Every now and then I miss the sight of seeing my hubby cooking up something French and delicious in our kitchen, so I actually didn’t ask if he wanted to cook lunch, I told him (nicely) to cook lunch. Originally, wanting to try a new cookbook I found from Home Goods–a favorite pastime hangout of mine that was simple enough to hone into what I call my baby-steps French cooking skills. I knew the ingredients had chicken, mushrooms, wine, etc. in it but as I referred back to the cookbook, I did not realize that it was Coq au Vin I wanted to make! And so, as usual, the art of substitution came to play for some of the ingredients that we didn’t readily have available…and once again, created a dish that still retained its originality, but with some personal added touches along the way.
Making butter is quite easy: heavy cream needs to be shaken or beaten to a point where the buttermilk and butterfat separate. This can be done in an old-fashioned churn, by shaking the cream vigorously in a jam jar for about 30 minutes (See my last post about a butter kit I purchased), or by the easiest method–I am happy to share, a stand mixer. Just don’t leave it unattended as the separation of butterfat and buttermilk happens instantly within 20 minutes time.
I was excited to try my new cookbook ‘macaroons‘ 30 recipes for perfect bite-size treats so I flipped through the pages and thought to find the ideal and most delectable treat to bake–well, I was hopeful anyway. So once again, off to our kitchen pantry I go, as well as, to the refrigerator , taking out everything I need. Everything was going smoothly BUT somewhere along the way, the texture of the meringue just didn’t look right. Instead of a thick, ribbon-like consistency, I got more of a cookie dough texture. Not sure where things went wrong, but rather than tossing everything out and starting over, which I would never do, I simply scooped the cookie dough-like meringue onto the baking sheets and followed the remaining instruction for the meringue recipe from the cookbook. The results, well…you tell me 😉
I was really in a mood for cooking another authentic Filipino dish. So for dinner the other day I made a combination of two of my favourite components (or dishes) and blended the two together making one scrumptious entrée.
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!
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.
I woke up this morning with a mentality of kitchen play. I had a lot of fruits in the fridge and always a pantry full of baking ingredients. My idea was to make pies in jars because I had a lot of mason jars just lying around in the garage. I set everything up–mise en place and was rearing to go.
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.
One day my curiosity peeked for yet another culinary adventure in the kitchen,–this time it was for Panna Cotta. So I immediately did some research and found tons of recipes! Overall, I never imagined how easy it would be to make my own…so off I went to the grocery store to buy all the necessary ingredients to make this rich and beautiful dessert.
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.
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?
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.
Greek food is definitely on top of my list, where the emphasis on a typical meal is very much tailored to the use of fresh, seasonal produce, combined with a blend of a leisurely, sociable flair that is often enjoyed in the open air.
I’ve only tried to make this recipe once before and love it! The first time was a semi-success, despite how half of the stuffing came out and the sense of nervousness upon trying out what looked to be a complicated dish. This time I felt less nervous about making this dish and also bought a slightly larger flank steak. With all baking aside, one thing you will learn about my style in cooking is that I don’t quite measure anything. As long as I have all the right ingredients, and even if I didn’t, I just go with the flow of things. I like to experiment with taste as I imagine most home cooks like me do. Thus on this note, below is my personal recipe for this classic Filipino dish.