25 January 2012

Lemon Chicken

Last Monday, the world (or maybe just the Chinese?) celebrated the Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choi 恭喜發財 for Cantonese speaking people. :)

Anyway, since it is the new year, Grace suggested I try a Chinese dish. So I made Lemon Chicken and fried rice.

I tried doing Asian cuisine for the first time, and to be honest, I suck (I haven't even tried doing Adobo). Or maybe I just don't have the right recipe for this dish to taste a little more Chinese-y. It lacks that unique Chinese flavour. Maybe MSG? I don't know. Well, for me, the dish is so-so. I added sugar and honey to make it a little sweeter for my taste (typical Filipino taste) while retaining the citrusy taste of this dish. I added a little fresh parsley I have in the fridge. Although it tastes good, not good enough to make it in the Chinese restaurant. Grace said she wanted it to be more sour. I think the sourness is just enough. I don't like too much sourness in my dish. Something Chinese-y is lacking. Spice?

I just copied this recipe somewhere (sorry, I forgot where), but here's what I did.

1 whole chicken (recipe requires 8 chicken breasts)
4 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
a dash of paprika*
100mL lemon juice
3 slices of lemon
1.5 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch
a dash of garlic powder*
sugar and honey* (optional, to taste)

*not in the original recipe

1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Leave it for 30 minutes.

2. Pat dry the chicken and dredge it with flour and paprika. Fry the chicken in oil until golden brown. (If you opt to skip the flour and paprika, fry the chicken breasts in butter). When done, leave it on a plate.

3. Combine the chicken stock, lemon, cornstarch, garlic powder and lemon slices (optional: sugar/honey, to taste) in a sauce pan. Boil until thick. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Maybe you have a better version of Lemon Chicken. Now, what did I miss? Hmmm

23 January 2012

Broiled Herb-Crusted Salmon

A few days ago, Chef John of Food Wishes posted a recipe for salmon. I got so excited because it is very easy! I remember I had a conversation with a very good friend of mine who said cooking seafood is very hard. Well, I still don't know. I guess I will probably figure that one myself. However, what I can say is that cooking salmon is really easy! (Plus, it is very healthy, with those fatty acids, omega3+).

Yes, I know that salmon is expensive. A kilo of salmon costs about P774 and that is really expensive for me. My first time cooking with it, I was so nervous. I was like, "I must not screw this up. I must not screw this up. I must not screw this up.... Must not undercook. Must not undercook. Must not undercook. Must not undercook....  Must not overcook. Must not overcook. Must not overcook...." repeat 1000x during the whole cooking process! At the back of my mind, I can hear Chef Gordon Ramsey yelling at me "IT'S RAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!"(especially when I tried cooking the infamous scallops. coming in the near future). But hey, conquer your fear and learn! Buy 1/4 kilo of that and you're good to go for 3-4 people. It only takes 10-15 minutes to cook salmon.

(From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1192181/Why-does-British-TV-make-heroes-nasty-bullies-Alan-Sugar-Gordon-Ramsay.html)
So anyway, back to the recipe. I really enjoy watching the video recipes of Chef John because it is so informative, and witty. When I saw this recipe, I immediately said to myself, "Well, that's easy. I can do that.", and indeed I did. Voilà! Broiled Herb-Crusted Salmon.

Right from the oven. Mmm, I can still smell the aroma from the herbs

He is right, the salmon came out perfectly! Very moist salmon, topped with super simple, but flavourful crust, cooked in 10 minutes! Amazing! You gotta try this one! Don't be afraid of salmon, it won't bite. Oh by the way, you can do this too with other fish (with the same thickness) if salmon is really expensive, or even chicken!

What you need (For 4-5 people)
(I made a little variation with the ratio. To check the original, see Chef John's blog)

500g salmon, with skin
salt and pepper to taste
2 small garlic clove, sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tbsp chopped tarragon
1.5 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp cream cheese*
pinch of cayenne
1-1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

*not in the original recipe

1. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, kosher salt, and the herbs, into a paste for about a minute or two. You can use a blender though, but it is really recommended to use mortar and pestle.

2. Add the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and cream cheese (optional), and continue to mash it for about another minute.

3. Using a wooden spoon (don't use metal), mix in the mixture a pinch of cayenne and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste (or not).

4. Place a foil on a baking pan. Lightly oil. Place the salmon, and season with salt and pepper (depending on how you seasoned the crust mixture).

5. Turn the broiler (top layer of gas inside the oven) to high for a while. While waiting, place the baking pan on top of the stove burner (high) for about 1 minute. You just want to give the bottom of the fish a "head start" since we are baking the fish using the broiler. When you hear crackling sounds, that's about done. Place the baking pan about 8 inches from the top/broiler.

6. Do not leave the fish. Wait for about 5minutes or so until the top is well browned (to your own liking).

7. When the crust has already browned, turn off the broiler and turn on your oven (bottom) to 350F and leave the fish for another 5 minutes or so. Cooking time varies with thickness of the fish.

8. After 5 minutes, serve.

That's it! Very easy, right? Now, tell me, how hard was that? I bet you can do that as well! C'mon, pick up a salmon and try this recipe. You won't regret it! :D

21 January 2012

Sole Meunière

Actually, I used Cream Dory Fillet, not Sole. So I guess the appropriate title for this dish is Crème Doris Meunière. Sole is more expensive compared to Dory, so I'd rather use Dory. And besides, I already opened a pack of Dory Fillet (previous dish).

Don't worry, I didn't consume all that butter by myself.
I shared that buttery sauce with my sister. 
Sole Meunière is a classic French dish that uses Sole (kind of fish), dredged in flour, and cooked in butter. Lemon juice is then added to the resulting browned butter and poured over the fish as its sauce, garnishing with parsley. Some add caramelized onions to this dish, which is also very lovely. And I also tried Grace's  version where she added minced chili, together with the onion for that extra kick. YUMMY! But now, this is the very easy, classic version of this dish. Feel free to add ingredients for your own version!

for 1-2 person/s

fillet of sole/dory
1-1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1.5 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. Pat dry the fish with paper towel, then coat it with seasoned flour.

2. On a medium-high skillet, melt the butter. When the foam from the butter starts to subside, add the fish and lower to heat to medium-low.

3. Fry the fish for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove the fish and place it on a platter.

4. Using the browned butter sauce in the pan, add the lemon juice to the butter. Mix well. Pour the sauce over the fish.

5. Garnish with fresh parsley.

There you go! A classic French dish cooked in 10 minutes. Who said cooking French cuisine is hard? Bon appétit!

18 January 2012

Baked Dory à la Troy

I don't know what to call this dish. I just thought of Chicken Parmigiana, and improvised with what I have, and made this! It turned out pretty darn good.

I think the sauce overwhelmed the fish. (I just used up all the leftover spaghetti sauce)
Right after breakfast, I rummaged in our fridge for any leftovers that I can eat for lunch. I saw the spaghetti noodles and the sauce (from the other day), and.... that's it. I already ate spaghetti for lunch and dinner yesterday, I don't want to eat it for the 3rd time. I was thinking of making Chicken Parmigiana. I peeked in our freezer for chicken breasts, no luck. There's a pack of fillet dory though. I don't have chicken, but I do have fish! Improvise?

So that's it! I tried to make Chicken Dory Parmigiana. Naaah, I'll just name it Baked Dory à la Troy. After baking, it turned out really good! Not bad.

Layers include lemon, dory, spaghetti sauce, cheese
I think I used more than enough spaghetti sauce for this. Forgive me, I only used all what was left. I would really like to say that the end result was pretty great! The combination of the flavours: the lemon, the tomato, and the cheese, how heavenly. When you take a bite, you can taste the sweetness of the Pinoy Style spaghetti sauce, and the sourness of the lemon, sandwiching the very soft, and moist fish. I never thought that it would be so yummy! If you are desperate to make Chicken Parmigiana but don't have every ingredients, you can make this alternative.

What you need: (good for 1)

1/2 lemon, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fillet of dory (or any white fish)
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (or your favourite tomato sauce. I used 1 cup of sauce and it's more than enough)
grated cheese (cheddar and parmesan)
salt and pepper
a dash of oregano
parsley (for garnish)
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

2. Slice half of the lemon into 3 circular shapes and line it up in a baking dish. Reserve the end of the lemon for later.

3. Add the garlic to the baking dish.

4. Season the fish with salt and pepper (I added chili flakes for an extra kick). Place it on top of the lemon and garlic. Squeeze in the remaining end of the lemon over the fish.

5. Add the spaghetti sauce, or your favourite tomato sauce over the fish. Add a dash of oregano.

6. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil on top of the cheese.

7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese browns.

8. Serve. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Note: You can make your dory crispy! I think it would be closer to the experience of Chicken Parmigiana. First, pat dry your fish. Dredge it with flour with salt and pepper. Dip in a beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs (with cheese if you like, yum!). Pan fry the fish for 4-5minutes per side on medium-high heat, using cooking oil until golden brown. Then proceed to step 2.

Enjoy your improvised Chicken Parmigiana! Baked Dory à la Troy!

11 January 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

French Beef Stew in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushroom

Right from the oven.
(This may not look appetizing in my picture, but this is by far the most delicious beef stew I ever tasted.)
I finally have the guts to try what I think the most famous French beef stew, Boeuf Bourguignon. I first heard this dish on Julie and Julia some time ago. Towards the end of the movie, having a chance (Julie) to serve Julia Child a dish, she chose Boeuf Bourguignon. After watching, I really became curious on what this dish tastes like. Basically, it's beef stewed in red Burgundy wine and other aromatic flavors. Cooking this will take you around 4-5hrs, depending on the meat quality.

Following Julia Child's recipe (minus the bacon... I ran out of it), I was so nervous about the outcome halfway through. I tasted the stew before placing it in the oven and it was horrible. I was impatient to find out the end result, thinking that this will waste my time if not cooked properly. Praying that will turn out great, I trusted Julia's recipe, with a little hesitation. Besides, it's only halfway through. When the timer went off, I hurriedly took out the casserole and tasted it, and WOW! That's the best stew I ever had! Plus the fact that the beef is so tender. You can taste the flavor of the reduced Burgundy wine, the caramelized onions, and the beef in perfect harmony. Oh là là!!! It was perfect!

If you have the time to try cooking this dish, I swear, you got to do this one! Yes it's very long, not really tedious, but well worth it! You can use any good, dry red wine. Do not use the very expensive Burgundy wine. I used a younger Burgundy wine (read: cheaper than aged). You can use Pinot Noir if you have, or Boardeux, or any dry red wine of your choice. (Don't use sweet red wine)

(off topic: Today was a day of firsts for me. I met two kitchen-related accidents today while cooking this. Nothing serious, don't worry. First, while cutting some meat, I accidentally poked through my middle finger with the knife. It wasn't deep though, but very uncomfortable. Second was while getting the stew from the oven, my right arm accidentally touched the side wall of a 325F oven. Ouch! Don't get discouraged though. Every cook will encounter these small boo-boo's)

To make this awfully delicious Boeuf Bourguignon, you need the ff: (for 6 servings)

6 oz bacon, cut into 3-4 pcs per slice
3lbs (1.3kg) stewing beef cut into 2" cubes. (I used beef cubes from Monterey)
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp flour
3 cups red Burgundy wine
2-3 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
18-24 small white onions braised in stock* (I used sibuyas tagalog)
0.5 kg qtr fresh mushrooms sautéed in butter (I used canned mushrooms)
Parsley for garnish

for braising the small white onions, you need:
1/2 cup brown beef stock, white wine, red wine or water
salt and pepper to taste
herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme)

1. Sauté bacon in oil for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned.

2. Preheat oven to 450F

3. Pat dry the beef (Very important to pat dry meats. It won't brown if not dry). On a very hot casserole, sauté the beef until brown on all sides. Do not overcrowd the pan. Set aside with the bacon.

4. Using the same oil, brown the carrots and onions. When done, set aside. Discard the oil.

5. Return the beef and bacon into the casserole and toss with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat the beef lightly. Set the casserole uncovered in the oven for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, toss the meat around and return for another 4 minutes. Remove the casserole and cool down the oven to 325F.

6. Stir in the wine and beef stock until the meat is barely covered.  Add tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of stove.  Cover the casserole and place it in the oven for 3-4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. (I basted the meat every hour to prevent it from burning/drying up. But it's not necessary, hence the burnt mark on my arm)

*7. While the beef is cooking, remove the skin of shallots. (You can remove the skin easily by having the onion dip in a boiling water for a few seconds one at a time) In a small to medium pan, when the butter is bubbling, sauté the onions in oil and butter for 10 minutes. Pour in the liquid and season to taste. Add the herbs. Cover and simmer slowly for 40-50minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside

8. Sauté mushrooms in butter and oil for 4-5 minutes.

9. When the meat is tender, pour the contents into a sieve over a saucepan. Return the beef and bacon in the casserole. Distribute the vegetables. onions and mushroom.

10. Skim most of the fat off the sauce. Simmer the sauce for a minute to skim off additional fat. If the sauce is too thin, boil rapidly until thick. If too thick, mix in a few tbsp of stock. Taste carefully. The sauce must be perfect after this. Pour the sauce over the meat.

11. Simmer for 2 - 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables. Decorate with parsley. Serve.

For later serving, wait until the stew cools. cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, simmer very slowly for 10 minutes.

Overall, it's pretty long cooking, but I assure you, it is really worth it! Just don't let anyone ruin this dish. I can't wait to do this for my lucky friends. 

9 January 2012

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Aah, spaghetti with meatballs: an American pasta dish. One cannot go wrong with this classic American pasta. According to its history, Italian immigrants to New York invented this dish in the early 20th century. In fact, they say that you rarely see spaghetti with meatballs in Italy. You can see spaghetti and meatballs, but not with.

ok, my bad. Meatballs aren't visible in this picture. :(

Here in the Philippines, however, we do our spaghetti sauce differently. We want our pasta to be on the sweeter side, and tends to be "saucy". Foreigners might be shocked to find sliced hotdogs in the Pinoy Style spaghetti. This time, I wanted to serve my bandmates a different kind of spaghetti (well, not Pinoy Style). I tried this simple recipe. (Sorry, I didn't measure all ingredients. I referenced from many recipes)


1kg ground beef
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup milk
2 eggs
minced onion and garlic
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese


2 cups pasta sauce
2 cans of whole tomato
1 onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

garlic bread

1. Make the pasta sauce first. Sauté onion and garlic until golden brown. then add the pasta sauce and tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. When done, cover to keep it warm.

2. Make the meatballs. Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl and let the crumbs absorb the milk. This will help retain moisture in the meatballs. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the breadcrumb-milk mixture. Mix with hand well and form balls. (Optional, you add add cubes of cheese inside the meatballs if you like).

3. On a hot large skillet/saucepan, sear the balls until brown on all sides. When done, add sauce over the meatballs and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

4. Cook pasta al dente in hot salted boiling water.

5. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread.

Happy eating! Bon appétit!

8 January 2012

Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillet with Tartar Sauce

I was looking for a perfect dish paired with spaghetti meatballs the other day. While a chicken dish came first thing to my mind, I decided to skip it since we've been having chicken everyday this week. I decided to try something crispy, yet not chicken. Hence I found this recipe from Very Best Baking. It's a simple fish fillet recipe that's different from my usual dory cooking (butter or cheese).

The name of the dish says it all, fish fillet covered in oats, with tartar sauce as dip. No fancy-pancy. No special foreign sounding ingredient. The only comment I have is that it lacks something fresh. Maybe some fresh greens, or a bit more of citrus? (Oh and the homemade tartar sauce is über!) If you like some twist to your plain-ole fish fillet, here's what you can do.

for the Tartar sauce:

8 oz cream cheese
12 fl. oz Evaporated milk
1/2 cup pickle relish
2 tbsp white vinegar (I used cider, but more than 2tbsp)
salt and white pepper
I also added a bit of minced onions

For the fish

Cream dory
Evaporated milk
salt and pepper
garlic powder
cooking oil

1. Make the tartar sauce. Combine the cream cheese (at room temperature) and the evaporated milk. Whisk until creamy. Add  the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste. Refrigerate for an hour or so.

2. In a bowl, combine the oats, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Mix well. Dip the cream dory into the egg and milk mixture (I used 2 eggs and 12 fl. oz of milk for 9 cream dory fillets). Roll the fish into the oat mixture, covering it completely.

3. Pan fry each side for 4-5 minutes per side.

4. Serve immediately with lemon wedges (optional) and tartar sauce.

5 January 2012

Poulet Sauté à la Crème

Sautéed Chicken in Cream

Earlier this week, I cooked a beef recipe with creamy sauce in it for my friends and left an opened carton of heavy cream in the fridge. I'm so worried that it might end up unused and spoiled after this week, so I decided to cook another creamy viand for tonight. I browsed through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saw this simple recipe (with a lot of variation from the original recipe).

Basically it's just chicken with heavy cream sauce, with the addition of wine, onions and mushrooms. The moment you take a bite of this fine dish, you will feel the tenderness, the juiciness and the cheesiness of the chicken. Plus add the creaminess with a hint of wine of the sauce. Oh là là, le gastronome! It's very easy to do, very quick, and best if you're going to entertain guests in a hurry. I suggest this dish when you need  quick food for your hungry guests.

(Please note that I greatly varied my recipe from Julia Child's. Nevertheless, I'll give you mine)

What I did was (good for 4-6 people):

8 chicken breasts, pat dried
salt and pepper
dried tarragon
grated parmesan cheese*

1 can chopped mushrooms*
unsalted butter
cooking oil
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 red onion, minced

1. Combine on a plate the flour, salt and pepper, paprika, tarragon and grated parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly. After drying the chicken breasts, evenly coat it with the flour mixture.

1.a.**edit** Sauté the mushroom with oil and butter for around 4 minutes. Set aside <-- I forgot this step

2. On a hot casserole, combine cooking oil and around 2 tbsp butter. Add the chicken when the foam from the butter begins to subside. Sauté the chicken until golden brown (Actually, I fried the chickens until done). Remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Remove all but 3tbsp of fat from the casserole and deglaze with the wine. Reduce to 3tbsp. Add the heavy cream and boil until thick. Add the mushroom and continue to simmer for about 1 minute.

4. Remove from heat. Add 2 tbsp of butter to the hot liquid, stir and pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice or noodles. Great with dry white wine.

Bon appétit!

The ingredients with (*) are not in the original recipe.