Ground Beef with Bok Choy

One of the simplest and most satisfying dish you can serve your family. I must admit I made this one night because I was in a hurry. This is a what you can see on a typical Filipino dining table, some kind of meat sautéed with whatever vegetable on hand. Filipino’s like to season their food with fish sauce but I prefer soy sauce.

First, saute 1 medium sized finely chopped onion cook until translucent. Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Add your 1 lb. ground beef and cook until well browned. I like to add 1 tsp. ground pepper at this point and let it cook with the beef. Then add in 1-2 chopped roma tomatoes. Stir and let this cook down until it has released it’s juices. Pour in 2 cups water and season with 4 tbsp. soy sauce or to taste. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes. Then add a bunch of roughly chopped bok choy. Stir until just combined and cover. Let cook for 1-2 minutes then turn off heat. Remember not to overcook your bok choy, you want your vegetables to be crisp tender.

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Vegetable Spring Roll (Take 2)

Lumpiang Gulay or Vegetable Spring Roll was my very first entry on this blog. That was a little over two years ago. I was new at blogging then and I feel I didn’t do justice to that dish.

So here is my new entry. I used the same recipe but gave it a different presentation. As I mentioned previously, this is considered a snack or what we call merienda in Tagalog. My family loves this and I serve it for lunch or dinner with steamed rice and a dipping sauce of soy sauce, white vinegar and black pepper.

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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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Eggplant Omelet (Tortang Talong)

I was able to purchase a couple of Italian eggplants at our town’s farmers market. I already knew what I would do with it once I get home, make Tortang Talong ! Torta in the Philippines refers to an omelet made up of eggplant, ground meat or even just potatoes.

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Eggplant omelet is very simple to prepare. First, roast your eggplant. You can do this by placing it over the flames of your gas stove or broiling it in your oven. Cook until the skin is charred all over and softened. Carefully remove the skin of eggplant then split it in half and flatten the flesh a bit with a fork to create an oval shape. Make sure not to remove the stalk while doing so.

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Beat an egg in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Then dip your eggplant in the egg mixture until well coated. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a non-stick pan and fry your eggplant 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. We like to serve it with ketchup on the side.

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Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini and Summer/Yellow squash are a plenty during the Summer months. I usually grab a couple during my Saturday trip to our local farmers market. We usually just eat it grilled with a touch of olive oil or raw in salads.

This time around I decided to make fritters with it. I adapted the recipe from Epicurious but I added a small amount of minced onion in mine. This recipe reminded me a bit of the Filipino vegetable fritter Okoy also known as Ukoy which is made up of bean sprouts, grated squash or sweet potato and shrimps.

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To make, grate a combination of zucchini and summer squash (3-4 pieces) and gently toss this with 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Let this stand for about 30 minutes in a colander. Then squeeze out as much liquid as you can out of it by placing it in a clean kitchen towel or cheese cloth. Then add 1 large egg, 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, 1/4 of a medium onion minced and salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix everything until well combined.

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Take a non stick pan and heat around 1/3 cup of oil. Then by using a 1/4 cup measure drop your zucchini batter in the hot oil and cook until brown and crisp. Make sure to flatten your fritter or patty a bit to ensure a nice crisp texture. Place cooked fritter in a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil.

Serve with a soy dipping sauce. Just combine 3 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp light soy sauce and a dash or ground pepper or red pepper flakes.

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Lumpiang Hubad

Lumpia is a dish that was brought by Chinese immigrants to the Philippines. It can either be fried or fresh. It is popularly known as egg roll or spring roll. The Philippines has several lumpia dishes, the most popular is lumpiang shanghai which I blogged about here and lumpiang Gulay or Prito. There is also what you call lumpiang hubad literally translated as naked spring roll. The reason being it is served without a wrapping. It is a mix of different kinds of vegetables stir fried and served with a sweetish sauce.

Lumpiang hubad can either be served as is or cradled within a lettuce leaf. My mom and grandmother always served it in a lettuce leaf or letsugas in Tagalog. In my opinion you can choose whatever combination of vegetables you want. For this recipe I used the following, carrots, jicama, asian sweet potato, green beans, green onion and baby portobello mushrooms. You may also use bean sprouts, napa cabbage and ubod (heart of palm).

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To make, add 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a heated pan. Saute a medium sized onion sliced thinly, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and 3 stalks spring onion cut into 2 inch length. Cook until fragrant. Then add 3 medium sized carrots cut into matchsticks, a small jicama and a medium sized asian sweet potato also cut into matchstick pieces. Stir and cover for a few minutes. Then add a handful of green beans cut at a bias and a small container of baby portobello mushrooms (around 8 pcs.) sliced. Season with salt and pepper or a knorr chicken bouillon cube. Cook until the vegetables are crisp tender.

To make the sauce, into a saucepan add 1 cup water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp. soy sauce. Cook until sugar has dissolved and let simmer. Then add 2 tsp cornstarch dispersed in 2 tbsp water. Cook until sauce has thickened.

To serve, place your vegetables on a plate and top with some fried onions or garlic and drizzle sauce around. You can also serve it on a lettuce leaf drizzled or served with sauce on the side.

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Asian Greens Yu Choy and Kai Lan

Our family has to have a side of greens or salad for dinner. Preparing Asian greens is one of the easiest specially during a school weeknight. One of the Asian greens I regularly serve my family is Kai Lan or Chinese Broccoli. I just usually serve this steamed without any sauce or any kind of seasoning. My girls like it simply prepared. I am fortunate that they are not picky eaters.

Last night I decided to jazz it a up a bit. I took a bunch of chinese broccoli and washed it thoroughly. Then I got a pot big enough to hold my greens and added water. Let this come to a boil. Then lower the heat to a simmer before adding your vegetables. I just blanch it for 1-2 minutes or until it turns bright green then I take it out of the pot. Place this in a serving plate and set aside. Take 2-3 pieces of lap cheong or Chinese sausage and cut it at a bias. Then fry this in a non stick pan until brown. No need to add oil as it will release it’s own grease when you fry it. When done place it on top of your greens and serve.

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Another Asian greens we love is Yu Choy or Choy Sum, it is similar to bok choy but has a slightly bitter taste. Again I usually just serve this steamed. Sometimes I stir fry this with garlic. To prepare, thoroughly wash your vegetable. Then blanch this until the leaves turn bright green and immediately take it out of pot. Heat a pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Then add 2-3 cloves finely minced garlic. Cook until fragrant and then add your yu-choy. Gently toss until everything is coated with oil and garlic. You can season this with a little salt before serving.

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Summer Strawberry Salad

I made this a couple of weeks back, after strawberry picking at a nearby farm.

I just put together some green leaf lettuce, a bunch of cilantro and a handful of sliced berries. This salad was meant as a side for our grilled pork ribs chops. You can add some walnuts and feta cheese or even grilled chicken to make a hearty Summer meal.

Make sure everything is chilled before serving. Drizzle with some raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing.

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Kani Salad

If you like California roll, this salad is definitely for you. It has the same basic ingredients which are: mango, cucumber and kani (crabmeat).

First, peel 2 medium sized cucumber and cut into julienne strips. I got this cool gadget from pampered chef which made my task a lot easier. It’s called the julienne peeler. Just scrape the whole length of your cucumber with it and stop when you reach the seeds in the center. Place the julienned strips of cucumber in a bowl. Next get 5-6 pieces of kani sticks or imitation crabmeat and separate it into thin strips. Set aside.

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Get a ripe Ataulfo or Champagne mango. Make sure you get this variety and not the Tommy Atkins mango which has a red and green skin because its flesh tends to be tough and not that sweet. Wash and peel the skin off your mango and cut the flesh into thin strips.

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Combine your cucumber, crabmeat sticks and mango in bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of Japanese Mayonnaise. Gently fold your ingredients together until everything is coated with your mayo. Place your salad in a bed of lettuce and serve immediately. As an option you may garnish your salad with nori strips or tobiko.

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Blood Orange Salad

I spotted some blood oranges at the grocery store last week. This is a seasonal fruit (usually from December – May) and are sometimes difficult to find. Blood oranges as the name implies has a deep red or almost blood colored flesh. It has a raspberry undertone aside from it’s citrus taste and is less sweet than a regular orange.

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To prepare, cut a bit of both ends of your orange. Stand the fruit on one end and remove the peel and pith by running your knife down the side as close to the flesh as possible. Then lay your fruit on it’s side and slice your orange into circles. Set aside.

Place bed of arugula on a plate, arrange your blood orange slices on it, add some thinly sliced radish and scatter some sliced almonds or whatever nuts you have on hand. Drizzle with vinaigrette dressing before serving.

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