Monday, November 30, 2009

Seafood Paella

I had one year subscription of Bon Appetit for free and I really enjoyed reading the recipes. I kept saying that one day, I will try to make at least a few of them. I had my eye on a Paella recipe for months. I love Paella because it reminds me of a filipino dish called Luzon-Style Rice or Biringe that I used to love back home. My mom, grandmother and a few of my aunts usually makes it for Fiesta or a birthday party. Their recipe is actually simple but I found a much simpler one in the January 2009 Issue of Bon Appetit - Best of the Year.  I decided to serve this dish to my good friends for our quarterly dinner get together 2 days after Thanksgiving. I thought it will be a nice change from the standard Thanksgiving meal. I was pretty sure they didn't want to see turkey and stuffing again on the table.

INGREDIENTS: Serves 6 - 8

1/8 cup of olive oil
1/4 lb fresh chorizo or polish sausage, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (mild or spicy, depending on preference)
6 crushed and chopped garlic gloves
1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron
1 cup medium -grain rice
6 cups simmering chicken stock
1/2 lb shrimp (about 16-20 in shells without heads)
12 fresh mussels (scrubbed and de-bearded)
1/2 cup frozen petit peas
1/2 cup fresh or roasted red pepper strips

Heat olive oil in large pan or paella pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and garlic and continue cooking until browned. Add tomatoes and saffron and cook until liquid evaporates. Add the rice, cooking an additional minute or two, then add the chicken stock. Once the stock comes to a simmer, add the shrimp, mussels and peas. Taste stock, adding salt and pepper as needed. Before the rice absorbs the liquid, arrange the seafood, adding red pepper strips. Do not stir. Simmer until all the liquid evaporates. Cook a few more minutes to create a lightly toasted rice crust on the bottom of the pan, this happens when you hear a faint fying sound and smell the toasted rice. Let the dish resta few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lemon Cornish Hen with Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

Okay, I admit we love chicken in my house. There's so many ways to cook a chicken. But what about Cornish Hen? They are chicken too and I must say that I always consider it a nice treat whenever I get a chance to have one. While shopping at Walmart this past weekend, I found them in their frozen section and you betcha - I grabbed 4 for a family meal one day this week for dinner. I love that they are personal sized, everyone gets dark and white meat. No fighting over the thighs, no one complaining that all they got was breast. You all get your own, one bird each LOL.


4 Cornish Hen
8 bay leaves
4 whole lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1 gallon ziplock bags
2 cups Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce (1 cup for basting and 1 cup for sauce)

Thaw out the Cornish hens in the fridge for 2 days if frozen. When the hens are completely thawed, remove from plastic wrapping, rinse and pat dry. Season each hen with salt and pepper inside and out according to your salt intake. I usually just sprinkle the salt and pepper all over the meat. Dice 2 lemon with skin and divide it into 4. Stuff each hen with 1/4 part of the diced lemon and 2 bay leaves. Put 2 hen in each of the ziplock bag. Cut the other 2 lemon and squeeze 1 whole lemon juice inside the ziplock bag, close tightly and shake. Do the same with the other 2 hens and marinate for 2 hours or overnight if you want just to prepare them for the next day meal.

Turn the oven to broil for 425 degrees. Take the Cornish hens from ziplock bags and arrange in a deep baking pan. Broil for 15 minutes or until they are dark brown and crispy on the top. Baste the hens with the chili sauce and broil for 2-3 minutes. Turn them over and broil for another 15 minutes or until they are dark brown and crispy and baste with the remaining chili sauce and broil for 2-3 minutes.

Take out the hens, serve with your favorite vegetables and your favorite carb. Dip each bite in the chili sauce. Another option is to pair it with romaine lettuce with shave parmesan cheese, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a much healthier meal!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baked Wild Salmon in Banana Leaf with Mango Chutney

I haven't had salmon in a long time and I decided to buy some today and experiment with a new recipe. I usually bake it with soy sauce and lemon juice or teriyaki sauce. I don't like overwhelming my salmon with too much spices. I checked out my pantry and found a jar of mango chutney I bought a couple of months ago and haven't used. I paired the salmon with steamed broccoli with Nori seasoning, sliced persimmon and steamed rice.


4 - 4oz each wild salmon filet
4 tablespoons of hot mango chutney
1 tablesspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
2 whole lemon (1 for garnish)
4 sheets of banana leaves (5x7 each)
4 sheets of foil (8x10 each)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the foil next to each other and put the banana leaf on top of the foil. Season the wild salmon individually with salt and pepper according to your salt intake. Arrange the salmon on top of the banana leaf and center it. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mango chutney on top of the salmon. Slice 1 lemon in thin rounds and garnish each salmon with a slice. Slice the other lemon in half and drizzle a bit of juice on top of each salmon. Wrap the salmon by folding each side of the banana leaf on top of it. Then finish it by wrapping it with the foil. Put the wrapped salmon in a non stick baking pan and bake for 35 mins. Serve with your favorite vegetables and steamed rice.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

General Tso Chicken

To be honest, I don't remember the last time I had General Tso Chicken and it is my husband's favorite Chinese entree. I think this is the only entree that he order whenever we go to a Chinese restaurant. He likes it because of the variety of taste in one meal - sweet, tangy, spicy and the crunchy texture. I am not a fan of anything sweet on my meat but I decided to give it a try and twist the recipe I found on Food Gawker just a bit to make it my own General Tso! The result was quite tasty!

The recipe is simple if you love to cook Asian food because I'm sure you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. If not, then I suggest you invest on some of these ingredients because they are inexpensive and you'll be able to use them with other Asian dish recipes.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4-6)
2 lbs breast of chicken (sliced in cubes)
6 jalapenos peppers sliced
4 teaspoons minced ginger
4 teaspoons minced garlic
6 cups of peanut oil or vegetable oil for deep frying
4 cups corn starch
1 pinch of sesame seeds for garnish

4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 egg yolk

3 tablespoons tomato paste and mixe with 2 tablespoons of water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 teaspoons white sugar
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Mix ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

Toss the chicken in the corn starch in 4 batches to avoid clumping. Shake off excess cornstarch before frying. Heat the frying pan with oil until it is smoking a little bit. Add the first batch of chicken and deep fry until cooked through. Stir constantly to avoid burning.  Remove chicken with slotted ladle when it is medium brown and drain on paper towel. Repeat with the last 3 batch.
After all the chicken is cooked, heat a different frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil. Add the ginger, garlic and jalapeno peppers and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and stir until it thickens. Add the chicken and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a big platter and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with steam rice and your choice of salad or veggies.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jicama, Chinese Cucumber, Basil & Arugula Salad

I love making salad! There are so many ways to make it especially if a farmer's market is nearby because of the abundance of greens and fruits they sell to make a refreshing salad. I picked up some baby jicamas, chinese cucumber and Thai basil at the farmer's market yesterday near my job in Oakland. I mixed them with the Arugula I picked growing in my green room and made a salad to pair with the Chicken & Prosciutto ravioli I cooked for dinner. This salad is very refreshing! The dressing is simply lime juice, olive oil salt and pepper.

2 baby jicama peeled and diced
2 chinese cucumbers diced (substitute 1 regular cucumber and diced)
20 pieces of thai basil leaves
40 pieces of arugula leaves
1 whole lime
1 tbs olive oil
shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slice the lime, squeeze and drizzle the juice all over the mixture. Drizzle the olive oil on the salad and mix well. Serve with a pasta dish or any entree.

Chicken & Prosciutto Ravioli w/ Basil, Garlic & Tomato Sauce

Buotoni Pasta is one of my favorite fresh refrigerated pasta brand. Today, i'm going to try the Whole Wheat Ravioli. I always make my own sauce with fresh ingredients. I picked up some sweet basil, Thai basil and beef steak tomatoes at the farmer's market near my job. The sauce is so simple to make but it is very tasty.

8-10 ounces of Boutoni Chicken & Prosciutto Ravioli
6 cloves of chopped garlic
1 large beefsteak tomato
20 pieces of fresh sweet basil leaves
15 pieces of fresh thai basil leaves (purple in color)
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 tsp dry Italian Seasoning
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of water
3 tbs of Olive Oil

Boil ravioli for 10 minutes or as directed on the package. While the ravioli is cooking, heat the pan and add the oilve oil. Add the chopped garlic and stir until brown. Add the chopped tomato, stir and simmer for 3 minutes until the tomato releases its juice in medium heat. Add the sweet and Thai basil, italian seasoning, pepper flakes and water. Simmer for 2 more minutes until the sauce thickens and add salt and pepper to your tasting.

Remove the ravioli from boiling water, put in a large serving dish and top with the sauce. ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mango Shrimp Curry with Honey and Lemongrass

I was craving for something spicy for dinner tonight. I checked out one of my old recipe books and saw something that was enticing - Pineapple Shrimp Curry with Red Chilies. As I was reading the recipe, i thought it was a little boring so I added a little twist to it and the outcome was outstanding!


1 lb Jumbo shrimps shelled
1 cup mango chunks (frozen or fresh if in season)
4 cups coconut milk 
4 tbs yellow curry powder
6 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
1/4 cup honey
2 tbs lemongrass sauce
2 jalapeno peppers chopped
4 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp butter

In a medium pot, heat butter, add garlic and brown. Add 2 cups of the coconut milk and boil for about 5 minutes. Add the curry and stir until completely dissolved. Add the other 2 cups of coconut oil, mango, lemongrass sauce, fish sauce and honey. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat after it started boiling and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add shrimp and jalapeno peppers and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with steam rice and enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Filipino Chicken Adobo

If you are Filipino, you must know how to cook this dish! At least, that's what everyone thinks. This dish is a staple that you will find in every Filipino household. I have cooked this for many family gatherings, and brought it to potlucks at school, church and even at work. It's one of those you just can't get enough dish.

2 1/2 lbs of chicken legs (10 pieces)
4 large potatoes quartered 
3/4 of white vinegar (or 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup of soy sauce
10 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
1 medium white onion chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tsp of black pepper corn crushed
4 tbs of vegetable oil
1 cup water

Combine and mix thoroughly the chicken, vinegar, 1/2 of garlic, black pepper and bay leaves in a medium pot, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir a few times while simmering making sure it doesn't burn. In a pan, saute the other 1/2 crushed garlic and brown. Add the onions and saute with the garlic until it caramelized. Remove from heat and add it to the pot with chicken and stir. Add the potatoes, soy sauce, water and boil for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the juice has reduced and thicken.Adjust the vinegar and soy sauce according to your taste (some likes it with more vinegar taste, some likes it more a bit salty taste or even a little sweet tangy taste). If its too sour for your taste, add a few pinch of brown sugar until the sourness is to your liking.  Enjoy with steam rice.

HINT: Chicken Adobo taste even better the next day so  DO NOT pass the left overs!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

MJ's Chicken Lumpias

I kept bragging about my lumpias at work so I decided to take out the old recipe I learned from my mom and made some of these delicious meat pastries for my co-worker's birthday.  It will be a nice surprise treat for him because he's never had them!!
I have made thousands of these lumpias to make extra money when I was a single mother. They are always a hit because they are quite delicious.

Ingredients: (Makes 90 pieces)
1 package of frozen Lumpia wrapper - 25-30 sheets (you can buy this from any Asian store)
1 lb ground chicken
2 large carrots (shredded)
4 stalks of celery (diced)
1 bunch of green onions (diced)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon flour

Combine all the filling ingredients with bare hands and mix thoroughly in a large bowl. Set aside and start peeling the wrappers individually and slowly to prevent from ripping. Set aside and make the paste mixture by combining the water and the flour, mix it and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds. Make sure it doesn't get hard.

Grab a flat cutting board or a flat plate. Lay one wrapper at a time on the flat surface. Scoop a spoonful of the filling mixture and spread on one end of the wrapper. Roll the mixture tightly towards the other end (like rolling sushi or taquitos) and leave a 1/2 inch at the other end to spread the paste to seal the edge of the rolls. Repeat until all sheets are used. Discard unused sheets. Slice the rolled lumpias into 3 pieces.

Get a heavy skillet and pour a half inch depth of oil. Heat the oil for about 5 minutes. Keep the heat on medium high to prevent them from burning. Use the sides of the skillet to slide the rolls into the oil. When you side the sides, you're preventing oil from splattering when each piece hits it.

Fry about 6-8 rolls at a time and cook each side of the lumpias until they are golden brown and making sure the filling is cooked thoroughly without burning the outside. Place done lumpias onto paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve immediately with hot chili sweet and sour sauce or plain.