I accompanied my dad today for his medical check up. The only thing that I like in a doctor’s clinic are the magazines in the waiting room. It’s assorted. I picked Rachel Ray’s Everyday magazine April 2012 issue. I am not a fan though I am not out as well to give her a stare down just like what Martha did. The magazine is filled with easy to follow recipes but what caught my attention was the Soba-Noodles with Sesame-Lime Dressing. I usually use soba noodles for soup but not on this one. Click here to read more »
We have two ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters in our apartment. We have two coffee mugs with the same slogan. I have a number of notepads that says the same. But what is the real story behind “Keep Calm and Carry On”?
It has been told that Pasta Puttanesca has been the recipe of prostitutes in Italy who have no time to buy fresh ingredients. They’re busy, you know… just like us in this day and age. Any ingredients available in the pantry is then added to the sauce of the pasta.
Literally, in Italian, Pasta Puttanesca means “whore’s style pasta.” Legend has it that the Italian ladies of the night may have invented this to lure customers with its aroma. Who knows? The aroma and flavor of this sauce is an intense mixture from garlic, anchovies and capers. It is best served with toasted bread or grilled baguette that will mop the aromatic sauce of this recipe.
Take note, traditionally, like in any seafood pasta dish, no cheese is served with this sauce. This is perfect for my daughter who doesn’t like cheese in her pasta.
Whatever the stories are behind this recipe, I made this easy and satisfying dish for my meatless Friday in observance of Lent. And just like any of the Italian ladies of the night, I was able to lure my family into it.
8 ounces pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
1 14.5 ounces tomato sauce
5 anchovy filets, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons capers
1 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 Tablespoons of salt. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over low heat; cook garlic in oil until golden. Stir in anchovies. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in the capers, olives, and red pepper flakes. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Toss pasta with sauce, and serve.
Happy Hearts Day! My family does not go over the top for this celebration. But I do respect those who are into details and preparations in celebrating it with their loved ones.
For me, I will prepare a home cooked dinner and indulge in something sweet after. Nothing fancy, the most important thing, I will be sharing it with the most important people in my life. My parents, husband, and daughter. My son, however is away for a four day retreat but I know he will have a great Valentine’s Day as well.
To share the love, I baked Heart Stained Glass Cookie for my daughter’s classmates and teachers at school. I used the recipe for the No Fail Sugar Cookie of Fancy Flour. For the stained glass effect which really add drama, I crushed the Jolly Rancher (or any hard candies like Lifesaver) and sprinkle it to the hollowed-out centers of the cookies. By the way, I used a smaller heart cookie cutter to cut into the centers of cookies. Just a note, try to keep the crushed candy within the center to avoid coloring the cookie. Let the cookie cool completely before removing to avoid the candy from separating from the cookie dough. Also, line your cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper so cookies will not stick to the cookie sheet.
Sprinkles can be added to the cookie also for fun and color. It may not have the stained glass effect but makes the cookie look pretty. It is easy to create a heart shape using the sprinkle by pressing the smaller heart cookie cutter gently to the cookies before baking. Doing so will leave a mark or guide in the center of the cookies and it is easy to just fill it with the sprinkles.
Again, Happy Valentine’s Day!
I would not classify myself as a football fan, but watching Super Bowl is always a party. For some, football is religion. For me and my family, it is plain and simple football with lots of food to last the entire game. I prepared Sweet-Spicy Chicken Wings from Martha Stewart, my go to recipe for no-fail chicken wings. For the light kick, I used 1/2 cup of Frank’s Hot Sauce instead of the Sriracha hot- chili sauce which is too spicy for the kids. Vegetable Lumpia, Lumpiang Shanghai (Pork Spring Rolls) for my daughter and Fettucine Alfredo as requested by my son completed the lineup for the night.
I have this feeling that our food made the G-Men win Super Bowl XLVI. Now, if I can only learn the Victor Cruz salsa. Anyway, congratulations to the New York Giants!
To date, I have already more than 90 cookbooks and I told myself not to buy anymore. But over the weekend, I cannot resist the temptation not to grab several since the $4.99 sale price of Daniel Boulud’s Daniel’s Dish was just screaming for me to take it home. With it, I also added four more since the prices ranges only from $2.00 to $3.50 except for the Everyday Food (Fresh Flavor Fast) by Martha Stewart that I paid $14.99, still a steal since the original price is $24.99.
We may be in the digital age, but when it comes to cookbook, nothing can beat skimming through the real pages and admiring the beautiful food photography. As inspired from the Everyday Food by Martha Stewart I cooked the Beef and Scallion Stir-Fry for our dinner. Since I do not have hoisin sauce, I used oyster sauce instead. I also added 2 teaspoons of sugar for sweetness as contrast to the pepper flakes.
Beef and Scallion Stir-Fry
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving (optional)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds flank steak, cut diagonally across the grain into 1/2-by-3-inch strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 inch thick, white and green parts kept separate
White rice, for serving (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup water, hoisin sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook steak until lightly browned, turning once, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Add remaining teaspoon oil to pan along with garlic and whites of scallions. Cook, tossing often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk hoisin mixture to combine; add to pan along with scallion greens.
Return meat to pan; cook, tossing to coat steak with sauce, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Serve immediately, over rice and sprinkled with red-pepper flakes, if desired.
As promised from my friends at Julep.com, a Sneak Peek Box arrived today for me to try. The box included the Julep Glow On Age Defying Hand Brightener, Taylor Julep Nail Vernis, and Maya Julep Nail Vernis.
I like that Julep is committed to creating vibrant nail colors and the most effective Mani and Pedi Care products, without the useless toxins and cacinogens.
Watch out for my product review on Julep Maven. My initial unboxing thoughts, however, is telling me that I’ll have vibrant nail colors over the weekend. Let’s see how this goes.
January 23,2012 is Chinese New Year and in Chinese astrology it is the year of the water dragon. It is believed that the year of the dragon brings growth and change in career, love and life. A great feasting is also celebrated to bring abundance, happiness, prosperity, good health and long life. The food to be prepared always symbolizes something.
I only prepared two types of food among the long list in the Chinese culture. Sauted Rice Stick (Pancit Bihon) and Sweet and Sour Fish. Noodles symbolize longevity. It stands for long life and is said to be unlucky to cut up a strand when cooking. Fish, served whole is a symbol of prosperity and eating fish is believed that it will help your wishes come true in the year to come.
But I still believe that the ingredients of a meaningful life are strong faith, love, hard work and good health. Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone!
Sauted Rice Stick (Pancit Bihon)
8 oz rice stick noodles
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb shelled shrimp or 1 cup pork or chicken meat
1/2 cup carrots, cut in strips
1 cup shredded cabbage
6 pieces button mushroom, cut
1 cup of sweet peas
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
5 tablespoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
calamansi or lemon wedges (optional)
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and cook until golden brown.
2. Add meat (if using) and season with oyster sauce,soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the vegetable, cover, and steam until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove meat and vegetable mixture. Add the shrimp in the boiling stock and remove shrimp when it becomes orange-pink in color (usually less than a minute).
3. Cook noodles in the remaining stock until most of the liquid is absorbed by the noodles. Keep tossing the noodles to keep them from sticking.
4. Transfer cooked noodles in a platter and topped with the meat/shrimp and vegetables mixture and serve with lemon wedges or calamansi if desired.
Sweet and Sour Fish
1 lb fish fillets (such as tilapia, sea bass, cod, I used Allaskan Pollock)
1/2 cup snow peas
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut in strips/cube
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1 stalk spring onion, chopped diagonally
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
For the Marinade:
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoon water
1. Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry. Cut into 2 inch square. Add the fish to the marinade ingredients and mix. Then add the cornstarch last. Let it marinade for 15 minutes.
2. Prepare the sauce and vegetables. In a bowl, mix together the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice wine, tomato paste, vinegar and sugar. In a separate small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in the water.
3. Microwave on high the snow peas for 30 seconds. Cut the red bell pepper into cubes, seeds not included.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in wok or cast iron pan. Fry the marinated fish until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
5. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from the pan. Add the ginger and spring onion and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the snow peas and red bell peppers.
6. Remove the vegetables from the pan, add the sauce and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring to thicken. Turn off the heat and add the vegetables in the sauce.
7. Serve the fish on a platter and pour the sauce and vegetable mixture. You may add all the sauce or reserve some on the side so the fish will not get soggy.
While craving for sweets today, I decided to stop by three bakeshops near my office that are popular for their cupcakes. However, I ended grabbing my favorite New York Black and White Cookie.
Baked by Melissa at 109 East 42nd Street is famous for their bite-size stuffed cupcakes. They also have In Chocolate, mini cupcakes dipped in chocolate. The cupcakes are cute and adorable but I still have to try them if they are as good as they look.
I also visited Magnolia Bakery at Grand Central. Their cupcakes became more popular after the girls from “Sex and the City” was seen in one of their episodes partaking their cupcakes.
I love how you can see them decorating the cupcakes and the homemade look of their cakes. I have tried the vanilla and their red velvet cupcakes before and it simply taste what a cupcake should be– moist and delicious. Probably I just got the freshly baked ones.
Lastly, Crumbs Bakeshop at 43 West 42nd Street. I am impressed that they are a Nasdaq-listed company and the largest cupcake chain in the US (their share price at $3.97, as of this writing, is just as equally expensive as their cupcakes). They have a lot of flavors selection and the cupcake size is just huge though they have mini ones too. Maybe I will try their cupcakes in my next sugar rush.
But I cannot just resist the Black and White Cookie at the Hot and Crusty Bakeshop in Grand Central. This cakey type cookie is my favorite though I still have to find a good recipe that would allow me to try baking at home.
Seriously, I guess the reason why I did not fall into buying cupcakes from the known chains is because I know how to make one… like this Strawberry Cupcake…
The beauty of working near Grand Central is that I am presented everyday with a grand structure. I took this photo on my way to grab some lunch.