Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Baked (Shirred) Eggs

Here's another way to cook eggs - by baking!

My baked eggs started with placing tomato slices in the baking dish then cracking 2 eggs on top.  A tablespoon of low fat milk is poured over. The original recipe called for prosciutto but I skipped that.

Grated cheese is then sprinkled on top, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  I added a couple of sprigs of herbs on top.  The original recipe did not specify cheese but I added it in lieu of the prosciutto.

It baked for about 20 minutes then immediately served!  Hubby liked it, commenting that it was interesting, a rather refreshing change from the usual scrambled or fried eggs.

I found the recipe for Baked Eggs with Prosciutto and Tomatoes in this book.

I also found this video for the recipe.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Firm Steamed Eggs with Enoki and Conpoy

Eggs are extremely versatile.  The can be breakfast, lunch or dinner.  And they can be prepared in a lot of ways.  In fact, if someone asked me what item I am never without in the kitchen, I'd say: eggs!

One of our favorite ways to cook eggs is a Chinese dish - Steamed Eggs.  This means that steamed eggs are a common dish in our house, with various fillers, of course.  It could be as simple as is, or a bit more substantial with fresh shrimp and ground pork, or outright lavish and luxurious with crabs!  This particular time, I've used fresh enoki mushrooms and conpoy (dried scallops).

This particular steamed egg dish has a firm texture, which is the kind that I grew up with.  Hubby, on the hand, knows steamed eggs with a soft, delicate texture, which he obviously prefers.  To compromise, we have both kinds alternatively.

To make a firm steamed egg dish, less water or stock is used in proportion to the eggs.  I usually use 6 eggs and 1 cup of stock or water.  Lightly beat the eggs and mix in the water/stock.  The egg mixture may be seasoned, especially if the add-ins are "bland". 

As for the fillings, I add in whatever is on hand, even left-over dinners.  Usually I pre-cook chopped shrimps and ground pork and scatter the bits in a Pyrex dish, then pour in the egg mixture.  This time I used enoki mushrooms that were left over and added rehydrated conpoy (dried scallops) for a special treat.

The dish is steamed for about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the heat used.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Homemade Sinamak

How could I not have thought of it before?

Actually, I did not think of it at all.  The idea came from A-te J.  After trying out the various kinds of suka, and figuring out which I like best, and then deciding to buy Sukang Tuba and Sinamak on my next supermarket day, A-te J told me to make my own.  And when she told me, I actually smacked my forehead!

After all, how hard would it be to make your own spiced vinegar???

A cursory look at the label made me realize that it was totally doable!  After all, if I could make my own vanilla extract, surely I could make sinamak.  A-te J, who hails from the southern regions where sinamak is popular, told me that it was as easy as placing ginger, onions, garlic, peppercorns, green and red siling labuyo (or similar) in a bottle and pouring in my suka of choice (tuba, of course!) and waiting a couple of weeks!  In her home province, they mix their own all the time (they ferment their own suka, too!).  And here's the best part, A-te J says that when their bottle runs low on the suka, they just top it up with more suka and it's good to go!

As for the recipe?  According to A-te J, just dump in matchstick slices of ginger, garlic, and onions into a glass bottle.  Add black peppercorns (I added white peppercorns also) and birds eye chilies (or the local labuyo) with the stalks removed and pour in the suka (vinegar) of your choice (mine is obviously tuba).

So here is my bottle of homemade sinamak -

Now I just have to wait a couple of weeks!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Datu Puti Special Suka Series

I saw these in the supermarket!  They came in a set, sort of a trial pack.

And I couldn't help it, I bought the set.  I wanted to try the various kinds, and this was perfect!  If I didn't like a particular variant, there'd be just a small amount to use up and if I liked a specific kind, I'd go and buy the regular bottle!

Suka, with the stress on the second syllable, is the local term for vinegar (the same term with stress on the first syllable means vomit!).  I'm not really an expert or even halfway knowledgeable about the different kinds because I grew up knowing 3 kinds of vinegar - the American white distilled (Heinz) vinegar, the Del Monte reddish brown cane vinegar and the sukang paombong, vinegar from coconut water, which we got from the nearby wet market.  I only learned about other kinds of suka when I traveled to various provinces - the sinamak I discovered when I went to my mom's home province a good 25 years ago...  the sukang tuba (from the sap of the coconut, same raw material as for lambanog!) when we were given a gift from a local farm... the sukang iloko when we went to Vigan with friends several years ago...  To know more about vinegars, here's a site that I found.

The one that I prefer mostly is still the sukang paombong, although sometimes it's pretty hard to find, so I settle for the sukang maasim of Datu Puti.  My most common use for it is as a dipping sauce (with garlic, onions, etc.) - for inihaw, fried fish, longganisa or tocino or daing (!), or as a cooking ingredient, mainly for paksiw and adobo!  Recently, though I discovered that I like it as an ingredient for bagoong vinaigrette!

Anyway, hubby asked me which one of the set was my favorite.  Obviously, I love the sukang tuba! (almost half the bottle gone!)  followed by the sinamak... And gues what?  I've discovered that if I mix the sukang tuba and sinamak in the ratio of 2:1, it's the best one for me!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

No Beef Batchoy

I do love a good noodle soup.  And batchoy definitely qualifies as such!  Problem?  The beef component... not for me but for hubby... and of course it isn't fair that hubby couldn't enjoy batchoy.  Solution?  Make my own beef-free version!

I thought it would be complicated process but as I discovered, it may be a long process, but it was not at all complicated.  Then again, I couldn't exactly call my version authentic in the truest sense of the word, but hey, I've limitations!

Here's how I made my no-beef batchoy...

For the soup base:

700 grams pork - mixed bones and meaty parts
700 grams chicken - mixed bones and breast parts
1 large onion
1 large tomato
slices of ginger

Parboil the pork and meat to remove the scum, then simmer in 2 liters of water until pork is tender.  Add 200 grams of pork liver and simmer further until the liver is cooked.  Strain the broth and set aside.  Shred the pork and chicken.  Slice the liver into strips.

For the noodles and toppings:

500 grams fresh egg noodles, cooked according to package instructions
chicharon, crushed
spring onions, chopped
toasted garlic
fried shallots
shredded pork
shredded chicken
sliced liver

(Keep the soup stock hot on the stove)
Place some noodles in a bowl, top with all the toppings.  Ladle boiling soup stock over and serve immediately.

For those who have no restrictions on beef, make the soup base with 500 grams each beef, pork and chicken.  Shred the beef as well and add as toppings.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dulong Patties

Dulong, or silverfish, are a very small fish.  They have black dots for eyes and have silvery skin, hence the name.  They are usually cooked into patties and served with ketchup or chili.

The recipe:

500 grams dulong/silverfish
1/2 to 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped onions, scallions, tomatoes, wansoy and/or a mix
juice of 1 calamansi
large pinch of salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 beaten egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Clean the dulong by rinsing in native vinegar (to get rid of any "smell").  Drain.

Mix together dulong, flour, onions, etc., calamansi juice, salt, and pepper; mix well.  Add the egg.

Drop the batter into very hot oil and fry a couple of minutes until the patties are browned and crisped.  Drain on paper towels.

Serve with sweet chili sauce, ketchup, or seasoned vinegar.

For a crunchier patty, substitute half the flour with Japanese panko breadcrumbs.

Yum yum yum!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ube Marbled Cookies

We all have our favorite flavors, be it ice cream, cake, or any other dessert.  While almost every one I know has chocolate for his favorite, mine is ube.  In fact, I always bought ube cake even without reason, except that I wanted one... that is, until I made my own.  And, those who have tasted my ube cake all say that it's the best.  And I like playing around with it.

Ube is purple yam.  While it is a starchy root vegetable, like potatoes, taro, sweet potatoes, it is NOT a potato, taro or sweet potato.  And, although it is a vegetable, we use it in sweets and desserts - ube jam or halaya, ube cake, ube bread, ube rice cakes, ice cream, candy, etc.

As for me, I'm trying it out on cookies!

To be honest, though, I didn't know how to make the cookies.  I knew that I did not want an all-ube cookie.  I thought perhaps an marbled ube cookie would be perfect.  The question was:  make 2 doughs to marble together?  But I thought that would dilute the ube flavor too much that there might not be enough "ube-ness" in the cookie.  Besides, I wanted a simple cookie.  Making 2 doughs seemed twice the work...

It was then that I saw an opened bottle of ube jam from the Good Shepherd Convent in the fridge.  It was more than half full and I thought:  why not use the ube jam to marble some basic drop cookies!?  And to accentuate the ube flavor in the basic cookie dough, I could use coconut extract instead of vanilla...

And the result was quite good!  Frankly I loved how the cookies looked with that lovely purple marbling.  They tasted wonderfully too!  As for the texture, the cookies were the soft type, which we prefer, too...

To make the cookies, I used a basic cookie recipe similar to this recipe but I halved the recipe and omitted the chocolate pieces and the nuts.  After mixing the dough I gently folded the ube jam (a little more than a cup) but only for a few turns, so that the ube jam would not fully incorporate into the dough.  Dropped the dough onto paper-lined cookie sheets and baked them as the recipe instructed.  I got about 36 pieces.  Yum!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oyster Tausi

Hubby and I always order this dish at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  So when I found big, plump, shelled oysters at the newly opened supermarket nearby, I bought about a kilo!  (I plan to make 2 more dishes with the oysters!)

The dish was surprisingly easy to make (it was fast, too!  ready in about 15 minutes or less!)

300 to 350 grams fresh oysters, with liquor

3 thin slices of ginger
1 small shallot, sliced
1 spring onion, minced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pieces dried chili (whole)
1 tablespoon black beans or tausi, rinsed

1 tablespoon shao xing wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
splash of sesame oil
cornstarch slurry

Heat some oil in a frying pan.  Saute the ginger first, then the shallots and spring onions.  When the shallots are soft, add the garlic and dried chili.  When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the tausi (black beans).

Add the oysters, including the liquor and stir around.  Add the shao xing wine and soy sauce.  Stir the oysters to cook evenly.  When the mixture boils, add a little cornstarch slurry (just a little or else the dish might end up being pasty rather than saucy).  Do not overcook!  Remove from the heat and splash a little sesame oil

*I usually sort the oysters and use more or less similarly-sized ones.  This way, the oysters cook evenly.