Recipes

Friday, December 30, 2016

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Copyright LtDan'sKitchenBlogs.com 2016
The recipe hailed from the original Queen of Food Porn, Nigella Lawson in her cookbook Forever Summer. However, I had to do some minor tweaking to her original recipe as the amount of noodles she specified seems to need a little bit more dressing. Maybe it is an Asian thing but we like our noodles to be swimming in gravy. 

Although the recipe is wonderful in itself, I just felt it also needed more to make this dish more substantial in terms of texture and flavor. Since I made this two Christmases ago when avocados were available, I figured the addition of chunks of avocados and cucumbers will complement the dish without really changing it completely. It turned out that it was indeed a good match and for lunch on a hot day, this will be the perfect healthy meal. 

Cold Soba Noodle Salad - Adapted*

1 8-oz soba noodles
1 medium avocado pitted and diced
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
5 scallions, sliced thinly

Dressing:

2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
5 tsp good quality soy sauce

1. Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients. Set aside. 

2. Cook the soba noodles as per packet instructions. Once cooked, shock them
    in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain in a large colander. 

3. In a small bowl, combine the avocados and cucumber and add enough 
    dressing just to coat them. Set aside. 

4. To assemble, transfer the noodles into a large bowl and season with the 
    dressing. You may not have to use all of it if that is your preference. Toss in 
    most of the scallions and most of the sesame seeds.  

5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the avocados and cucumber. Garnish 
    with the remaining sesame seeds and scallions. Serve immediately. 
 
* Lawson, Nigella, Forever Summer, Hyperion Books, New York: 2003.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Stove-top Pot Roast

Copyright by LtDan'sKitchen.com 2016
Christmas has always been a big part of my family's traditions and we usually celebrate it on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve was more of going to Midnight Mass and having a light snack in preparation for the big event the following day. It was no different this year and although my Mom has been gone for almost 10 years, I try to keep our family traditions alive. 

For this year's celebration, I wanted to go a different route and celebrate Christmas by cooking festive foods from all around the world. My soup and fish course were adapted from Sophia Loren's cookbook based on her family's recipes in Italy. The desserts are Filipino in terms of origin although they have been both updated. The roast chicken is typically American while the beef stew was supposed to be Greek in origin but I ended up buying a pot roast cut of beef so I had to go American. My inspiration was Ina Garten's recipe for a Company Pot Roast. It is funny to note that the label on the meat that I bought read "Fat Roast". Considering that I do not have a Dutch oven, I cooked this pot roast in a large pot over charcoal but you can totally prepare this on a gas or electric burner.   

Stove-top Pot Roast

6-7 lbs beef (butt or pot roast cut)
2 white onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 bay leaves
5-6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup pitted green olives
1 32-oz canned whole tomatoes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb peeled baby onions
1 packet fresh parsley (3-4 stalks)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cups beef broth
2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup flour

1. Tie the beef with butcher's twine to hold its shape during the cooking process. 
    Season with 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Dredge with the flour and set 
    aside. 

2. In a large pot over medium high heat, add about 4 tbsp of olive oil and sear 
    the beef on each side for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. 

3. Remove the seared meat from the pot and add the garlic, celery, bay leaves 
    and the diced onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. 
    You may have to add more olive oil when it gets too dry. 

4. Return the beef to the pot and add the red wine, broth, the dried herbs and 
    the parsley. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Once 
    boiling, lower the heat to low and simmer covered for an hour. Check and add 
    more water when needed. 

5. Add the tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Rotate the meat to ensure 
    even cooking. In a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, saute the baby onions until the 
    skin is browned. Add to the pot with the carrots and the olives and simmer 
    for another hour. Continue to rotate the meat to make sure it is tender on all 
    sides. Add water sparingly at this point to thicken the sauce.

6. Once the meat is fork tender, check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. As 
    a final touch, add the butter. 

7. To serve, remove the wilted parsley and ladle the vegetables on the sides of 
    a large serving tray. Cut away the butcher's twine and position the meat in the 
    center and spoon the sauce all around. Slice into desired thickness. This goes 
    well with mashed potatoes or rice pilaf. 

The Revival

It has been almost a year and a half since I last posted on this blog. It does not mean that I stopped cooking or baking. That is something that will never happen. I just had to deal with a few more important things in life besides blogging. Over the past couple of years, I had to juggle a full time job as a Professor in Chemistry while taking care of my elderly Dad during the weekends. Something's got to give and it was the blog unfortunately which had to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

So what changed? Nothing really. It's just that I missed blogging and I decided that maybe I needed some time to devote for myself every now and then and whether it means I spend more time with friends, family or blogging, then so be it. Given this drive, I will try to post at least one recipe per month considering that I have amassed quite a lot of unwritten recipes over the last 15 months. 

Here's to 2017 and more blog posts. - Dan

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Butter Tarts

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I was fortunate enough to grab hold of organic pecans although it was more of a favor as my friend wanted me to bake pecan pie for her family. I didn't mind as I wanted to test if my pie recipes help up to the more humid climate here in the Philippines. I'm glad to say it held quite beautifully although it was not much of a big surprise as pecan pies are very popular in the Southern part of the USA which is also quite humid most time of the year.

Anyway, as with most recipes, I was left with about a half a cup of pecans that needed to be baked in one way or another. This led me to my go-to baking blog, the JoyofBaking. There was the perfect recipe for my leftover pecans in the form of butter tarts. In a word, it was scrumptious. 
   
Butter Tarts - Adapted*

Pastry Dough:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
pinch of salt
1/4 cup ice cold water

Filling:
1/3 unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped roughly

1. Prepare the pastry dough by sifting the flour, sugar and salt into a
    large bowl. Add the butter and with your hands, work the dough 
    until it resembles coarse crumbs. 

2. Slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Gather into a 
    ball and wrap with clingfilm. Store in the fridge for at least 30 
    minutes to allow the dough to rest. 

3. When the dough has rested, divide the dough into 10 equal parts and
    roll each portion onto a floured surface until you get a 4-inch disk. 

4. Lay each disk onto a cupcake pan and flute the edges if desired. Prick
    the bottom and the sides of the pastry disk with a fork and store in 
    the fridge until ready to use. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. To prepare the filling, beat the butter with the sugar in a large bowl
    at high speed until creamy. Lower the speed to medium and add the 
    eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla
    extract and the cream.

6. Divide the nuts into the prepared pastry shells and pour in the filling.
    Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry shell is golden brown 
    and the filling is puffed and set. 

7. Allow to cool before removing from the pan. 

*Joy of Baking - Butter Tarts
 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Callos (non-tripe version)

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I have been cooking Callos regularly ever since I managed to successfully cook the dish using different recipes, usually of the original Madrid variety. However, it was a trip to our local farmer's market where I was able to taste a local version of Callos and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted. However, I should not really doubt that it would taste good as the same stall was selling what is now my favorite fresh ubod lumpia. I have become the Callos snob as of late thinking that Callos should be given its proper due by preparing it as authentically or as close as you can get to the Madrid version. However, I have to say that adding a few ingredients not typical of the dish do have its merit. The green olives cuts into the fattiness of the dish and gives it a good balance. The chickpeas on the other hand brings an added crunch to an otherwise mushy dish. The use of "terno" instead of tripe also lends quite a distinct taste to the dish although a single bite will assure you that what you are enjoying is indeed Callos.

Callos

10 lbs "terno" (ox tail, cheek, and legs), sliced into large portions
3 large onions, diced
8-10 bay leaves
1 whole clove garlic, roughly diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 32-oz canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
12 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 cup canned pimientos, sliced
2 cups green olives
1 cup chickpeas
8-10 oz canned Spanish chorizo (about 1 cup), sliced
salt and pepper
*4 tbsp olive oil (optional)

1. In a large pot, boil the meat with enough water, half the onions and 4
    bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Let it boil for about an hour 
    over medium heat. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. 

2. Pour off the liquid and wash the meat pieces and trim off any hard 
    pieces. 

3. In another large pot, heat the olive oil if using, over medium high 
    heat. Saute the remaining onions, bay leaves and garlic until 
    softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the carrots and cook for
    another 3 minutes. 

4. Return the meat pieces into the pot and pour in the beef broth. Bring
    to a boil and once boiling, cover the pot and lower the heat to 
    medium low and allow to simmer for at least two hours. Add water if 
    necessary to make sure the meat is submerged while simmering. 

5. Add the can of tomatoes and simmer for an additional hour or until 
    the meat is very tender. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Make
    sure that the meat is tender enough that the bones come off easily.

6. Pick off the large bones and slice the meat into 1-inch dice. Add the
    paprika, oregano, pimiento, chickpeas, tomato paste, and olives. 
    Bring to a boil and allow to simmer at medium low heat for 30 
    minutes. Add more water if the sauce is too thick. 

7. Check for seasoning and add the chorizo. Simmer for another 30 
    minutes. Let it rest for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to 
    meld. Serve with steamed white rice. 

* The canned Spanish chorizo is stored in lard. If you want, you can use the lard instead of the olive oil to suate. It adds an extra flavor to the dish. 

Pork Barbecue

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
A simple summer staple and I cannot believe this is not in my blog yet. My Dad has stopped eating pork but he recently started eating them again so this was a welcome relief for me since I can only do so much with fish. Our pork barbecue is on the sweet side and that is how my family prepared it as far back as I can remember. I used to make this for the yearly picnic when I was working as a postdoc at Emory. Everyone loved them since the flavor is probably quite different from the usual barbecue flavor. Anyway, this is perfect even in the middle of summer paired with ice-cold soda. 

Pork Barbecue

2 lbs pork belly
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar,
    and olive oil in a large bowl.  

2. Add the pork and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least
    30 minutes in the fridge. You can do this overnight and the flavors 
    just seep into the meat. 

3. Prepare the coals and make sure it is not too hot. Grill the belly until
    it turns a beautiful brown color with a bit of charring. 

4. You can serve them whole or you can cut them into smaller pieces. 
    A good condiment is a combination of 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp soy 
    sauce, finely minced garlic clove and seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rustic Roasted Chicken Galantine

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Chicken Galantine is a French dish that is prepared to impress. It is laborious, both in the preparation and in the cooking process. The ingredients are varied but there seems to be a common thread among the different recipes I read to prepare my own rustic version of this dish. The filling is usually prepared using either ground veal or beef in combination with ground pork. The nut of choice are pistachio nuts with either apricot or raisins to add some nuttiness and sweetness respectively, to the flavor. Traditionally ground into a forcemeat, I am going to prepare my filling more like a meatloaf preserving the texture of the various ingredients intact for maximum impact. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of cold cuts and the galantine is prepared to resemble one. Another big change is how I plan to cook my galantine. The original recipe calls for the galantine to be wrapped in cheesecloth and poached in a broth. I am baking my galantine and serving it warm.

Rustic Roasted Chicken Galantine

3-4 shallots, finely diced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
50g pistachios, shelled and roughly diced
1 whole chicken, about 2 lbs
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb bacon strips
5 tbsp heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup golden raisins
4 tbsp white wine
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil

1. Debone the chicken leaving the leg and wing bones intact. Set aside. 
    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the shallots 
    until softened. Let cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except the bacon. Add
    the shallots and mix with your hands. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Lay flat the deboned chicken, skin side down and season with salt and 
    pepper. Layer the bacon strips until it covers the inside of the chicken. 

5. Fill with the meat filling and gather the edges securing with a toothpick or 
    by sewing. Truss the chicken with a butcher's twine and place in the 
    center of a baking pan lined with aluminum foil seam side down. Baste 
    with enough olive oil to help brown the skin.

6. Bake for 1 1/2 hour or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F. Let it rest
    for 15 minutes covered with foil before slicing.