Adobong Manok at Atay

Chicken and Liver Adobo

My family prefers the pork variety of adobo to the chicken variety. But hubby and B’s lola like liver; and liver cooked adobo-style is especially tasty for them. So, since the other family members do not particularly care for liver, I mix in chicken so that everyone can eat! Win-win, right?

My recipe for Chicken and Liver Adobo is a bit different from our favorite pork adobo, although the basics are similar – adobo is adobo after all.

500 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs
300 grams chicken liver (remove any other attached organs)
5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons sukang puti
1/2 cup chicken stock or plain water, or more as needed
Bay leaf

First thing to do is to mix the adobo sauce together – soy sauce, vinegar and half of the smashed garlic. Let it sit for a minutes while the chicken and liver are being cleaned. I remove the white fatty, slimy thingies from the chicken and slice each piece in half to form chunky pieces. Clean the liver as well and remove any slime, and other non-liver parts.

Marinate the liver in about 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce, and the chicken in the remainder of the sauce. Do not marinate together in the same bowl.

Meanwhile, heat some canola oil in a pan. Flash fry the liver but do not cook all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add oil in the pan, if needed. Sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the peppercorns. Add the chicken pieces (don’t pour in the marinade yet). Stir fry a couple of minutes, until the surface of the chicken is lightly browned. Pour in the rest of the marinade and the chicken stock; add the bay leaf as well. Simmer about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked just about through.

Pour in the liver and simmer several seconds more or until the liver is just cooked. It is crucial not to over-cook the liver.

This is the saucy, soupy kind of adobo. For the other kind – the oily kind, take the chicken (and liver if desired) out of the sauce/soup and sauté for a few minutes in hot oil, adding adobo sauce if necessary. And that’s it!

Now, I have beed asked a few times why I flash fry the liver first and add it again later. Honestly I don’t know the reason. All I know is, that has been the way it has been done in the family. I will admit, however, that at one time I was feeling lazy and skipped the flash frying of the liver and just dumped it toward the end of the cooking. It just was not the same… so even if I was feeing lazy, I didn’t skip the flash frying… instead I would skip the pre-marinating part! 🙂

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

 

 

Corndog!!!

Mine though, is faux!  Faux because I have no cornmeal…

But the little girl loves corndogs.  She likes the one at the weekend market most of all.  She also thinks (for now anyway) that I am the world’s greatest and ablest cook, and as such, can do pretty much anything and everything in the kitchen.  So (obviously) she thought I could make better better corndogs!

Hmmm, well, I told her (truthfully) that I don’t know if I could make better ones, but we (and I do mean the little girl and I) could try!

My biggest issue, like I said previously, was the cornmeal… I found some in our favorite supermarket but… it was so darned expensive!  And I only needed a cup!!!  So, never mind… I had to figure out what else I could use.  It was the little girl who gave me the idea when she said that the corndog was her favorite because it combined the hotdog and the pancake!  Hmmm, so then I decided to use a pancake recipe for the batter covering the hotdog!

My next concern was the amount of oil it would need!  I decided to go the same way as the mini doughnut last week and use the mini hotdogs and the smallest saucepan I could find.

My last question was the recipe for the pancake… I couldn’t use my regular recipe because it’s a thin batter.  I did remember that there was another recipe that I tried and it was a thick one…

Mix together:

2-1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

It worked like a charm, although I had to double dip and fry the corndogs since the little girl complained about the first batch being too thin (“Mommy, why is this not taba (fat)?”)

For this project though, the little girl mixed the batter and dipped the hotdogs but refused to go near the hot oil (she saw the oil sizzling and was afraid it would burn her…)

In any case, the project was a huge success, with the little girl and her playmate M declaring:  I want some more please!  And that was after each of them ate 3 pieces already!

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Once in a while I cook for my mom and when I do, I always try to make the dish no-salt-added.  Why?  Because she developed hypertension early (in her late 30s I think) and since then she has tried to reduce her salt intake.  So her taste buds (and ours, too because she cooked reduced salt for everyone!) favors the blander side of food.

When I cook of course I use soy sauce and other condiments to flavor the dish, but if the dish is for my mom, I would never add table salt or sea salt, or fish sauce.  Of course it goes without saying, we don’t use MSG.

It is not easy to please my mom, but somewhere along the way, I stopped trying.  I just send over the dish and if she has no complaints, then it’s good news to me!

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms, no salt added.

400 grams boneless, skinless chicken wings
12 pieces dried shitake mushroom, rehydrated, reserve soaking liquid
100 grams cooked chestnuts
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
about 8 thin slices of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 pieces star anise
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 to 2 pieces dried chili
3 stalks leeks, sliced diagonally, white and green parts separated
boiled eggs, optional

Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the fatty membranes.  Slice each into 2 or 3 chunks.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of mushroom soaking liquid, half the ginger, half the garlic, star anise, and cinnamon stick.

Saute the remaining garlic and ginger, onion, dried chili, and white part of the leeks.  Add the chicken and marinade.   Add the mushrooms and chestnuts.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  If the mixture seems too dry, add reserved mushroom liquid by tablespoons.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the boiled eggs in the last 3 to 5 minutes, if using.  Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Garnish with the green part of the leeks.  Serve immediately.

The secret to the dish is the very flavorful mushroom soaking liquid!

Marjoram Citrus Roasted Chicken Thighs

One my most favorite chicken dishes! The best part is it is soooooo easy to make. Here is the recipe:

5-8 pieces chicken thighs, with bone
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rock salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1 lime, sliced thinly
1/2 an orange, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram

Rinse the chicken pieces clean and pat dry.
(note re the chicken, if using large pieces 5 will do, for smaller pieces, use 8.)

Mix together the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken in a 9-inch pie plate (I used a glass baking dish), skin side up. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken pieces and make sure that they are well coated. Arrange the slices of lemon, lime and orange all around and even under the chicken. Sprinkle the fresh marjoram all over.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 45 to 60 minutes.

 

Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Cookies

If there is one candy that I cannot resist, it is Snickers Peanut Butter Squared.  It is not all that common locally so when I find them, I hoard!  My problem now is that we have too much and I can’t finish them all!!!  (and Hubby is not a fan of peanut butter…) so… I decided to convert them into… cookies!!!

The original recipe estimated a yield of 4 dozen.  Frankly, I don’t know how all of that would be consumed (even assuming that I was giving half away!!!) so I used only half the recipe (using all butter also instead of a butter-shortening mix) and added a little less than 2 cups of chopped up Peanut Butter Snickers!

1/2 cup butter
3/8 cup each brown and granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/8 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups chopped Snickers Peanut Butter Squared candies

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Stir in flour and baking soda.  Fold in chopped candies.  Drop by round tablespoons (a 1-oz scoop is very convenient) on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375F oven for 8 to 11 minutes.


They are so yummmmyyyy! And the smell that wafted through the house as the cookies were baking – so heavenly!

I was done in less than an hour and the cookies were soft and chewy! The peanuts in the candy provided the crunch while the caramel and nougat in the candy bits provided just enough sweetness! I got about 30 cookies from half the recipe. I’m definitely making these cookies again!  Maybe I will try adding different kinds of chopped candy…

The original recipe is from this book:

The recipe can be found here, with a couple of its variants.

Adobo, My Way

For Independence Day, this dish is perfect.  After all, it is national dish of the Philippines (well, not officially…). Seriously, I don’t know anyone who does not like it, even if everyone has varying preferences – salty, tangy, oily, saucy, mixed, double cooked… as it is claimed, indeed, that there are a million and one ways to cook it.

But the adobo that I like and cook at home these days is one where a bit of my ancestry shows through – with banana blossoms (which some say are really lily buds but that’s another story…)

I also like my adobo with bay leaves and boiled eggs… in addition to being all pork, specifically belly part (although on occasion I also use kasim or pork shoulder), where I try to find ones that have very little pork fat (otherwise we trim off as much as we can). And as much as I like pork adobo, I’m really not a fan of the chicken variant, don’t know why.

Anyway, here is my recipe.  It is pretty standard, although I use my magic cooker –

5 to 6 strips of pork liempo (about 750 to 1000 grams), cut into cubes (we trim a lot of fat off…)
1 whole bulb garlic, cloves smashed
2 to 3 large pieces bay leaves, crumbled
1 cup soy sauce (I use light soy sauce)
1/2 cup native vinegar
a handful whole black peppercorns, lightly smashed
1 cup water
a handful of banana blossoms, rehydrated, tough ends cut off
hard boiled eggs (optional)

Clean the pork and place into the inner pot of the magic cooker. Add garlic, bay, soy sauce and vinegar. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Place the pot on the stove, add water and cook (simmer) over low-medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir only after the mixture has bubbled (initial boil). Place the inner pot in the magic cooker and let it sit for at least 30 to 40 minutes.

Return the inner pot to the stove. Add the banana blossoms and boiled eggs. Lightly stir the mixture. Let simmer about 10 minutes. Return to the magic cooker and let sit until meat is tender – another 30 minutes or so.

Adjust the seasonings. I know some people like a really salty, or a salty-sweet adobo, but personally I like mine adobo tangy and only a bit salty so I’ve been known to add a little more vinegar (the banana blossoms add to the tanginess, too).

Yummmmyyy!!! And perfect with ice cold coke (diet or zero). Where’s the rice????

Tomiyao with Garlic

My first taste of this vegetable was in a famous (local) Chinese restaurant. I found it really tasty – they tasted a bit like bean sprouts but more delicious (my opinion!). I asked the waiter what kind of vegetable it was. He said it was a different kind of bean sprouts. Hmmm…. (felt skeptical and unbelieving since bean sprouts are bean sprouts… might be more logical if they were some kind of sprouts…)

Anyway, I tried to find some at various markets but there was none to be found… until recently! I found several packs in the supermarket nearby! And I asked the “promodiser” what they were. Imagine my surprise when I discovered they were actually pea sprouts (or pea shoots) because I do not like peas at all.

They’re easy to cook too!

200 grams of tomiyao, rinsed and dried
8 to 10 cloves of garlic, smashed
salt, to taste

Saute the garlic in some oil, taking care not to burn the garlic. Throw in the tomiyao and some salt (season to taste). Stir fry until just done, to keep the crunch of the shoots. Serve immediately.

That’s it!!!

 

“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!