Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tomato and Cheese Fans, from Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin is a chef I am just beginning to discover, thanks to The Hubby who likes him so much. During the last vacation, my cool mother-in-law brought home a hard-bound copy of Pepin's "fast Food My Way" and that's how I began to discover more of Pepin's dishes. They're delicious and easy to make. The kind you won't have second thoughts preparing after a hard day at work.

This recipe originally came out as Tomato and Mozzarella Fans in the Pepin book. But since I did not have mozzarella, I used kesong puti (native white cheese) instead. Equally yummy. Perfect as a side dish for fish, chicken or other kinds of meat, and other days when you just want to have a salad ;)

How to make and assemble:

Take a couple of extra large tomatoes and slice in several parts, stopping short of cutting them all the way through. When you've made several cuts, insert the cheese slices in between, until you have what resembles a red and white fan.

For the dressing: Mix in a small bowl 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsps. red wine or sherry vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper.

Arrange the tomato on a serving plate. Spoon dressing on top. Put more olive oil on the side, then add diced red onion and chopped basil leaves, if desired.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Asian soup: misua (mee sua) with meatballs

Misua (variation mee sua) is an Asian type of noodle made with rice flour. It is usually thinner than other varieties like vermicelli. A friend of mine advises cooking misua on your birthday to bring luck for the rest of the year... I still have to try it :)

The misua dish featured above is known in the Philippines as "almondigas." Because I have children, I like cooking it because it is tasty yet very easy to make. It's healthy too, as it doesn't really use oil, and you can add green leafy vegetables , like spinach, if you prefer.

How I cooked this:

1. Boil 2 to 3 cups water.

2. When the pot is already simmering, add prepared meatballs and let it cook. For this one, I used packed meatballs in the supermarket.

3. Season with salt and pepper or other condiments (Like bouillon cubes).

4. Add one pack misua noodles last, while stirring to avoid it from clumping.

5. Top with greens if you like.

6. Serve hot.

This is my entry to SWC: Soups hosted by Tasty Recipes. SWC was started by Cooking Station.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

MoMo at Robinson's Midtown: comfort food

MoMo at Robinson's Midtown always brings positive vibes when I eat there. It is bright and airy. The wi-fi and magazines are free. So are the Choc-nuts. The menu is sparse, but carefully planned and selected. The food is something you'd like to try, again and again. In short, it's a place you'd want to hang out with your friends.

From the viewpoint of this frustrated cook, the dishes at MoMo is also what I would have prepared if I had more time in the kitchen. Take a look at these pictures:

Kung Pao Spaghetti. An Oriental-inspired pasta livened up with oyster sauce and nuts.

Good ol' pasta carbonara. MoMo's version is interesting because it has the yolk of an egg in the middle. Not heart-healthy, but yes, the authentic Italian version of the carbonara does call for egg yolk :)

Four-cheese pizza! A must if , like me, you love cheese!

Overall-rating: no-fuss food that's simply superb. Don't forget the desserts!

Cooking Korean: Baked Fish with Sweet Chili Sauce

I have a confession to make : Korean cuisine is a favorite on my list. Whenever I crave for anything that's up-to-the-wall spicy, you'd find me in a Korean restaurant. Of course for those who prefer something milder, there's always stuff like bulgogi and kalbi jim (beef rib stew). Prepare from P200 to P300 for a single-person visit to a Korean resto. However, it's always worth it since they serve you an array of banchan (Korean appetizers) to add to your meal. Sometimes, you'd get full from these already.

For best results, it is better to go to food joints priding themselves of traditional home cooking. Fastfood "Korean" establishments never interested me. For one, their banchan doesn't come free.

This baked fish with chili sauce is one Korean dish that's easy to make. The gochujang you can buy at the Korean grocery, but go easy on it because it can make the dish really hot.

Recipe from Korean Favorites (Periplus Mini-Cookbooks):

4 tbsps. Korean hot bean paste (gochujang)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. corn starch, mixed with 2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 finger-length cilies, desseded and chopped
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
2 tsp. sesame seeds
500 g. white fish fillet

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Spread mixture over fish fillet. Put in a baking tray and set aside for at least 15 minutes to marinate.

Preheat oven to 360F and bake the fish for five minutes until cooked. Serve hot with steamed rice.