29 December 2011

Creamy Baked Chicken

Some time this month, my sister asked me if I can cook for her barkada's little Christmas get-together lunch here. She specifically requested a recipe with wine in it. I searched the net for some inspirations on easy recipes with wine. I stumbled upon a recipe (sorry, I forgot where I got it) that is very easy. Although what I did was not really from the website, I'm not claiming this recipe to be entirely mine (maybe 40% mine?).

However, their little get-together didn't push through. I made this recipe for my friends last night. Their general comment was the meat was tender, moist and very cheesy (in a good way I think). This is a very easy recipe that you can do anytime.

7-9 pcs chicken breast fillets
1 can cream of chicken
1/4 dry white wine
1 can button mushrooms
1 onion
herbs and spices (I used rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and paprika)
grated Parmesan Cheese
Gruyère/Swiss Cheese, sliced
salt and pepper
bread crumbs

1. Pre heat oven to 350F

2. On 3 bowls, mix together: a) flour, salt, pepper, paprika, b) beaten eggs, c) breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, herbs

3. Pat dry the chicken breast fillets using paper towels. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture completely tapping off the excess. Dip the chicken in the eggs and roll it in the breadcrumb mixture covering it completely.

4. Fry the chicken breast fillets on a frying pan until half cooked (4-5 minutes per side). After frying, place the chicken in an oven safe dish.

5. Sauté the  onion until tender. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms. Continue sautéing until the onions are caramelized. Place the mushroom and the onions on top of the chicken.

6. Thinly slice the Gruyère and top it on the mushroom and onions.

7. Mix together the cream of chicken and 1/4 cup dry white wine until smooth. Spoon it over the chicken.

8. Cover the oven dish with foil and bake it for 30-40 minutes.

9. Serve. Bon appétit!

Chocolate Lava Cake

This is my third attempt to recreate a Chocolate Lava Cake recipe I found. (http://www.noobcook.com/chocolate-lava-cake/) I can't seem to get the results like the ones in her picture. My first attempt, the cakes were under baked. I called it Chocolate Lava (without the "cake"). For my second attempt, I called it Chocolate Cake (without the "lava").

And this is my third attempt. I still don't get the same results as hers. I followed the recipe, (except that I baked it for only 9 minutes) and still didn't get that "lavaness". Although I would say that her recipe is quite yummy. Maybe for now, I'll just call it chocolate cake for it's really a great chocolate cake recipe. Not so sweet, and very moist chocolate cake.

Maybe I'm not for baking desserts? I don't know. At least not for now.

Click on the link above to see her recipe. And if you do try it, feel free to share it!

28 December 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana French Toast

Earlier today, I get out of the bed past 1030am. I really took the time to rest since I have a really bad dry cough (+ asthma) and colds.

I decided to treat myself to a great breakfast (even if my throat is irritated). I was inspired by a brunch menu made by Chef Lynn in one of the episodes of Restaurant Makeover, Chocolate Hazelnut Banana French Toast. I didn't take any pictures of it because it's almost 11am and I am STARVING and, there's nothing fancy in what I did. No garnishes and no nice plating. Just a simple French toast, with a twist. What a way to start my sickly day. Yum!

Ok, so here's what I did (I didn't even bother to measure):

1 egg
About 1/4 cup of chocolate drink (I used powdered chocolate + water)
1 banana
Cinnamon powder
Hazelnut spread
a dash of vanilla
1 tbsp butter

1. Beat together the egg, chocolate and vanilla. Set aside.

2. Spread the hazelnut on one side of each toast. Cut the banana evenly and place it on top of the hazelnut layer. Top with with the other slice of toast and gently press.

3. Dip the "sandwich" into the mixture until all sides are heavily coated.

4. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on each toast.

5. Melt the butter on the skillet. Place the toast and fry it until it is golden brown, around 2-3 minutes. Flip the toast and let it sit for another 2-3 minutes.

6. Serve it with whipping cream, berries, powdered sugar and maple syrup or whatever you like. (optional)

I can't find any pictures of Chef Lynn's French toast from the Restaurant Makeover, but I found her recipe for it here.

I hope you try this too!

Bon appétit!

26 December 2011

Soupe à L'Oignon Gratinée

Or French Onion Soup Gratinée.

I think this soup is one of the most popular soups (or popular French food) in the world. And as Julia Child stated in her TV Show, The French Chef, "... the soup that made the onion famous." It is made primarily with beef stock and caramelized onions and served with croutes and Swiss cheese.

I really love serving my family and friends this classic French Onion Soup because of the sweet aroma from caramelized onion and the creaminess and cheesiness from Swiss cheese. I love how this soup is served because all the texture and flavours that plays in your palette go so great together: from the sweet onions, to the crunchy croutes, to the creamy and cheesy cheese on top. Oh là là! All the hours of preparing (and crying over the onions) and cooking this soup is really worth it after you take those first sip. hmmm

This recipe is taken from Julia Child's show "The French Chef" (and I think this is also in her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"). Oh here's a trivia: Did you know that Julia Child's final meal is this soup? [http://nrn.com/article/julia-child-facts-and-trivia]

To make your own Soupe à L'Oignon Gratinée, you need "an awful a lot of onions" (Child, 1963):

Prep and cooking time: ~2 hrs
serves 6-8

1 kg of yellow onions
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp flour
6 cups beef stock (2 cubes beef broth + 6 cups water)
1 cup wine (dry red or white)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 raw onion
2-3 tbsp cognac
salt and pepper
100 g Gruyère/Swiss Cheese/Emmentaler/Jarlsberg/Appenzell/Raclette (or any good melter. Please don't use Quickmelt brand)
bread for croutes
olive oil

1. Place heavy bottom stock pot over medium-low heat

2. Add 1 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp butter

3. Add sliced onion and stir until they are evenly coated with oil

4. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until they are tender and translucent

5. To brown or caramelize the onion, turn the heat to medium-high

6. Add sugar, salt and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently until the onions have browned and reduced significantly

7. Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium-low and add 3tbsp flour

8. Brown the flour for 2-3 minutes (If the flour doesn’t form a thick paste, add butter)

9. Stir 1 cup of warm beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to get the cooked bits

10. Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage and bay leaf

11. Simmer for 30 minutes

12. Check soup for seasoning

13. Remove bay leaf

14. Transfer to casserole dish

15. Add cognac and grate ½ raw onion

16. Add a few ounces of cheese directly to soup and stir

17. Place the bread/croutes on top of the soup. (To make croutes, cut a french baguette 1 inch thick, or any bread if you don't have baguette, and coat it with olive oil. toast/bake it for about 5-8 minutes until crispy)

18. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese in a thick layer over the bread. (can be served as it is)

19. Drizzle with little oil

20. Place in a 170ºC (350ºF) for about 30 minutes or until the cheese has brown

21. Serve hot.

Bon appétit!

24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! So busy preparing for Noche Buena. I'll blog after Christmas, ok?

Stay tuned for Soupe à L'Oignon gratinée. yuuum!

Have a blessed Christmas!!

22 December 2011

Chocolate Crinkles

A few weeks ago, my little brother bought a box of crinkles from the grocery. Well, not exactly. What he picked up was a box of Chocolate Crinkles Mix. Oh well, might as well do it.

My favourite chocolate crinkles is from Good Shepherd. I love its very moist and very soft chocolate fudge goodness. So far, nothing beats crinkles from Good Shepherd.

Anyway, so I'm trying out this crinkle mix from the grocery store, so here's what I used (as stated in the instructions):

1 Chocolate Crinkles Mix (200g)
1 medium egg
2 tbsp oil
Confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven 190C

2. Mix in a bowl oil, egg, and chocolate crinkle mix until smooth.

3. Roll the mixture into a ball and coat it with confectioner's sugar.

4.  Place the chocolate balls on a cookie sheet 1.5 inches apart.

5. Bake for 5 minutes or until done. Do not over bake.

6. Let it cool. Serve

Since this is just store bought mix, the taste of the crinkles is pretty much generic. Nothing special. I guess my version of chocolate crinkles would be yummier (stay tuned!). Well, at least I freed up a small space in my mini pantry.

19 December 2011

Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs

One of my favourite food show would be License to Grill on AFC (Asian Food Channel), and it's hosted by Chef Rob Rainford. All his grilled-to-perfection food makes my mouth water. I really want to learn how to grill, however, we don't have a griller at home. Plus, I want to serve my friends some baby back ribs for our mini christmas party. So what's my solution? I searched the web for oven baked baby baked ribs and I stumbled upon foodwishes.blogspot.com.

This blog is by Chef John, an American chef based in California. He has tons of video recipes that's really easy to follow. I recommend you visit his blog also for more info.

Last Saturday, I tried one of Chef John's recipes, and that's Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs. You can watch and read his video/blog here. And all I can say is I was really surprised with the result! The meat is so tender, at the same time it still has that "bite" into it. The dry rub was also a great surprise. Smell can be deceiving though. Personally, I don't like the smell of that dry rub mixture. But after the baking process, and taking the first bite, oh là là! I'm in meat-lovers' heaven!

Sorry again for the photo quality. I was really hungry that time and I wanted to munch on the meat real soon
Well, my baby back ribs looks a little different than the "real" baby back ribs (picture below). As you know, I don't have any proper knowledge/training in the kitchen and I just told the butcher that I want a full slab baby back ribs, and gave me those meat (picture above). Well, it is ribs, but with meat attached to it. Sorry! I don't know what part of the pic was my meat from. Anyway, it is still de-li-cious!

From Chef John's blog

If you're craving for meat and you have a spare ribs in your freezer (not spareribs, but spare ribs. get it?) I highly recommend you to try Chef John's Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs!

Oh one little comment about the ribs that I did. It was a little dry (but flavourful) for me. I guess I won't drain all the juice out from the meat after the first step in cooking. But despite that, this ribs recipe is really, really great!

What you need:

1 kg baby back ribs (full slab)
delicious BBQ sauce

for dry rub: (makes for about 6 kilos of meat, so for 1 kg or full slab, maybe use 1/3 of the proportions)

1/4 cup salt
1/4 white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup ancho chili powder (I just used 1/4 cup chili powder since I ran out)
2 tbsps freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper (I omitted this and added more cayenne pepper)

1. Pre-heat oven at 250ºF (120ºC)

2. Place full rack of baby back ribs on baking pan with heavy duty foil, bone-side up

3. Remove the membrane or poke holes along

4. Generously coat the ribs with the dry rub

5. Flip over and apply dry rub to meat side. Put the meat bone-side up again

6. Cover the ribs with foil and put in oven for 2 hours

7. Let it cool for 15 minutes

8. Pour out any liquid that has accumulated

9. Turn up oven to 350ºF (180ºC)

10. Baste ribs with BBQ sauce and place back in the oven for 10 minutes uncovered

11. Repeat step 10 about 3-4 times more until done

17 December 2011

Cheesy Nachos

A few of my friends came over here to have our mini Christmas Party. I decided to give them an easy-to-make but very delicious appetizer while waiting for our main course. And tada, I served them Cheesy Nachos! I got the idea of "cheesy nachos" from a restaurant and tried to mimic it and I think I got it. So thanks to that restaurant for the great idea!

This may not look cheesy, but below the lettuce is a layer of cream cheese. Yuuuum!

If you want a tasty, yet easy to do snack, I suggest you try serving this Cheesy Nachos. It's really very easy. All you need are: (use as little or many you like)

for 6-10 people, depending on appetite
1/2 kilo ground beef
1 pack McCormick® Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup water
1 cup cream cheese
Cheddar cheese (optional)
Nacho chips 
1. Brown the meat in a sauce pan. After the meat has browned, strain all the juice. 
2. Dissolve one pack of mix with half cup of water. Pour into the meat. Stir and let it boil until the meat dries up.  
3. Let the cream cheese soften at room temperature or warm it using the microwave for 20 seconds.
4. Serve as you like. You can add lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeño or whatever you like. 

Simple as that! If you already tried this recipe, let me know!

Oh next blog would be Chef John's Oven Baked Baby Back Ribs! I'm so excited about this dish! Stay tuned! 

15 December 2011

Côtes de Porc Poêlées avec Sauce Moutarde à la Normande

Or simply Casserole-sautéed Pork Chops with Creamy Mustard Sauce.

Please excuse my plating and photography skills :)

For my first food post, I did a pork recipe. Normally I would do a chicken breast recipe since it's easier. But when I decided to document it and create a food blog about my cooking experience, this is what's in store for tonight.

These two recipes, the pork chops and the sauce, are both from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And I must say, for those of you who want to learn how to cook, especially la cuisine française, you have to have this book. This will teach you every techniques, tips, tricks and every skills you need as a culinary student (or a stay-at-home-kitchen-student like me!)

Let's go to the food!

I would say I really, really love the mustard sauce! Frankly, I don't like mustard (yes, even on hotdogs) but this sauce is so creamy! Although I think I failed to make it a little thicker, maybe an extra minute or two in making the sauce would be enough. On the other hand, the pork chops for me are a little tough. I don't know, maybe I did something wrong in sautée-ing it? However, the taste is not really something special. At the end of the day, they're just pork chops sautéed in butter and herbs. The sauce gave this dish a wow factor for me though, and some of the herb-marinade.

How can I make pork chops a little more tender? Fry? Bake? Pressure cook? Boil? I hope someone can answer my noob question.

Here are the recipes for the marinade, pork chops and sauce!

Marinade Simple (Lemon Juice and Herb Marinade)
per half-kilo/pound of pork
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 tbsp lemon juice (I used local calamansi)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 parsley sprigs
1/4 tsp thyme or sage
1 bay leaf
1 clove mashed garlic

1. Rub salt and pepper into the meat. Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, add the pork and baste it. Place a lid over the bowl. Turn and baste the meat 3 or 4 times during its marination period.
2. Before cooking, scrape off the marinade, and dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels.

Cotês de Porc Poêléesfor 6 pax
6 marinated pork chops 
3-4 tbsp pork fat, lard or cooking oil
2 tbsp butter 
2 halved cloves garlic (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F(160C)
2. Dry pork chops with towel. Heat the fat or oil in the casserole until it is almost smoking, then brown the chops 3-4 minutes on each side. As they are browned, transfer them to a side dish.
3. If the chops have not been marinated, season them with salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp thyme or sage.
4. Pour the fat out of the casserole and add the butter and garlic*. Return the chops, overlapping them slightly. Baste them with butter. Cover and heat the casserole until the meat is sizzling, then set in lower third of preheated oven for 25-30 minutes
5. Turn and baste the chops once or twice. They are done when the meat juices run a clear yellow with no trace of rose.

Sauce Moutarde à la Normandefor about 2 cups
1/3 cup cider vinegar
10 crushed peppercorns
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp water
1-2 tbsp butter

1. Strain the meat juice into a bowl and degrease them.
2. Pour the vinegar and the peppercorns into the casserole and boil until the vinegar has reduced to about a tablespoon. Pour in the meat juice and boil them down rapidly until they have reduced to about 2/3 cup.
(for here, I only had 1/2 cup of meat juice. I just waited for it to reduce a little bit) 
3. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring in salt to taste. Beat in the mustard and water mixture and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes more. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. Correct seasoning.
4. Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter. 
5. Serve the sauce on the side or pour over the chops.
6. Garnish with fresh parsley and good plating skills. 

Et voila! Julia Child's Côtes de Porc Poêlées avec Sauce Moutarde à la Normande. And as she would say, Bon Apetit!

1st post


Welcome to my food blog! As I stated in my "About me", all recipes here are not mine, unless stated. So if you find yours here, I want to say thank you!  I just want to learn how to cook and I want to record my progress, shall I say?

I hope this cooking stint of mine will be successful and I hope by the end of 2012 I already know how to cook properly! (By properly meaning not looking at the step-by-step instructions in the recipe book and doing it by instinct)

My first food blog here would be Julia Child's "Côtes De Porc Poêlées avec Sauce Moutarde à la Normande" [Casserole-sautéed Pork Chops with Creamy Mustard Sauce]. I will be cooking it later for dinner! I already marinated my pork chops using again Julia Child's Marinade Simple [Lemon Juice and Herb Marinade].

OOOHHH LÀ LÀ! I hope this would turn out great! I'm so excited