Meatballs with Misua Soup

We call this Meatballs with misua, Almondigas in Tagalog. In our family, the meatballs are prepared by just mixing together your choice of ground meat with finely chopped onion, an egg and salt and pepper. These are then formed into balls and dropped into a broth that has come to a boil and misua added during the last minutes of cooking.

A variation of this is when my mom would add chopped green onions to the meat mixture and place a (cooked) quail egg inside the meatball.

To make this recipe, I used 1 lb ground beef to which I added 1 medium sized finely chopped onion, 1 egg and salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. each). Form these into balls and set aside.

Saute 1 medium sized finely chopped onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic in a pot in a little oil. Once it becomes translucent and aromatic pour in 6-8 cups beef or chicken broth. Let this come to a boil then drop your meatballs one at a time. Cook covered for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat then add 1 cup each diced carrot and zucchini. Meatballs are done once it floats to the top. Last add 3 bundles of thin flour vermicelli and gently stir to separate noodles. Let this cook for about 1-2 minutes. Don’t over cook since noodles will become mushy and pasty.

Remove from heat and ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle some chopped green onions or garlic chips on top and serve with rice.

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Layered Napa Cabbage and Pork Belly Hot Pot

I have planned to make this hot pot once I knew we were going to be hit with a blizzard over the weekend. A cold blustery winter night is the best time to enjoy this comforting savory soup.

I got this recipe idea from this site and it is pretty easy to follow. It also kind of reminds me of this nilaga dish I made before.

To make you will need one big napa cabbage, a pack of thinly sliced pork belly, a knob of ginger, 1 clove garlic, a few stalks of green onions, mirin and soy sauce. All these can be bought at your local Asian store.

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First cut your napa cabbage into quarters lengthwise and give it a thorough wash. Then place a slice of pork belly between each leaf. Once everything is layered cut each quartered napa cabbage into three. Don’t forget to trim and remove the tough core at the end. Take a medium size pot and layer your meat/vegetable starting from the outer edges of the pot and work your way towards the middle. Pour a mixture of 4-5 cups water, 1 tbsp. soy sauce and 1 tbsp. mirin. Then add some slivered ginger, a clove garlic and some chopped green onions on top. Let this come to a boil then lower the heat and continue cooking at a simmer until meat and vegetables are tender. Note: Remove the scum that rises to the surface once meat comes to a boil. Remove the ginger and clove of garlic before serving.

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Serve with rice and a dipping sauce of soy or ponzu (soy sauce with a lime or lemon flavor).

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Palitaw Snowballs

Palitaw is a type of Filipino rice cake very similar to mochi. Palitaw in Tagalog means to float or rise up. This delicacy was named in the manner it is prepared. The rice cake is dropped into boiling water and you know it’s done once it floats up to the surface hence the name “palitaw”.

To make you will need glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, sugar and grated coconut. First place half a packet of rice flour into a bowl and add about 1-1 1/4 cup water. Stir until mixture comes together and texture feels like a wet dough. Form into balls or flat disk which is the traditional shape of palitaw.

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Place your rice balls into a pan of boiling water and cook until it floats to the top. Scoop with a strainer. Immediately roll into grated coconut and top with sugar and sesame seed mixture.

To make the sugar topping, roast 1-2 tsp of sesame seeds in a pan until golden brown. Place in a small bowl and let cool for a bit. Grind your sesame seeds until it releases it’s oil and aroma and add it into 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle this on top of your coconut coated rice ball.

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Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

After indulging during the Christmas and holiday season I am now trying to include as much vegetables as I can into our meals.

I decided to make stuffed zucchini for dinner one day. I used grey squash for this recipe. It is rounder and it has a light green color with silver flecks on it.

First, wash your zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides of your squash and set aside. Place your sliced zucchini in a microwave safe dish and add about 3/4 cup water (I used 3 zucchinis to make 6 halves). Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for about 3-4 minutes until somewhat softened.

Place your sausage (casings removed) in a pan and cook until brown. Add 1 finely chopped onion and saute until translucent. Then add 1 medium diced carrots and half of green bell pepper diced and cook until crisp tender. I also added the part of the zucchini I scooped out and chopped in into small pieces.

Stuff your zucchini with the sausage mixture top with grated cheese (I used fontina since I had some leftover from New Year’s). Then place in a 375F oven and baked for 10-15 minutes. I served this with brown rice and salad greens.

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New Year Daruma Bento

Daruma dolls are considered to be an important part of New Year celebrations in Japan. It is believed to be a symbol of good luck and fortune. During their first visit to the shrine that year, people would buy daruma dolls, have them blessed and return their old dolls for ceremonial burning.

To start my bento series for the year I decided to make a Daruma bento. Daruma dolls are usually made out of paper mache. It comes in only one shape but in various sizes. It is traditionally red in color but nowadays you can find it other colors too like purple, white, yellow and gold.

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To make my daruma onigiri I used deco furi to color my rice red and used some cheese and nori strips for the facial details. For the sides I added rolled omelet, some chinese sausage, chicken kaarage and some diced cantaloupe and tomato.

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