Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Soup with Mint Leaves

Ginger-Scented Tomato and Cabbage Soup with Fresh Mint

4 ounces small pasta, such as alphabets
1/4 Cabbage chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3-5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 small carrot, diced
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
10-15 fresh mint leavessalt,
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Cook the pasta, drain and set aside.

Lightly sauté the onion and garlic in butter until softened. Stir in the ginger and carrot and cook for a few moments; add tomatoes, broth and cabbage. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender (15-20 minutes). Adjust seasoning.

Ladle the soup over several spoonfuls of pasta per person. Season each portion with a sprinkling of fresh mint and serve immediately.

I couldn't find alphabet pasta, so I just served the soup as is. I also made some revisions, instead of vegetable broth I used shrimp cubes (hehe). I thought I have cayenne pepper too, but I was mistaken so I used paprika. I was so worried what it might taste like with all the unusual substitutes I used but was surprised that my kids like it!

Fresh Mint Leaves

Since my tita gave me mint plant, I started searching for recipe's that makes use of this herb. And I found two that I've already tried and tested.

Here is one minty sauce for your roasted eggplants. My mom and househelp tried it too on fish and it tastes good too.

3 slender purple Asian eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh hot chilies
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint
First, roast the eggplants. Prick each one all around with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife to discourage it from bursting as it roasts. Then place the eggplants on a hot grill. Or place an eggplant right on the burner of a gas or electric stove, over low to medium-low heat. Turn the eggplant as it browns and puffs, roasting it as evenly as possible, until it is fairly soft and blistery brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool, and cook the remaining ones the same way.

When the eggplants are cool enough to touch, peel them gently, holding them under cool running water, when necessary, to get the job done. You can leave them whole with the stem attached, or discard the stem and chop the eggplants into big pieces. Place the eggplants in a small, shallow serving bowl and set aside.

Prepare the sauce, combining the fish sauce, lime juice, water, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the garlic and chilies, and then pour this sauce over the eggplant. Scatter the green onion and mint over the dressed eggplant and serve at room temperature.
Serves 4

I did a little revisions in the recipe, since I only have bagoong as fish sauce, I was worried that it might be too strong to the vietnamese fish sauce the recipe is referring to, so I only used one tablespoon. In replace of lime juice, I used calamansi, our local lemon. Do your own revisions, to what ever fits your taste.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Simpleng Tinola

I have been busy so much that I haven't been updating any of my blogs. So many things has happened, it was only now that I got a little breather and saw that I received 2 comments that I haven't read and published. One of them wanted my sister's simpleng tinola recipe. Unfortunately, I too don't know it. I just know one thing that she does to make her tinola really delicious and that is the amount of water she puts.

"Just put enough water to cover the chicken, not too much, just enough." That's what she told me. If she had other secrets, she didn't share it to me anymore hehe. That's my sister, she doesn't share all. My apologies to my reader. But I hope that little tip would be yummy for you.

Will share more recipe's and tips soon... when I get another breather at work.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

On cooking fish

My sister recently taught me, that when I fry a fish of any kind it is best to fry it with ginger. Inside the cavity of the fish and / or in the oil. This way, the fishy taste or what we call in filipino "langsa" is diminished. I tried it and indeed the fish tastes better with the ginger. You can even eat the crispy fried ginger afterwards.

Until recently, I didn't know that there are many ways in cooking fish, especially Tilapia. Being in on a tight budget, the only fish in our freezer are tilapia and bangus. Before I used to just fry, steam or grill the fishes. Then my sisters taught me other recipes. I never enjoyed fish more than I do now.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Flavored Oatmeal

My sister introduced me to the flavored ready mix oatmeal, the kind where you just add hot water and mix. Quaker Oats have flavored oatmeals, in a convenient good for one packs. The first flavor I've tasted is the strawberry. My son loves it.

I love oatmeal, but after a few bowls, I just can't take it anymore. It makes me gag just thinking about it. But these flavored ones are so delicious. It's not too sweet and the flavor is not overwhelming.

Quaker Oats oatmeal flavors are:
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • Banana & Honey
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Honey Hazelnut
The last two are the most current ones I saw and tasted. I'm not sure if there are more, would appreciate it if someone tells me of new and other flavors so I can hunt them out and try them.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bits of Cooking Tips

As I try to be a good cook like my sister, I learned a few cooking tips that helped me. For one thing, we all hate it when our eyes sting from chopping onions, I learned that if you rinse the onion after peeling it, it doesn't sting your eyes when you chop them.

I learned when cooking tofu or tokwa, its best to soak it in water overnight. Then slice the cakes into 1" cubes before frying them. Afterwards, when you are going to use the tofu in your stir fry vegetables or tokwa't baboy its better to slice the fried cubes again in smaller pcs. then deep fry till crunchy. It tastes really good.

I learned when cooking fried rice, its better to put the cooked rice in the refrigerator first to cool it. Then crush the rice with your hand to separate the grains. I also learned that to keep the rice from sticking to your hands and fingers, is to soak your hand in water each time.

I learned that to remove the bitter taste of ampalaya (or bitter melon) it is best to soak the chopped ampalaya in water with a bit of salt and squeez the ampalaya with your hand. This would actually dispell the bitter taste. Oh and always clean out the insides of the ampalaya well enough. The white inside portion is actually very bitter.

I learned when using calamansi, it is best to slice it at the top to prevent cutting the seeds. The seeds actually makes the juice bitter.

There are more tips there I know. Maybe you have one yourself. Feel free to post it here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Search for Beef Tapa Recipe

I am still in search of the tapa recipe that I like. I remember asking my sister for a tapa recipe and her response was: 1. Go to supermarket; 2. Go to chiller section; 3. Purchase beef tapa; 4. Go home; 5. Cook. ha-ha

Well eventually she did send me one recipe from FOOD magazine, but it was still not the taste I was looking for. I purchased those marinated tapa in the supermarket but I was more disappointed. I tried one from one of the forum I joined where you boil the beef in sprite or 7-up with lots of garlic then fry but it was too sweet for us.

In the end, I went back to the supermarket but this time I bought McCormick Beef Tapa mix, Sweet and Spicy. Its pretty good and till I can find the tapa recipe that satisfies my taste buds' preferrences, I will stick to this. One problem that I have with McCormick the Sweet and Spicy and the Spicy kinds, it always makes me cough and everyone who's in the kitchen when I open the packet and pour it in water to dissolve. The chili and the pepper really goes in your nostrils and stings and irritates it. I think I have to get those masks on first before opening a packet he-he.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Simpleng Pagkain

I grew up with simple food on the table. Our menu for the week is prepared by our grandmother, the usual fried chicken, fried fish, hamburger, tinola, nilagang baka, pork chop, meatballs in miswa soup (my brother's favorite), longganisa, tocino, tapa, etc. All those were rotated such as her Sunday lunch menu whenever we have our small get together on my mother side of the family. How I miss her kare-kare, callos, paella, turbo chicken, embotido (available only on Christmas) and morcon. She has delicious cookies too; one is a family secret recipe so I can't share it here.

Since I am used to simple food, whenever I search for new recipe's it would always depend on two things before I try it out in the kitchen. One is, if I can understand the procedure and the other is if the ingredients are available and easy to acquire. If one of those conditions isn’t met, you can be sure I would shelve it and look for another. I guess I am also scared at trying those "gourmet" dishes. I want to sharpen my skill at cooking first before I try those recipes.