Monday, August 31, 2009

Baked Liempo

oh my.. has it been that long since i blogged... well i have a perfect excuse.. its been one crazy summer.. but i hope to redeem myself by my friday night recipe.. an all time filipino classic with a twist.. Oven Baked Liempo.. =)

Weirdly enough I’ve been avoiding cooking Filipino foods because these dishes are sacrosanct to me. Each dish has a distinct taste and memory that any tweaking to it is blasphemous…

Liempo is one of them, deep fried pork belly goodness is one of my favorites.. but the heart burn at the end of the meal is almost a given. I was searching for a good baked recipe but couldn’t find one in google (big surprise), so I decided to tweak recipes from different Filipino foodie blogs and make my own.

Baked Liempo

3 lbs pork belly – washed and dried
Pepper (freshly grind and a few peppercorns)
Garlic Powder
2 – 3 Bay Leaves

Bring a pot of water to simmer, add salt, peppercorns and Bay Leaves
Season the pork with salt, pepper and garlic powder very well.
Add pork to water and boil for 2 ½ hours
Take pork out, dry and freeze overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Place pork on rack and bake for 30 – 45 minutes
Move the rack closer to the top and broil skin for 5 – 10 mins until you see blisters in pork skin (clear indication of its crispy goodness)
Take out of oven and let meat rest for 10 – 15 mins

Serve with hot rice and your favorite dipping sauce..
Mm mm mmm

I kept the meat baking for only 30mins and there were parts of the meat that was still frozen. I had no problem serving it because it was already cooked.

I think the secret will be the spices and flavoring in the brining liquid... I'll try different spices next time, thaw the pork 30mins before tossing it into the oven and keeping it longer for an extra roasted flavour..

Over-all for my first attempt it was the goodness of the liempo without the guilt of fried foods…
Enjoy!! =D

Friday, May 8, 2009

I like mine RAW

I’ve been going crazy on the meatarian dishes early this week, I had buttermilk fried chicken, rich beef stew and the “killer” Slow Cooked Pork Belly in Jack Daniels. It was so good, but I think my heart and cholesterol levels couldn’t handle it anymore and I decided to take the raw approach the other day to balance it out. I discovered the other day that Mike’s Fish Market, my favorite fish monger in St. Lawrence Market has a branch a few minutes from my house. Lucky for me because if I have to trek to Front St. on a weekday trying to beat QEW traffic to make it before they close at 6:00pm is damn near impossible. As soon as I found out about their Etobicoke Branch, I knew it was fish night that night. So there I was thinking of something to make for dinner, knowing that Mike’s was so close by, when I was haunted by memories of this delicious, tangy cerviche from Boulevard Café along Harbord St. My mouth started to water just thinking about it, so to satisfy my cravings, I decided to make my own version.

Making cerviche is surprisingly quite easy, it’s very similar to the Kilawin, a Philippine version, minus the vinegar, coconut milk and cranking up the citrus. It’s a very refreshing side dish or as an appetizer it prepares one for more good eats to come after.

For my dish, I decided to use a white firm fish that can hold its weight alongside the tartness of the limes. Mike’s had a special on Groupers that night, plus the lady behind the counter was kind enough to slice it into chunks which pretty much sealed the deal. All in all it took longer for me to slice and dice the veggies than it did to actually “cook” the dish.

I served it alongside a couple of Malpeque oysters, mignonette sauce, hot sauce and slices of lemons and a glass of rose (I ran out of white and I was too lazy to go out and get some). No need to dish out $50 for a raw bar, I spent less than $20 for 2 and it was worth it.

Grouper Cerviche
(For 2)

½ lb of Grouper
Juice from 3 limes
1 white onion, minced
Zest from 1 lime
1 jalapeno seeded and diced (more if you want a spicier dish)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients together, marinate for at least 2 hours.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil prior to serving.

(Sorry again for the pictures.. I’m planning on getting a Canon SD1200 this month and hopefully the pics would be better)

Monday, April 27, 2009

from a friend.....

*** my random emails from a friend.. you made a girl smile today.. hugsss ***

Ok fine, I'll humor you. I dunno about summer goddesses though, but we'll see

close your eyes and let me paint you a picture....

You with your wine, me with my scotch, enjoying the high of 26, enjoying each others company, chilling in downtown by the water, watching the sunset, talking about anything and everything... People walking around, the everyday city noise on the road, all this does not matter, because we are both intoxicated with each other... the moments seems so surreal and yet no inhibitions whatsoever cloud our thoughts... except hoping the night would not end...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

musings of coupling

Being together was such a good idea, at one point it was the epitome of perfection. Enjoying each other's company, wishing for the end of a work day to come home and simply be together was fun...

Then everything changed and separation sinked in.. It became a sad thought and a puzzle more than anything else to equate you and i being together as a good idea. Now it doesn't make sense, it has become such an oddity, one wonders how it was ever possible...

In an inebriated state maybe, the oddity would become clear. Before that moment sinks in however, I'll scratch my head and ask why???

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Slow cooker adventure

Here is my first attempt roasting a 3lb chicken in my beloved slow cooker. I volunteered to make our girls night out meal last Saturday for my friends but of course I didn’t want to slave in the kitchen all day and my slow cooker was fast becoming a big and heavy paperweight in my kitchen counter top. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to put it into good use.

The menu I decided was simple yet elegant which I thought was the theme of the entire night.

Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken
Asparagus with Prosciutto
Mushy peas with mint

The chicken took about 8 hours including 1 hour prep time and I was able to make the other 2 dishes in 30 minutes with plenty of time to clean up before my chickas arrived. The house smelled like Swiss Chalet threw a party at my place and it was good! Haha!

Bonus was making homemade chicken stock using the slow cooker again with the carcass that was left after the chicken was picked clean by my friends (I guess it’s a good sign that they liked it. Lol!) My brother promised he’ll use it when he makes Tinola later this week.. Yey!! One chicken, 2 meals, you can’t ask anything more than that..

I wish I have a better quality picture but here it is..

Friday, April 3, 2009

my hand

All I can give you is my hand in friendship, that is all that I have, that is all that I need...

If you accept, I will lay the world at your feet..

For friendship is what's most precious to me..

Now and always

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Butter Love Affair

Talk about having a hit of the munchies.. I’ve been craving a mélange of tastes, textures, aromas for the past 2 days, I can use the “I’m PMSing excuse” so I’ve been going on a whirlwind gastronomic adventure for the past 2 days and I’m not complaining.

Last Sunday, after suffering most of the day with a really bad hang-over, and I admit I was tempted to whip up a blood mary to ease my queasy tummy, instead I ended up passed out in the couch until late afternoon. When I woke up, I wanted something simple, fast and wouldn’t cause another riot in my already sensitive tummy. The obvious answer a pasta dish.

I ended up making spaghetti with sage infused brown butter. I’ve never had brown butter sauce before. My pasta experience has always been either tomato or cream based sauces, but I wasn’t craving for either and I didn’t want to do all the work. The 2 main criteria I had were simple and fast. Coincidentally I the food network channel on (when don’t I have the food network channel on.. lol) and it featured a brown butter sauce. It was perfect, I had to try it out.

Spaghetti in Brown Butter Sauce
Good for 2 servings

¼ lb of spaghetti
3 tbsp of butter
10 – 12 leaves of sage
Juice of ½ a small lemon
Fresh cracked black pepper
Generous serving of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti as per package directions.
Melt the butter over medium heat
Add sage leaves and let it fry gently on the butter
Cook butter until it turns a hazelnut brown
Add the lemon juice to stop the cooking process
Pour over hot spaghetti
Add a couple twists of your pepper mill
And top generously with parmesan cheese

Bon Appetito!!
It was nutty, cheesy, and the taste of lemon gave a burst of freshness that was utterly delightful. It was a cornucopia of tastes that left me completely satisfied. The best thing is I didn’t have to spend a cent because I had all these things in my pantry. Try it out, you won’t regret it.

Monday night was a different story, I wanted seafood and there was a special sale at my local fishmonger for Dungeness Crab. I brought home a couple and started to make another simple and delightful dish. I simply boiled the crab for 20 mins in salted water, there wasn’t any reason for me to do anything fancy with it. But I brought my dipping butter to another level. I usually add a splash of orange juice when I make lemon butter but I ran out and there was no way that I’d go to the store to buy OJ, I went through my pantry and there was a bottle of grand mariner, orange liqueur in butter, why not!?!? It came out amazing..

Citrus Butter Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp butter
½ tbsp lemon
½ tsp grand mariner

In a microwave safe bowl, slowly melt the butter in defrost temperature every 30 seconds.
When butter is completely melted add lemon and grand mariner and mix thoroughly
Heat again for another 30 seconds
Serve alongside Crab, steamed
baby bok choy in oyster sauce and hot rice..


My only comment for this butter dish is try the unsalted kind, now I know why chef’s prefer to use unsalted butter because as soon as the butter started to cool down the salt crystallized and what’s left in the dish was citrus flavored salt instead of butter. I could’ve gone all the way and made clarified butter, but I can always save that for next time I get hit with the munchies and satisfy my palate with butter sauces.