Grilled Bone Marrow with Rosemary and Lemon

 This is a simple but tasty way to start a meal.

Allow 1 or 2 pieces of marrow per person. Select marrows about 3 inches long or have your butcher cut it.

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.

Cut a 4-inch foil and wrap the bottom of each marrow and stand in a baking pan.

Chop fresh rosemary.

Finely zest 2 lemons, preferably, Meyer lemons.

On top of each marrow, put a ½ tsp each rosemary and lemon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Drizzle with olive oil. 

Bake for 20 minutes.

Slice a French bagette thinly. Arrange in a baking pan and put in the oven, bottom shelf, in the last 5 minutes to crisp.

Serve with lemon wedges.

To enjoy, spoon the marrow on toast. 

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DIM-SUM

Last Friday was my turn to host the neighbors’ monthly get-together.  Inspired by the Chinese New Year celebrated this year on January 31, I decided to make it a dim-sum night.  These are the items I prepared.

Beef Sio-mai on spinach wrap

Beef Siomai on spinach wrap

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb ground sirloin, I purchased the pack with the lowest fat content
  • ¼ cup chopped water chestnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped bamboo shoots
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame seed oil
  • 1 T rice wine
  • 1 t sugar
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 25 pieces spinach wonton wrapper.  The package suggests to use this type of wrapper to make vegetable dumplings, but I thought it would add some color and I decided to use green peas to complement the  spinach wrap.

Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate for an hour to overnight to meld the flavors.

Chicken and Shrimp Siomai

Chicken and Shrimp Siomai

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup boneless chicken breast, chopped
  • ¼ c chopped water chestnuts
  • ¼ c Chinese black mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 T rice wine
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame seed oil
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 15 pieces shrimps, shell and slice in the middle to remove the black vein
  • 25 Siomai wrapper

Mix all the ingredients, except the shrimps and refrigerate for an hour to overnight to meld the flavors.

Wrap the siomai using 1 T of chicken top with half the shrimp. Make a circle using the index finger and the thumb. Put the siomai on the hole and lightly grab the ends to make the siomai pockets.

Chicken Siopao

Chicken Siopao

I have posted the recipe for Chicken Siopao. For this occasion, I just made them smaller, about 2 inches diameter.

Turkey Dumpling

Dumpling with Turkey

This is actually called Peking Kuo-Tieh Dumplings.

Dough Skin:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cup boiling water
  • 5 T cold water

Sift flour in a bowl, mix in the boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, then add the cold water. Transfer into a mixer or knead manually until it forms a soft ball.

Filling:

  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 1 T chopped  fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1 T rice wine

Cut the dough into round the size of a pecan nut. Using a rolling-pin, flatten each and put 1 T of filling.  Make pleats on one side of the round and pinch on the other side to form the dumpling. This process really takes time but it is worth it.

Boil water in a pot. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water few pieces at a time. The dumpling will first sink into the bottom of the pan and then rise to the top when cooked. Scoop out each floating dumpling and set aside. Spray some oil to prevent from sticking to each other. Store in the refrigerator. This can be done the day before.

On the day of the party, fry the dumplings in a hot pan with little oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan. This takes about 3 minutes on each side.

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Chicken Skewers With Philippine Inasal Flavor

Chicken Skewers With Philippine Inasal Flavor

Ingredients:

  • 2  lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs, If you buy the ones with bones, simply cut around the bones. Cut in bite-size squares.

Marinade overnight in:

  • ¼ c vinegar
  • 1 whole clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, finely chopped or 2  t turmeric powder if fresh is not available
  • ½ cup chopped lemongrass
  • 2 T salt

On the day of the party, put 3 or 4 pieces in small bamboo skewers.  With little oil to prevent sticking, cook the sticks in a pan for 5 minutes each side. Start with a really hot pan.

Egg Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing

Egg Noodle Salad with Sesame Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb egg noodles. udon noodles will work too
  • 4 pieces scallions, the white part only, slice lengthwise
  • 3 pieces of kirby cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers, or equivalent measure of English cucumbers
  • 1 sweet red pepper, slice into strips
  • 1 cup carrots, cut in sticks
  • Dressing: 2 t sesame  oil; 1 T peanut oil, 1 T peanut butter, 2 T rice vinegar, 1 T miso, pepper to taste .

Boil water in a pot and cook the noodles according to package directions.  Rinse and drain when done.

Make the dressing and toss everything. Serve immediately or keep cool in the refrigerator.

Siopao with Sweet Red Beans and Sweetened Coconut Filling

Siopao with Sweet Red Beans and Sweetened Coconut Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 can sweet red beans. I cooked mine using dried azuki beans, sweetened with little sugar
  • 1 cup  Philippine sweet coconut or macapuno, optional

Use the same dough as for siopao. Put 1 T filling inside and steam for 10 minutes.

Egg Custard Tart

Egg Custard Tart

Custard:

  • 1 ½ c hot water
  • ½ c sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t white vinegar
  • Dissolve sugar in hot water. Allow to cool and add the remaining ingredients. Strain and set aside.

Pastry:

  •  1 ½ c all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 stick, plus 2 T cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Combine flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Combine the egg and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Transfer into a floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
  • Divide the dough into 18 or 20 pieces and press into 2 ½: tart pans. Since I don’t own the small  tart pans, I used the mini muffin pan.
  • Stir the custard mixture and pour into each tart. Bake in pre-heated 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Can be served hot or cold.

I offered different sauces to go with the dim-sums.

  • Soy-Vinegar.  ¼ cup soy sauce,  3 T rice vinegar, ½ t black pepper, finely sliced 1 scallion. Mix together. This is good for the dumplings. For variation, instead of scallions use, 1 T finely diced fresh ginger.
  • Hoisin-Sesame:  3 T hoisin sauce, 1 t sesame oil. Mix. This is good on Chicken Siopao.
  • Worcestershire: Also good used in the chicken siopao.

For drinks I served lychee juice,  jasmine tea and chilled sake.

Making each dumpling requires patience.  It’s been my habit to turn the TV on while I work in the kitchen. This time I tuned in to Netflix for my favorite old movies. I figured since I already saw the movies several times,  there is no need to pay attention much to the dialogues while making the dumplings.

Dim-sum night was a hit. My friend Isabel said to me, ‘this is over the top, you know I can’t match this’,  while her Italian husband said, ‘I am serving pizza on my turn!’.

To that I responded, ‘I would like that since I have been saying that the day I meet a pizza I like, is the day I become a true Floridian’.

Because right now, when it comes to food,  my heart still belongs to New York!

By the way, I completed the preparation of these good morsels while two of my favorite old movies played on the TV: School Ties and Last Holiday.  It provides me with the proper rhythm. Try it, it’s fun.

Baked Brie In Brioche

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I just love Baked Brie and I make it every chance I have, which is mostly when we have company. Instead of  the traditional puff pastry, this time I used a brioche dough.  I also used every kind of dried fruits available in the  pantry. By the reaction of our guests, I’d say this is a hit.

I followed Julia Child’s recipe from a book Baking With Julia, Brie in Brioche. The recipe used baked onions with the Brie. Instead of onions I substituted my favorite nuts and dried fruit filling.

The Brioche

  • 1 T   active dry yeast. I used SAF instant yeast as suggested. I use the instant yeast in all my baking. I love it that  I can skip the proofing process.
  • 3 T non-fat dry milk
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 3  1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 c water
  • for the egg wash, use 1 large eqq
  • 1 round  wheel ripe Brie

The Nuts and Dried Fruits: Mix all and  ensure  each bit of nuts and fruits are well coated with maple syrup.

  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped dates
  • 1/2 c chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 c maple syrup

Chilling the Dough

  • Mix and knead the dough and let rise for 1 hour. Put in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
  • The recipe suggested to start the brioche at least 24 hours or up to 36 hours ahead. Well, I didn’t have the luxury of time as I just decided to make this last night.  I only chilled for a total of 12 hours.
  • Take the dough from the refrigerator at least 4 hours before you want to serve it. The resulting dough felt buttery so I also skipped buttering the  spring form pan.

Assembling the Pastry

  • Turn the cold brioche dough on to a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll into a cylinder and cut into 3 parts .
  • Roll a piece into a 12-inch diameter
  • Fit the dough into the bottom of the pan covering the sides about 1 inch around
  • Put the Brie in the middle and pour the nut mixture on top and sides of the cheese. Leave enough room around for the top and bottom dough to connect
  • Roll the second dough  12-inch diameter and cover the cheese. Pinch around to connect to the bottom dough
  • Roll the remaining dough into 30 by 3 inches rectangular strip. Make 2 cuts along the length trying not to separate the top end.
  • Braid the dough.
  • Put the braid around the  pan.
  • Let it rise at room temperature for  1 hour

Baking the Brioche

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  • Bake the brioche for  15 minutes, then lower the temperature to  375F and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Tent it with a foil to prevent it from browning too fast.
  • Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

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The braids didn’t come out as good as it should be but the brioche itself came out good despite the short chilling period. I will definitely try the 24-hour chilling according to the recipe and  see if it does make a big difference.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my guests did on our 4th of July BBQ held on the 3rd!

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Sweet Potato Tops Salad

I am loving South Florida where we now live. I get to plant all the tropical fruits and vegetables and flowers I want, limited only by the quarter acre lot size of our home. I find it so much easier to grow anything on this year-round sub-tropical climate.  A few months ago, I buried in the ground a sweet onion which started to sprout, I just pulled five big onions from that single onion.  I also planted sweet potato from  slips I grew from a store-bought potato.  The young tips of the stems are the ones referred to as tops which has young and tender leaves.  This is a widely used vegetable in the Philippines. I am constantly harvesting the tops of  my sweet potato plant. I use it pretty much  in any dish that calls for spinach. I’d like to say spinach can be substituted to this salad but the texture would be totally different. The yellow tomato is an heirloom kind, Hawaiian Pineapple, and some purple yard long beans, both are grown in the garden. I also added some pickled garlic.

Heirloom Tomato plant: HAwaiian Pineapple

Heirloom Tomato plant: HAwaiian Pineapple

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Tomato and purple yard long beans harvested from the garden.                                                                                             The little green fruits are called calamondin, they are used like lemons.

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Meyer Lemon plant.

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Sweet Potato planted on a pot.

The tops need to be blanched with a little salt. The dressing is simply lemon juice, picked from my Meyer Lemon plant, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. In the Philippines, this is a good accompaniment to fried fish.

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Sweet potatoes harvested from the plant. Recipe would be for another time.

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Sweet Potato Tops Salad with Tomato and Pickled Garlic.

Greek Salad with Penne

Greek Salad with Penne

Greek Salad with Penne

I picked up the idea to add pasta to Greek salad from a local supermarket pamphlet. You can make your favorite Greek Salad recipe and just add cooked pasta to it. Here’s what I did which we brought to last night’s church potluck.

  • 1/2 lb of uncooked penne. Cook al dente following the package instruction. When done, drain, put in a bowl and add 1 T of extra virgin olive oil to prevent them from sticking to each other. Let it cool.
  • 2 cups of sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch square.  I used the mini sweet peppers which come in yellow, red and orange colors
  • 2 cups of diced cucumbers
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 chayote, peeled and diced (optional)
  • 1 cup of olives
  • 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, or cut-up regular tomato
  • 1/4 lb  feta cheese, crumbled or cubed

For the dressing: Mix the following in a bowl.  Adjust the salt to your taste.

  • 1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar or any  wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T mustard. I like to use the coarse ground with whole mustard seeds.
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Put all the cut-up vegetables and pasta in a bowl, except  the olives and cheese.  Add the dressing and mix.  Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the olives and feta cheese and mix gently.

I like to serve it on a bed of baby spinach.

Bitter Melon Chips

Sliced Bitter Melon

Sliced Bitter Melon

Our Indian friend introduced us to what she calls karela chips, karela is the Indian name for bitter melon. She flavors the bitter melon with turmeric and other Indian spices.  I made it once with the Indian spices. They are delicious. But today I was inclined to divert from the traditional and try something different. The result is similarly delicious.

Here’s how to make it.

  • Use two whole bitter melons, slice about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle 1 T salt and let stand for 30 minutes. This will draw some of the bitterness out. Rinse with cold water and drain in a colander.
  • In a small container, mix 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp sugar.
  • Put the drained bitter melon chips in a bowl, add  1 T of olive oil and gently mix to oil every piece. Add the spices and continue mixing with your hand to distribute the flavor. You may adjust the chili pepper to suit your spice tolerance.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
  • Arrange the chips single layer  in a baking pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, turn the chips over, and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until crispy.

Knowing what  we know now about the health benefits of bitter melon, I think that these chips can very well be a healthier substitute to crispy fried onion rings or potato chips as sides to sandwiches or even just for snacking.  As I was writing this post, I kept on getting up and reaching over the kitchen counter for  a chip or two.

Baked Bitter Melon  Chips

Baked Bitter Melon Chips

Conti’s Mango Royale Salad

My Version of Conti's Mango Royale

My Version of Conti’s Mango Royale

Conti's Mango Royale

While visiting Manila, my cousin brought us to Conti’s Restaurant. This salad is a popular item on the restaurant’s menu and a cousin asked if I can try to recreate it. Though I find the dressing to be on the sweet side,  the ingredients are nonetheless very fresh and it is served cold as lettuce salads should be, it’s quite refreshing actually on that very hot and humid day.

This is my rendition of this Mango Royale Salad dressing. I could be wrong but the moment I tasted the dressing, what came to mind was the taste of Nestle Cream which is used as the dressing for the Filipino fruit salad.  I think it came pretty close to how I remember the taste. I only had it once, didn’t pay much attention to it, didn’t think I would have to repeat it.

So I am going out on a limb here but here’s what I came up with for the dressing:

  • 1 can of Nestle Cream. I don’t usually use canned cream but I think that the fresh cream will impart a different taste.  I used the entire can as I don’t know where else to use it for the moment. I refrigerated the rest and maybe I’ll think of something else to make with it.
  • start with 3 T  to 1/4 c Condensed milk  to suit your sweet tooth.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • Using a hand-held blender, mix to incorporate everything.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad use:

  • lettuce head, wash, dry and cut
  • carrot, Julienne cut using a mandolin or cut into very thin strips
  • ripe mango, peel and dice

On a chilled plate assemble the lettuce, spread the carrots, top with a dollop of cream  and diced mango on top.

Try and do give me  a feedback, positive or not.

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Nestle Cream and condensed milk used to make the dressing.