Thursday, August 30, 2012

a simple & light kitchen! kitchen!

A simple light brunch of Wasa's crisp'n light 7 grain crackerbread
with slices of lean roasted turkey, slices of jazz sweet apples;
baby arugula and home made jalopeno mayonnaise dressing.
All for 197 calories with fresh brewed coffee!
A lip smacking good brunch...without the guilt!
For the home made jalopeno mayonnaise:
2-3 pieces of jalopeno very finely chopped
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
a bit of salt or none at all!
Mix thoroughly

You may substitute the crackerbread with any toast of your choice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lamb kitchen! kitchen!

Don't you just want to devour these lamb chops right off the photo! I wish!
A sinfully tempting dish of seared lamb chops with sauteed mushrooms
and grilled red potatoes on a bed of baby arugula.
So easy to make, that it only took me a good 20 minutes!
Here's the trick!
(Serves 2 )  or 1 if you're really mad hungry!
2 pkgs. of baby chops ( 5-6 small chops each package)
6 small red potatoes
1 sm. pkg. of mushrooms
2 cups of baby arugula
1 choppped shallots
1 teaspoon flour in 4 tablespoon water with sour cream/thoroughly mixed without lumps
1/4 cup white wine
Kosher salt/black pepper
Olive oil
Boil the potatoes ahead of time and let it cool completely and make sure it is well salted -
Cut in half after it has cooled and brush with olive oil - this will be grilled on a grilled pan while you are prepping the lamb chops about 3 minutes on each side just to get the grill marks.
When you're comes the easy one!
Sear the lamb chops on a very, very hot large cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
On the same pan, add a pat of butter; sautee the shallots until soft, add the mushroom; season with salt and pepper, add the wine and stir for a minute or 2. Then add the flour mixture stirring constantly until well incorporated. To thin the sauce add more wine. Taste for seasoning.
On a large serving platter make a nesting of the arugula; arrange the chops to your liking, add the grilled potatoes and lastly add the mushrooms sauce over the chops.
Now, you're ready to devour those delicious chops!

Monday, August 27, 2012

caponata & jersey tomatoes! kitchen!

Caponata of fresh jersey tomatoes and baby eggplants.

I have not made caponata in a long while, and with the summer abundance of jersey tomatoes and young and firm baby eggplants, I decided to do one. I simply googled on a "Classic Caponata". I did substituted some ingredients. but there is no reason that you shouldn't follow the classic recipe unless you are feeling kind of adventurous like me.

Here is a list of some of the key ingredients that I substituted:
Classic recipe:

1- 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes  - Instead I roasted 8 luscious medium size ripe jersey tomatoes, salted and some sprinkling of olive oil for 40 minutes in the oven along with 6 cloves of garlic with the skin on. After it cooled - I removed the skins of the tomatoes and roughly chopped them. I did the same with tha garlic. Transfered them to a bowl with juice and all the bits in the pan.

Wine Vinegar - I used a good balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of good white wine

Simmer for 12-15 minutes until cooked - I simmered the dish for 15 minutes on the stove top and continued to simmer it in the oven at 350F for another 30-40 minutes until completely cooked and soft. I did this to avoid the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan and thus avoid the constant stirring. Becaused I used young firm baby eggplants, it took longer to cook.

It's great topping on fish, meat and just about on anything!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

summer vegetable kitchen! kitchen!

A frittata of summer vegetables
A layering of summer vegetables of baby eggplants,
zucchini blossoms, lemon basil,
and some wonderful sun dried tomatoes from Todaro's and toasted pine nuts.
I actually got this idea when Fauziah, a friend (and another foodie) posted an aubergine quiche on fb (thank you Fauziah for posting those delicious dishes on fb). Gosh it looked so divine and sinfully delicious. So, I said to myself, I will make something like that but it will be a frittata since my son prefers it over quiche to skip the dough. Although one of these days, I will make a similar quiche. It is so easy and I served it cold as an appetizer when I had Halina and Mieszko over for an impromtu dinner. For recipe, check my previous posting on frittata and use the listed ingredients or your own summer vegetables of choice.

8-10 large eggs- beaten
1/2 cup of shredded Montasio cheese mixed with 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan reggiano cheese
Some lemon basil (or Italian basil) torn roughly
4-6 zucchini blossoms **optional
2 small eggplants sliced and roasted
4 pieces of good sun dried tomatoes sliced (reserve 4 halves to put on top)
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts to scatter on top

Serve warm or cold with a dressing of mayonnaise pesto, salsa verde or as is. It's sinfully delicious.

Friday, August 24, 2012

kitchen! kitchen's lunch after a great Holmdel Park

A 15 acre Holmdel Park
The starting point of my nature walk

Then into the woods where nature boast its' beauty and bounty.

The trail starts to get challenging and my heart rate begins to climb

One of my trusted companions- a bottle of water along with  my ipod
I come to a clearing......hmmmm looks very uphill...
Another mile walk to reach to the other side

Then I saw a friend....Mr. Bench....let's forget about Lady Liberty for now,
A desperate need to rest my tired feet and throbbing knees.

A turkey sandwich on toasted wheat potato bread with thinly sliced apples,
flat leaf parsley, and home made dressing.
Made my 4.12 miles walk worthwhile!

Looks like my feet after the walk! I am doing this again on Sunday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

haddock and the summer kitchen! kitchen!

Haddock and the summer vegetables of zucchini and cherry tomatoes.
Pan fried haddock smothered with roasted summer cherry jersey tomatoes and
roasted garlic nestled on a blanket of paper thin sliced zucchinis.
Perfection for a light and delicious summer meal.
 Easy to prepare and a truly perfection for a delicious light summer meal. Samaha market is brimming with the summer vegetables such that it is quite difficult to decide what to get. There were about 3-4 varieties of everything. The zucchinis looked so freshly picked, and the cherry tomatoes are so red and sweet and inviting. Perfect for what I have in mind for a light dinner.

1 container of sweet cherry tomatoes
2 medium size fresh young zucchinis
6 cloves of garlic with skin on
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup or more of a good white wine
Kosher salt/black pepper
2 medium haddock fillet cut into 3's and season with salt & pepper

Thinly sliced the zucchinis in a mandoline about 1/8" thick or in a food processor slicer. Sprinkle with a little salt; drizzle some olive oil and set aside in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degree F
On a small baking sheet lined with foil, spread the tomatoes and cloves of garlic (with the skin on). Sprinkle with olive oil, some white wine, and salt. Roast for about 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes start to get mushy and starting to carmelize. Remove the garlic and peel the skin after it has cooled. Transfer the roasted tomatoes, juice and all into a deep pan; mashed the roasted garlic and add to the pan. Add some olive oil and a teaspoom of sugar and stir. Let simmer on low heat. Check for seasoning.

On another skillet heat some olive oil and pan fry the haddock on both sides until golden. About 2 minutes on each side.

Take out the zucchinis and transfer them to a deep serving platter; sprinkle some olive oil: add 1/3 of the roasted tomatoes on top of the zucchinis. Place the pan fried haddock on top and add the rest of the roasted tomatoes on top of the haddock.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ham, apples, and kitchen! kitchen!

It's not green eggs, and ham, but apples, figs, and ham!
And how about some boiled baby potatoes and creamed mushrooms
to go with it!!! Dr. Seuss will be so envious.

Baked ham slathered with sauteed apples and figs sweetened with honey.
A perfect rhyme for your table!

I seem to be gearing up for fall, with all this comfort food that I seem to craved. Apple picking is just around the corner, if you think about it. Although I still want to hang on to summer, I do longed for fall.
This longing is sometimes reflected on what I prepare. Like my apples, figs and ham. It is quite easy. Have your deli or butcher sliced an inch thick of ham and follow the instructions on my previous posting of smoked pork chop.

Serves 2:
Creamed mushrooms:
A package of sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup of sliced green onions/or flat leaf parsly coarsley chopped
Kosher salt/black pepper
2 tablespoons of sour cream or cream fraiche
1-2 tablespoons of flour (for thickening)-Add the flour to the sour cream with 1/2 cup water and mix until smooth (set aside).
1 large shallots sliced
2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan
Sautee the shallots until soft; season with a pinch of salt; add the mushrooms and stir for about 5 minutes until cooked; add the sour cream/flour mixture and stir thoroughly until well mixed. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Apples and Figs:
1 large gala or granny smith apple- cored and sliced to about 1/4" thick
A juice of half a lemon
1 or 2 sage leaves
2 large dry figs sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
A good squirt of honey (according to desired sweetness)
1 teaspoon of sugar
A tiny pinch of salt
Melt the butter in a large pan, add the apples, lemon juice, figs, and the rest of the ingredients except for the honey until the apples and the figs start to carmelized; then add the drippings from the ham; add the honey and continue cooking on medium low for another minute or so. Add the sage leaves just before you shut off the flame. Drizzle over the ham.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

braised breast of kitchen! kitchen!

Braised Breast Of Veal
Braised with sparkling Shiraz wine and stuffed  with
manchego cheese and french brie.
It's comfort indulge in even in the summer!

Breast of veal is the most ignored and least expensive of the veal cuts. But don't let it fool you, because it is one of the most suculent meat to indulge yourself in and worth forgetting your diet for a bit! It could be the tenderest and tastiest, if you treat it right. You could also order a breast of veal deboned from your butcher.They will tie it for you for easier brasing. But why bother with the extra expense? I braised my breast of veal with bones and all. It is so decadent and almost sinful!

1 Pkg. of breast of veal
baby carrots
celery stalks - cut up in large piece
*mushrooms would be lovely to add to this - but I was out of mushrooms -nada*
sprigs of thyme  - optional
sprigs of rosemary - optional
1 medium onion quartered
4 cloves garlic - cut in half
Kosher salt/Black pepper to season the meat well and all over
1 tablspoon amazing dry rub to sprinkle on top of the meat
2-3 cups of Sparkling Shiraz - or champagne; or Reisling
3 oz. of brie cut in cubes
2 oz. of manchego cheese cut in cubes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Trim off some of the fat and remove the ligaments from the meat (as much as you can or as little as you can -let your mood dictate).  The meat has a little pocket between the ribs and the top part of the meat- insert some onions and garlic inside -season the inside of the pocket too.
Season well and heat a large cast iron pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Brown all sides about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the meat and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste; mixing and stirring the pan for those bits and pieces left after the browning. Add 2 tablespoons of butter (optional), Pour the 2-3 cups of sparkling shiraz and return the meat to the pan and let simmer to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Pour some of the liquid from the pan over the meat. Add the baby carrots, rest of the onions; garlic, celery, and herbs. Let simmer and cover with aluminum foil and braise in the oven at 325F for 3-1/2 hrs. After 3 hrs. take the pan out, uncover it and stuff the 2 cheeses pushing slowly with a spoon into the pocket of the veal (be careful because the meat will be very hot). Put the cover back and continue braising  for another half hour or until the cheese starts to ooze out of the pocket. 

Serve with boiled baby potatoes, some green salad, and a glass of the leftover sparkling shiraz of course!

* to my readers in places where braising means using up a lot of electricity or gas or your are in a rush, I suggest that you cook the meat first in a pressure cooker to make the meat fork tender before doing all the steps described. Then you may only braise the meat in the oven for an hour or or less.*

Friday, August 10, 2012

"man hungry" for smoked pork kitchen! kitchen!

Smoked pork chop  with mushroom in a cream sauce
and baby golden potatoes simply boiled.

Golden smoked pork chop that would delight anyone even a "man hungry"!
I have not done smoked pork chop for a while, and if I ever do, it's normally reserved in late fall or winter. But, then the craving stepped in when Wolfgang asked me how to prepare smoked pork chop. Having a cooking blog, family and friends tend to ask me how to prepare this or that. Wolfgang's pork chop was a success. So a trip to Delicious Orchard was planned to get this wonderful smoked pork chop to satisfy my own cravings. The chop I got was 1.56 lbs. with just the right amount of fat in it....and quite a big guy too! I know it would be enough to serve 2, but just to be prepared, I got 2 chops. The second one was a smaller piece.

How I prepared my smoked pork chop:
1 piece - 1.56 lb
Preheat oven to 400 F
Put the chop in a baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter and completely cover with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes (if baked at 350F - it would take about 30-40 minutes)
Uncover and broil for a minute or so to brown both sides. (Put another tablespoon of butter on top when browning)...(another option: you may also brown each side on a pan).
Serve with cream of mushroom sauce and mashed or boiled potatoes.
(google for cream of mushroom sauce).
I'm glad I did not have to wait for the cold weather to set in. The dish was delicious!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

dry adobo.....a tribute to my mother and my kitchen! kitchen!

Dry Adobo On Sweet Yellow Rice

Dry Adobo On White Jasmine Rice

A dish of dry adobo, one served on sweet yellow rice and
the other served on white jasmine rice both sprinkled with
toasted garlic. It is to die for!

I don't know where the "dry adobo" originated from, but I remember when I was young that my  mother and our eldest sister Patring makes this. I think this dish is also one way of extending it's flavour. This dish seems to get better each day. As a tribute to my mother and my sister Patring, who were both absolute and excellent cooks, I decided to make it. My sister had my mother's talent in the kitchen and my father's brains for business. My niece Pam, came to NJ for a visit along with her daughter and my sister Cora. She was the one who imparted her mother's recipe for "Patring's adobo", as we call it and my sister's own version of course. But, I've always wanted my mother's dry adobo. I could literally taste it in my mouth everytime I think of it. So with my sister's recipe of her classic adobo I was able to duplicate my mother's dry adobo. Talking about 2 in one. The technique of turning the classic adobo into the "dry adobo" defers from region to region or from cook to cook. My technique is a bit time consuming. However, you can achieve the same result by doing the classic Filipino adobo. And this could either be chicken, pork, beef or any meat for that matter. The classic recipe involves a lot of garlic, vinegar, soy, etc. So for a recipe, google "Filipino Classic Adobo" and let it simmer until the liquid evaporates and allow the meat to brown and carmelized. If the meat starts to break down while the liquid is evaporating, take the meat out until the liquid is completely gone and put the meat back into the pan to brown and carmelized. Add a little vegetable oil or olive oil to keep the meat from drying out.
Serve with mango salad.
Meat Suggestion:
Pork - use pork belly
Beef - use the part with some fat in it
Chicken - use dark meat, like thigh, legs, and wings

Friday, August 3, 2012

fish fillet encrusted in shredded kitchen! kitchen!

Fish Fillet Encrusted In Shredded Potato

With Sauteed Apples And Sour Cherries
(This dish was inspired by Jacque Pepin on one of his cooking shows)
Well, I said to myself, I could do that and make it my own, so I did.
This dish is so simple to make yet lusciously delicious and satisfying. The interplay of the crunch of the potato as you make your first bite - then the fresh sweet taste of the fish, and the sweet and sour taste of the sauteed apples and sour cherries lingers with you - making your eyes roll with satisfaction. Looking at this dish, you'd think that I labored for hours in the kitchen. Truthfully, not at all! I made this in less than an hour. This dish serves 2.

Fish Fillet Encrusted In Shredded Potatoes:
3 medium size white fish fillet (any white fish like cod or haddock) - cut into 3's depending on the size of fish...season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle a tablespoon of flour; set aside.
1 egg beaten
1-2 large russet potatoes - shredded; squeeze out the water and set aside in a large bowl. (do not salt the potatoes or you will draw out more water from it). Add a tablespoon of flour to the shredded potatoes; add some roughly chopped flat leaf parsley and the beaten egg. Mix thoroughly.
Heat a large cast iron pan with 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and preheat your oven to 375F.
Gather about a tablespoon of the shredded potatoes and flatten it on your palm; put one piece of the fillet on top and cover it with another layer of shredded potato and pat lightly. Just like making a sandwich. Slowly drop the encrusted fish into the hot oil to brown and cook. Wait for the sides to turn golden brown before slowly flipping it. Takes about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer all the browned potato covered fish into a lined baking sheet; sprinkle some salt and bake for another 10 minutes to continue cooking.

Sauteed Apples and Sour Cherries Salsa:
2 Gala apples or granny smith - cored and cut in cubes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped dried sour cherries
2 tablespoons butter
A dash of salt
A squeeze of half a lemon
1 tablespoon of sugar
a dash of nutmeg
A drizzle of Calvados (apple brandy) ---optional
Use the same cast iron pan used on the potatoes. Remove the oil and add 2 tablepoons of butter, followed by the apples, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix until the apples have carmelized and browned a little. Drizzle with Calvados and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add a small pat of butter and stir. Serve over the encrusted fillet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ladles and kitchen! kitchen!

Ladles And Spoons
As part of my blog, my love for unusual and old kitchen tools.
A collection of wooden ladles and spoons
Some of the primitive antique collections are from the Philippines's mountain province
where handles are intricately carved. These ladles are hanged in the kitchen and
 the smoke coming from the hearth causes the ladles and spoons to blacken
over time and the result is this beautiful patina. The natives of the mountain province 
take pride in their craftsmanship.
The newer ones are from Africa, just as beautiful and intricately carved from
a solid wood and the handles often decorated with animal bone.

Primitive yet intricately carved handles
of the finest hard wood. A beauty to behold.
These small spoons were collected by my niece Stephanie
who in turn gifts it to me on her yearly visit here.
The origin of these simple but beautifully carved
and decorated spoons is Africa.