, tender and kept very well for several days. The boys really liked them and were surprised that those lovely green bits were actually bits of zucchini!

1 3/4 cups flour (I used half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini (don't drain!)

1. Whisk the first 5 ingredients together.
2. In another bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil.
3. Add the zucchini.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. You don't want to develop the gluten in the flour otherwise, your muffin will become tough.
5. Fill muffin cups.
6. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

This recipe made 12 regular-sized muffins.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Shrimp Curry

This Chinese-style curry is very mild but very flavorful. Just make sure you get Chinese-style curry powder and not the Indian one because Indian curries tend to have quite a bit of heat.

The original recipe I found called for crabs but I didn't want to cook anything so messy since we were going to serve it for dinner along with a few other dishes. So I improvised and this shrimp version was a hit!

A few tips...this dish comes together very quickly so have all the ingredients ready before you start. Also, use high heat to stir fry so that the veggies and shrimp stay crisp and sweet.

3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons curry
1/4 lb lean ground pork

500-600 grams large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 medium green bell pepper cut into squares
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
2. Season the ground pork with salt, sugar and curry powder. Mix well and set aside.
3. In a wok or large pan, saute the garlic until light brown.
4. Add the pork and saute until no longer pink.
5. Add the onions and green peppers and stir-fry for a minute or so.
6. Add the shrimp and saute just until pink.
7. Add the sauce mixture and mix until thick.
8. Stir in the beaten egg and cook for a few seconds more.

This dish is best served with lots of white rice to sop up all that wonderful sauce!

Chicken Lettuce Cups

Another post with no exact proportions...

But, lots of pics!

Cast of characters:

lean ground chicken, chopped carrots and celery, sliced green onions, chopped mushrooms, minced garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, ground pepper, iceberg lettuce

1. Saute green onions, celery and carrots until soft.
2. Add garlic and grated ginger. Saute until garlic is soft.
3. Add ground chicken. Cook until no longer pink.
4. Add mushrooms.
5. Season with hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, pepper, and sesame oil.
6. Keep sauteing until all the liquid is absorbed and you end up with this:

Meanwhile, pull lettuce leaves apart very gently. I must say, this is probably the hardest part of this recipe! If you are so inclined, like I was, trim to perfect little so:

To serve, place some chicken into the lettuce cup and enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Braised lamb shanks

I didn't write this recipe down (again!) but it was very, very good! If I remember correctly, it was just a basic braise.

Season meat. Brown. Remove from pot. Saute the mirepoix. Add one cinammon stick, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary. Put meat back in. Add whole tomatoes in juice. Cover and braise for a couple of hours. Remove meat. Stick under broiler while thickening the sauce. Serve with carbs of choice, in this case roasted carrots, roasted yams and herbed rice.

Sorry no proportions!

Better Than Chicharon

Be still my beating heart! What could be better than thinly sliced pork belly, cooked until blistery and crunchy?

My mom gave me this recipe during her recent visit but my youngest sister has sworn me to secrecy so unfortunately I cannot, in good conscience, divulge the secret to this divine concoction. I can say though that it's boiled, dried then fried. The drying step is my own twist to the recipe.

I will live vicariously through this post, because I've decided that, for the sake of my lipid profile, I will only make this dish once a year.

Braised pork shoulder with steamed buns

This dish was inspired by a visit to Foxley, a popular tapas bar here in TO. They served a braised pork belly, which you sandwiched in steamed chinese buns, and the unctuousness of the pork fat was just heavenly!

I decided to redesign the dish with pork shoulder, a much leaner cut that really lends itself well to slow cooking. The slow, steady heat breaks down the collagen between the muscles and the previously tough, sinewy meat falls off the bone in strands of deliciousness.

I went to my regular Asian grocer and bought these steamed buns in the refrigerator section. Ten minutes in the steamer and they were as good as any you could get in Chinatown. I would have preferred thinner buns, but these were all I could find.

3 lb bone-in skin-on pork shoulder
1 onion, quartered
3 slices ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
4 pcs. star anise
2 tbsp. dried black beans
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chinese cooking wine
3 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup water
3 stalks green onion, slices into shreds

1. Place all ingredients except the green onions into a bowl that's just large enough to hold the meat.
2. Put the meat in the bowl and let meat marinate in the fridge overnight.
3. Remove the meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Save the marinade!
4. Heat a large heavy pot and coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil.
5. Brown the meat well on all sides.
6. Add the marinade and let it come to a boil.
7. Lower heat until the sauce is barely simmering. Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook until pork is tender, about 3 hours or so. Turn the meat gently every 45 minutes or so.
8. When the meat is done, gently lift the meat from the pot and place on your serving platter.
9. Reduce the marinade until it's thick and syrupy.
10. Strain and pour on top of the meat.
11. Garnish with green onions and serve with buns.

**I added a few rehydrated dried chinese mushrooms but they really remained untouched. The pork is the star of this dish!

Here was my finished dish!


No, I did not buy anything from Hermes. But I did get another orange thing during our trip to New York...

I was deciding between Tory Burch reva flats or my lovely orange kitchen bling...and I decided on the food thing. When it comes down to it, I don't have a shoe blog. I have a food blog. So we all know where my priorities stand :-)

I decided to make something orange in my orange, so tonight it was Aligue Pasta with Prawns and Scallops. Aligue is the Filipino word for crab fat, and my mom's recent visit resulted in a couple of bottles in my pantry. Woohoo!!!

Recipe below:
1/2 bottle of crab fat (taba ng talangka) or about 5 heaping teaspoons
450g spaghettini
400 g prawns, peeled and deveined
200 g scallops
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks green onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 1 lemon plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1. Cook you pasta until al dente and save a cup of the pasta water. Don't forget to add salt to your cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, pat the prawns and scallops with paper towels until they are dry to touch.
3. In a large skillet/pan, heat olive oil and gently saute the garlic and green onion.
4. Add the prawns, saute for a couple of minutes, then add the scallops.
5. Turn heat to low, add the crab fat, lemon zest and lemon juice.
6. Add the pasta water and stir until the sauce is thick and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings at this point. Remember that the crab fat is a bit salty already, so taste and adjust accordingly.
7. Add the pasta and toss gently until each stand is coated with the yummy goodness.
8. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frozen Brazo v. 3

Third attempt at Frozen Brazo.
Tried an unbaked crust this time because my two previous crusts were too crisp.
Didn't work.
Crust fell apart when sliced.
But frozen brazo itself was goooood.
Got the recipe of the brazo down pat.

Still looking for the perfect combination of crust and brazo.

Coconut milk bagoong

I just had a flash of genius, if I may say so myself. I decided to cook a small jar of Barrio Fiesta bagoong (spicy) with a cup or so of coconut milk. I let the coconut milk simmer and evaporate until all that was left was the coconut oil and the oil from the bagoong. The bagoong tasted a_m_a_z_i_n_g.


For the longest time, we lived up the street from my maternal grandmother. She hailed from Pampanga, a province in the Philippines known for its zest for good food. From my lola, I learned how to eat durian, fried catfish, buro (don't ask what this is), and camaro or sosohong (don't ask either). She taught me how to eat with my hands and peel crabs like my life depended on it. I learned about matching the right sawsawan (dipping sauce) with the right food...vinegar with crushed garlic and black pepper with grilled pork, calamansi and patis with grilled fish, tomatoes with bagoong for fried milkfish, soy sauce with sili for paksiw na isda, ketchup with knorr for fried chicken. There were times when I had 3 or 4 small containers beside my plate just for my sawsawans!

One of my favorite dishes whenever we'd go to her house was sotanghon. I loved that sotanghon so much that I wouldn't eat sotanghon anywhere else. In my mind, nothing ever came close, and nothing still does. My lola has since passed and I have since moved to a different continent. But that sotanghon still remains, in my mind, an elusive ideal that no other sotanghon will approximate.

This version that I made for our New Year's celebration was very good, but it was not, and will never be, my lola's sotanghon.

3-4 pieces chinese sausage, sliced
1 whole chicken
1-2 heads of garlic, minced finely
3 tbsp. annato/atsuete seeds
3 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. peppercorns
1 onion, quartered
300g peeled shimp, chopped or kept whole if they're small
1 cup dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
5 pieces green onions, chopped, white parts separated from green parts
Sotanghon (bean thread noodles)
fish sauce, salt and pepper

1. Place chicken in a stockpot and cover with water.
2. Place onion, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns in pot.
3. Add salt and let simmer for about 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
4. Remove chicken and let it cool.
5. Remove the flesh from the chicken and shred by hand into smallish pieces.
6. Meanwhile, strain the stock and remove excess fat.
7. Set aside both the chicken meat and the stock.

1. Place annato seeds in a cup of oil (yes, that's whole cup).
2. Heat gently until the seeds color the oil. Remove all the seeds and discard.
3. Place garlic in the same oil over medium to high heat and fry until the garlic is just about golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Drain and set aside.
4. In the same oil, saute the white parts of the green onion and the chinese sausage until the sausage is fully cooked.
5. Add the shrimp, chicken and mushrooms.
6. Season with fish sauce and pepper to taste.
7. Saute until the mixture is well incorporated and any liquid has evaporated.
8. Drain the oil and set the topping mixture and the oil aside.

1. In a large pan, place about a cup of the topping mixture along with the oil left over from sauteeing. Add about 3 cups of stock and bring to a simmer. Taste the stock and adjust seasoning at this point. This stock will flavor your noodles.
2. Add the noodles and let it absorb the stock.
3. Keep mixing gently, adding half-cupfuls of stock at a time and letting the noodles absorb the liquid. The amount of liquid you use will depend on your noodles.
4. When the noodles are done, set this aside.

1. Place noodles in serving dish.
2. Place toppings on top (where else?!)
3. Garnish with fried garlic and green parts of the green onion.


Shrimp and cilantro rolls

I first tried this in New Jersey, where Tito M and Tita R always host the best parties with never-ending food! I was so shocked to find out that this dish only had 3, yes THREE, ingredients: shrimp, cilantro and spring roll wrappers. The sprigs of cilantro bring a freshness and sweetness to the dish like no other herb can. If you don't care for cilantro (and I cannot imagine why, but I know some people are weird like that :P ), I suppose you could use flat-leaf parsley. It wouldn't be the same though. Well, those would be shrimp and parsley rolls, for starters.

1. Peel and devein shrimp/prawns. Keep the tail on. It makes for better presentation.
2. Wrap in spring roll wrapper with a sprig or two of cilantro.
3. Deep fry until crisp and golden.

I serve this with sweet chili sauce but I imagine sweet and sour sauce or plum sauce would work too.

Never too late...

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!!! May these marshmallow snowmen sitting atop oreo cheesecake cupcakes bring you peace, love, and joy in 2010!