Monday, December 28, 2015

From My Kitchen and Beyond is going to be back January 2016.

Hope everyone is having an amazing time this Holiday Season.



Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Have a Blessed New Year!!!

Burrppp!!! 


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Simple Tomato Soup

I just made tomato soup from scratch. It's my first time actually. Aside from mushroom and corn soup, tomato soup is also a favorite. One stormy weekend, I went out to buy some sandwiches in a nearby Subway. While waiting for the sandwiches, I ordered a small cup of  tomato soup. It was very rich and yummy. With that, I also bought some for my boys and they loved it too. So this week, I decided to make home-cooked tomato soup.

The secret to a rich tomato soup are roasted fresh, ripe tomatoes. It brings out the natural sweetness and flavor of the tomatoes. Chicken stock is also a key ingredient. I bought chicken stock from the grocery just to shorten the process, but you can make your own stock as well.
Ingredients:
  • 6 ripe tomatoes (roasted)
In roasting, cut medium sized tomatoes into half , place it in a baking pan or dish, then season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary then roast it in the oven for 20 minutes. Usually, garlic is included, but in my case, I like to saute the garlic with the onions in a separate pan before mixing everything together. 
  • 2 400g can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 medium white onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1 tsp dried basil or fresh
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a dash of salt and black pepper


Important Equipment:
  • Blender or food processor or hand blender
  • Baking dish for roasting
Procedure:
  • After roasting the seasoned fresh tomatoes, cool it down for a few minutes and place it in the blender. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and blend it together until smooth. If you're using a hand blender, pour the roasted tomatoes after the rest of the ingredients are sauteed, then blend everything together.
  • After blending the tomatoes, set it aside.
  • In a separate sauce pan, heat olive oil.
  • Saute onions and garlic both at the same time, stir for a few seconds.
  • Add the remaining can of diced tomatoes and green peas. Mix and simmer for a few seconds.
  • Add the chicken stock and simmer again for about a minute.
  • Add the roasted tomato mix and simmer for 10- 15 minutes until thick.
  • Add more chicken stock if necessary.
  • In low fire, Add heavy cream and dried basil, stir and simmer again for 3- 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Adjust according to preference.
  • Simmer the tomato soup until smooth and thick.
Best served with Parmesan croutons and grilled cheese.
I'm a happy cook! I was able to create a simple Tomato Soup recipe. It is very healthy especially tomatoes are rich in Lycopene, a cancer- fighting agent. It sure feels good knowing that I can make a healthy soup anytime I want to. This will probably end up on my weekly menu. Just like Okra, it's best to include healthy dishes if not daily at least, on a weekly basis, or just jumble these dishes to serve something new and healthy everyday.
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Friday, October 16, 2015

Yakisoba

Here I am with another exciting recipe. My eldest son is very much into Japanese cuisine. Everytime we're out, he'd always choose Japanese food or any restaurant where he can use chopsticks. The other day, he was watching some cooking demos on YouTube, particularly how to cook Yakisoba. We watched the video together and he asked me if we can cook it. So the following day, I went to a nearby grocery store and bought ingredients. Please take note that whatever ingredient is seen on this post, are mostly the very same stuff used in the Japanese cooking demo (link below), except for the sauce which I made myself. I also added carrots and bell pepper.

Yakisoba is a variant of fried noodles in Japan. Yakisoba noodles are made from wheat flour fried in chunks of pork, shredded cabbage, carrots and mixed in tonkatsu/ oyster- like sauce, topped with fish flakes and paired with pickled ginger.
For my recipe, I used egg noodles, some suggests angel hair pasta.

Yield: 3-4
Ingredients

Main:
  • 400g egg noodles (boiled, drained)
  • 3 chicken breasts ( sliced into chunks or thin pieces)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 medium carrot ( sliced thinly)
  • 1/4 of whole cabbage (chopped)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (sliced thinly)
  • 2 scallion stalks (sliced thinly)
  • 4-5 pcs. Shiitake mushrooms (sliced thinly)
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil 
  • a dash of salt 
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 
  • chili (optional)
  • pickled ginger (Benishoga)
  • Aonori (dried seaweeds)
  Sauce: 
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 1 tbsp  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Kikoman soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
Tip: Mix Worcestershire sauce and catsup, you'll have Tonkatsu sauce.

Procedure:

If you noticed, I have ginger. Ginger is a good flavoring agent. I often mix ginger in Kikoman soy sauce to get a "certain" Japanese flavor. I also prefer using sesame oil because it gives a distinct Asian flavor.

Sauce:
  • In a small sauce pan, heat 1 tsp sesame oil and saute ginger in low heat for about 10 seconds.
  • Mix catsup, Worcestershire sauce, Kikoman soy sauce in a small bowl and add it with the ginger.
  •  Let it simmer in low heat for a few seconds.
  • Set aside.
Main:
  • Heat 2 tbsp sesame oil and pan fry chicken until cooked. Set aside.
  • In the very same pan, heat another 1 tbsp of sesame oil and saute garlic until light brown. 
  • Add chicken and stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add shiitake mushrooms, carrots and bell pepper and stir fry until vegetables are half- cooked.
  • Add cabbage and half of the scallions and stir everything until well- combined.
  • Add the cooked egg noodles.
  • Add prepared sauce and mix everything together.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve in a platter, garnish the remaining scallions.
I didn't have pickled ginger (Benishoga) and Aonori (dried seaweeds) but in every Yakisoba dish, they're essential in adding flavor and texture.
One of the things I learned in this recipe is how to cook using chopsticks. Though I'm not sure if I'm using the right kind, but over- all, it made me aware that I can cook noodles better with chopsticks. It doesn't stick. 

Next is a realization, that I need to seriously go to a Japanese grocery and buy Benishoga,  Aonori and other essential Japanese condiments and--- that we have a Japanese grocery nearby--- and I didn't even know. Hehehe!

Yakisoba on YouTube
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Okra

I know a lot of people who doesn't like Okra for different reasons:

1. Because it's gooey and slimy
2. It's unexplainable skin texture.
3. There's too much pea pod like seeds in it.

I've known my husband to be very picky when it comes to veggies. But along our journey as a married couple,  I was able to inject a lot of food factors to a healthier living. Just recently, I've finally convinced my husband to like Okra. When I say like, it's not just eating a piece or for the sake of pleasing me or granting my request. Like, is when he requests a plate full of blanched, fresh Okra. It is now part of our daily meal always served during lunch and dinner.


When I was little and my dad didn't have a job, our daily food went around vegetables farmed from a vacant lot beside our house. We had corn, pechay, peanuts, mustaza, sweet potatoes, green leafy veggies such as talbos ng camote, alugbati, saluyot and okra. We didn't have money but I felt so rich just having these in our yard, it's like having a small farm. I can eat any vegetable but I consider Okra as one of my favorites. I steam or blanch it, then as dip, I prepare simple soy sauce and vinegar mixture or shrimp paste with calamansi juice paired with some hot rice.
Here are some health facts on Okra. Hopefully this will change the mind of those who greatly despise this vegetable.

1. It is high in antioxidants.
2. Rich in Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium
3. It is very high on fiber.
4. It lowers the risk of diabetes and a factor for blood- sugar control.
5. Lowers the risk of cancer.

For more: Health Benefits of Okra

 
* The simpler how Okra is cooked and served, the better. It doesn't require too much to enjoy it.

Our family knows somebody who recently passed away at the age of 103.  She was physically capable and very strong for her age.  We were amazed by her story and of the fact that she reached 103 years old. Our aunt told us that her mom may have reached 103 because she always demanded for a plate of Okra as part of her "daily meal". One day, she slept and didn't wake up anymore... her age caught up with her.

What I'm sharing here is just a thought which we can all learn from. The lifestyle nowadays shortens our life span. It's given that we will all die but personally, even if I'm old, I still want to move about do what I can to enjoy this world. So those vegetables that some of us hate like ampalaya and okra, these are contributing factors to long life, clean living and a healthy future.
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Monday, June 29, 2015

MEGA Creations: Spanish Style Sardines

It all started with a simple craving--- again. I went to a nearby convenience store to check if I can find something different to munch on. I have nothing particular by the way, I just suddenly had the urge to eat something that I haven't eaten in the past weeks. Aside from the usual fried- rice toppers and fixed meals there was nothing else, so I went through the pile of canned goods. To my surprise, I found an extraordinary piece of canned product, Spanish- style sardines. Why extraordinary? 


Personally, I am more familiar with those packed in bottles and labeled as "gourmet" Spanish- style sardines. Well, basically those considered "gourmet" are prepared/ cooked/ soaked  in a more natural set of ingredients like olive oil or they make use of a better choice of fish like Bangus (milkfish) belly. These "gourmet" items costs a lot for a small bottle. I must admit, hey, we all take the bait because it's really good. 

Whatever I found that Friday afternoon at a random convenience store was heaven sent. 

1. I now have a more affordable option. 
2. It taste exactly like those "gourmet products". 
3. It's made of simple ingredients like sardines, soya oil, salt, carrot and spices. The sardines are not the tiny ones, they're right for the size. 
4. It's easy to open, and a 155g can at (24php Hi- Top Supermarket price)  contains 6 chunky sardines.
5. I don' t know if this is allowed to bring abroad for your loved ones, but if so, I highly recommend it.

In the container--- equivalent of  (2) 155g can
I have this habit of eating sardines with pandesal (bread) or rice. Transferring the content in a microwavable container makes it easier for me to access and pair it with anything even pasta. For small servings such as mine,  a clean container prevents spoilage (if properly stored), less spills and you can serve it anytime.
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Shopping Made Easier

Adjusting period has been very exciting for me as a homemaker. The change of location opened up a lot of options in terms of malls and supermarkets where I can do my grocery shopping. Though I've been to some of these places, it's just now that I'm really discovering the home essentials they offer.

Like everyone else, if we're new to a grocery store or supermarket, we get lost or shopping takes longer. As for me, I go from aisle to aisle. At the same time, right at home I've already come up with a shopping list. I use my mobile device on making a list so I don't need  to take out a piece of paper that will later on serve as trash anyway.


One of the perks of gadgets is convenience. I make my list using Notes for iPhone. A list makes it easier and faster for me even if I need to go through the items lane by lane. But you see, even if I have a list on my phone, it can still be confusing at times.

There's an app that can actually get your list ready, where you can organize the list of items as you go through shopping, and it is the most awesome thing.  Since I love to cook, I am very particular about the freshness of a product. So if have a list ready, shopping is quick and I'll be able to come home and cook my favorite dish. The fun part I like the most on making a list is being able to come up with recipes too. Sometimes while at the grocery and by just looking at the shelves, I can come up with a new viand to cook. This very same app that can create a shopping list for you, can also offer a range of food ideas which can be very useful.

Nowadays, especially those living abroad rely more on shopping list apps that can make shopping entirely different and of course, easier.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My First Dinner Rolls

 It took quite sometime to be able to share something again because the whole summer I was so busy fixing our new home. Summer of 2015 was scorching hot that my husband and I had to lay off some plans for the condo and go for a new air- conditioner instead. Next, I decided to ditch my old desktop and start anew with a laptop. Everything you'll read and see on both my blogs are the latest events in my life.  

For this entry, I would like to share with everybody that I've finally tried to put my hands on making fresh bread from scratch. It was just all about creating something new aside from my usual pastries, then my husband encouraged me, why not try a simple bread recipe and see what happens from there. So the next thing I did was to go online to search for easy recipes. I found a few, but I went back to Laura Vitale's recipe which I found easy and more flexible. I've been an avid Laura In The Kitchen follower. She makes the most amazing dishes and desserts. It's amazing because she sticks with easy recipes and the results has always been superb. You can visit her website and simply go to search for recipes. (this is not a paid ad)

In the previous posts I've mentioned that making  bread is nothing new. My mom used to make breads and she owned a bakery store. Of course as she aged and due to more practical reasons, she didn't continue it. So when I finally got to try this new experience it kinda made me feel even more complete.

My dinner rolls didn't turn as beautiful as Laura's. But it was soft and aromatic. I love the smell of fresh bread!

Our my dinner rolls was paired with our spaghetti and salad.
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Touches of Red

This is now the 2nd phase on enhancing my kitchen. Remember, I shared in an earlier post Glimpse of My Kitchen, it was still empty then. As we move along, I made some additions to make my kitchen look nicer.

Red was not really part of the plan. My husband is not into bold colors too. We even thought that my stand mixer being "red" will not go well with the kitchen that I need to put it back to storage after every use. But... when I started baking again, and just left the mixer on the counter, we both saw the extraordinary taste it can bring. From then on, we decided to accentuate the kitchen with touches of RED.
Before finalizing it, I went online on how both black and red will work for a kitchen. We always see white or brighter colors right? Some considers floral or patterned designs. Pinterest is a good source for ideas when it comes to home improvement. That's when I realize that adding color doesn't have to be  too bold like a whole wall painted red or any preferred color, it doesn't have to be too dull as well. But over-all, as long as your work space or room is not cluttered, anything will work.
The money plant was also experimental since I'm still thinking on how to make kitchen look even better, I just thought of putting the plant at the counter. Apparently, it added color and it's just a small pot. What more if I get maybe 1 or 2 more or something else of the same size. The pot is reddish, it has a red ribbon and the green plant adds a special element.
Still empty compared to the past kitchens I worked on for the past 10 years. All I want is a clutter- free kitchen, where most stuff are hidden but just a grab away if I need any. Accentuating is one way to improve the look of any room. It doesn't have to be all out red or purely one color. Working on a smart looking design and shade as base is a start and I made a good choice with a jet black counter.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Easy Chicken Nuggets

It all started with a simple craving. I just wanted chicken nuggets while watching television. Unfortunately, we've run out. All I have in my freezer was a pack of chicken breast fillet. So I went online and checked for possible recipes. In most recipes I found, they use ground chicken and then, they bind it with egg, seasoning and coat it with flour/ bread crumbs. 

To make things easier, I decided to cut the chicken breast into bite-size instead. For me, the advantage of  using ground chicken is that you're able to turn your nuggets into different shapes and sizes and it cooks fast.

If you don't have the time to go through the process like grind the chicken or maybe go shop for ground chicken, this easy recipe can help you out.
Ingredients:
  • 4 pcs. chicken breast fillet (cut into bite- size)
  • 1 cup canola oil for deep- frying
  • 1  large egg (beaten and seasoned with salt and ground pepper)
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup All- purpose flour
  • 1/4-  1/2 cup bread crumbs/ Parmesan cheese ( I used Parmesan cheese)
Procedure:
  • Heat canola oil.
  • Dip bite- size chicken in egg.
  • Coat it with all- purpose flour.
  • Dip it again in egg.
  • Then coat it with bread crumbs or grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Deep fry until golden brown.
  • Repeat step by step procedure for each bite-size chicken.
Parmesan cheese is just optional., but it makes the nuggets extra delish!
Aside from barbecue sauce, it also perfect with salsa, any mayo dressing, sweet and sour sauce and the list just goes on!

Enjoy!
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Monday, April 13, 2015

LeftOver Magic: Fettuccine with Clam Sauce

During the Holy Week, one of the dishes I prepared was clam soup. I bought 1 kilo of clams which I thought was just right for us, but apparently, 1 kilo was a lot. The following day, I didn't cook any other food but I did magic with what was left of the clams. Aside from the clams, I had leftover fettuccine noodles in the fridge waiting. A pantry stocked with cream and Parmesan cheese completed the recipe.
Ingredients:
  • Leftover clams (or any seafood)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium white onion (chopped )
  • 200g cooked fettuccine or any pasta available
  • 1 cup all- purpose cream
  • 1 tsp dried basil or any herb or your choice fresh or dried
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp granulated pepper
Note: Vegetables from the clam soup was included

Procedure:
  • In a pan, heat olive oil then saute garlic and onions.
  • Add clams then stir and simmer for a few seconds.
  • Add all- purpose cream and stir until well- blended.
  • In low heat, add pasta and mix everything together.
  • Add pepper and Parmesan cheese to taste.
Enjoy!
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Divisoria Food Run

We've been to Divisoria for the past 3 months since the turnover of our new condo. We're always on the look for affordable but still of good quality items for our new home. During our last visit,  we had curtains made , got some rods, bedsheets, etc. Our friends accompanied us this time around.

Our visits to Divisoria nowadays has been very easy because there's a nearby mall where we can park safely and the pathway going to the streets of Tabora and Ilaya are well guarded by mall security. But take note, beyond that, it's a "walk at your own risk system".

Over- all, a trip to Divisoria will still be fun and exciting as long as you know the dos and don'ts of this famous shopping district. When we arrived at 8am, parking was already open at the Lucky Chinatown Mall. My husband and I decided to have coffee at a nearby McDonald's while we wait for our friends.  As soon as our friends arrived, we immediately went on with our little adventure. 

By 10:30am we were already done traversing the streets of Binondo. On our way back to our cars to load our purchases, we saw a small food bazaar along Chinatown Walk. The line of food was tempting and the Chinatown Walk was cozy and shady- cool even on a hot summer day. With that, we took the bait.

The food bazaar was composed of various Chinese dishes which were home-cooked. Personally, Chinese Cuisine is one of my favorites. I grew up in a Chinese community in Sta. Mesa and we have friends who are very generous to share their culture with us.
Being able to finish our task early gave us an opportunity to relax and enjoy the rest of the day on a double date. Not bad right? Double date in Divisoria, shopping, exploring and a food trip, quite an adventure I must say. And we still have to go to Ongpin for the real deal food adventure.
I must admit, I went overboard with the food, I got a lot, which we took home. There was just so much food to taste. Part of this food experience was to feel the other side of Divisoria. We often get the impression with Divisoria as the perfect place to get bargains and as breeding ground for all sorts of nasty schemes (snatchers, holduppers, pickpockets). On the lighter side of it, we were able to explore the "real Divisoria"  but at the same time, we also enjoyed some good food and company in a more relaxed atmosphere.
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Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Glimpse of My New Kitchen

Having a new kitchen made was one of the main reasons why I haven't posted anything for the longest time. It was the critical stage during the home- improvement of our new condo. Everything was custom- made. The search for the right materials and expertise made it difficult. Since it's customized, our carpenter had to work hand in hand with another group who installed our counter. 

I chose the granite, "jet black". At first I was hesitant and then, I thought that it's my kitchen and I want something way, way different from what I had for the past 10 years. Jet black made it modern, something that will last through time. But I still asked for our contractor's approval if it will fit the whole design, and it's perfect.

As you can see my cooker's installed already :D This image was actually taken 3 weeks ago. I now have a fully- functional kitchen, but I just decided to post this first because I still need to work on the aesthetics. hehehe!
Right beside the kitchen counter is our new refrigerator, yehey! My husband invested on an LG Top Mount Refrigerator, 11cu.ft, Smart Inverter Compressor. Quite a deal! We got it for 24,000php (I think) but the original price was almost 30,000php. We love LG! Most of our appliances are LG. From our television, washing machine, our new fridge and soon a Smart TV. The long wait to get new appliances was all worth it. I always believe that there's a right timing for everything.
My new kitchen is not as big, but it is truly mine... I chose how I wanted it to be and how it is going to be happy work place. New recipes and food features are going to be posted soon, stay tuned.
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Saboten

A lot of our friends know how much we love Katsu. So they've made recommendations of other katsu restaurants to try and one of them is Saboten. One sunny afternoon, we just decided to head to BGC for a relaxing stroll. It just so happen that my husband and I were in our usual "katsu mood" and so we looked for Saboten which is located at the:
Saboten Serendra
G/F Serendra, McKinley Parkway 
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

It was 1pm in the afternoon on a Sunday, we were expecting that there will be a waiting line , just like what we often experience in the other katsu house we go to. To our surprise, there was no line, tables were available and a very pleasant and warm reception was given to us. So far so good... but hey, it all boils down if the food and over- all dining experience is going to be as pleasant and warm right?

Since we're new to their menu, we just ordered what we're familiar with and a dish on the side. As we looked at the menu, tea was served which was a super plus, plus points for me. First, my husband got a Tenderloin Set (not in picture) which is a regular katsu set that comes with refillable Japanese rice, miso soup, pickles  and cabbage. The tenderloin was thick, tender, juicy and not oily.

Okay, before I proceed, I really would like to apologize for the lack of pictures. I'll update this entry on our next visit to Saboten.
Grated Radish Loin Set 395php
My Grated Radish Loin was served with a slice of grapefruit and special sauce. Squeeze the fruit all over the grated radish loin, then drizzle the special sauce after. This meal came with refillable Japanese rice, pickles and miso soup.
Chicken with Onion Radish and Seasoning 150php
Our side dish is composed of chicken bits topped with grated radish, onion and served with a special sauce.
Kid's Meal
My son gladly took the photo of his food and my apologies, I wasn't able to get the price for this one. In every restaurant we go to, I always ask for a kiddie meal for my children. There are 3 things I like about Saboten's Kid's Meal:

1. The food is served on a cute Miffy plate set.
2. Rice and cabbage are unlimited.
3. Food is served with orange juice and french fries.

This is so far has the best offer among katsu restaurants when it comes to kiddie meal.
Happy family, happy tummies!

Saboten offers dessert on special katsu sets. Well, everything that we tried are so good that we didn't notice that there wasn't any dessert included with what we ordered. Anyway, that's something to look forward to. We love the family- style way of service. Our cabbage and pickles were served in one plate for sharing and are refillable upon request. With that, our table was not cluttered, there's space for movement as we enjoy our food. Over- all, our Saboten dining experience is one for the books.
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