He Would Think it is Gourmet

There are times when I get home from work and all I want to do is sit on the couch, watch Bizarre Foods and eat. Yes I can do that without puking my guts out. The thing is, food doesn’t make itself. And eating canned sardines and rice everyday is not really my thing. I love Filipino sardines with rice though. What I’m saying is, I have to cook and Nick can’t because he has to study.

The one thing about my 9-5 job is that, when I get home, I don’t have extra work stuff to do. Nick does because he has to do homework. I don’t have any excuse for not cooking. Ah, these are the times that I wish I had a helper at home. Some of y’all in Manila better not be complaining about how hard your life is if you have a helper. Puuhleeeez! Ok I’ll save that for another post.

My introduction is getting long. Anyway, I made some Mahi-mahi with capers and onions on a bed of  couscous. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? I made this with just 10 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cooking. 25 minutes total is pretty fast if you’re a Filipino because we like our stews and stews take a while to cook.

I was also craving for fish so I just HAD to get me some Mahi-mahi.

I got this recipe from Epicurious. I started with the onions. Carmelized them in butter and olive oil.

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And while that was carmelizing, I prepped the fish and placed it in the oven. Remember to preheat your oven.

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I cooked the onions until it was carmelized and in the end added more butter as well as the capers and a lemon juice. I took it off the heat and covered it to keep warm.

As I was doing all this, I was also making couscous. I made the instant one from Trader Joe’s.  When the fish was ready, I plated it as so.

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It was sooo good! Nick loved it and raved about how it looked so gourmet. Tasted gourmet too. Fancy I tell ya! It was fast, we ate, and then I finally got on the couch. Perfect!

Do you have any quick recipes that’s a winner with the family?

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Tortilla de Patatas

The other day I was going through Travel Channel’s video clips and I ended up watching Anthony Bourdain in Spain eating their national dish, Tortilla de Patatas.

He talked about how good it was, and the clip also showed how to make it. Flipping it over with the help of a plate and then putting it back in the pan to cook the other side. He also mostly talked about how he couldn’t understand why it would be Spain’s national dish, when it only just contains eggs, potatoes and sometimes onions.

I laughed when he took a bite of the tortilla and used his hand instead of the fork to put it in his mouth. One lady out of camera said, “Use the fork you barbarian.” That line, for some reason, reminded me of my grandma.

So I came home after work one night and didn’t feel like going to the grocery store, knowing that we haven’t done our grocery shopping and only had a few items in the fridge. I thought I was going to go hungry until I found eggs, onions, a potato oh and look some mushrooms.

I chopped up the potato, onions and mushrooms. Deep fried the potato and onions in olive oil. Strained it and fried it again with the eggs.

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The hard part was flipping the eggs. I didn’t have a flat plate so it took me a while trying to flip it without burning myself. I failed but it still looks pretty good.

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My first ever Tortilla de Patatas! It was yummy. Yet I kind of felt like I was going to get  heart attack. I have not deep fried anything in a looong time.

I must say, I too don’t understand why this would be Spain’s national dish. Why not paella?

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Waiter!

singing waiterI’ve noticed something in restaurants here in the States. I may have only been to 5 different states in my almost 5 years living here, but I have noticed something that waiters are supposed to do in restaurants and it’s something I actually get annoyed with.

I’ve noticed that everytime I go to a restaurant, not a lunch joint where you order your food at the counter, the waiters are extra attentive.

Thing is, when I have a meal with a friend, I honestly do not like to be bothered. I just want to order my food, bring it to me, and let me eat. But if a waiter comes and checks on me every 10 minutes, it’s really annoying.

In the Philippines, if you need the waiter for anything, you just raise your hand to get their attention and poof, “Hello Mister Waiter.” They’re fast and they’re at your table right away. Then they’re gone just like that.

Here, even if you’re in the middle of a really really intense conversation, the waiter will not hesitate to come by your table and ask if we want dessert yet. I mean, come on, wait ’til the intense conversation, walk by and wait for a pause and then ask us if we want dessert. Wait, better yet, let me just tell you when we’re ready for dessert. That way you don’t have to walk around our table. Also, please don’t give me more water if you see that I’ve only had a couple of sips of it and it’s still pretty full.

Yes the attentiveness is good for formal dining. But seriously, it annoys me to the bone. At least in Manila, if that does happen, like trying to refill my glass with water, you can see how they respectfully bow their heads like, “I am sooo sooo sorry I am bothering you, I know your conversation is really really good, but you are out of water.” They don’t ask questions, they’re out of sight before you know it.

Am I the only one that gets annoyed with “good” service like this?

Pork (not really) and Fish for Dinner

Recently, Nick and I have realized that we haven’t been eating pork much. Which is not so bad because I don’t really crave for it and don’t even cook much with it. Unless it’s Filipino longaniza, I don’t cook pork. And because we’ve been hanging out with brain surgeons (we’re cool like that), we thought, “You know what? I don’t really like worms in my brain. We can skip the pork.”

So for what I made the other night (Nice segue Tanya… really nice), I made some mixed pasta (because that’s what I found in our cupboard) with Italian Turkey Sausage, spinach, wine, onion and red pepper flakes.

It was soo easy to make. I could’ve done it with my eyes closed. Ok, not really. But I just sauteed the onions and red pepper flakes with the sausages, poured in little bit of white wine and added the spinach in the end. Et voila! Easy peasy pasta in no time.

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Italian Sausage and Spinach Pasta

As for the fish dinner last night. It was sooo delicious! It reminded me of my grandmother’s recipe. Every time she cooked this dish, I would ask her how she made it, but because I never wrote the recipe down I never remembered it. Good thing that Saveur posted a recipe for steamed fish that reminded me of my grandma’s cooking. I didn’t find the suggested fish to steam so I ended up with my trusty tilapia. It was a bit challenging trying to put in the plate on the wok but when I finally used my brain, I got it in there. Make sure you don’t burn yourself. Remember to use tongs and kitchen gloves when handling the plate.

On the photo below, I had a close up of the head, then realized that not all of my readers are Filipinos so I used that photo instead. ha!

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Steamed Fish w/ Ginger and Scallions

My grandmother would be proud. 🙂

Urge to Cook

There are only 3 things I like about the cold weather:

1) Wearing boots

2) Wearing coats

3) Eating stews

It’s that time of the year when we get our summer clothes out of the closets and place them in boxes to be stored until the sun comes back next year. We replace them with our sweaters, coats and boots. It is also that time of year when I can start making some stews again. Well, I still made some stews during summer but not as often as I usually do. Which is almost every time I cook. How can a Filipino not eat stews with rice? It’s just so hard. Well in my case it is. I’m guessing it would be the easiest thing for me to do if I ever decide on going gluten free.

I’ve been craving for Moroccan food ever since our Moroccan friend cooked us some amazing stew with couscous. I couldn’t get that dish out of my head. And so I went online and decided that dinner for tonight is this.

Pumpkin Couscous

Photo: Andre Baranowski

I have a leftover pumpkin in the fridge that I didn’t get to use up after I made pinakbet the other day. Maybe I’d post a photo later on. Maybe not if I get too hungry and don’t have time to take a photo.

The sun is hiding today (sort of) but I’m looking forward to something good to eat tonight. That makes me happy.

Lazy Cooking

Always always keep your pantry well stocked.  That way if you are lazy but still want to make home made food,  you can easily put something together in no time.  With Allrecipes.com and other similar websites, you can make a search for ingredients that you want in a dish and it’ll give you the results of which recipes that has the ingredients.  Sometimes you have to run to the store for one missing ingredient sometimes you don’t.

Tonight, I was  lazy and did not want to cook.  I was even willing to go to the store to just buy some instant noodles. (BAD!) But then realized that we had some leftover chicken that was used from making chicken bbq sandwiches.  It’s just chicken meat, bbq sauce and buns. Yeah easy.

So I decided to make chicken casserole. I had all the ingredients the recipe called for and then some.  I added asparagus to it.  I loved how it gave extra texture to the dish since it still had a little bit of crunch in it even after it was baked.

I skipped the butter and added onion soup mix. I used 3 cups of egg noodles, about 2 cups of chicken meat, plus 3/4 cup of chicken stock, used half and half instead of milk, and lastly  1/4 cup of cheddar cheese.  Add more stock depending on how saucy you want it.  Don’t salt it anymore, it was salty enough.

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Nom nom nom

I realize that I have been doing a lot of food postings.  I want you guys to know that I don’t just cook and eat all the time after I get off from work.  I workout a lot.  Just this week, I went to the gym 3 times. Ran for 40 minutes on Saturday then went hiking on Sunday.  I love eating but one has to balance it out with working out and being fit. I know this recipe is not a healthy one but we don’t eat it all the time.  I’d make this like 3 times a year.  I don’t even remember the last time we made chicken casserole.

So yeah, eat (don’t stuff yourselves) and workout. Oh and stay away from fast food.  It’s the healthy way to go.