Friday, August 28, 2015

Crown Roast of Pork

This was the crowning glory of dinner (pun intended!) when college buds T and S stayed for a night.  I was lucky that a small one (9 bones instead of the usual 12 or more) was available.  It was the perfect size for 3.

I used to think that a crown roast was a complicated affair.  It would be if I had to make the "crown" myself.  But these days, it comes "ready-made", and can even be ordered in advance from the meat shop.  All I had to do was rub the spice mix all over and let it chill a couple of hours.  Then it gets baked (roasted) in the oven for a couple of hours and it's ready!

It would have been nice (definitely prettier) if I knew how to make those little "chef hats" to cover the ends of the bones...

The spice mix I used was a special blend that my mom gave me (she got it abroad in one of her travels). 

The biggest problem that I encountered was how to carve the roast.  I tried 3 different kinds of knives!  The meaty parts are easy enough to slice (the meat is quite tender!) but I keep hitting some kind of bone and short of hacking the roast, I kept changing knives.

In the end, friend T provided the solution... which I have dubbed the Sxxxx-Hxxxxx Maneuver... simply put, hubby held a bone, T held another and they both pulled!


Who needs a knife?  (The meat was so tender we could "cut" it with a spoon!)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ginataang Labong sa Alimango

Bamboo Shoots and Crab cooked in Coconut Milk

Our neighborhood magugulay (vegetable vendor) drops by twice or thrice a week.  Yesterday he had fresh bamboo shoots - already boiled and sliced!  As he says - ready-to-cook labong... 

Although he said he had already boiled them, we boiled them again, in rice washing water until it was tender (but still crunchy!!!).  Then came the question on how to cook them.  Another lively debate... Lola liked them with saluyot (jute leaves in English), A-te likes gata (cooked in coconut milk) and hubby wanted a piece of crab (and no saluyot)!  Well, majority (read as:  hubby the boss) wins and the shoots were cooked in coconut milk with crab!

about 700 grams  labong or bamboo shoots, boiled
and drained
1 small crab (about 350 grams by weight), cleaned and chopped into serving pieces, or use talangka (small shore crabs)
5 to 7 thin slices of  ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cups thick coconut milk
2 to 3 pieces siling labuyo (bird's eye chili)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute ginger, garlic and onion until fragrant.  Add the crab and stir-fry briefly.  Pour in the coconut milk; when the coconut milk is hot (not boiling), add the labong.  Throw in the chilis and season to taste with salt and pepper (I used about 3 large pinches of sea salt).  Let the misture simmer, stirring occasionally.  Recheck the seasonings and when done, serve immediately!  This dish is perfect as rice topping!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

XO Crab Sotanghon

When A-te J bought crabs from the wet market the other day, we had a lively debate on how to cook the crabs...  I wanted the saucy, milky dish like the one at Fuk Yuen.  Hubby wanted the spicy Singaporean-style crab.  Lola wanted just plain steamed crabs.  A-te wanted the dry, stir-fry type.

We ended up with this variation that used X.O. Sauce.

This is really the same recipe as before, with 2 changes - we omitted the pork and added 1 heaping spoon of XO sauce!   The XO Sauce gave the dish a bit of a kick and an enhanced flavor profile.  The omission of the ground pork was good too since the crab flavor was better (no interfering flavor?)

Hubby said this was the best version yet!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter

My brother recently gave me a big tub of roasted peanuts.  While I am an avid fan of nuts, my recent affliction of migraines has me banning peanuts in large amounts.  Hubby does not like peanuts and neither does the little girl, except for peanut butter.  So what do I do with all those peanuts?  Transform them into peanut butter... but with chocolate!

The ingredients I used for my chocolate peanut butter spread...

Thank goodness for food processors... they make peanut butter easy!  5 minutes of whirring 200 to 250 grams of roasted peanuts and it's quite done.

Add 100 grams melted dark chocolate... and maybe a tablespoon of sugar or honey (or to taste)

and viola!  Chocolate Peanut Butter!

I have been eating this off a spoon... as has the little girl.  We love it!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Faux Scallops...

I'm always on the lookout for the giant mushrooms in the weekend market!  This time around, however, the mushrooms were not-so-giantish...  definitely bigger than the regular ones, but by no means as big as the one I got a couple of months ago.

I followed a friend's suggestion and made 2 dishes from the mushrooms...

the first one a simple saute dish of sliced mushroom caps, ground pork and shrimps in XO sauce...

The second dish?  The highlight of hubby's lunch... faux scallops in garlic and butter!

Slice the mushroom stems into rounds.

Over very low heat, melt butter and cook finely minced garlic until the garlic is lightly browned and crispy.  Put the sliced mushroom stems in the butter and cook gently.  Season lightly with sea salt.  When the edges of the mushrooms are lightly toasted, remove from the pan and serve immediately!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ginataang Manok, Kalabasa at Malunggay

(Chicken, Squash and Moringa leaves cooked in Coconut Cream)

Nobody ever believes me when I say that there are days when I (definitely) do not want to cook.  And, even when they understand that I have no-cook days, they certainly don't believe that I sometimes take out food from a turo-turo (literally point-point, referring to a small eatery where the customer simply points to the already cooked food to indicate his choice).

This is one of those dishes that I first encountered in a turo-turo...  and I loved it!

I've tried to recreate it a couple of times but failed - somehow the flavor profile had always been wrong.  Until someone gave me the brilliant idea of using patis (fish sauce).  Ok, this is a dish that I would never, ever had succeeded at considering the patis ban in my kitchen.  But having authentic Thai patis is an exception!  It turns out the secret to the dish is the patis!

3 thin slices of ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium Spanish onion, sliced thinly
800 grams chicken legs, rinsed and cleaned
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 wedge of kalabasa (about 1/8 of a big one or 1/4 of a medium one), peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons patis/fish sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
handful of malunggay leaves (Moringa)

Saute the ginger, garlic and onion until fragrant.  Put in the chicken to brown; season with a large pinch of sea salt.  When the chicken is lightly browned, pour in the coconut cream and stock.  When the mixture boils, add the cubed kalabasa.  Season to taste with patis, sea salt and pepper.  Simmer until the chicken and kalabasa are almost done (I like it when a bit of the kalabasa melts into the sauce).  Throw in the malunggay and let simmer a couple of minutes more.  Serve hot over rice!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Up and Down Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I was a bit stressed the other day and decided that I wanted to bake.  I was at a loss for what though, since I did not have much time.  For some reason, I thought of muffins... but then I wanted a bit of pizzazz so off I went to look in the library. 

I found Lemon Slice Muffins.  They were cute and intriguing, so that was it... but since I still had some blueberry filling left over, I decided to add it and make the kind of muffin that could be served right side up or upside down!

Right side up after removing the pan from the oven...

Upside down, after the muffins were removed from the muffin pan...

A peek at the inside of the muffin...

I found the recipe in this book...

and later found it online here.

As usual, I made some changes.  For one thing, I did not cook the lemon zest with sugar and butter, I just added everything together.  I used vanilla sugar and added about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract to the mix.  After spooning the batter into the muffin tin, I swirled in a teaspoon of blueberry filling.

Hubby found the muffins a bit tart, but that is to be expected.  I like it and so did some impromptu guests!