4 Cheese Frittata

I have always been a fan of eggs.  Even when it had a bad rep (in the 90s and early  2000s) I always had an egg (sometimes even 2) for breakfast.  In fact, one my fondest memories is of me and my brother J, vying to be first to use the frying pan for breakfast.  We would have 2 eggs each, cooked sunny side up.  But while I liked mine with a soft white and a less runny yolk, my brother liked crispy-edged whites with runny yolks.  In either case, we placed our respective eggs on top of a (huge, as it seemed then) mound of rice after which we heaped tomato ketchup on top and mixed everything into a red, messy, gooey breakfast!

To this day, I still eat an egg with my breakfast.  It is mostly the same soft-edged white with a cooked yolk, with a sprinkling of fresh ground pink salt and black pepper.  Once in a while though, I vary the manner of cooking of the egg.  This is one of my favorite variations… hubby is a fan as well.

1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

100 grams lean ground pork
1 pinch each sea salt, ground black pepper and Italian spice

4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 pinch each of sea salt, ground pepper and Italian spice

1 medium tomato, cleaned and sliced
a handful of kangkong leaves, cleaned and torn into bits

2 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 slices sandwich cheese (the melty kind)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

The very thing I do (after preparing all the ingredients) is to preheat the oven, and preheat a 6 or 7-inch cast iron pan.  The one I have is not a frying pan per se, but what is referred to as an eared pan.  Instead of a long handle on one side, the pan has 2 “ears” or handles, much like a casserole.  I use an eared cast iron pan because it is one that fits in my tiny electric oven.

Anyway, as both the oven and pan is heating up, I prepare everything…. mix the spices and the ground pork, then beat the eggs and the spices together…

As soon as the cast iron pan is hot, I sauté the onions and garlic, followed by the ground pork.  When the meat has given up most of its liquid, pour in the beaten eggs.  Stir lightly so that the egg goes underneath.  Scatter the sliced tomatoes and torn leaves, press down slightly.

Sprinkle with the grated parmesan.  Top with the sandwich cheese.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top.

Place the pan in the preheated 375*F oven and bake about 18 minutes, until the egg is fully cooked and the top is lightly browned.

Serve and enjoy hot!

 

Japanese Cucumber and Crabstick Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing

Cucumbers have a special place in my heart.

I remember that it was a favorite diet food – cucumber salad – a couple of decades ago when we were college students. As college bud S says, back in those days we thought we were fat, but now we realize we may have been chunky but we were (definitely) not fat.

Anyway, I was killing time at the supermarket sometime ago and I saw organic Japanese cucumbers! I immediately thought of hubby and how much he liked the Japanese cucumbers we had a couple of weeks ago at a Japanese restaurant. I also remember how much I liked cucumbers and suddenly I had a craving for it.  So of course, I bought some.

My mom told me that cucumbers needed preparation otherwise it would exude water and ruin the dish. I assume that the preparation applied to all cucumbers, even the Japanese ones, so after peeling strips of skin then slicing the cucumbers into not-so-thin slices, I tossed them with sea salt. The salted cucumbers sat for about 10 minutes (after which a significant amount of liquid came out), after which they are rinsed and then drained for another 10 minutes.  Pat the cucumber  pieces dry with (a lot of) kitchen towels!  Chill in the refrigerator while making preparations for the rest of the ingredients for the salad,

Recipe:

3 pieces Japanese cucumbers
Sea salt
7 pieces crab sticks (optional)

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons roasted white sesame seeds
2 to 3 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ tablespoon sugar
½ to 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Prepare the cucumbers as mentioned earlier.  Mix the dressing ingredients together then toss with cucumbers.

A side note here – I find that too much dressing tends to overpower the cucumbers and then I feel the salad becomes distasteful.  So I add the dressing gradually. And I tend to usually have leftover dressing.

As far as I am concerned, I am perfectly happy with the salad as is.

But hubby likes crabsticks and asked if we had any. We had about 7 pieces left, so I added them to the salad, and added some dressing as well. Turns out my dressing was just enough with the crabsticks added.

In any case, the addition of the crabsticks served to enhance the salad.  The salad is delicious either way

 

 

“Benedict Muffinbatch”

Reposting a favorite…

Friend T has christened this recipe – Benedict Muffinbatch.

I suppose the inspiration came from it being similar to Eggs Benedict, but that it is radically not… combined with a wonderful play on the name of a favorite British actor playing the character of Sherlock Holmes.

But, yes, it is a variation on the same theme… something on top of an English muffin!

This time, I got inspiration from one of the breakfast items of my favorite coffee and tea cafe… Salmon Scramble… although their version is on a rosemary focaccia.

Toast an English muffin and spread lots of cream cheese over the top. Layer on 2 to 3 pieces of smoked salmon (or as many as you like!) then top with scrambled eggs. Drizzle dill sauce over and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.

Enjoy! Hubby sure did!

Kesong Puti

Kesong Puti is, literally, “white cheese”.  It is a cheese that is truly Filipino!

This kesong puti has got to be the easiest cheese ever!  The most difficult part of this recipe might be sourcing the carabao milk!  In my case, I found fresh carabao milk at the weekend market in Centris.  I have been told that certain supermarkets do sell pasteurized carabao’s milk.

Anyway, the recipe has only 4 ingredients… carabao milk, salt, vinegar and lemon juice.  That’s it!

Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in 500 ml of carabao milk.  Heat in a double boiler for 15 minutes.  I started counting when the water underneath reached boiling.

Remove from heat and immediately mix in 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons vinegar, in my case I used Datu Puti.  Curds should form almost immediately.  Leave to cool and set for an hour.

00_kesong-puti

Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined strainer.  I used an old birdseye cloth diaper, sterlized of course!  Gather the ends together and squeeze lightly.  If a soft creamy cheese is desired, then it is done at this point.

But in my case, since I wanted a drier, crumbly cheese, I squeezed more whey out.

00_keso-puti

Whether soft and creamy, or dry and crumbly, wrap the kesong puti in a softened banana leaf and store in an airtight container.  Chill and enjoy!

Consume within 7 days.

The original recipe is from yummy.ph.  I halved the recipe and used a bit more salt.

A final note about salt – adjust it as you like.  We found the original recipe to be lacking and added a bit more.  When I make the recipe again, I may add a little bit more since hubby commented that it could use a tad more…

Ham and Cheese Rolls

This is a special request from the little girl.  She wanted a ham and cheese “stick”.  So I remade an old recipe.  The original version was the Ham and Cheese Roll-Ups.

ham cheese roll ups

The original roll-ups were an appetizer that I saw at a function that we attended some time ago.  I made my own version sometime ago and now I am re-working it.

The recipe for the original roll-ups –

Take a piece of sandwich bread and cut the crusts off.  Then flatten the bread (this is a very important step, will explain later).  Smear mayo or butter on the flattened, crustless bread.  Then place a piece of cooked ham and a cheese slice (square slices are best) on the bread.  Roll the whole thing up and secure with fancy picks.  Slice into 3 or 4 mini-rolls.

At this point I have to stress that it is crucial to flatten the bread.  I discovered (the hard, experimental way) that if this step is missed, the whole thing crumbles and breaks – the resulting rolls are just plain ugly.

The reworked version starts with flattening the bread too.  A ham slice, roughly 2/3 of the bread is placed on the bread, makeing sure that three sides of the bread and ham are aligned.  Place a stick of cheese on the ham, aligning the long edge.  Then roll, beginning on the cheese/ham side.  I found that I didn’t need to secure  the rolls with picks.

ham cheese 1

The rolls were supposed to be toasted in the oven but I was lazy (the toaster oven was out of commission and it was too much trouble to fire up the big oven) so I just used the stovetop grill.

Well, the little girl was happy!  So were our guests!

Pako Fern Salad

It is the rainy season again, and this means that pako ferns (or fiddleheads) are back in season!  They are best eaten the same day that they are purchased as they deteriorate rather quickly.

00_pako ferns

The pako is traditionally made into a salad.  I used to prepare the salad with the pako raw.  But I’ve since been told (by the market vendor, no less) that the pako ferns, while edible, should be blanched, as they have some form of mild poison.  The market vendor taught me to blanche them briefly in boiling water, just for a few seconds, and then immediately put them in an ice bath.  To dry them, I spin them in a salad spinner.

The recipe:

2 to 3 bundles of pako fern, blanched and chilled
2 large tomatoes, sliced into slivers (seeds removed)
1 large red (Spanish) onion, sliced thinly
2 red (salted) eggs, chopped coarsely
kesong puti, crumbled (or feta)

calamansi vinaigrette, recipe follows

Toss all ingredients, except the kesong puti, together. Chill in the meantime.  Right before serving, toss with the calamansi vinaigrette and garnish with kesong puti.

Other optional ingredient suggestions include cucumbers, slivered green mangoes, and/or garlic chips.

Calamansi Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup native vinegar
juice from 1 large calamansi
1 tbsp. olive oil (optional)
1 to 2 tbsp. crushed mixed peppercorns
2 to 3 pinches of Himalayan pink salt

Place ingredients in a salad dressing shaker (or even a air-tight container) and shake until combined.

Note:  if using regular vinegar, use just 2 tablespoons each of vinegar and water.  Substitute calamansi with lemon if calamansi is not available.

 

Tess’ Elvis

I have to admit, I am not at all an adventure-seeking eater.  But I am willing to try most foods at least once.  And while a lot of people are banana-lovers, I am not one of them, unless we are talking of the fried banana (saba) or turon.

But I tried a concoction of Tess recently… her version of the Elvis.  The Elvis is a grilled sandwich composed of toast, peanut butter, sliced or mashed bananas and bacon.  But Tess’s version is with ham instead of bacon.

Sylvia and I were skeptical at first – toast, peanut butter, bananas and ham?  Initially we found the combination unusual…

00_ibs n elvis

But one bite and we were bowled over!

We wanted more!  This version has the ham in the middle of the peanut butter and banana slices…

00_Tess elvis

Love, love, love it!