Sauteéd Watercress with 2 Kinds of Eggs

Watercress is a leafy vegetable that I can find usually in a Chinese restaurant, specifically a hotpot restaurant, and I just love them!  It is rare that I can find them in the local market, but once in a while, they make an appearance in the specialty market and when I see them, I just grab them!

The thing with watercress is that it does not last long, so if I get them in the morning, I have to cook them within the day.  I used to just add them to pork bone soup but this time around I thought of stir-frying them with some salted eggs and century eggs – inspired by a dish hubby and I had recently.

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch watercress, about 300 to 400 grams, trimmed and cleaned
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or according to taste
1 to 2 pieces century eggs, roughly chopped
1 to 2 pieces salted eggs, roughly chopped
dash of sesame oil

Saute the garlic in some oil (canola is what I use).  Toss in the watercress when the garlic becomes fragrant.  Season with salt (take it easy though since the salted eggs will add more saltiness).  Add the chopped eggs and stir fry until the watercress is cooked but still a bit crispy.  Garnish with a dash of sesame oil.  Serve hot.

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Puffy Omelette

It wasn’t supposed to be a puffy omelette. What I wanted to do was make a souffléd omelette, which I saw online from Bon Appetit.

But as you can see, something went wrong with my dish… and I tried to follow the recipe faithfully, too!

The kid took one look and said it looked like a big mouth eating worms!

Uh… not a pretty picture!!!

But, the dish tasted ok… at least!

Hahahaha!

 

 

I AM A FILIPINO ADOBO

When I have time to waste, I always go to the bookstore and browse the cookbook section.  It was in one of those moments that I found a cookbook that I could not resist buying.  It was rather expensive, I admit, but after flipping through the pages, I just had to add it to my collection.

The first time I saw the book, it was the digital version.  With the limited browsing facility of Amazon, it did not interest me at all – there are, after all, MANY MANY cookbooks on Philippine food (both local and international) and most of my recipes were given to me by word-of-mouth.  I honestly did not need another one!

But curiosity got the better of me and with the permission of the bookstore personnel, I unwrapped the book and took a deeper look.  And, I swear, there is something about the smell of the pages, as well as the feel of the paper, that has a stronger appeal than the digital version!  In a matter of seconds, I made the decision to fork over the cash!

What I love about this cookbook is that the recipes are very close to what I have been taught (by word-of-mouth) by my mom, our faithful helper (who was with us since I was a child until after I finished schooling (at age 25!), and other elders.  Another thing that I really liked was that the food titles were in Filipino, with an English subtitle.  I’ve seen Filipino cookbooks (by Filipino authors no less!) who write their recipes with English translations, with the original Filipino title relegated to a sub-title, and I felt offended!

Sigh.

Anyway, the first recipe I tried in the book is the Adobong Manok at Baboy (Classic Adobo).  Why?  Well, because it is almost (almost!) the exact recipe my mom dictated to me a couple of decades ago!

While I have several recipes of adobo, depending on who taught me, this is the easiest to remember so I never wrote that recipe down.  All I have to remember is … ONE.

1 cup white vinegar (Datu Puti was what we had), 1 cup soy sauce (the Chinese favorite with the bird logo), 1 whole head of garlic, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, 1 large bay leaf, 1 kilo of chicken and/or pork, and 1 heaping spoon of guava jelly (though this was optional).  The only other ingredient without a specific measure is the water – basically add enough water to cover everything.  That’s it.

The major difference is that in my mom’s version, there is no marinating the meat.  Just put everything in a pot (kaserola) and simmer until the meat is soft and tender (depending on the pork cubes, it could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour).  That’s it.

Oh, there is another difference… we usually add hard boiled eggs midway!

Yum. Yum. Yum!!!

 

 

Hubby’s Favorite Shrimp Linguini

This is a variation of my mom’s “recipe” for spaghetti sauce, using shrimps.  If I were to follow her “recipe”, it would go like this –

Sauté minced onion (1 medium onion) and 1 head garlic (minced also).  Then add anchovies from 1 small can and 1 large pinch of chilli flakes.  When the anchovies are dissolved (melted is her term), add the shrimps (cleaned and trimmed, of course) and stir fry until the shrimps turn somewhat pinkish.  Then add 1 large of tomatoes and use the spatula to lightly crush the tomatoes.  Let the mixture simmer.  Meanwhile cook 500 grams of linguini according to the package directions.

Season the tomato-shrimp sauce with salt and pepper, or more chilli flakes, and Italian seasoning.  Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Done.

Homemade Char Siew

Char Siew, or Chinese BBQ Pork, also known as Asado locally, is one of my childhood favorites.  There was this place in Chinatown where my mom used to buy char siew – it was the best in town!

These days it is not easy to find good char siew,  It seems like just every Chinese restaurant has its version and it is not necessarily a good one… but there is one place I found, a virtual hole-in-a-wall place relatively near, where the char siew is good enough.  They have good lechon macao (known as roast pork) also.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to make a homemade one and this one seems to be the best – and guess what?  It is not even roasted!

I found the recipe online from a lady who calls herself a “Domestic Goddess Wannabe“.  Her recipe and instructions are very clear, and I followed her recipe exactly!

(well, except that my pork shoulder marinated for about 4 to 5 days!  although I had intended to marinate only for a night, and scheduled the char siew for lunch the next day, something came up and I didn’t have the opportunity to cook it until about 5 days later!)

Verdict?

Success!  Hubby likes it!  It is moist and perfect!

Success!  I like it!  It is easy to make!!!!!

 

Spicy Tuyo Linguini

When I was young, tuyo was preserved by being salted and then dried under the sun.  We would dip it in vinegar with chopped garlic and use it as viand for rice, especially in the morning.

It was good eats, except that to cook it, it was fried and the smell it exuded was… let’s just say the whole neighborhood definitely knew someone was eating tuyo.

Since then I’ve learned that the English name for tuyo is herring.  And these days, it is available as gourmet food, preserved in olive oil.  It was ready straight from the bottle, which I definitely liked!  No more telling smell!!!

Recently though, I discovered that the gourmet bottled tuyo could be made into gourmet pasta!  And it was so easy!

I first saw the recipe by Jamie Oliver (which is easy enough as it is) and I actually made it his way once before, using the dried tuyo.  But a friend told me of an easier way!

Basically, 1 bottle of tuyo in olive oil is good for 500grams of spaghetti.  Saute garlic in some olive oil; then throw in some chopped tomatoes, a handful of chopped .  Dump the contents of the whole bottle into the pan and when heated through, add the cooked pasta.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the top just before serving!

Beef Stew

I don’t usually cook beef and this is probably the first beef dish I ever posted!  This is because hubby does not eat beef.  If he does, unintentionally at that, he gets stomach and digestion problems.

For a while, I joined hubby and by choice, did not eat beef.  But I fell off the wagon (blame BFF… joke!) and while I rarely eat beef (or cook it), once in a blue moon, I do… at least for the other members of the family!

But since I am not used to cooking beef, I needed a recipe to get me started –

One of my favorite cookbooks is The Williams-Sonoma Family Meals:  Creating Traditions in the Kitchen (I liked the book so much that I got BFF her own copy several Christmases ago!) –

wsbook family meals
my copy of the book…

The recipe I used –

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But, if you notice, the color of the stew pictured in the book is more brownish, but mine was more reddish…  I can’t explain it, since I (thought I) was quite faithful to the recipe, with a few changes like using broth because I had no red wine (it was chicken broth, at that!), dipping the beef cubes (brisket instead of short ribs) in seasoned flour before browning the beef, cooking the stew in my magic (thermal) cooker instead of the oven (which meant I had to start cooking very early in the day)…

800 grams beef brisket, cubed
seasoned flour, as needed (optional)
olive oil, for sauteing
1 medium yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, cubed 
2 large potatoes, cubed (instead of parsnips)
1 cup broth (or red wine)
1 small can canned tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste, optional
1-2 pieces bay leaf
1 teaspoon Italian mixed spice
salt and pepper, as needed or preferred

Brown the beef in olive oil.  In the same pan, saute the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Put the beef back in the pan and add the carrots and potatoes, and the broth, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and Italian mixed spice.

Cook until the mixture is lightly simmering.  Transfer to the inner pot of the magic cooker and let the stew simmer for about 10 minutes before putting the inner pot into the magic cooker.  Leave in the cooker for about 4 hours and checking if the beef has been tenderized.

If the beef is still tough, simmer again another 10 minutes and returning to the magic cooker.  In my case, it took me about 10-12 hours to get the beef soft and tender.

Season to taste!

Then enjoy!

Paella Negra

While mine was delicious, it did not look like the ones served in restaurants.  Those were really black while mine were, well, a bit brownish greyish…

And I used real squid ink too.  From about 700 grams of squid, I was able to get more than 1/2 cup of squid ink.  Perhaps I could get better results if I use commercial squid ink paste?  Then again, I don’t know where to get it!

The recipe –

1/4 cup olive oil, or more as may be needed
350g shrimps
700g squid, cleaned, sliced, black ink reserved

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion medium, finely diced
1 medium pimiento, sliced or diced
3 small tomatoes, diced
2 cups, approx 500g raw rice, rinsed
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup squid ink
1 1/2 cups fish or shrimp stock
1/4 cup hot water with a pinch of saffron

2 boiled eggs, sliced into wedges

lemon slices for serving

(In a paella pan) heat half the olive oil. Stir fry the shrimps and squid for a couple of minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add remaining oil in the pan and saute the garlic and onion until soft and translucent. Add the diced tomatoes and pimientos.

Add the rice and stir fry a couple of minutes. Add the white wine, squid ink, stock and hot water with saffron. Stir lightly then cover. Cook on low, low-medium for 20 minutes approximately, stirring occasionally. Check once in a while if more liquid is needed. Likewise, check the seasonings, if needed.

Mix in the shrimp and squid (top decoratively with a few, if desired) and cook another 5 minutes. Garnish with boiled egg slices. Serve with lemon wedges.

Sabaw Itim

When my brothers and I were kids, we called this dish “Sabaw Itim”, literally Black Soup.  To our very young minds, we called it as we saw it – soup because it was so liquid-y and black because it was so dark in color.

sabaw_itim_02

It’s actually chicken braised in soy sauce with mushrooms and boiled eggs.

It was a real favorite and we had it at least once a month!  In those days, the dish was so much more soupier (after all we all wanted the soup/sauce on our rice!) and the chicken pieces were various cuts from 1 whole chicken.  These days, chicken is available by specific parts, and boneless, no less!  My favorite part?  boneless, skinless chicken thigh!

The recipe:

about 600 to 700 grams of boneless chicken thighs (about 8 to 10 pieces)

Marinade:

2 to 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 bulb garlic, smashed
a small thumb of ginger, sliced into matchsticks
2 to 3 pieces large bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
1/4 cup light soy sauce
dash of shao xing wine
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

150 grams small fresh shitake, about 15 to 18 small pieces
(or 60 grams dried shitake, about 15 to 18 small pieces)
4 to 6 pieces boiled eggs

1/2 to 1 cup water (or mushroom soaking liquid, chicken stock)

Mix marinade ingredients together; set aside for a while.

Clean the chicken pieces and slice each piece into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size desired (remember that meat shrinks upon cooking so adjust accordingly).

Pour marinade over chicken and let stand for about 30 minutes.

sabaw_itim_03

Meanwhile, if using dried mushrooms, soak in warm water until softened; drain but keep the soaking liquid.  Cut the stems off the mushrooms (fresh or dried ones). Rinse lightly to remove dirt and grime, if there is any.

sabaw_itim_04

When we were younger, this dish was cooked on the stove-top in a clay pot; it was soupier too. The way I make this dish now is with the magic cooker and with a lot less liquid.

The traditional way:

Smash some more garlic and saute them over low fire until lightly browned and deliciously fragrant! Then dump the chicken pieces and all marinade into the pot. Throw the rehydrated mushrooms in too (IF using fresh mushrooms, add them after 15 minutes of simmering.) Add enough liquid to barely cover the chicken pieces; mix to combine everything. Cook on medium or medium low and simmer until done, about 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of chicken pieces (smaller pieces cook faster). Top up with more liquid if the sauce is reduced too much OR if a soupier dish is desired. About 5 minutes before putting off the stove fire, add the boiled eggs. Adjust seasonings to desired taste. Off fire, add a few more drops of sesame oil. Top with chopped leeks. Serve while hot!

The magic cooker way:

sabaw_itim_05

Just dump the chicken pieces and marinade into the inner pot. Throw in mushrooms and boiled eggs, too. Add 1/2 cup of liquid; mix gently to combine everything (and not mutilate the eggs). Adjust seasonings. Cook on medium or medium low and simmer for 10 minutes (start counting when liquid starts bubbling). Place inner pot inside the outer chamber of the magic cooker. Leave for 30 to 45 minutes. Just before serving, add a few more drops of sesame oil. Top with chopped leeks. Serve while hot!

DISH VARIATIONS – Use firm tofu instead of mushrooms, or use a variety of fresh mushrooms – shitake, button, Korean king oyster, straw, etc.

Or, use pork cubes or ribs instead of chicken.

00_sabaw itim

PERSONAL NOTES –

The soaking liquid of the dried mushrooms is very flavorful, but some find it too strong, in which case use only 1/4 of the soaking liquid and 1/4 cup or more of water or stock. Or omit the soaking liquid altogether.

If using dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid, the sauce of the dish will have a stronger, more pronounced flavor. If using fresh mushrooms, the dish has a more subtle, delicate flavor. It’s delicious either way. Using different kinds of fresh mushrooms gives more dimension to the dish.

The original recipe (from my mom’s files) has 1/2 tablespoon sugar as an ingredient in the marinade but I’ve always skipped it. Also, dark (and salty) soy sauce was traditionally used but I’m happy with my light soya sauce (and hubby is ok with it as well) which is less salty and does not impart a dark brown (almost black) color.

 

Cashew Chicken

A dear friend gave me some cashews.  Now, I could sit and eat the whole bag but my body would not appreciate it so hello Cashew Chicken!!!

I didn’t follow a recipe from a book for this dish.  Instead I tried to recall how my mother made it a lo-o–ong time ago.

As I remembered it, it started with boneless, skinless chicken cubes which were marinated with a bit of light soy and cornstarch.  The sliced ginger was sauteed in the wok, after which the chicken was dumped in to be stir fried.  (I added some leftover baby corn whilie I was at it.)  When the chicken is just about done, in goes the cashews for a bit more stir-frying.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Then IT IS DONE!!!  After garnishing with sliced chives or leeks, it was good and ready to eat!

Yummyyyyy!