Eggplant Parmigiana with Beef Bolognese

This version is using the Asian eggplant variety. They are more tender and takes shorter time to cook. Assuming that you already have the sauce ready, this literally takes half an hour to prepare. In this version, I used my own beef bolognese instead of the usual marinara sauce. On the side, is pasta with kale.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces  Japanese Ichiban eggplant
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese
  • Bolognese sauce
  • Pasta 
  • Kale, cut in pieces

Preparations.

  • Heat the water for the pasta. The kale needs 15 minutes to cook so if the pasta of your choice takes 10 minutes to cook al dente, put the kale in the boiling salted water 5 minutes earlier, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is cooked al dente following the box instruction. 
  • Cut the eggplant in half. Slice each piece into four without cutting though the end, opening the slices like a fan. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper. Note that it is not necessary to salt the eggplants to remove the water and some bitterness as usually done with the big Italian variety. 
  • In a pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil, fry the eggplant, opening the slices like a fan. Set aside.
  • Turn on the the oven to broil. Set a rack about 6 inches from the top.
  • To assemble, using a Pyrex dish or metal pan, spread about ½ cup of sauce on the bottom, arrange the eggplant pieces. Top with some sauce, slices of mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Put under the broiler for 10 minutes until the cheese melts. 

Plate with the pasta-kale and some sauce.  
   
  

     
Buon appetito!

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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. 

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.

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

Korean BBQ Ribs

Korean  Style BBQ Ribs

This has been a family  favorite. This is also a regular  in our backyard summer parties. As the Koreans, we like to eat this with all the trimmings especially kimchi. This is also very good eaten with Vietnamese salad made of thin vermicelli and vegetables with nuoc cham. I usually make big batches of this and I haven’t been measuring my ingredients accurately. So for the purpose of this post, I went back to my very first Korean cookbook, The Korean Cookbook by Judy Hyun, I purchased in 1983. IMG_2372 The book refers to this as Kalbi Kui. Short Ribs in Sweet Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs short ribs, sliced into 1/2 inch thick across the bones, remove excess fat.
  • 2 scallions, sliced about  1 inch long
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 2 T sugar
  • dash of black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced. This is not on the original recipe but I think it works well with garlic.

Procedure:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add the ribs and mix well. Let it stand for 3o minutes to marinate.
  • Grill or cook in the oven broiler. Cooking time will vary on how well done the meat is preferred.

My husband likes to dip this in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. All I can say is prepare to overeat!

Meat Rolls (Buns with Meat Filling)

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We like this ready-to-go-sandwiches.

Make the dough.

  • 1 c water
  • 3 1/4 c bread flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T dry milk
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 t instant yeast

Rise the dough in the bread maker.

If not using a bread maker, use lukewarm water and knead using a stand mixer on medium speed until it sticks clean to the beater.  Transfer into a slightly oiled bowl, Cover with plastic wrap.

Rise in a warm place for  1 hour or until double in size.

Cook the meat filling.

  • 1 medium potato,  diced . Fry in 3 T olive oil until golden.
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 3 T  olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 finely chopped onions
  • 1   bay leaf or 3 pieces if using fresh bay leaf
  • 1 t  dried oregano  or 1/4 c fresh oregano
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, according to taste
  • Optional ingredients: mushrooms, olives

Procedure:

  • In a pan, brown the ground beef with 1 tsp salt and bay leaf.  Discard  fat, if any.
  • Add 3 T olive oil, garlic and onion to the beef. Saute until the onion is clear.
  • Add the tomatoes, soy sauce,  salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce,  cover, stirring once in a while and cook until the meat is tender and the tomatoes have turned into sauce.
  • Add the raisins and if using, mushrooms and olives. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stir to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper according to taste.
  • The resulting dish must not be saucy in order  not to saturate the dough.
  • Cool before using.

Ground Beef Menudo

Now we are ready to fill the buns.  Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In  a slightly floured surface, turn the dough and divide into 14 pieces  or  each one should weigh between 50 and 52 grams. Form each piece into a ball.

Flatten each ball and put about  3 T of meat filling in the middle, gather the edges and seal. Place in a non-stick baking pan with the sealed  side down.

Put a piece of square wax paper underneath each bun if the pan is not non-stick.

Beat 1 egg and  brush the top of each filled bun for a shiny golden color.

Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

To warm later using a toaster oven, bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.

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Stewed Oxtail With Lily Blossom

I should call this dish, Lost in Translation. I have been cooking this for years, enjoyed by my friends on get-togethers and simply identified as oxtail. I guess no one really cared what the exact name of the dish. For my food blog, I needed to give it a proper name and so I posted the question to my relatives. It racked my memory. The original dish is made with pork or beef knuckles. Then I remember that since the knuckles are very fatty, I started to substitute oxtail. Oxtail can also be fatty but the fat can be cleaned and trimmed before cooking. If after  cooking I still find it to have a lot of fat, I just refrigerate it and then remove the solidified fat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb oxtail, remove all visible fat
  • 1 cup  of dried lily blossoms, soak in water. This is available in Asian food store.
  • 12 pieces of dried shiitake mushrooms,soak in water until hydrated. Remove the stems. This is available in Asian food store.
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 T oil
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 2 T thick soy sauce  or 3 T soy sauce
  • 1 T whole pepper corns
  • 2 dried bay leaf

Cook as follows:

  • In a deep saute pan, heat the oil. Then add the garlic and saute until slightly brown. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and onion. Stir to mix.
  • Add the oxtail, saute the meat, stirring often to avoid sticking at the bottom of the pan,
  • Add  mushrooms, 1 cup of water, soy sauce, sugar and lily blossoms. Cover  but check and stir frequently.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water at a time until the meat is tender and thoroughly sauteed. About 45-60 minutes.  I always remember my grandmother saying that a good saute makes the meat tastier. This can also be cooked in a pressure cooker. What I don’t like about it is I could never make the meat just right, most of the time it’s overdone and the meat falls off the bone.

Serve with steamed rice.

Soy Marinated Beef a.k.a. Beef Tapa

A true Filipino Beef Tapa is beef cured with salt and saltpeter, usually for a number of days and then dried to preserve without refrigeration.  My version isn’t that, it is seasoned with similar flavors but without saltpeter and I preserve by freezing.  So I have actually misled my children by calling this dish that they love,  beef tapa.

This is a typical Filipino breakfast fare eaten with fried rice and vinegar-garlic dip. When prepared for lunch or dinner,  I usually serve this with my homemade pickled green papaya or  I make a green mango-cilantro salsa.

This dish is a perfect example of the  Filipinos’ fondness for the salt-and-sweet taste on their food.

Here are what you need:

  • 2 lb sirloin or London broil. Round is a cheaper substitute, it just needs to be cooked a bit longer but taste just as good. Slice the meat about 1/8 inch thick.
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 t ground pepper
  • 2 T soy sauce

Put all the seasonings in a big bowl and using your hand, massage the meat into the mixture to ensure that each slice is properly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator for 24 hours, after which you can either cook and enjoy it right away or freeze it for later.

To cook, heat 2 T oil in a pan and add the  meat. Water may be added especially if using a less tender cut of meat. Keep on turning the meat to cook evenly and avoid sticking to the pan. Remove the meat from the pan. (Try to fry the rice on the beef pan for a tasty tapa fried rice.)

I usually make a big batch of this and portion in quart size plastic freezer bags.  This is one of my standbys for visiting family members.