Tuesday, January 31, 2012

vegetable soup with turkey meatballs.....at kitchen! kitchen!

Vegetable Soup With Turkey Meatballs
 After all, now that the rich holiday food is past behind us, a simple soup of butternut squash, string beans, and celery will be a great way of detoxing with something delicious. Don't limit yourself to these vegetables, use whatever you have lying around in your vegetable bin. There are some nights during the week, that a simple meal such as this with buttered toast and some cheese will hit the spot without feeling deprived.

It is quite simple! (Serves 2)
Your vegetable of choice - cut in cubes of same size
1 minced garlic
1 medium diced white onions
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Salt/Black Pepper
Low sodium chicken or beef stock (3-4 cups)

1 pkg. of all lean (Jennie-O) ground turkey or (any ground meat of your choice)
A handfull of minced fresh dill
1/4 cup of minced white onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 beaten egg
Salt/Black pepper
Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and form into large meatballs and set aside.

In the meantime, in a heated deep pan with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, saute onions and garlic until fragrant; add the vegetables; season with salt and pepper sauteeing for a few minutes. Add low sodium stock or hot water about 3-4 cups and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the turkey meatballs; cover and let simmer until cooked. Cooking time is about 20 minutes...*it may take  longer depending on your vegetable of choice and amount of meatballs*
Taste to correct seasoning and serve with toasted (buttered )baguette topped with your favorite slices of cheese.
Detoxing has never been so satisfying!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

a fluke and a salmon......a knockout dish.....at kitchen! kitchen!

A Fluke and a Salmon.....a knockout dish!
A new asian supermarket just opened in Marlboro, about a 10 minute drive from me. Well, I just have to check it out being a foodie that I am. It is a huge place, and I need to check out all the aisles to get myself aquainted with their merchandise. The produce are all fresh and I am tempted to fill my cart with all those fresh looking vegetables, fruits, and herbs and stuff that I don't recognize. I just have to hold myself and absorbed everything. This place is only a 10 minute drive. Such luxury!
As I approached the fresh seafood area - the fluke and the salmon cut into steaks caught my eye. They are as fresh as they come and on sale too! How do I know it's fresh - I have to smell them of course! Never hesitate to ask for a piece to smell even if the person behind the glass counter is giving you a strange look. So, that is how I ended up getting some salmon and fluke steaks.

Heat up a large cast iron pan on the stove top and add a little olive oil. In the meantime, season the fish with salt and pepper. Sear both fish on the very, very hot cast iron pan on both sides until golden. Add 1/4 cup of reisling wine and continue cooking in a preheated 425F oven for 15 or so minutes. Add some steamed vegetables of your choice to the pan just a few minutes before you take the pan out. Let cool a bit and serve in the same pan. A side dish of boiled potatoes and butter sauce will go well with it. (for butter sauce, microware a stick of butter with a squeeze of half a lemon for 1 minute or so, just until it's melted, add a bit of salt to taste and some of the pan juices).

It is a knockout!

Friday, January 27, 2012

roasted duck.....may I have some more please!.......at kitchen! kitchen!


Served With broccoli and carrots, cucumber tomato salad,
and a bit of chinese black rice.

Another comfort food at my table is a roasted duck stuffed with nothing but my favorite herbs of rosemary, lemon thyme, sage, tarragon, fresh bay leaf, and the reliable garlic cloves. Smashed of course! These herbs goes into the nooks and cranies of the bird that render the duck so heavenly good and hard to resist at the table. I've just discovered that ShopRite has the maple brand duck from Canada, a luscious looking bird that cooks wonderfully than it's counter part that you might find in some other supermarkets. There's nothing like the famous Long Island duck of course, but then I am not about to spend an arm and a leg on a normal family dinner since this bird has been a Saturday dinner staple of ours as of late. Long Island duck is reserve for a very, very special occasion. So for now, I will contend myself with the Canadian one. All the cuts are on the platter- nothing is left out of this bird.  That's how good it is!

Steamed broccoli and carrots and a salad of cucumber with honey mustard dressing are great accompaniment for the roasted bird. Red cabbage, boiled potato or rice go well with it too. My niece Abegail loves it with lingonberry preserve.

For recipe check out previous posting of roasted duck dated Sept. 12, 2010 (Saturday dinner of asian roasted duck). However, for this dish, I had a little over 3 lbs. of duck.  Follow previous recipe and use above herbs or any of your favorite herbs. Bake for 20-30 minutes a pound. I increased the temperature to 425F at the last 30-40 minutes of the roasting to crisps up the skin. Let stand for an hour before carving to allow the juices to re-circulate. You'll be glad you waited.

Tip: Include the innards along with the herbs in the cavity for added layer of taste. Chopped up the roasted innards, herbs, and the garlic for your pate. I had a ground pork and veal all seasoned up waiting in the wings for the duck innards. I added a bit of a douse of white wine or cognac to the mixture before incorporating it to the ground meat. (check previous posting for bison pate in pastry- Dec. 15, 2010 and homemade veal pate dated Jan. 13, 2011). Just like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

gravlax....curing the salmon.....at kitchen! kitchen!

If you look up gravlax, you will know that it is Scandinavian in origin.
This was made by fishermen in the middle ages by salting the salmon and lightly
fermented it by burying it in the sand above the high-tide line.
Today, fermentation is no longer used in the process. Instead the salmon 
is cured in a dry marinade of salt, sugar, and, dill for a few days.
Google for the recipe of gravlax.
I would suggest experimenting with it first by doing
 a small piece of fresh salmon fillet.
My first venture into this, the salmon came out too salty. I keep adjusting the salt
and sugar until I perfected it. I still  rely on my taste buds when mixing
the salt and sugar by tasting the mixture to make sure that it is just right.
I keep a big jar of this mixture in a tightly covered glass container.
I cannot tell you how the curing mixture should taste like,
you will have to trust your judgment.
Don't be discourage if the first try is not successful.
Keep trying and the reward is astounding.
This is great as an appetizer, on a crips bread garnished with lemon and capers,
or simply served with a seafood pate and salad.
Check out my previous posting of galette with gravlax and gravlax sandwich
(posted on: Nov. 29, 2010 and Dec. 21, 2010)

Friday, January 20, 2012

buttery, flaky pecan tart.....at kitchen! kitchen! for Tarts & Quiches...

The buttery, flaky pecan tart...irrisistible!
A pecan tart of the flakiest and buttery dough that seems to
melt in your mouth. The pecans are toasted and irrisistibly
crunchy, creating a delightful music in your taste buds.
If you want to indulge in some decadence once in while,
your answer is this pecan tart.
Special Order only at: Tarts & Quiches

contact: jaenwitt@aol.com

Thursday, January 19, 2012

longing for the lazy summer and the sea......for kitchen kitchen!

San Isidro
A slip of an area by the sea that our mother owned.
I wonder if she was captivated by
its beauty and rugged shoreline that made her decide to own it.
Whatever reason she had, I am glad she did.
The calm warm water is very enticing to anyone who has been to this place.
The shoreline is peppered with shells and grounded corals, that you can't help
but collect those beautiful shells carried by the tide and washed ashore.
Boulder size corals  under the sea must have been there for thousand
 of years carried out to the shore when the volcano in Camiguin Island erupted.
On a clear day you could see the silhouette of this imposing Camiguin island.
My nephew Alan Taruc oversees this slip of the family paradise and he
is doing a mighty great job too.
To our mother who had the extraordinary abilty to see beauty 
in what others might consider untamed and rugged,
thank you for your legacy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

homemade sardines by my sister Pearl...a tribute from... kitchen! kitchen!

Homemade Sardines
By my sister Pearl Luna
A tribute to her ability to turn simple baby milk fish
into something delicious and so mouth watering.

My sister made this homemade sardines when I was visiting in the Philippines.
All of my sisters are a whiz in the kitchen in their own way.
And when I was asked what I would like - a homemade sardines came to mind.
So, everytime I see canned sardines in the supermarket,
I longed for the ones a few thousand miles away.
In as much as I would like to make these myself,  I have a fear of this particular
kitchen equipment which is a must to do this recipe. The "PRESSURE COOKER"!
I am very leery about this equipment.
Maybe because I have seen and experienced enough incidents
wherein when this is opened prematurely, the whole thing blows up
where you find everything stuck to the ceiling and myself 
taking cover under a table.
So, pardon me if I prefer to  have my food on the table instead of on the ceiling.
Up to now, I will not attempt to cook in one.
So, therefore, I will leave this home made sardines to my dear lovely sister, Pearl.
If anyone would be brave enough to do this, I have no doubt that all you have
to do is goggle for a recipe.

grilling...........awaits me! for....kitchen! kitchen!

Grilling....of fresh tuna, octopus, pork belly, and the eternal pork barbecue.
Delightfully served with a simple sauce of vinegar, soy with minced onions.

These awaits me when I come for a visit to the Philippines,
as my niece, Weng, promised.
Feeling nostalgic for the old country and what awaits me is engulfing me
nowadays. It must be the dark cold winter weather that is making me long for a
warmer climate, my country of birth, and most especially my family.
There is always an excuse for my sisters, nieces and nephews to have a
get together and as they call it "bahaw-bahaw", meaning having some leftovers.
Obviously, these platter of grilled meats and seafood do not fall under "leftovers".
"Bahaw-bahaw" is a loose term that my family coined to announce to all
that there will be a family get together and anyone is welcome.
Normally, each family member will bring a dish or two to this "bahaw-bahaw".
No reason is necessary to have this occasion. But, Naz, one of my sisters seems to
be the pied piper of the family. She initiates these gatherings of the family and
the platter you see here came from her kitchen.
As they say, love abounds where there is good food and the gathering of a family.
How I missed this "bahaw-bahaw"!
photo courtesy of: Weng Torres

Simple grilling......reminiscing at....kitchen! kitchen!

Simple grilling.....reminiscing our trip to the Philippines.
My son took this photo when we were in Salapasap, a small town in
Ilocos, Sur, where my niece Stephanie has their beach house.
Terry, my brother-in-law took Jens for a bit of sight seeing in
another part of town and was lucky enough to
 partake in a simple but delicious lunch.
I don't quite know the name of this fish, but it was freshly caught and
simply grilled on charcoal made out of coconut shell.
Perhaps it was not even seasoned,
allowing the salt water to render its' own seasoning.
I was so intrigued with this photo.
 It tells me the simple way of life in a small town
or in any village with close proximity to the sea, their simple way of preparing
a freshly caught fish. Just grill it! Allowing the sweet fresh taste of the fish
to capture your imagination on what else lies under the sea.
I'm glad that my son had tasted and experienced this simple fare.

Photo courtesy of: Jens Wittling

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Simply - a comfort food....at kitchen! kitchen!

Taking a trip down memory lane to revisit this traditional
comfort food cooked in an untraditional way, but just
as delicious as I remember it.

The choice of vegetables for my untraditional comfort food.
I have this left over ham bone from christmas that I saran wrapped and stored in the freezer.
Then, remembering my mother, or maybe it was one of my sisters who made a very scrumptious dish we call "pochero," a dish of a variety of boiled meat derived from the Spanish cuisine. I don't quite remember how it was done, except that it includes a ham bone and Spanish sausage for an added layer of taste. Only the taste of this dish lingered in my memory. But, instead of just boiling the meat, I briased the pork and short ribs (beef) and put everything in a braiser along with the rest of the ingredients, let it boil, removing any scums that floated on top and slowly braised it in the oven at a low temperature (275 - 295 F)for 4-5 hours. It rewarded me with an incredible dish of a truly comfort food that brings the past to the present.

My ingredients: Serves 6
2 pkg. of beef short ribs (try to get the ones with with some marbling of fat in it)
2 lbs. of pork belly with skin on
1 medium to large smoked pork shoulder (or double smoked bacon slab)
1 medium size Spanish sausage
1 ham bone (optional: the smoke pork shoulder should take the place of the ham bone)

For the Vegetables: Cut all the vegetables in same size (at least try to!)
1 head of Savoy cabbage or Chinese cabbage (I used baby bok-choy - about 10-12 small ones)
4 large carrots cut in large pieces
3 large Parsnips cut in half
3-4 small golden potatoes (peeled)
4 stalks of celery cut large pieces
1 large onion quartered
Herbs: thyme and sage
Salt and Black Pepper

Season all meats with salt and pepper except for the smoked pork shoulder and sausage
Sear all sides ( short beef ribs and pork) to brown in a pan with olive oil and set aside until completed.
In a braiser, put all the seared meat; smoke pork shoulder, sausage, and (ham bone ); add chicken/beef stock or water just half way without submerging the meat. Add 2 stalks of the celery and 2 pcs. of carrots, herbs, and  let boil while removing all the scums that float on top. Add the smoked pork shoulder and the sausage and transfer the braiser to slow cook in a preheated oven of 275-295 F for 4-5 hours. Check the pork belly after 2 hrs. if it is fork tender, remove and set aside and you do the same thing with the short ribs and smoke pork shoulder, sausage, and keep warm. (Don't allow the meat to get too tender that they are falling into shreds. Make sure all the meats are still whole but fork tender). Add the potatoes, the rest of the carrots, celery, cabbage quartered if you are using cabbage and parsnips until fully cooked. Take them out; set aside and keep warm. Next will be the bok choy and cook for about 10 minutes or so. Slice the pork belly and the smoked pork shoulder in serving pieces along with the short ribs, arranging the meat in a separate platter and garnish with some of the vegetables, and sliced spanish sausage. Serve the vegetables separately and serve with cilantro salsa verde (posted 9/28/11) or chimichurri sauce. You will be skipping along memory lane with a big smile on your face!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"pearly luna" butter cake......at kitchen! kitchen! for tarts & quiches.

Contact for Tarts & Quiches: jaenwitt@aol.com

"Pearly luna" butter cake

Being cooled for gift giving.
A great way to welcome the New Year!

My sister Pearl is a whiz in the kitchen and in baking as well. Actually, all of my sisters have a natural talent in the kitchen in their own way, each with different specialities. I would just name a few of my favorite dishes to one of them and they will whip it up without a bat of an eyelash. It's great to have a lot of sisters to learn new things from. So, this recipe is from Pearl (the reason for the namsesake of "pearly luna" butter cake). It is normally baked in a large baking sheet and cut into squares. Well, being that I baked this for a New Year's eve party, it is a tradition that everything served must be in a shape of a circle for good luck. So, what a better way to bake it in miniature and individual bundt pan. The making of this cake is a bit involved but worth all the effort. So, to my sister Pearl, thank you. The next one I will try is her fabulous creme brulee!
Special order only at Tarts & Quiches.

Monday, January 2, 2012

bejeweled banana cake.......at kitchen! kitchen!...for Tarts & Quiches.

Bejeweled Banana Cake

A banana bread does not have to be boring.
I made the "simple banana bread" into a cake complete with
pecan maple glaze and topped with silvery sugared pecans.
After taking pity on some of the bananas that was repining fast in the fruit tray,
I took pity on the poor ones and decided to make a bread out of it rather than
disposing it. I just can't start throwing out some fruits when you can turn them into
something wonderful.  So I played fairy godmother to these very ripened bananas.
The recipes always call for the most neglected banana be made as a muffin
or in a boring loaf pan. So, still feeling very holiday'ish, I decided to think cake
and bake it in a bundt pan. It looked so gorgeous in it that I decided to dress it up
with maple pecan glaze. The result- from an "ugly ducking to a swan'!
So, now this has become another addition for "Tarts & Quiches"
Calling it a bread is no longer fitting - I have now turned it into a
BEJEWELED BANANA CAKE All drssed up and fit for a king and for any ocassion.

For recipe - goggle for "banana bread" recipe and be a fairy godmother in the kitchen for a change.
The recipe used on this banana cake is very basic however, "tarts and quiches" tweaked the recipe and added a secret ingredient to make it our very own. An absolute delight as a dessert or simply have your coffee or tea with it.