Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blueberry, Genoa Salami and Apricot Panini

We've toyed around with similar panini combinations before: capicollo with apricot jam and cream cheese; mortadella with pineapple-coconut cream cheese (which we liked to call "Mortadella Maui"). This time, we added blueberries into the mix.

To make a brilliant panino, start with the bread.

This is a round herb foccacia from Calabria Bakery (5036 Victoria Drive, Vancouver). This foccacia is amazing. It smells heavenly while toasting or grilling. We've caused many a hungry person some suffering by exposing them to the aroma in their state. (Of course, their patience was well-rewarded.)

We used a 7" round foccacia. (They also have a GIGANTORMOUS 15" foccacia, which we've used before.)

Next, the apricot jam and cream cheese combination that we love.

I added the blueberries at this stage so they'll stick to the cream cheese and jam. (Never mind the pattern. I was just being silly. More blueberries were added.)

Genoa salami was our salumi of choice this time. (Incidentally, this genoa salami we have smelled and looked like lap cheung/Chinese sausage!)

Of course, one mustn't forget salt and black pepper.

I added the black pepper to complement the apricot. The touch of salt was needed to counter the sweetness of the jam, as well as the sweetness of the genoa salami.

Here it is.


The blueberries worked very nicely here, providing not-too-sweet-a-little-tangy bursts of flavor with each bite. One might even say that they provided some "crunch" to the panino. The herb foccacia made it smell superb spectacular fantastic sensational er... you get the idea.

This Blueberry, Genoa Salami and Apricot Panini will be great for breakfast or brunch. (Or for tea... or for lunch... or for a light dinner... or for a midnight snack... or...)

Blueberry, Genoa Salami and Apricot Panini
Makes one 7" round
Serves 1 to 4 people

1 7" round herb foccacia bread
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
2 Tablespoons apricot jam
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
200 g sliced Genoa salami
salt & pepper, to taste

Cut foccacia in half, making a top and bottom. Open bread like a book. Spread one side with cream cheese and the other with the jam. Spread blueberries evenly on one side and lay out the salami slices on the other. Season with salt and pepper. Close sandwich. Toast or grill as desired. Cut into half or quarters and serve.

We're submitting this to Weekend Breakfast Blogging.
This edition is hosted by Sia of Monsoon Spice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Own Domain

We are now! Wow.

Fried Hasa Hasa

Hasa hasa is a "short-bodied mackerel", as per this site.

Who would've thunk it: we can actually put up a post that's not at all wordy! ;D

Fried fish is the best!

All it needs is toyomansi, a condiment with "toyo" (soy sauce) and "calamansi". Of course, sinamak (chile-infused vinegar) would also work. Eaten with rice, of course.

And of course, I eat these heads too!

Other mackerel dishes:
Torched! Shime Saba (Japanese Pickled Mackerel)
Grilled Pike Mackerel
Fried Hasa Hasa
Simmered Saba with Daikon Radish (Saba Oroshi-ni)
Broiled Pike Mackerel

[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Squab Head

Roast squabs, for us, is a "restaurant dish," that is, a dish which we probably will not ever make at home.

It is a Chinese restaurant dish, and in Vancouver, Chinese restaurants on the higher end of the spectrum advertise their roast squabs heavily, knowing that diners will judge the entire restaurant based on the quality and price of their roast squab. When you walk into one of these restaurants, you most often will see roast squabs on the every table. Roast squabs are in such high demand that the restaurant will limit the number of squabs one table can order (usually, maximum is 3).

Which means, there are three squab heads for me to nibble on this particular night. I ate them all since nobody at our table wanted to have them. It was their loss, I said.

One of the things I love about Chinese restaurants is there is no embarrassment just using your hands. Well, how else can you get at the squab meat, especially between their little bones?

See, I just used my hand to fly that head into my waiting mouth.

I love squab heads:
I love sucking their fried-up brains;
I love nibbling on all the bones in the neck.

I don't have squab often, but when I do, I make sure I eat the whole bird!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Grilled Prawn, Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit, with Cabbage Salad

Quick dinner.
Made for lazy summer days.

These here, the components:

Cabbage Salad (adapted from Viet World Kitchen)

Half a head of cabbage, sliced into strips.
Shaved carrots.
Spicy dressing.
Is made from rice vinegar, fish sauce, chilies, garlic.
Sugar, salt, pepper to taste.
Toss everything together.

Segment grapefruit.
Wanted to do a prawn and grapefruit salad.
This didn't exactly end up as one.
As you shall see.

Brushed with some oil, salt and pepper.

Peeled, not deveined.
(Too lazy to devein, and the "prawns" were quite small.)
Marinated briefly in.
Soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, a bit of sugar, pepper.
Shallots and garlic in the marinade as well.
Some grapefruit juice, because it is suddenly available.
Placed on grill.

Take prawns and pineapple off skewers.
Toss with grapefruit segments.
Serve with spicy cabbage salad.

Peanuts on the side.
Lime wedges on the side.

Quick, easy, and quite summery.
Perfect when one's feeling bummery.

We're submitting this to Monthly Mingle.

This month: Grill it!, hosted by Sig of Live to Eat.

More Monthly Mingle information at What's for Lunch, Honey?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dimsum Seafood Trio (Prawn, Scallop, Masago)

We are new to the world of food blogging and are becoming increasingly amazed, day by day, at the riches it offers. We have "met" many wonderful people travelling through the food-blogosphere, stalking their blogs and drooling over the food they cook and create.

Up until a month ago, we did not even know that blog events existed! Now that we have discovered them, we can de-lurk and come out from the blog-stalker shadows into the full light.

One of the sunniest of these blog events, it seems, is in Florida: The Royal Food Joust (hosted by the Leftover Queen).

Now, being our first participation in a joust, we don't know how bloody this event would be or how battered we might be after the tournament. At the very least, we have seen people losing the shirts off their backs and the pants off their legs!!! (See for yourself!)

The three ingredients
When we heard that seafood, sesame, and cilantro are to be the ingredients for the August food joust, we immediately thought Chinese. These ingredients are certainly staples in Chinese cooking (and more generally Asian cooking).


We don't really cook Chinese food. That is, we don't cook Chinese food very well. We are unfamiliar with some of the techniques and the ingredients used in Chinese cookery. Add to the general unfamiliarity the language barrier of not reading and speaking Chinese (more or less) and we have almost given up on achieving even the basic competence in Chinese cooking.

Almost, but not quite.

The joust ingredients were just begging to be made Chinese.

In my words, they had "Chinese" written all over them!!!

Thus, we persisted. See, we are also eternal optimists. Besides, there is the consolation that we are able to tell ourselves that our Chinese food does not turn out well because of equipment woes, not having the hot-hot-hot fire needed for wok-cooking.

Now that our optimism is gushing forth like a geyser, for this joust, we even chose to go the dimsum route. Never mind the fact that we know next to nothing of the seemingly painstaking techniques dimsum chefs use to create their masterful little morsels.

Thinking that dimsum recipes will be forever out of reach, we even gave away the lone cookbook in our collection with dimsum recipes just a few days prior to the conceptualization of our entry dish. That book had been collecting dust on our shelves for quite a number of years.

For better or for worse, we present as our entry to the Royal Food Joust these three little morsels, our dimsum-inspired trio.

Black Pearl Prawn Toast
Scallop in Nest
Jewelled Rice Cup
Like the names? ;)

Our goal was to have each dimsum morsel self-sufficient. That is, that each already contain all of the joust ingredients in itself. The plan was that the three had to complement each other, yet be able to stand on their own. Taken individually, each is fairly easy to do and the recipes are fairly straightforward and uncomplicated.

Black Pearl Prawn Toast
aka Black Sesame-Crusted Prawn Toast

One of my favourite dimsum items, although it is a tad dated now and I don't see the dish on dimsum tables anymore in Vancouver, is "shrimp toast". I loved gobbling these: there is something about fried bread that was irresistible.

This was simply a matter of making the shrimp/prawn paste and spreading it on bread, then "toasting" them in some hot oil. The prawn paste had cilantro and sesame oil. We also coated the top with black sesame seeds for extra flavor and crunch.

This mixture smelled so good even before we cooked it! In fact, these prawn toasts were quite beautiful pre-frying.

Scallop in Nest
aka Seared Scallop with Sizzling Sesame Oil, on Chow Mein Nest

The next item is scallop on a bed of stir-fried chow-mein noodles. The noodles were stir-fried in a little sesame oil, soy sauce and more sesame seeds (this time, white sesame seeds).

For the scallop preparation, we were inspired by the classic Chinese steamed fish. After steaming, the fish is garnished with ginger slices, green onions and cilantro. Then, very hot oil is poured over the top.

Our scallops were quickly seared and garnished with slivers of ginger, green onion and cilantro. We heated some sesame oil and soy sauce, then spooned that over the top.

Jewelled Rice Cup
aka Masago with Lap Cheung-Cilantro Rice, in Wonton Cup

Our last item is loosely inspired by sushi. For the seaweed portion, we simply brushed a piece of nori with sesame oil and used it as a "placemat", if you will.

The rice portion is quite delicious and very Chinese. We sautéed some finely-diced lap cheung (Chinese sausage), then mixed in cilantro, sesame oil and cooked white rice.

The beauty!

To make the wonton cups, I brushed both sides of wonton wrappers with oil and baked them in small glasses (as we didn't have a mini muffin pan).

The seafood component is bright orange masago on top, dotted with black sesame seeds.

The masago was indeed very bright! Very neon! I was almost blinded going through pictures of it. The black sesame-studded masago topped each rice-filled wonton cup.

And there you have it!

Again, each dish was not too difficult to do. But of course, please feel free to make them as a trio as well.

If you wish to participate in the Royal Food Joust, or to vote for us (teehee), please visit the Leftover Queen's Forum for all the info.

eatingclub Hong Kong/Cantonese
Chicken Chow Mein
Cantonese Braised Beef Brisket, Two Ways
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Chinese Roast Pork Belly
Gailan (Chinese Broccoli) with Oyster Sauce, Two Ways
Chinese Pork Bone Soup with Carrots and Water Chestnuts
Hong Kong-style Curry Cuttlefish
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Prawn Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Hong Kong-style Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste (蝦醬通菜)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河)
Sweet and Sour Pork
Hong Kong-style Curry Beef Brisket (咖喱牛腩), 1st Attempt


Black Pearl Prawn Toasts
aka Black Sesame-Crusted Prawn Toasts
Makes 12 toasts

6 ounces uncooked shrimp/prawns, peeled & deveined
1 egg white
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

3 slices stale white sandwich bread
1/4 cup black sesame seeds

Shrimp paste
Mix shrimp/prawns, egg white, cilantro, cornstarch, rice wine, ginger, salt, sesame oil and white pepper in a food processor. Purée until mixture is smooth.

Cut off the crusts of the bread. Cut each slice into 4 pieces. Put black sesame seeds in a small shallow bowl.

For each piece of toast, spread about a tablespoon of shrimp paste on one side, making sure the paste is level. Then place the toast, shrimp paste side down, into the black sesame seeds to coat.

Heat oil in deep pan or small pot over medium (not high) heat. There should be at least 2 inches of oil. Test the oil with some scraps of bread. It shouldn't brown too quickly.

Place a shrimp toast, shrimp paste side down, in the oil. Cook for about 1 minute, until the edges of the toast start to brown. Turn over and cook for another minute. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining toasts.

Scallop in Nest
aka Seared Scallops with Sizzling Sesame Oil, on Chow Mein Nests
Makes 6 servings

6 scallops

chow mein nests
1 cup chow mein noodles (thin egg noodles)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon white sesame seeds

sizzling sesame oil
2 pieces of of ginger, 1-inch each; julienned
1/2 stalk green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces and "shredded" lengthwise
6-12 cilantro leaves
6 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Bring water to a boil. Add chow mein noodles and cook until done, about 1-2 minutes. Drain.

In a sauté pan, heat sesame oil. Add noodles, soy sauce and sesame seeds, stirring until well tossed and hot. Set aside.

Pat each scallop dry on both sides. In a small pan, heat vegetable oil or butter. When hot, sear scallops on one side until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes depending on the size of the scallops. Flip over and sear the second side. Place on paper towels.

Make 6 chow mein nests. Place a scallop in each.

Sizzling Sesame Oil
In a small bowl, combine ginger, green onions and cilantro. Garnish each scallop with the aromatics.

In a small pot, heat sesame oil and soy sauce. When hot, spoon over each scallop in nest.

Jewelled Rice Cup
aka Masago with Lap Cheung-Cilantro Rice, in Wonton Cups
Makes 6

6 wonton wrappers

1 lap cheung, finely diced
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil

9 teaspoons masago or tobiko
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

nori sheet(s), enough to make 6 squares (2.5" x 2.5" each)
sesame oil for brushing nori

Wonton cups
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush both sides of wonton wrapper with oil and place each in mini-muffin pan, making a cup shape. Bake until wonton cups are golden brown and crisp, approximately 7-12 minutes. Take out of pan and set aside.

In a small dry pan (no oil), add diced lap cheung and turn on the heat. When they start to render, add white rice, cilantro and sesame oil. Toss until heated.

In a small bowl, mix masago and black sesame seeds.

Cut nori into 2.5" x 2.5" squares. Brush each nori sheet with sesame oil.

Fill each wonton cup with the rice mixture, then top with masago & black sesame seeds. Place each wonton cup on a nori sheet.

This is our entry to the Royal Food Joust (created by The Leftover Queen).

eatingclub vancouver Royal Food Joust posts:
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Cream of Fennel Soup with Parsey Oil
Ginger-Guava Jam
Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice
Soy Pudding Parfait with Orange-Ginger Syrup and "Streusel" Brittle
Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Coffee Pancakes with Honey Ricotta and Black Pepper & Coffee-Crusted Bacon
Caribbean "Fish & (Banana) Chips"
Steelhead Trout and Enoki Mushrooms with Wasabi Cream Sauce

We're submitting this to Culinarty's Original Recipes.

More information here.
The Round-ups here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tarragon-Carrot Deviled Eggs

We had a bunch of tarragon left over from... I don't even remember. I believe JS just bought them because they looked nice. We're not big tarragon users. They're quite "exotic" to us, teehee. The only other time we've used tarragon this year (or in the past 2 years, even) was in some French-inspired prawns.

Fortuitously enough, this week's Root Source Challenge ingredient is tarragon!

This gives me a good excuse to think of ways to use up our bunch. I first thought of poaching peaches in a tarragon-infused liquid/syrup (which, thinking about it now, sounds really good!), or... or... (Must be old. I can't remember what my ideas were.)

So, I thought, what foods are classically paired with tarragon? Eggs came to mind. Carrots came to mind. So I thought I'd take the kinda-retro Deviled Egg and give it a TS twist!

Before I continue with the recipe, I must say, look at this ABSOLUTELY PERFECT hardboiled egg!

Perfect solid yolk, but without a hint of that sulphuric grey! Wow! I impress even myself. I think this is one of the few times I've made hardboiled eggs perfectly.


Tarragon-Carrot Deviled Eggs
Makes 12

6 eggs
half medium carrot, peeled and coarsely diced/sliced
2 Tbsp mayo
1 T to 2 T finely chopped tarragon
1/2 tspn dijon mustard
1 tspn lemon juice
1/4 tspn worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Hardboiled Eggs
Place the 6 eggs in a pot with enough cold water to cover them. Turn heat on to medium. When the water start simmering, start timing. When your timer hits 6 minutes, turn off heat. Let sit in the water for 1 minute. Then plunge the eggs into cold water to stop the cooking.

When cool, peel eggs. Cut each lengthwise and take out the yolks. Reserve the egg white "cups".

Boil or steam carrot until very tender. Mash or purée until smooth.

(I put the carrot pieces in with the eggs. When the eggs were done, I removed them from the water and continued cooking the carrots.)

Combine mashed carrots, egg yolks and all other ingredients. Mix until smooth. Adjust according to taste.

Place stuffing in a piping bag (or a plastic bag with one corner cut to make an opening). Pipe stuffing into egg white "cups".

Garnish each with tarragon leaf and small carrot dice, if desired.

These made nice midnight snacks. Or, of course, you can also actually serve them to guests. ;)

[update: July 31, 2008
This recipe was chosen as the Root Source Challenge Featured Recipe! Thanks, guys!

Some eggy eatingclub dishes
Tarragon-Carrot Deviled Eggs
Golden Egg Torta
Hunanese Stir-fried Eggs with Green Peppers
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish "Omelette")
Piedmont Marinated Eggs
Asparagus and Crab Egg Crêpes
Stir-fried Egg and Tomato
Oyster Torta
Torta with Pork and Kecap Manis
Curried (Easter) Egg Salad
Taiwanese Stewed Eggs (滷蛋) with Stewed Minced Pork (魯肉 or 肉燥)
Longsilog (Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog)
Torta (Mexican Sandwich)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu
Nasi Lemak (Malaysian Coconut Rice Meal with Sambal)
Home-style Chinese Steamed Egg with Pork
Golden Shrimp Torta (Philippine Shrimp Omelette)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Savory" Chicken Wings

Before any possible fallout over the title, let me explain.

It is not my gigantormous ego talking, daring to call these chicken wings "savory" when they may not be. I am not influencing your perception of my recipe for chicken wings, although you may indeed find, after testing the recipe yourself, that these are some mighty-savory, savory-to-the-max, chicken wings.

Furthermore, please note I don't have a gigantormous ego. My ego is very proportionate to the reality of myself. ;)

The name is an invocation of the chicken I had enjoyed ages and ages ago.

Growing up before the age of factory-farmed chicken, my favourite meat was, indeed, chicken. I would eat every part of it with gusto, even biting through the bones and sucking the oh-so-very-scrumptious marrow up so-very-undelicately. I must have looked like a dog instead of a little girl when I had chicken bones in my hands and marrow bits on my face.

There used to be a famous restaurant in Manila called "Savory Restaurant."

If memory serves me right, it was located on the right hand side of the street, just before what is now called the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch (aka "Goodwill Arch"), which marked the entrance to Manila's Chinatown (interestingly, the oldest Chinatown in the world).

I remember the restaurant's name was in big, red orange letters, the bold block font signalling its no-nonsense approach to food and the seriousness of its purpose.

Food will be savory, dang it!

Needless to say, the chicken was fabulously savory. Everytime my parents would bring home a box of Savory chicken, I would be the first to open the box and dig in with both hands. The overall flavour of the signature chicken dish, I would say, was similar to a Cantonese roast barbecued duck, but, of course, not exactly the same. The skin was not roasted to a crisp, but still rather soft, but the meat, the meat, oh my goodness, the meat! Juicy, delectable, lipsmackingly -- you guessed it -- SAVORY.

So, this is my attempt capturing the flavours I remember from those chicken of years past. I must say that the recipe I have here does not duplicate Savory's chicken, but it does succeed in evoking fond Savory memories. (I think I need to finetune and tinker with the recipe a bit more to get it "just right.")

At the very least, it is my own version of savory, so please enjoy.

To get into the mood, here are beautiful photos of Manila Chinatown, including shots of food/ingredients for sale.
The Goodwill Arch
Welcome Arch
More info about Manila Chinatown and Binondo.

I barely remember! [sigh]

Note: In the Philippines, that restaurant and its chicken are pronounced "sah-vo-ry". =)

Oh, I must mention, this is the ONLY time in recent memory that JS has actually WRITTEN DOWN the quantities for ingredients in a dish. Wow. Must be special. So, without further ado, the recipe.

JS' Savory Chicken Wings
1 tsp five-spice powder
2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp ground coriander
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
juice of 1 lime

4 lbs chicken wings

Combine all ingredients together (except chicken) and whisk.
Pour over chicken wings and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cooking method can vary.
I baked them in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees, then finished them off at the grill. Alternatively, these can bake for the 45 minutes, broiled at the end for a charred finish. Of course, you can also cook them totally on the grill.

We're submitting this into one of Joelen's July Culinary Adventures: GRILLED RECIPES.

[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini

I don't know why we do this to ourselves, but so far, every time we've had to submit something for a blog event, we almost tear our hair out trying to come up with something "different"... or so we think.

It was no different for Wandering Chopsticks' Weekend Wokking event. The theme: tomato. (All info at the bottom of the post.)

We were torn: should we do something very simple? I mean, that is the best way to showcase the natural beauty and flavors of the tomato. I was tempted just to blog about a really ripe tomato sprinkled with coarse salt!

But then, if we do something simple, how are we to gain our blog-street-cred? ;)

I thought we could do something like a tomato and blue cheese souffle. I love tomatoes and blue cheese together. TS might have done a souffle before, but never in my life have I attempted one. Of course, we would have to buy ramekins to indulge in my souffle fantasies, which would require a shopping trip.

Nah, maybe next time. TS does not like blue cheese anyways.

We didn't end up with something super-simple, but I don't believe this was too complicated, either. We took inspiration from the classic Insalata Caprese and made, what we like to call...

Ravioli "Caprese"

To begin, I got the simple things out of the way.

Balsamic Reduction

I know, I know. Balsamic vinegar is not traditionally part of a Caprese salad. It goes so well with tomatoes, though! Plus, it's quite useful to have around to add to other dishes. (We used leftover reduction here, as a matter of fact.) The reduction is basically simmering some balsamic vinegar until it becomes syrupy.

Basil and Parsley Oil

I quickly blanched some parsley stems along with the basil then drained them. Into the blender the herbs went along with some olive oil. The more herbs to olive oil, the more potent the result. Of course, there's this straining business: I lined our big-holed strainer/sieve with a coffee filter and let it drip... drip... drip...

Now, for the Fresh Tomato Pasta.

We made the pasta tomato-y by adding a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to 6 eggs and 5 cups of flour.

The filling: roast tomatoes, basil leaves and bocconcini

We decided to roast the tomatoes in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, to concentrate their flavors and to prevent the filling from being too watery. Onto the pasta sheets went a basil leaf, a slice of roasted tomato, and one of these mini bocconcini. And a sprinkle of salt, of course.

Here they are all in a row.

I had the hardest time trying to keep out air of these ravioli. Those bocconcini are so bulbous!!! I was just hoping and hoping that the filling was actually sealed in.

They look like little heads under blankets. Very round heads, like those heads of chess-piece pawns.

Here they are ready for cooking.

For some texture contrast, I decided not only to boil the pasta, but to pan-fry them to crisp up their bottoms as well.

The top, the bottom and the interior.

To plate, we started with the basil & parsley oil, then simply piled up the ravioli, garnished with a slice of roast tomato and a basil leaf, then drizzled the plate with our balsamic reduction.

What's not to like here? Fresh pasta, roasted tomatoes, basil, and bocconcini. These are my simple pleasures in life.

The pan-frying was a good idea, because it provided a much-needed texture contrast to the melting ooey-gooey goodness of the cheese. Admittedly, the pasta did not really taste "tomato-ey," but the roasted tomatoes more than filled the tomato void.

Basil and balsamic. That might be a good name for a blog, don't you think? ;)

The flavour combinations are so classically perfect together that it is hard to think of another way to make it better. There is no messing about with a caprese salad. In this case, we just played around with the components and presented in what we hope is a playfully serious fashion.

Here is the ravioli caprese again:


Another shot:

Still delicious.

eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways

We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is
Blazing Hot Wok.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.

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