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Archive for May, 2011

Pea and Tofu Soup

I’m a big fan of creamy soups. I grew up eating nothing but instant Cream of Mushroom soups and mixing it with rice. I’m not sure how much MSG is in my kidneys after all those years of canned soups, but now that I know better- I make my soups from scratch. There’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of soup to warm me up during the rainy seasons. Just stock up on frozen peas and throw in whatever is leftover in the ref as topping. I was out of croutons when I made this recipe but go ahead and add some to balance out the creaminess and get some crunch.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 stalks of leeks, chopped

4 1/2 cups frozen peas

1 medium potato, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped

1/2 cup tofu, chopped to small cubes

1/4 cup milk or cream

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Procedure: Saute onion in butter. Add leeks, frozen peas, and potatoes and sweat for about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil then simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are well cooked. Turn off heat and cool the soup a bit before pouring into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour back into pot and add tarragon. Stir in mushrooms and tofu and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Add in milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper.

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Summer is officially over- well at least here in the Philippines. Not a day passes by without some afternoon rainshowers and occasional thunderstorms. The sun is up and shining in the mornings, but once the temperature drops around three I can already smell the rain in the distance. For me it’s the just perfect weather for this soupy dish. Who want’s to eat anything hot and spicy in the summer anyway?! This is Gumbo-inspired without the heavy mushy texture. Easy as usual. Serve it hot hot hot!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons oil

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium potato, chopped or a handful of baby potatoes, halved

2 corn on the cobs, chopped

8 -12 pieces large prawns

6 pieces okra, chopped

1 medium eggplant, chopped

1 beef cube

1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

Pepper, to taste

Procedure:

Sauté garlic and onion in a deep pan. Add carrots and potatoes and brown a bit. Add corn. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked. Add prawns and remaining vegetables. Add beef cube, spice, and herbs. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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the refrigerator cake

This is one those few recipes that doesn’t need much thinking– very, very easy. No measuring. No baking. Your kids can make this! Typically found off a fruit cocktail label, the refrigerator cake must simply be one of the easiest desserts on the planet. My only measurement is 1:2 condensed milk to all-purpose cream. From here you can pretty much add or subtract depending on your sweet buds.

Procedure:

Layer the broas (ladyfingers) on the bottom of the pan/glass container.

Mix fruit cocktail (drained), condensed milk, and all-purpose cream in bowl. Spread on top of the broas layer.

Add another layer of broas if your container is big enough, and just top it again with the fruit and cream mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or better overnight. Freeze if you want it as hard as iced candy.

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For me, there’s no comfort food like a well-baked sweet-tangy-crunchy-gooey- peach- apple pie. Fuss-free and less prep time if you use a store bought pastry crust, but still an easy recipe if you have to make it from scratch. I used Martha’s Perfect Pâte Brisée for my dough- just follow every detail and you’re all set for the perfect pie recipe.

Martha’s Perfect Pâte Brisée (From the Martha Stewart Living cookbook)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/2 c. ice water
Directions:
1.  Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  Process for a few seconds to combine.
2.  Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand, about ten seconds.
3.  Add the vodka then the water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together.  Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
4.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.  Divide into two equal pieces and place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap.  Flatten into disks, then wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.  Make two 8 to 10-inch single-crust pies pies or one 8 to 10-inch double crust pie.

Preheat oven to 425F and place a large baking sheet right in the middle. In a large bowl, mix in sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, and salt. Core, peel, and cut apples into wedges and toss into bowl. Gently toss in drained quartered peach halves. Set aside.

Roll out one piece of dough an fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edges then refrigerate. Roll out dough for the top crust on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut out enough shapes that will cover the entire pie. Put on baking sheet then refrigerate until firm to handle.

Spoon filling into the shell creating a slight mound into the center. Dot with butter cubes. Arrange heart-shaped dough over the filling, making sure they overlap each other. Brush some egg wash in between the shapes and press edges together. Brush entire top with egg wash then sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake pie for 20 minutes then reduce oven to 375F. Bake until crust if golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool on rack.

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