Smoked Salmon Avocado and Cream Cheese on Toast

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese is a classic combination. The addition of avocado just took it up another notch.

There is really no recipe for this, it’s just a matter of assembling all the ingredients together. The kind of bread to use is entirely up to you. I prefer to a hearty or whole grain bread because it hold it’s shape better.

First, toast a slice of whole wheat bread. Then smear this with some cream cheese. Add some sliced avocodo then top it off with a couple of slices of smoked salmon. You can sprinkle some capers before serving but it’s optional.

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Smoked Salmon Asparagus Eggs Benedict

I love smoked salmon and just had it with poached eggs at Maison Kayser last weekend. It gave me an idea to make something similar at home. The first thing I did was look for a good quality smoked salmon that is not too expensive. I found one at my local Shoprite.

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First, poached an egg and set aside. Then cook several asparagus spears until tender (you can either boil or steam it). Immediately submerged it in ice cold water then pat dry and arrange on a plate. Prepare your sauce by adding equal portions of the following in a bowl – olive oil, mayonnaise, and sushi vinegar and stir until everything is well combined.

Lay some thinly sliced smoked salmon pieces on your asparagus, then top it with your poached egg. Pour some sauce over your eggs and serve warm. You can serve this with some salad greens and toast for a hearty brunch or lunch.

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Eggs Baked in Avocado

Avocados have risen in popularity for the past several years here in North America. The most common type of avocado that is widely available is the Hass. It has a thicker skin, ripes slowly and keeps for long in the fridge or counter top.

It is also considered one of the superfoods since it contains a lot of nutrients and health benefits. Some of it would be for keeping a healthy heart, weight control and protection against certain cancer to name a few.

I learned to eat avocado in a savory way since we moved here to the Northeast. If you don’t know people in Asia eat avocados as a dessert or as a sweet mainly. My family loves to eat avocados for breakfast usually served on toast. I wanted to find other interesting ways to serve it and I came across this.

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First, cut your avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop out some of the flesh from its center so that it’s large enough to accommodate an egg. Lay these on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently place the egg in it’s center. Bake in a 450F oven for 10-12 minutes until just set. Make sure to watch it if you like your yolks runny. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley or cilantro on top. I served this with some whole wheat raisin bread and country ham.

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Baked Sliced Country Ham

I usually serve ham over the holidays, either Christmas or New Year. I was never a fan of the spiral cut honey baked ham that is so popular here in the US. I grew up in the Philippines eating the salty sweet style ham. One brand that comes to mind is Majestic ham which is favorite of my dad. He would always get a whole leg of ham which my mom would serve on Christmas day.

I discovered that I could recreate this ham from my childhood by using Country Ham. Country style ham is popular in the South specially in Virginia and Tennessee. Country hams are salt cured for 1-3 months then dry aged for either months to several years. They are not fully cooked when sold so it is important to follow the manufacturers cooking directions.

I made a glazed whole country ham (photo below) several years ago for a New Years eve party. The ham was more than enough to feed 10 people and we had a lot of leftovers. Buying a whole ham is too much for my family so I opted to get the sliced country ham this time.

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First, take the ham off it’s plastic wrap and place in a shallow pan. Add enough water to cover the ham and let this soak 8 hours to overnight to remove excess salt. Then drain the ham and place in an roasting pan, make sure to cover or wrap it tightly with foil. Bake at a 300F oven for approximately 2.5 hours or until internal temperature reaches 160F. After 2 hours pour or brush ham with glaze made of 1 cup dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp. dijon mustard and 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Continue cooking until glaze has caramelize and ham turns into a dark golden color.

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Make sure to slice thinly before serving.

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Pork Bone Soup (Nilagang Buto ng Baboy)

There is nothing better than a steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter night. I wanted to make a comforting as well as a rich and satisfying dinner, so I thought of pork bone soup. Any cook knows that the secret to making a good broth is bones, be it chicken, beef or pork or any combination of these.

Pork neck bones is relatively cheap, you can get these at any Asian grocer. It will make a hearty meal since the bones are actually meaty.

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Rinse the bones in running water and place in a big stock pot. Add enough water and let this boil for 3-5 minutes. Take out the bones and rinse again under running water, make sure to remove any scum. If you are using the same pot, wash and rinse well before adding back the bones. I used a pressure cooker to cook the pork bones since I didn’t have the luxury of time to cook this for hours. Place your pork neck bones in your pressure cooker and add enough water to cover. To this add 1 medium chopped onion, 1 tsp ground black pepper and thumb size ginger. Make sure to follow the cooking directions of your pressure cooker.

When pork neck bones are tender, remove from broth and set aside. Let the broth come back to a boil then add your choice of vegetables, I used carrots, kabocha squash and napa cabbage. Season with salt or fish sauce and cook until vegetables are crisp tender. Place your pork neck bones in a bowl and ladle your broth and vegetables on top. Serve hot with rice on the side.

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