Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mint Cream Brownies

Dark chocolate peppermint creams
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one 9 inch baking pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and chocolate together over low heat. Stir occasionally, and when the chocolate is nearly melted, remove from heat. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla until frothy. Slowly stream the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix to combine. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is thick and glossy. Pour half into prepared pan. Top with peppermint patties, then top with remaining batter. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pork Riblets Braised in Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

From Molly Stevens’ All About Braising
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a starter

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sliced shallots
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 slab baby back ribs (1.75 to 2 lbs)
sawed lengthwise in half

Spread the sugar in the bottom of a wide heavy-based skillet. Pour over 1/4 cup of the water and the lemon juice. Let it sit for a minute. Then heat over medium heat until the sugar begins to liquefy. Reduce the heat the medium low and let the caramel boil until it turns red.

Remove it from the heat and slowly pour 1/4 cup water and the fish sauce into the caramel. Return to the heat and stir. Let boil for a few minutes, until the sauce is smooth and a bit thick. Add the shallots and pepper and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Separate the pork ribs into individual riblets by cutting down between the bones. Add them to the caramel sauce, stir to coat, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover and braise, stirring every 15 minutes with tongs, for 90 minutes. Don’t let the caramel sauce boil; if the heat is too high then use a diffuser. The ribs are done when they have become tender enough to pull easily away from the bone and are a deep mahogany colour. At this point, you can serve them or store them. If you want to store them, let them cool and then store in the fridge for 1 to 3 days. To reheat, pop them in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Filipino Bistek (Citrus Steak and Onions)

Serves 2 to 4

1 lb. sirloin beef, sliced thinly
1/4 cup kalamansi juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tablespoon oil
1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the beef, kalamansi juice, soy sauce, and garlic in a large zip-top bag, or in a shallow dish, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 mins.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade (reserve marinade, do not discard marinade) and sear the meat on all sides, 4-5 minutes total. Remove meat from pan, place the meat in a bowl, and set aside. If the pan is dry, add a bit more oil. Add the onion rings to the pan and saute for 3 minutes.

Pour the reserved marinade into the pan with the onions, being sure to deglaze and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the black pepper to the sauce and taste for seasoning. If the sauce is too salty, or too sour, add 1/2 cup of water if necessary. You can also add water if you just want to have more sauce.

Add the meat back to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. You can also thicken the sauce with cornstarch if desired. Serve with rice.

Bistek Tacos

Serves 2 to 4

1 lb. flank steak (leave whole, do not slice)
1/4 cup kalamansi juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil
Tortillas (flour or corn)
1/4 cup edam cheese, grated
Cilantro, for garnish

Place the beef, kalamansi juice, soy sauce, and garlic in a large zip-top bag, or in a shallow dish, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Cut the onion into 1/4-inch slices, then place the onion slices on skewers so that they are easier to grill. Brush the onion slices with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove the meat from the marinade; reserve the marinade. Place the meat and onion skewers on a hot grill over high heat. Grill the meat and onions for 10-12 minutes total for medium-rare meat, brushing occasionally with the reserved marinade. Remove the steak and onions from the grill and allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes. Discard the leftover marinade.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain. Place the steak and onions in warmed tortillas, then top with cheese and cilantro.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chocolate Toffee Wedges

Origin: The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge
Yield: 8 wedges
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes

● 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
● 3/4 cup granulated sugar
● 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, (2 ounces) coarsely chopped
● 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
● 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
● 1/4 tsp baking powder
● 1/4 tsp table salt
● 1/3 cup canola oil
● 2 large eggs
● 1/2 cup toffee bits (you can substitute with nuts if you prefer)

Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat oven to 350℉. Lightly grease the bottom ands ides of a 9-inch pie plate (I used Pyrex).
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add in the toffee bits and chocolate chunks. Whisk until blended.
In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and eggs with a fork until just blended. You can just measure the oil in a 2-cup Pyrex measure and then mix the egg right in the same cup to avoid dirtying another bowl. Pour the liquid over the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just blended. The batter will resemble a scone or other dry mixture but don’t worry. It’s not meant to be a wet dough.
Scrape the mixture in to the pie plate and spread evenly. You might have to press the mixture in to the sides if you are having trouble spreading with a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in to the center comes out with only a few gooey pieces clinging to it. Transfer the baking dish to a cooling rack and let cool. Cut pie in to 8 wedges.
To store wedges, cover the cooled wedges in the pie plate with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days.
To freeze, allow the uncut pie to cool for about 20 minutes in the pie plate, then invert the pie onto a rack, let cool completely, and, still uncut, wrap tightly and freeze for up to one month.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon, and Breadcrumbs

- serves 4 -

Adapted from Gourmet.

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch pieces, thicker stems removed
3/4 lb dried orecchiette or cavatelli pasta
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 pound bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil for the pasta. In the meantime, prepare the cauliflower and grate bread for crumbs, if necessary.

2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 and a half tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, then add the bread crumbs. Toast, stirring often, until golden and slightly crisp. Remove to a small bowl and wipe the skillet clean.

3. Cook the bacon in the same skillet over medium-high heat a few minutes until the fat renders, then add the cauliflower pieces, garlic, and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring only very occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the cauliflower is caramelized and golden.

4. In the meantime, cook the pasta until al dente, reserving a cup of pasta water. Drain and add pasta to the skillet, tossing to combine. Add olive oil and pasta water as needed to achieve a rich, slightly creamy consistency.

5. Serve with a shower of breadcrumbs, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

Salsa Verde

Combine in a small bowl:
1/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley (leaves and thin stems only)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small garlic clove, chopped very fine or pounded into a puree
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil

Mix well and taste for salt. Let the sauce sit for a while to develop the flavors.

Savory Bread Pudding

6 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
4 cups gruyère, shredded
1 cup parmesan, grated
1/3 cup green onions, minced
1 lb bacon
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 heads broccoli, chopped and blanched
1 lb whole loaf of stale/old bread

Oven: 375F. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Mix the cheeses and green onions in another bowl. Set aside. Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels. Chop or break the bacon into little pieces. Sauté the mushrooms in some oil (or a little bit of the bacon grease). Mix the bacon, mushrooms, and broccoli together in a bowl. Set aside. Rip or cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. In a large baking dish (9×13 ish) layer half of the bread. Then sprinkle half of the bacon mixture. Then spread half of the cheese mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture evenly over top. Repeat. Sprinkle any leftover cheese on top and press the pudding down. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ultimate Veggie Burger Recipe

These make great do-ahead meals, and you can store shaped, ready-to-cook patties in the refrigerator for a week's worth of work lunches. Sprouted garbanzos are becoming more readily available, but if you can't find them, canned or cooked garbanzos (chickpeas) will work great. Sprouting boosts their already fantastic nutritional value even more...

2 1/2 cups sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) OR canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
Grated zest of one large lemon
1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try brocolli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts - optional)
1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)

If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until just tender, about 10 minutes. Most of you will be using canned beans, so jump right in and combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties. I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately.

Makes 12 mini burgers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quinoa Salad With Lime Ginger Dressing and Shrimp

This salad, with its gingery lime dressing, scallions, cilantro and a little bit of heat, has Asian overtones. Serve it as a side dish or a light lunch or supper. Vegetarians will enjoy this without the shrimp, which garnish the top of the salad.

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (more to taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced

Salt to taste

Pinch of cayenne

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil or walnut oil

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the salad:

3 cups cooked quinoa (3/4 cup uncooked)

4 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin

1 small cucumber, halved, seeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

12 to 16 cooked medium shrimp, peeled

1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne, sesame oil, canola oil, and buttermilk.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the quinoa, scallions, cucumber, and cilantro. Toss with the dressing and divide among salad plates. Top each portion with 3 or 4 shrimp, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: The cooked quinoa will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. You can make the dressing and prep the ingredients for the salad a few hours ahead.

Filipino Barbecue Skewers


For the marinade:
1 cup Coke
1 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 lbs of pork shoulder or chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before use.


1. Place all marinade ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Place chicken or pork cubes in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade all over. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and set in the refrigerator to marinate overnight, turning the bag over at least once during the process.

3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly.

4. While the fire is lighting, thread meat onto the skewer. Each piece of meat should touch the next, but not pushed tightly together.

5. Grill directly over a hot fire, turning every 3 to 5 minutes until each side is nicely browned and the meat is cooked through.

Arroz Caldo


  • 4 chicken thighs (or drumsticks)
  • 2 cups of sticky rice or short-grain rice (uncooked)
  • 1 qt of chicken stock (fat free, sodium free)
  • 2 knobs of ginger (peeled, chopped 1/4 inches)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped roughly)
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots
  • green onions
  • 2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • salt and pepper

Total comfort food and perfect for a loved one with a cold.

Arroz Caldo literally translates to "hot rice" and this was one of my favorite dishes growing up in the Philippines.

  1. Get a big pot hot and add some olive oil, and brown the chicken. This means don't move it until it has sufficiently browned on one side. Salt and pepper.

  2. When you flip over the chicken, add the chopped onion or shallots and let it sautee until the other side of the chicken browns.

  3. Add garlic, give a quick toss and add uncooked rice.

  4. Mix around the rice and add the patis (vietnamese fish sauce works well too). Add ginger. Mix around and add chicken stock.

  5. Cover and bring to simmer.

  6. When simmer, bring heat to medium and continue to stir. Making sure rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

  7. Continue to check the tenderness of the rice (much like risotto). If mixture is getting too thick, loosen with tepid water.

  8. When rice is cooked just right, serve with chicken in a bowl and garnish with green onions and/or deep fried shallots and garlic and a grind of black pepper (white pepper works well too).

Halway through eating a bowl, squeeze a bit of lemon juice (or calamansi) on top of the hot rice to jazz things up again.

Also, this tastes much better with those big chinese soup spoons.

Adobong Na Manok


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 head of garlic, cloves crushed and skin removed
2 ounces fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 chicken
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy suace
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 fresh bay leaves


1. Cut up the chicken, separating the chicken into legs, thighs, and breasts. Cut each of these pieces in half, using a heavy knife.

2. Pour the oil into a large dutch oven or heavy pot. Turn the heat to medium-high. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, bay leaves, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the chicken pieces. Turn the heat to medium high and reduce the sauce for a few minutes. Toss the chicken back in, and stir until coated.

4. Serve with rice and season with salt to taste.

Arroz Caldo


Although White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford provided this recipe at a recent cooking demonstration held at TenPenh in downtown Washington, she said "there is no real recipe for how Filipinos eat arroz caldo." It's comfort food that is ubiquitous: made for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or late-night meal.

6 servings


  • • 2 1/8 cups canola oil
  • • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • • 12 medium cloves garlic, 6 of them finely minced
  • • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
  • • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice or medium-grain rice
  • • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • • Salt
  • • Freshly ground black pepper
  • • 1 cup whole or low-fat milk
  • • Cayenne pepper
  • • Sea salt
  • • 3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions, white and light green parts
  • • 6 small calamansi or key limes, juiced
  • • Scallion oil, for garnish (optional)


In a large saucepan over medium-high to high heat, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 6 cloves of minced garlic, the ginger and the onion. Cook, stirring, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant and the onion becomes translucent. Add the rice and stir until well coated, then add the chicken broth and mix well. Cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the fish sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low.

Cut the remaining cloves of garlic into paper-thin slices and place in a small bowl. Add the milk and soak for 10 minutes, then transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Drain, discarding the milk, and pat the garlic dry with paper towels.

Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 cups of oil in a medium pot to 350 degrees. Carefully add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute, until crisp. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate and dust with cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.

To serve, ladle portions of the soup into individual bowls and garnish with the crisped garlic, scallions and calamansi or lime juice. Drizzle with scallion oil, if desired.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Winter Squash, Onion and Red Wine Panade

Serves 8 to 10

5 onions
2 pounds acorn or butternut squash
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
12 sprigs thyme
1 cup red wine
2-3 quarts chicken stock
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
10 slices stale country-style bread
1 ounce Parmigiano
2 ounces Gruyere

1. Begin by stewing the onions, peeled and sliced thin, over medium heat, in about 1/4 cup of olive oil. When they have begun to soften, add the garlic cloves, also peeled and sliced thin; the bay leaves; and the thyme. Continue to cook the onions until they just begin to brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, peel and seed the squash and cut it into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a sauté pan over medium heat, lightly brown the slices of bread in more olive oil.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and assemble the panade: Cover the bottom of a large casserole with half the bread slices and gently ladle in enough broth (including the onions) to cover. Make a single layer of the sliced squash on top and ladle in more of the broth and onions, to cover. Make a layer with the rest of the bread, add more broth and onions so that the top layer of bread is well soaked through, and finish by grating the cheeses over the top to cover lightly.

4. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes; then uncover and bake for about 45 minutes more, until well browned. To serve, scoop the panade into bowls and ladle more of the hot broth around it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time:55 min
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
All'Amatriciana Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano


1 small (6-ounce) onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/4 cup
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground veal
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes

1 pound bucatini or other long pasta

For the sauce: In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the meatballs: Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and veal. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan.

Lemony Chickpea Stir-fry


2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion or a couple shallots, sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
1 cup chopped kale, spinach, or other hearty green
1 red pepper, roasted, skinned, and chopped
2 small zucchini, cut into half moons
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon


1. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil or ghee over medium-high heat and stir in a good pinch of salt. Add the chickpeas and sauté until beginning to color, then add the onion or shallot. Continue cooking until the chickpeas are deeply golden. Add greens and cook until wilted, then remove everything in the skillet onto a large plate.

2. Heat the remaining oil or ghee in the same skillet over medium heat, and sauté the zucchini until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pepper and cook for an additional minute, then add the chickpea mixture back in.

3. Mix well, taste for seasoning, and remove from the heat. Add the lemon zest and juice, and toss well. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper.