Saturday, January 30, 2010

Favorite Posts of 2008

"Wait," you ask, "don't you mean 2009?"

Well, since we didn't make such a list for 2008, we decided that it's better late than never. Everybody loves lists, right?

Here are some of our favorite posts in 2008, in no particular order.
(Click on the images to go to each post.)

Duck Breast with Pomegranate-Chipotle Glaze and Guava-Jalapeño Salad

The first time we cooked duck at home. This was one of the four dishes we made with a $5 utility duck!

Dimsum Seafood Trio:
Black Pearl Prawn Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup

This is quite a memorable post for us since it was our first entry into the Royal Food Joust! Our trio consisted of:

Black Sesame-crusted Prawn Toast
Seared Scallop with Sizzling Sesame Oil, on Chow Mein Nest
Masago with Lap Cheung-Cilantro Rice, in Wonton Cup

Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate

Woohoo, this was a Royal Food Joust winner!

But really, how can one go wrong with churros (flavored with puréed squash and covered with cinnamon sugar) dipped in thick, rich hot chocolate (infused with orange zest and sage)?

Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini

Our first Weekend Wokking entry.

We made fresh pasta, adding tomato to the dough, and stuffed the ravioli with roast tomatoes, basil and bocconcini. We pan-fried the ravioli, then served them with balsamic reduction and a basil & parsley oil.

Chimichurri with Flank Steak
Chimichurri Burger

Chimichurri Burger with Duck Fat Potato Chips

Chimichurri sauce is insanely good! We have labelled it a super-appetite-stoker. It's even better when your beef with chimichurri meal is rounded out with duck fat potatoes!

Chimichurri wth Flank Steak; Duck Fat Potatoes


A dessert (or snack!) that transported us back to our childhoods.

Ah, the sweet cake delicious with coconut and butter, the rich saltiness of the duck eggs and cheese interpersed with the rich sweetness of the freshly grated coconut on top, the fragrance of the banana leaves, and the aroma and flavour of the fire and smoke enveloping the rest of your senses.

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

It's pho! Need we say more?

CSC's Chinese Dumplings:
Shanghai Potstickers, Faux Siu Mai, and"Huo Tyeh"

CSC dazzled us with three differently-shaped Chinese dumplings.

Mango Crêpes with Creamy Avocado Filling and Lime-Caramelized Mangoes

We don't usually make dessert here, so here is one of the few: our tropical twist on crêpes.

I added mango pulp to crêpe batter. Then, for the filling, it was simply mixing together avocadoes with condensed milk. But, what made the dish were the lime-caramelized mangoes.

Mama's Giniling
(Mama's Soy-braised Ground Pork with Carrots & Potatoes)

A staple in our home. This is the classic giniling. Mama has taught this dish to many a newlywed just starting out on the journey of life.

Tea-smoked Salmon Sandwich with Sweet Dijon

We had a kitchen disaster trying to smoke salmon, but managed to salvage it and came up with this sandwich.

Braised Beef Shin with Cilantro,
aka The Unbearable Lightness of Being Beef, aka "Dancing Cilantro Beef"

Another one of Mama's signature dishes. There are only five ingredients to this dish, and everything is merely thrown into a pot to cook. The result: a dish with the essence of beef without its brute strength.

Macha (Japanese Green Tea) Shortbread
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies with Earl Grey-White Chocolate Ganache

Wow, we baked! We made these cookies for our first ever cookie exchange.

Pan-roasted Halibut with Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes and Bagoong Butter Sauce

A West Coast-style dish with a little oomph courtesy of a bagoong butter sauce.

Stuffed Savoy Cabbage with Pork

The dish that was as much fun to cook as to eat. Giggles abounded during the making of this brain-looking stuffed cabbage dish.

Pumpkin Congee with Pumpkin "Beignets" and Sesame-roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We certainly tried to use pumpkin in various ways for this dish

-- in small pieces in the congee, puréed and added to the "beignet" batter, its seeds roasted wit sesame oil,

as well as use traditional condiments for congee (such as pork floss and preserved eggs).

Creamy Chanterelle & Roasted Garlic Pasta

For this pasta, we sautéed chanterelles and added some leftover Cream of Fennel with Parsley Oil Soup and roasted garlic.

Mama's Fish Head Soup

We're a little surprised, but apparently, the most-oft used search term for or blog is "fish head soup" (and its derivations). Our post had step-by-step instruction, as well as images and descriptions of each ingredient. Plus, a story about me having tantrum! ;)

Mr. Ling Cod Head

Philippine-style Chicken "BBQ"

Finally, one of the most popular posts on our blog even without a decent photograph! Well, it is the "best recipe in the world", after all. ;)

We hope all of you enjoyed looking at these dishes -- either for the first time, or as a refresher.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Empanada de Pavo (Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling), plus Turkey Cracklings!

We bought one turkey too many during the cooking-intensive holiday season and had to find a way to use it up. We were a little tired of roasting turkey yet again, seeing as we had already made roast turkey twice in a span of a few days. Good thing we chose Spanish cuisine as the theme for our New Year's Eve party, so we had a framework within which to work.

Our first idea was to make two dishes, one with the white meat and another with the dark.

We kept ping-ponging ideas back and forth for a couple of days, but none seemed to stick.

On the day that TS was butchering the turkey, I was standing around still volleying some ideas.

In the end, I got very impatient with it all and suggested that we just take the darn turkey out of the equation and make dinner with the dark meat.

I proceeded to do a quick sauté of the dark meat with white wine and cream and made that into a pasta sauce of sorts.

I was getting ready to attack the white meat -- when we seemed to hit on a winner dish.

We decided we wanted to make an empanada in the Galician-style, as seen in Culinaria Spain.

However, since Moorish Spain was not well-represented in our menu thus far, we decided to go with a Moorish-inspired turkey filling.

Not very Galician at all.

I guess one can say that I've Frankenstein-ed a dish yet again!

Moorish-inspired Turkey Filling

First off, getting all the meat from the turkey, as our extra turkey was a whole one.

turkey and "the timeless art of seduction"

I actually de-skinned the turkey, keeping the skin in one piece, as we had originally wanted to make a rolled, stuffed turkey breast wrapped in its own skin. Then, I took off all the meat from the bone. (Of course, we kept the bones and such to make stock.) I diced the turkey breasts for the empanada filling.

I browned the cubed breasts in batches in olive oil, making sure they weren't cooked through all the way, then set them aside.

dried figs in sherry wine

In the meantime, I soaked some chopped dried figs in sherry wine. We could've used raisins, but these dried figs have been staring us in the face for quite some time now, every single time we go into the pantry.

green olives, garlic, onions, chorizo, bay leaves, smoked paprika

In the same pan went some onions, garlic, bay leaves and chorizo.

We deglazed the pan with some sherry, white wine and stock. Then, the whole lot was flavored with sweet smoked paprika. The soaked dried figs went in, as well as chopped olives.

We threw in some peas as well for that "festive" look. Next, the dough.

But, wait!

Turkey Chicharon (Cracklings)

Just in case anybody out there is a stickler, "chicharon" with one R is the Filipino (not the Spanish) spelling of the word.

Since we didn't need the turkey skin for either this meat pie filling or the turkey pasta bake JS made for dinner, we rendered the fat and made crackling!

I salted them when the skin were nice and brown, and we ate them with chile-infused vinegar (sinamak).


The Crust

The crust for Galician-style empanada (recipe found in Culinaria Spain) was more bread-like than pastry-like.

It was made of flour, white wine, olive oil and water. The recipe also called for clarified butter, but we didn't have that on hand. As I was too lazy to make clarified butter, I simply omitted that and used more olive oil. I also found that I had to add more water, more than a mere "few tablespoons."

The dough was much hardier and tougher, not as elastic as a bread dough, or even as a pasta dough. It certainly felt different from any dough with which I've previously worked. I was a little unsure if it was coming together correctly. Once the dough came together, it had a little rest in the refrigerator.

Two paella pans, greased with butter.

On the day of the party, I was a little behind making these empanadas, so I was rolling out the dough as fast as I could.

This was not an easy task, as the dough was not very yielding at all. It was quite "tough", in fact. I had to roll out dough for two 14-inch empanadas, and by the end of it, I was sweating!

We used 2 paella pans for our empanada. These were 14-inch pans.

I must say, these paella pans are quite the buy! We've been using them for all sorts of things. It must be their large-enough size.

Rolled dough went into the pan, then some filling, then another piece of rolled dough for the top. A little egg wash action, and they were off into the oven.

I didn't exactly know how the crust was going to turn out, but I really liked it!

The filling was quite savory, the smoked paprika and the chorizo giving the white turkey meat a double boost in flavor, the olives lending a briny flavor, while the sherried figs and the peas gave it welcome touch of sweetness.

This crust was my favorite part of the empanada. Maybe I like it even better than a puff pastry crust? (Gasp!) We'll certainly be experimenting with other fillings for this empanada dough.

A hurried shot of the cut empanada before the guests dig in.

See the rest of our Spanish-themed New Year's Eve Menu here.

[eatingclub] Spanish
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish "Omelette")
Roast Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines)
Red Wine-braised Squid with Potatoes and Chorizo
Philippine Beef Salpicao (and a Spanish variation)
Stewed Tripe, Spanish-style
Lengua Estofada (Beef Tongue Braised in Red Wine and Veal Stock)
Bacalao con Patatas (Baked Salt Cod and Potatoes)
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Grilled Calçots (Green Onions) with Salsa Romesco
Empanada de Pavo
(Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling), plus Turkey Cracklings!

Fideuá (Spanish Seafood Noodle "Paella")... and Paella
Cocido (Spanish Stew with Various Pork Cuts)
Slow-Roast Pork Shoulder, Two Ways

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Empanada de Pavo
(Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling)
Makes two (2) 12-inch or 14-inch pies

Moorish-inspired Turkey Filling
2 turkey breasts, cubed
2 large onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
4 bay leaves
2 chorizo sausages, diced (approx. 1.2 lb total)
1/2 to 1 cup green olives, diced
1 package dried figs (284g)
(or, substitute with raisins)
1 cup frozen peas
sherry wine
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken/turkey stock

This makes a lot of filling. Feel free to halve the recipe to make just one empanada.

If using dried figs, chop the and soak in sherry wine.

In pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Brown turkey cubes (in batches if necessary). Set aside.

In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves and smoked paprika. Cook until onions have softened. Add chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through.

Deglaze pan with sherry and/or white wine and scrape off browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, green olives and soaked figs (including the soaking liquid) and bring to the boil.

Add the browned turkey meat and frozen peas. Cook over low until the turkey is cooked through. Adjust seasoning.

Let filling cool and set aside. cup of chicken stock

Dough recipe from Culinaria Spain
Makes enough for 1 12-inch to 14-inch pie

If making the full recipe of turkey filling, make two batches of the dough.

4 1/2 cups flour (500g)
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon clarified butter
pinch of sugar

Sift flour into a wide bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the white wine, olive oil, clarified butter, salt, sugar and a few tablespoons of lukewarm water.

Note: I had to add quite a bit more than just a "few tablespoons" of water.

Knead all the ingredients into a flexible dough. Leave the dough to rest in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400F (200C).

Divide dough into two. Roll out one half on a floured work surface and use it to line a buttered pie pan, making sure that the dough overlaps at the upper edge.

Add the filling. Roll out the remaining dough and lay it on top of the filling. Press together the edges of the dough. Brush with egg yolk and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown

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