Monday, June 04, 2012

Langostinos Valencianos


I've always been fascinated with the richness of culture, history and the sumptous dishes of Spain. What better way to travel through cooking and head our way to the Eastern coast of Spain, Valencia. Langostinos Valencianos. This dish is simple, fresh and colorful. Prawns are quite pricey in the market so I bought the large white shrimps instead.


Ingredients:
1 kilo large shrimps
1 dozen mussels
1 cup tomato sauce
4 Tbsp white wine
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon ginger
olive oil
basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
lemon
chili


Preparation:

Rinse shrimps and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook mussels on hot water and ginger on a separate casserole. As the mussels cook, the shells will open. Remove half of the shell. Set aside the mussels.

Heat pan and pour olive oil. Cook shrimps on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Saute onion, garlic and ginger. Add the tomato sauce and cook until sauce is reduced. Add shrimps and mussels. Add white wine.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chili.  Squeeze some lemon juice. Sprinkle with basil leaves before serving.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Pork Adobo with Coca-Cola


It's been months since I tasted Coca-Cola. It's not healthy, my doctor tells me. It's high in sugar and acid. So I skipped it even when it's tempting during the scorching days of summer. So I thought if I can't drink it, why not cook it?

I decided to go back to my roots and try a Filipino dish. Our local cooking was influenced mostly by Spanish sauces and marinades. The Spanish word adobo means seasoning or marinade.


INGREDIENTS:
1 kilo of pork belly cubes
1 can of regular coca-cola
1/2 kilo of cubed potatoes
4 dried bayleaf
1 tbsp peppercorn
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup water
3 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste


Instructions:

Combine the pork belly cubes, soy sauce and garlic and marinade for at least 1 hour.

Heat the casserole and put in the marinated pork belly then cook for a few minutes. Pour 1 can of coca-cola.  Add the peppercorn and bayleaf. Cook in medium heat then simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

Add vinegar, water and potatoes. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Add salt to taste.

Serve with white rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

French Ratatouille


I have always wanted to try French cooking but somehow the complexity of their food preparation scares me. So I thought I'll try one simple dish, the Ratatouille also known as Provençal vegetable stew or poor man's dish. It's so simple that the vegetables needed are cheap, ample and colorful.

Ingredients:

1 kilo sliced zucchini
1 kilo sliced eggplant
1/2 kilo sliced white onion
1/2 kilo sliced tomatoes
3 red or yellow cored, seeded and diced bell pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 Tbsp white wine
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil


Preparation:

Place sliced zucchini and eggplant in a bowl, cover with water and let rest for 30 minutes. Drain.

Sauté the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil in a skillet. Set aside.

Cook the diced onions with olive oil in the same skillet. Stir in the minced garlic and add salt and pepper. Add diced bell pepper.

Add sliced tomatoes over the onions in the skillet. Cover and cook.

Add the eggplant and zucchini. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of parsley and fresh basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put 3 Tbsp or more of white wine. Adjust seasoning.

Serve with pork chop steak or sauted chicken.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Singaporean Chili Shrimp



It has been known that spicy foods can help speed up your metabolism. The main source of the heat, the capsaicin is responsible for creating this effect because it generates heat and raises body temperature when eaten. Capsaicin is found in jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne, and on other chili peppers. For today's meal I used our local chili pepper, siling-labuyo. Have you ever heard of the saying Great things come in small packages? Well, the siling-labuyo is so small but it produces a lot of heat.

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo large white shrimps
2 small chopped red chili pepper/siling-labuyo
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
1 Tbsp thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
salt and pepper to taste
lemon
basil leaves



Preparation:

Clean, remove the shells and set aside.

In a hot pan add 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of butter, 1 Tbsp of finely minced garlic, thinly sliced onion and finely minced ginger.

Put in 1/2 kilo large white shrimps and cook for a few minutes.

Add 2 small chopped red chili pepper (labuyo) and 5 Tbsp tomato sauce.

Add salt and ground black pepper to taste then squeeze some lemon juice and a dash of basil leaves. Adjust seasoning.

For best results, serve with white wine. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Beat the Heat



I have a splitting headache...a sign that the weather is really hot. 34.5 degrees celcius the weather report says. The highest temperature reading so far of the state weather bureau. That's what the news says. I spent the whole day sleeping and praying that the headache would go away.

When the weather is too hot to handle, I often return to the memory of my adventures at Dahilayan Adventure Park, Bukidnon. I love the comforts of the cool 14 degrees Celcius and the mouth-watering steak served for dinner at Cowboy's Grill. We stayed at those cozy little huts where air condition is no longer needed. I love the smell of the trees, the flowers and even the red earth. A few minutes of walking is just what I need to forget the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Not far from the inn where we stayed is the Dahilayan Adventure Park where you can find Asia's longest zip line about 840 meters. I will never forget my nervous silence while prepping up for the big Superman fly with my brother. I kept screaming while my brother turned deaf after the whole ordeal. My poor kuya...tsk.tsk.
The headache is almost gone now...

Monday, November 07, 2011

Going back to basics


I was making creamy scrambled eggs for breakfast when this image just popped out of my head... me jumping to the sizzling sound of frying. I had Mageirocophobia or the fear of cooking. I would cringe away from the sight of pots and pans. Just kidding. I just don't want all the fuss and the mess. And I prefer washing the dishes rather than cook. It's quite a shock knowing that I can now cook let alone learn how to cook and experiment with ingredients I've never thought of.
I realized when you cook, you just have to keep these basic ingredients:

salt
pepper
olive oil
basil leaves
cheese
parsley

Even the simplest dish like scrambled eggs or a can of sardines would taste better with these basic ingredients. It's just a matter of seasoning. If you season well, you'll end up having a great dish.

Life also provides us with these readily-available ingredients. How do we cook these basic components?

a dash of yourself

When you lose something, it gives you a lot of time of think. It may sound so cliche, but it's true. You learn that everything doesn't always end up according to your plan. So you learn to let go and let God. "If something doesn't work, you reflect on it and then you make yourself better." Words from a friend who shares my zest for life. It's my coping mechanism and a better version I would say. Instead of drowning my sorrows over alcohol, I prefer going out of my comfort zone. Don't get stuck in the same place, clinging on to a past you're not even sure if it's worth holding on to. Realign your goals. Reinvent yourself. Learn a new skill and master it. Go back to your first love - running and writing. Meet new friends and explore opportunities that would make you a better person. With all these, you become better AND you feel good.

a pinch of family

Life is short. There are some things that can't be borrowed. Our parents will not stay with us for the rest of our lives. They too, will get old and wither away. Grab every opportunity to spend time with them while they are still alive. Their wisdom makes sense most of the time especially in this topsy-turvy world.

season with friends
Surround yourself with people who will help you stand up when your face is stuck in the mud. Reconnect with friends whom you've lost contact over the years. Expand your social network. Join a club, a group meditation, or a salsa dance class. Meet new and exciting people.

serve while still hot
While you're still alive and kicking, explore this vast world. Learn something new. Travel. Get to know other people on the other side. Life is an endless source of new experiences waiting to be unraveled.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The thinking cap is on


When should you consider an opportunity?

When it falls on your lap the second time?

Or when all else fails and you need the change of scenery...

I worry too much. I think I need to get rid of some of these samskaras. As my prefect says unless you practice it on your own, you'll never know the difference. Hmm...I need to stick to my night and morning rituals.

How do you know if something you really want so bad is not really good for you? Do you wait for "signs" that would give you the answer? Or do you base it on logic by doing a comparison of the pros and cons?

I came across this one funny article from Bo Sanchez's book. He said people wait for the extra ordinary signs to figure something out when in fact the ordinary signs will give them the answer they need. What do you call that? The art of overlooking the obvious.

Discernment takes time even years for some. I hope I get mine soon...