Shroomy Goodness

On my last trip to the grocery I found mushrooms (brown ones – sorry I dunno what they’re called, they look like small shitake or portabello mushrooms) and I immediately grabbed them. All I knew was that it was a meaty kinda mushroom that I could sauté.

Balsamic Mushrooms

What you need:

  1. Small pack of mushrooms. (BTW this recipe only works for white button mushrooms, brown button mushrooms, portabello, porcini mushrooms and will definitely not work for oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms, tenga ng daga.) Sliced.
  2. Olive oil
  3. 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (use less if you don’t like it too sour)
  5. 2-3 tbsp. white wine (but I didn’t have white wine on hand so I used a rose called lambrusco, the wine is really used just to deglaze the pan)
  6. Italian Herb seasoning (or other dried herb like oregano, basil, thyme, etc.)
  7. Salt & Pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Heat your olive oil in a pan and sauté the minced garlic. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  2. Add in the sliced mushroom. Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste. Mix lightly. Allow to cook for a minute or so.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and mix. Most of the balsamic will be caramelize and remain in the pan. Some of it will be absorbed by the mushroom. Allow to cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the white wine, mix the mushrooms making sure you are able to scrape off the bottom and sides of the pan. Cook till the wine evaporates.

Voila! I love mushrooms. One day I hope to own a mushroom farm just so that I could eat mushrooms whenever I want.

For my dinner, these shrooms accompanied a smoked Bavarian sausage I got at the grocery, red rice and a glass of Lambrusco rose.

Sorry the photo’s blurred and I can’t retake it because I ate it all… hahaha

TIP:

  1. Mushrooms (any mushroom) don’t keep well. So when you get it in the grocery or buy it from the market, make sure you use it within 24 – 36 hours. At 48 hours some types of mushrooms are just gross. You can always just throw them in the fridge and reheat anytime.
  2. The meaty type of mushroom can be eaten raw so don’t worry about undercooking it…though it is a bit of an acquired taste. To test whether you like it or not, cut yourself a slice of uncooked mushroom and eat it raw. If you cringe, raw or semi raw mushrooms aren’t for you, if you don’t cringe well! WOOHOO. I put white button mushrooms on fresh salad 😀 it tastes lovely. Just remember to eat them fresh.

 

 

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Lambrusco Rose

The other day, I gave a lecture and as a token I was given a bottle of wine – a Lambrusco Rose, a frizzante from Marks and Spencer.

Terminology

  1. Lambrusco is a type of grape and also the type of wine which comes from those grapes. Generally it is a sweet wine but the level of sweetness will depend on the specific wine you choose. (So if you are not a fan of bitter or sour wines, the Lambrusco is for you! If you like Novellino, you’ll like this but be warned this is less sweet than the extremely sweet Novellino). This particular bottle that was given to me was made from grapes in the Emilia region of Italy.
  2. Rose (not rose as in a flower but read as row-zey). It’s sort of like a white wine but pink or sometimes called blush. Why is it that way because it’s made from red grapes but instead of letting the juice soak with the skin of the red grape, the skins are removed immediately. So only a blush of color is transferred to the grape juice.
  3. Frizzante refers to a wine being fizzy or as having bubbles. The bubbles are incorporated so that the wine won’t be too sweet. How it gets it’s bubbles are still something I can’t fully understand, I just know that it’s a natural effect of the fermentation process. Also FYI frizzante is a different thing from spumanti and champagne.

Generally though this wine was like soda with a side of drowsy.

 

Wilted & Bitter

At the grocery I made the mistake of picking up mustard leaves instead of pechay… unfortunately aside from putting mustard leaves into sinigang, pairing it with burong kanin (or balaw-balaw as JP’s family calls it) and pickling it in rice water, I had no clue what to do with it. So I consulted my trusty oracle – google. Naturally I found several things…

Wilted Bitter Greens w/ Caramelized Onions

What you need:

  • 2 clusters Mustard leaves, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 small onion (I used red onion but this works best with white onion), sliced
  • 1 calamansi
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • salt & pepper
  • Maggi / Knorr Seasoning

How to

  1. Sautee your onions in oil & butter. Keep the fire on low heat. Add 1 tbsp of sugar to help caramelize the onions. Don’t let the sugar burn.
  2. Once the onions are translucent, add in the mustard leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Add the juice of 1 calamansi (or less depending on how sour you want it to be). Mix everything well. Cover the pan with the lid and allow the leaves to sweat. (Water should be released by the leaves into the pan). Cook until you are happy with how done or raw it is.
  3. Add a dash or two of seasoning and mix before serving.

Disclaimer – I liked this dish, I paired it with my quintessential porkchop. BUT it’s not for everyone. The greens are as the title of this dish suggest,  slightly bitter and you might not like tasting that together with sweet and sour.

Yay it’s YOY!

My mom spent a year in India and while there my relatives over there taught her a couple of Indian dishes. One of the things she learned (which I truly enjoyed since childhood up to now) is YOGURT! 😀

I’m sure there are other ways to make it but here’s how we do it at home.

Your Own Yogurt (sort of)

What you need

  • Full cream powdered milk (Nido, Birch Tree and Sunny Boy come to mind, filled milk won’t work)
  • Water
  • Plain yogurt (unflavored) (We call this the seed yogurt).

How to

  1. Mix 1 glass worth of milk powder with water (follow instructions on the box)
  2. Pour milk into a pot and set to low heat. Bring to a boil. Once the milk froths and the froth reaches the rim of the pot turn the heat off.
  3. Transfer it to a glass container with a lid but keep it uncovered so it can cool off.
  4. Wait around 10-15mins. or until the liquid doesn’t give off steam. The milk should still be warm. Mix in about 5 table spoons of plain yogurt. Mix it well.
  5. Place the container uncovered in a warm place (do not put it in the ref) until it cools completely. When cool, cover the container. Let it sit overnight (about 12 hours). Do not move it around! You’ll know you did it right if the yogurt is solid or semi solid the next day.
  6. Place the container in the ref to chill.

Your first batch of yogurt may not be very silky or firm. That is to be expected. Leave 5 tablespoons worth of yogurt to seed your next batch of yogurt. As you continue this process the quality of your yogurt will improve.

BTW: Always use a clean spoon when removing yogurt from the container so you don’t introduce bacteria in to the yogurt as this will make it spoil.

If you want more yogurt just make more milk and add more seed yogurt!

 

Squashed Squash

Cream of Squash Soup with Oatmeal

What you need:

  1. 1/8th of a small Squash – minced or grated
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. 1 packet of single serve instant cream of (anything i.e. mushroom, potato, chicken, asparagus, etc.) soup
  4. 3 tbsp. of powdered milk dissolved in some water.
  5. ½ cup of quick cooking oatmeal
  6. salt & pepper
  7. Italian seasoning and other herbs
  8. water

How to:

  1. Boil your pumpkin in water just enough so that all the squash pieces are submerged in water. Mix in sugar.
  2. Using a fork and a spoon SQUASH the SQUASH as well as you can. (If you have a blender you can do this at the very end.)
  3. Add in the Italian seasoning, other herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Dissolve single serve packet of cream of soup into the pot. Incorporate well. You’ll see the soup start to thicken.
  5. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add oatmeal and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. The soup will thicken further.
  7. If you want a smoother soup and you have a blender wait till the soup is lukewarm then blend until fine. If you want it finer still, pour the mixture into a sieve.

This makes soup good as one meal. It will be too much if this is just a 1st course.

Variation:

  1. I used the packet of cream of whatever soup as a cheat so that I don’t have to flavor things from scratch. You can leave it out if you want. Add flavor by sautéing garlic and onions with your squash before boiling. Or sautéing bacon or using chicken/vegetable broth instead of water.
  2. Instead of squash use a pumpkin. (Truthfully, I picked up the wrong gourd at the grocery and ended up with a squash instead of a pumpkin.)
  3. Substitute oatmeal for 2-3 tbsp. of flour, or 2 tsp of cornstarch to thicken the soup. Or leave it out altogether for a more runny or watery soup.

Smokey Cauli

Last Sunday I was hungry and I didn’t really have snackable food (save for Oreos na medyo pinagsasawaan ko na) so I decided to just cook a little cauliflower. Normally though, this is a side dish.

Smokey (Cumin) Cauliflower. 

What you need:

  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (or whatever quantity good for one person) – divided into bite size florets
  • cumin powder
  • salt & pepper

How to:

  1. Bring water in a pot to a boil. Dunk in your cauliflower. You’ll know its mostly cooked when the cauliflower turns to a brighter shade of yellow. Cook it some more just to be sure. Drain the cauliflower and set it aside.
  2. In a skillet, sauté the minced garlic in oil and some butter. Add the cauliflower. Add as much cumin powder as you like. Season with salt and pepper.

Variations: At home we’ve used this same recipe swapping out the cauliflower with potato, carrot, singkamas and okra. Cumin lends such a smokey flavor to vegetables and meats it’s added to.

Quintessential Pinoy Porkchop

What you need:

  • 1 pc. porkchop
  • 1 or 2 pcs. Calamansi
  • soy sauce

How to:

  1. Marinade the porkchop in soy sauce and calamansi. Put more soy sauce if you want it saltier, and more calamansi if you want it more sour. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes… it would better if about 1 hour. You can also do this overnight.
  2. Heat a skillet with oil and fry the porkchop with the marinade. Remove when cooked or if you like the skin crispy then fry it a little longer.

Easy breezy! I served my porkchop with boiled red rice and kimchi from the store.

I actually got 3 slices of porkchop for Php70. So for the remaining 2 slices, I decided to marinade them too… for now it’s sitting in my fridge. Stay tuned because I have special plans for them.

 

Next Day’s Lunch: Tuna, Eggplant & Tomato Pasta

First off, I have a single burner stove so… I cook one thing and then the other. If you have more burners then you can cook the pasta and the sauce at the same time.

Pasta

Pasta (Photo credit: HatM)

What you need:

  • 1 can of tuna (either plain or spicy, in water or oil, usually 120-160g),
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • ½ pack (70g) tomato paste
  • ¼ pack (250g) pasta
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

How to:

  1. Boil pasta (use whatever shape you want, but I used spaghetti) in salted water until cooked through or al dente.
  2. Off the fire: In a saucepan combine the tuna (if you want a saucy pasta just add the water or oil the tuna was canned with), tomato paste, diced eggplant, Italian seasoning (if you like your pasta herby, add a lot, if not then add a little), pepper (if you like pepper then go crazy if not then don’t).
  3. When the pasta is done cooking, I add pasta water to the saucepan with the sauce just enough to make sure that the eggplants have enough liquid to cook in.
  4. I put the saucepan on the stove on medium heat (make it hotter or less hot depending on the temperament of your stove just make sure not to burn the bottom of the pan) and mix till the tomato paste is fully incorporated.
  5. Drain the pasta from the water.
  6. When the eggplant is cooked, add the pasta to the saucepan and stir the pasta and sauce together. Adjust the stove to low heat and keep the pan on the stove for about 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool and store in a Tupperware in the fridge.

Truthfully this recipe is best served the next day when the pasta has absorbed as much of the flavor of the sauce as possible. Just pop the Tupperware in the microwave and you’ve got yourself a great tasting lunch.

I brought my pasta to the office fully intent on having it for lunch when JP and his best friend surprised me with lunch at Longganisa Sorpresa in Kapitolyo… so I got to share the pasta with them…

Sorry I forgot to take a photo…so thanks to WordPress for providing copyright free images to jazz up my post! 😀 

Shy of 20: What’s In My Pantry

 

  1. Toyo (Soy Sauce) – a staple in Filipino dishes
  2. Suka (Vinegar) – another staple in Filipino dishes
  3. Patis (Fish Sauce) – an umami miracle maker
  4. Hot Sauce – actually I have 3 different kinds! – simply because I’m hot…um I meant I like spicy foods
  5. Cooking Oil – duh!
  6. Olive Oil – for flavor and pasta
  7. Balsamic Vinegar – mixed with olive oil and spices it’s a quick vinaigrette or dipping sauce for bread
  8. Knorr Seasoning – a magic addition to any thing you cook
  9. Worcestershire Sauce – the only sauce I need for steaks
  10. Margarine
  11. Salt – another duh
  12. Pepper – I love pepper
  13. Cumin – to give meats a smokey flavor and it can flavor any (non green leafy) vegetable Indian style (you can add some curry too).
  14. Curry Powder – add to meat, vegetables, rice… it changes things up.
  15. Italian Seasoning – add to pasta, cream of whatever soup, vinaigrette, herbed chicken, herbed steak, herbed rice…
  16. Broiled Steak Seasoning – I like steak and this is an easy way to marinade it
  17. Chili Flakes – again, I like spicy food.
  18. Sugar – when I need a kick of sweetness in my dishes or drinks
  19. Honey – perfect for when you want to glaze meat or vegetables.

 

What’s In My Fridge

We all have our staple cooking ingredients… here’s what’s in my fridge.

  1. Homemade cold beverages at any one time I’ll have either…
    1. Iced Tea – unsweetened/sweetened w/ honey and maybe with calamansi– tea from China/India
    2. Ginger Tea – unsweetened/sweetened w/ honey and maybe with calamansi
    3. Calamansi Juice
  2. Eggs – poach, fry, scramble, boil, omelet, custard… and so many other ways it can enhance other dishes.
  3. Butter – It’s just wonderful for everything… add to steak, to bread, to vegetables, to rice… yum yum yum
  4. Ground beef – you can make so many things with this, meat balls, burger, Bolognese, chili…
  5. Bacon, Longganisa or Sausage – since it’s processed it keeps longer than other meats plus its already flavored. Cook and serve with rice. Chop it up add it to red or white pasta sauce. Chop it up and sautee with vegetables. Pair it with bread!
  6. Yogurt – Just cause I love yogurt. My mom taught me how to make it (which she learned when she was in India) so I make my own. J Also on a day I feel fat, eating this makes me feel healthy. And it’s also snackable J It can also be used as a dressing for salads J
  7. A Green Leafy Vegetable (lettuce, kang kong, pechay, etc.) – I like vegetables so there will always
  8. Carrots or Cucumber – Highly munchable and snackable. Also it’s easy to turn this into a dish by dicing it up, seasoning it with cumin and frying it.
  9. Alcohol – a beer, a Smirnoff, Tanduay Ice, Gilbeys Green Tea, wine just for when I feel like it. That and these things find their way into what I cook too J
  10. Chocolate J – Just to make me smile if I need to.