Steamed Mussels in White Wine

This is my go-to recipe for steamed mussels. It’s from the Foodnetwork channel by Tyler Florence. I’ve been making these for the past decade, and I still remember when I first made them. It was when I bought a bag the mussels from Costco. Remember when they were still selling fresh seafood on the weekends, their bagged mussels are usually a steal, so I almost always grab some whenever I can.

The recipe calls for wine, but my kids were too young then, so I omitted it, and the dish still turned out great. I followed this recipe but instead of chicken broth, I used chicken bouillon and added 1 cup of water.

This time I followed the recipe to a tee. It’s not a classic mussels meuniere, but this is somewhat similar. I love how all the ingredients complement each other.

I served this with a baguette and a bottle of wine. A side salad would also be wonderful addition to complete the meal.

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Longanisa, Kale and Ricotta Quiche

I love to experiment with flavors and use Filipino ingredients in western cuisine. This is what makes cooking fun and exciting for me. I like to surprise my family with new and unfamiliar dishes, and being adventurous, they more than welcome anything I serve.

This was something I came up with for a weeknight dinner. We wanted something light, so I thought of making a quiche.

First, make your crust. You can do this ahead of time. In a bowl, place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. Salt and 7 Tbsp. Unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender until it resembles cornmeal. Then gradually add 3 tsp. Iced water and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Transfer dough onto a clean work surface and form into a disk. Place it on a sheet of cling wrap and refrigerate for about 1 – 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured board, roll your dough into an 11″ circle. Carefully roll them out on a 9″ fluted tart pan. Gently press the dough on the pan and the edges of its fluted side. Using a knife or a rolling pin, cut off excess pastry. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pastry and fill it with dried beans or rice. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine 7 eggs, 2/3 cup milk (I used skim), and 2 Tbsp. Grated parmesan cheese and 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt and 2 cups baby kale. Pour the egg mixture into the pre-baked pie shell.

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In a small bowl, place 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used skim ricotta), 4 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, and mix until just incorporated. Spoon the mixture all over the pie shell. Dot about 3/4 cup of cherry tomatoes that has been sliced and about 1/2 cup of crumbled cooked longanisa all around the ricotta mixture. I used chicken longanisa patties, or you can take the meat out of the casing of any packaged longanisa of your choice. Place your pie pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 50 – 55 minutes. Note: you can wrap the edge of the pie with foil to prevent burning.

Cool slightly before cutting. The quiche can be served warm or at room temperature.

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Pasta Bolognese

I have tried many different recipes for bolognese sauce but have never found something I genuinely love. It always seems to have something lacking. Maybe most recipes I follow don’t allow it to cook long enough since I have opted for the easier method.

This recipe takes about 2 hours to cook, so make sure to consider that when you decide to make this for dinner. The directions are very straightforward, and it uses simple ingredients. This is not my own, by the way, but adapted from this site.

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The type of pasta you need to use is also crucial; for authentic bolognese pasta you will need a wide flat pasta like pappardelle or tagliatelle. It would be best if you had a strong pasta with a large surface area that can carry a heavy sauce like bolognese. But if you can’t find any fettucine or spaghetti will do. The only change I made was to use Beef bouillon diluted in water since I didn’t have any Beef broth and added the required amount of liquid.

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Hainanese Chicken Rice

I first had Hainanese Chicken during a Family trip to Singapore in May 1990. My older sister first tried it at a Hawker Center and it became our favorite dish. I didn’t know why we never did try to make it at home. It was only after all of us got married that we thought of preparing it ourselves. My sisters back home always served it for their families, but I was daunted by it.

Until I recently discovered an easy way to make it. This is adapted from the recipe on the website Marion’s Kitchen , I did make some modifications of my own.

To make I used two pieces Bill Evans Whole Chicken Legs. Traditional recipe calls for using a whole chicken but I find using parts is easier. First Rub your chicken all over with kosher salt and rinse well. Trim excess fat and set it aside to be used for the rice.

Place your chicken legs in a wide enough pot and add 4-5 slices ginger and 4 spring onions and pour enough water to cover. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil then immediately lower heat. Cover and continue cooking at a gentle simmer for about 35 – 40 minutes. Once chicken is done, immediately plunge in an ice bath for around 3 minutes to stop cooking. Pat dry with paper towels and rub chicken with sesame oil.

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While the chicken is cooking, prepare your rice. Heat 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil and 1 tsp Sesame oil in a pot or skillet. Then add your chicken skin trimmings, three cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. Minced ginger and 1 tsp salt. Cook until spices are fragrant. Add two cups of Jasmine rice and cook until it’s coated with the aromatics. Transfer the rice mixture to a rice cooker, add two cups of the poaching broth, and cook until done.

Carfefully remove bones before slicing your chicken. To serve place chicken pieces on a plate around a cup of rice and some cucumber slices. Serve with a ginger scallion and soy dipping sauce.

To make ginger sauce, place 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, 2 Tbsp finely minced ginger in a bowl and add 1 tsp. salt. Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1 tsp. sesame oil until hot. Then carefully pour over the ginger and scallions. Stir until well combined.

For the soy dipping sauce, combine one tablespoon oyster sauce, three tablespoons dark sweet soy sauce, one tablespoon light soy sauce, and two tablespoons reserved chicken poaching broth in a saucepan, heat until slightly thickened.

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Beef Chili

I rarely make chili since I find it too American and didn’t grow up eating it. My daughters, however, love it, and when the weather starts becoming coo grouler, they repeatedly request this for dinner.

Last night was a Chili kind of weather, it’s only the beginning of Fall but the temperature dropped to a high 40SF. I brought out my Staub since I have a feeling I will be making a lot of soups and stews in the days ahead.

To make, saute one medium size chopped white onion in about 2-3 Tbsp—of olive oil. Cook until translucent, add four cloves of minced garlic, and continue cooking for about 2 minutes. Once the garlic is fragrant, add 1 lb of ground beef and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper. Cook until the meat has browned all over; this will take about 5-8 minutes. Then add your seasonings: 2 Tbsp. Chili powder, 2 Tbsp. Cumin, 2 Tbsp. Sugar, 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste, 1 tsp. Salt. Saute until everything is well combined. Then add one 15 oz can of diced tomato and one 16 oz. Can red kidney beans (drained), one 8 oz can tomato sauce, one beef bouillon, and 1 1/2 cups water. You may use beef broth in place of beef bouillon. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes while stirring occasionally. When done, scoop into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and some chopped scallions. We like to squeeze some lime too. My girls love to add corn chips to their bowls for added crunch. We had it with pita bread and a side of salad.

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Green Tomato Salad

It was the week after Labor Day, and the last of the tomatoes in the Summer season was being sold at our local Farmer’s Market. It was where I spotted some gorgeous green tomatoes from one of my favorite vegetable vendors.

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I initially thought of making some fried green tomatoes but quickly changed my mind since I don’t relish the thought of frying and the cleaning up after that goes with it.

This turned into a refreshing salad instead that I served with my Peruvian roast chicken.

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You will need 1-2 green tomatoes, one small white onion, one cucumber, and mint leaves. Rinse your tomatoes and cucumber ( I used Korean cucumber) and slice thinly. Please do the same thing with your onion but let it soak in cold water for a few minutes to take the bite out of it (this step is optional). Arrange your tomatoes, cucumber, and onions in an alternating pattern on your serving platter. Sprinkle some mint leaves on top. Drizzle your dressing made up of 2 Tbsp. White wine vinegar, 1 tsp. Salt, 1/2 tsp. Black pepper, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of sugar.

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Eggplant Omelet with Ground Beef

I have several versions of this recipe but this time around I stuffed it with ground beef. The easiest recipe for “tortang talong” is the one where you just simply dip the roasted eggplant in beaten eggs before frying. This recipe is a little bit more involved since you need to prepare the filling ahead.

Make your filling by sautéing 2 minced garlic cloves and one small chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. Cook until onions have become translucent. Add about 1/4 lb of ground beef and cook until a bit browned. Add 1/4 cup diced green or red bell peppers and cook just until the vegetable has softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.

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First, you need to grill or broil your eggplants. You can do this on top of your stove if it is gas, or inside the oven or outside grill. The purpose is to soften the eggplant and to make it easy to peel off the skin. Wash and dry your eggplants. Then lay it on top of a grill mesh specifically made for stove top use. Let the skin blacken all over. When cool enough to handle peel of the skin. Then flatten the flesh using a fork creating an oval shape.

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Beat 3 eggs in a shallow rimmed plate wide enough to fit your eggplant. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Then dip your eggplants making sure to coat both sides. Carefully add your ground beef mixture on top of the eggplant making sure not to spill the filling onto the sides. Gently spoon some of the egg mixture on top of the filling.

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Get a non-stick pan and heat 2-3 tablespoon of olive oil or any neutral oil until hot. Carefully slide in your eggplant. Slide into pan stuffed side up, when it’s brown on the bottom carefully flip it and continue cooking until brown and a bit crisp on the other side. We eat this for lunch or dinner with steamed rice and ketchup.

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Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta

This is a pasta dish I served on my birthday. It’s my first time making it, and it turned out pretty well, I may say so. I love smoked salmon, and it’s addition to any dish makes it a bit luxurious.

To make, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Don’t forget to salt your water. I used 3/4 lb fettuccine but you may you spaghetti or linguine.

While your pasta is cooking, prepare your sauce. Get a wide skillet and place over medium heat; add five cloves of finely minced garlic to 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Cook until fragrant, then add one medium-sized chopped white onion. Continue cooking until onions are translucent then add 1/3 cup white wine. Let this boil until it’s reduced in half. Stir in 2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and let it simmer for a few minutes. Season with a dash of paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Drain your cooked pasta and add it to the pan. Toss until noodles are evenly coated with the sauce, you may add 1/2 cup pasta water if the sauce seems dry.

Transfer pasta onto a serving dish and generously top with smoked salmon pieces. Sprinkle with dill and grated parmesan cheese before serving.

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Fettuccine Al Nero Di Seppia (Squid Ink Pasta)

I have always wanted to try making squid ink pasta ever since I made my own Paella Negra a couple of years back. I was torn between making pasta with the squid ink sauce or making the dish using the dried Squid Ink Pasta you can usually get from specialty stores.

For this recipe, I decided on making the squid ink sauce using the bottled cuttlefish fish ink I recently bought at Eataly in the Flatiron district. I scoured the Internet for the perfect recipe and after reading and comparing dozens, I came up with my own.

First up, prepare your squid if using fresh by cleaning and gutting it then cut it into rings. I used 2 medium-sized squid. For the shrimp, I just used the frozen raw jumbo shrimp from Sam’s club which I defrosted. I used about half a pound for this recipe.

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Place the shrimp in a bowl and add 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. paprika and a dash of olive oil. Mix until shrimp is well coated with the seasonings.

Get a non-stick skillet and place over medium heat. Fry your shrimp until opaque and has changed color for about a minute on each side. Remove from pan and set aside

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Cook your pasta according to the package directions. While pasta is cooking prepare your sauce. In a wide skillet place, combine 4 – 5 cloves of finely chopped garlic with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and cook over medium heat until garlic is fragrant. Then add 1 medium-sized chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add 1/2 cup white wine and bring to a boil until it has reduced to about half. Add your squid and cook until just firm to the touch, it will only take about a minute or so. Then remove the squid and set it aside together with your shrimp. Then add the puree of 3-4 Roma tomatoes (I cut the tomatoes in half and removed the seeds then let it pass through a box grater and discard the skin) and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Stir and cook for 2 minutes then add 1/2 – 1 cup pasta water and 2 Tablespoons of the cuttlefish ink. Continue to stir and cook until everything is well blended and the sauce has turned black and thickened a bit. Add the cooked pasta and the squid into the pan and toss until every strand of pasta is coated evenly with the sauce. Season with salt to taste.

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Transfer pasta onto a plate and add your shrimp and sprinkle some parsley on top.

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Peruvian Roast Chicken

This has become one of the family’s favorite dishes. I first made this at the start of the pandemic, I wanted to serve something other than the usual roast chicken. It’s packed with more flavor since it uses different kinds of spices. Peruvian cuisine is influenced by Spain which may be one of the reasons why we love it. Since Spain has the strongest culinary influence on Filipino food.

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious. This for me gives the perfect balance of flavor and taste I was looking for. To make you will need one whole spatchcock chicken. I got the Bell & Evans brand from Whole Foods.

Pre-heat your oven to 400F

Rinse and pat dry your chicken. Rub the chicken with the juice of one lemon and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the following: 3-4 cloves finely minced garlic. 1 Tablespoon paprika, 1 Tablespoon Cumin, 1 Tablespoon Olive oil, 1 teaspoon Oregano, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, juice and zest of 1 lemon. Mix well. Rub the marinade all over both sides of the chicken. Transfer your chicken on a roasting pan lined with foil.

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Place chicken in the oven and roast for about 1 hour. While chicken is roasting baste every 20 minutes or so with it’s pan juices or with your marinade. I usually reserve a bit for basting.

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I serve it with rice and garlic aioli. For the aioli, mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 yogurt, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, salt to taste and a sprinkling of parsley flakes.

You may use chicken drumsticks, wings or thighs if you don’t have spatchcock chicken.

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