Author: The Cooking Apprentice

Hi! I'm Grace and I want to personally thank you for visiting my life's spontaneous moments shared through this website. Humbled by your support in what I do, I hope to continue sharing my passion for an agrarian, humane and sustainable lifestyle.
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Oven-Baked Ground Lamb Scotch Eggs

Since I watched the last episode of Master Chef (currently on FOX Season 3) when Monti Carlo (one of the home cook contestants and…that’s probably not her real name, really?  Monti Carlo, anyway…) made a Scotch Egg on one of the challenges; and actually got great accolades from Chef Gordon Ramsay, I have had an inkling to make them.  Well, today (Sunday) was the day!

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Braised Beef Oxtails with Liver Sauce–Paksiw Na Lechón alternative

I honed in on my native Filipina roots to make an authentic Philippine dish.  This particular recipe does not require banana leaves, but I thought how rustic and comforting it would be for banana leaves aesthetics.  So I made “Paksiw Na Lechón” which in literal translation means “Pork in Liver Sauce”  BUT to make the recipe my way, I substituted the pork for beef oxtails.  And so it is…a 4-6 hour braising process in a dutch oven and not on the stove-top but oven baked.

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Homemade Butter!

So I am going to make this come out as my first product review for a DIY Butter-Making Kit I recently purchased from Williams-Sonoma online. On their website you will find a section called Agrarian, which basically means supporting a lifestyle of healthy living.  You connect a healthy living by the virtues of homegrown and homemade on your table.  It has become my favourite section on their website, almost to a point that I am on that site everyday just ogling at the many items I would like to have.  In my passion for both shopping and eating, I decided that my first ‘agrarian’ purchase would be easy and no doubt, fun and educational to explore.  This is where the DIY Butter-Making Kit came to play…kitchen play, that is.

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Chicken with Herb-Roasted Tomatoes and Deglazed Pan Sauce

I want to emphasize that my style of cooking is ‘free range‘…meaning, I try to make it my own unique style, but with the guidance of a recipe.  So on this note, I found a wonderful chicken recipe from bon appetit magazine with an emphasis on heirloom tomatoes–which I happen to just purchase a few days ago from our local farmers market.  I wanted to use them for something special, so I made a roasted chicken, using these beautiful heirloom tomatoes, a certified organic whole chicken, a variety of herbs and spices for my dish.  Below, I am going to give you the basis of the recipe and ingredients, and give you the option for making my version (as pictured) of the same recipe.

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An evening of fruit tarts

Saturday late afternoon, hubby, my 9-year old and I were invited to a friend’s house to shoot the breeze–both metaphorically and literally!  George, our friend, who was also our realtor when we initially met, (We met George when we were house hunting summer of last year) invited us to come over, meet the girlfriend, meet the family and do some target shooting in their property.  So what does all this have to do with fruit tarts?

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My first Banh Mi

Back in the ’70s I lived in large apartment building in San Francisco, in the corner of Gough and Market.  At least once a week, my parents and I would walk up to the supermarket several blocks away.  There were a couple of things I often took notice of along the way–the Old Mint Building and a mom and pop Vietnamese sandwich dive where from about 11 until 2pm people would line up to get their sandwich fix.  I had no idea what the sandwiches were called at the time, but I do recall a few ingredients that stuck to my mind: shredded lettuce, carrots, cucumber, salt, pepper and a well-seasoned meat, either beef, pork or chicken.  It was seriously the most satisfying sandwiches I ever had.