Thursday, April 03, 2008

Asian Market Basket

Today, at my first ever cooking competition I helped advance my team to the final round of our school's "Asian Market Basket." We walked into the kitchen, were given 20minutes to design a 4-course Asian menu with the limited ingredients on hand, and three hours to execute it. Nowhere near as stressful as professional black-box competitions, but hey it was our first time. The parameters: Starting time 10:10am, submit menu at 10:30 (1 starch, 1 meat, 1 seafood/fish, 1 freehand), submit 1st dish for judging at 12:30, subsequent dishes at 1:00, 1:15 and 1:30. Ervin's Fried Noodles with Three Minced Meats, Francis' Prawns in Mango & Star Anise Sauce, Balot's Chicken with Three Mushrooms served with Derick's Garlic Chive & Mushroom Dumplings, and my Fish Gone to Heaven earned us a place in next week's finals against 4 teams from the other classes. Too bad we didn't get a chance to take photos. Now I'm preparing for the Western Market Basket elimination round on Friday. Wish us luck!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Feel the burn

I had pieces lined up for posting about stuff that's happened from all the way back in December to yesterday but it's going to have to be this one because I burned my arm badly today. I was turning one of the chicken wings I was shallow frying when the oil splattered all over the inside of my right arm. Now I've got 2nd-degree burns from my elbow halfway up to my shoulder, and most of the way down to my wrist. Yeah I'm on painkillers. This was at around 7:15pm and I was only halfway done cooking our Thai dinner. I didn't stop cooking. Plated everything at 7:40pm: Green Papaya Salad, Chicken in Plum 7 Pineapple Sauce, Green Curried Mussels, Squid & Prawns, Pineapple & Bagoong Fried Rice.




Chicken in Plum & Pineapple Sauce

You'll need:
Some chicken pieces
Lemongrass root, bruised
Shallots, chopped
Green onions (optional)
Cornstarch
Water
Fresh pineapple or canned pineapple chunks (reserve the juice)
Plum wine (or just store-bought Thai plum sauce, white wine, and some sugar)
Hoisin sauce
Thai basil leaves to garnish

Put the chicken in a bowl and marinate with about a cup of plum wine or plum sauce mixture, the lemongrass, about a tablespoon shallots, and the green onions for at least half an hour (or even better, overnight)

Put the cornstarch in a bowl and whisk in enough water to make a thin batter (just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). Take the chicken out of the marinade and put it in the batter making sure the pieces are well coated. Deep fry the chicken.

Meanwhile dilute a tablespoon of hoisin sauce in about a cup of the pineapple juice (add water if there isn't enough juice) and add it to the marinade. Put the mixture and pineapple chunks in a shallow pan and simmer til syrupy. Time it so that the mixture is ready and boiling just when the chicken is done frying. Put the chicken in the sauce and toss to lightly coat.

Transfer to a plate and garnish with fresh basil leaves.


First aid for burns

It's amazing that there are still people who believe toothpaste is the proper first aid treatment for a 1st to 2nd degree burn. Nobody in my family, of course, but there are people who believe it. Put the burn under the tap for minutes. It's that simple. The menthol in your toothpaste won't cool it. Look it up.

This was my 2nd disaster of the day. The first one was when I found termites in my library.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Turning Japanese


maki
Wanting to refresh our palates, and because we had some nice tuna in the fridge we decided to prepare a Japanese dinner.

So. Tuna sashimi. Some simple maki would be nice, I thought. I wanted to make some gunkan-maki (battleship rolls), maybe topped with that tobiko (salmon roe) I still had in the freezer. I was all out of kikkoman though, and nori (dried and pressed sheets of seaweed). Wasabi, too.

Off to the supermarket...


Read the rest of this post...Got up early this morning (early for a Sunday anyway) to cook a batch of pasta to deliver to the music team at VCF. Again drawing only on existing stock I came up with a Tomato & Eggplant Agrodolce. Grilled the veg: tomato to provide the agro (sour), and onion for the dolce (sweet). Poached garlic chips in olive oil, tossed it all together with some spaghetti and a little balsamic vinegar, and topped it all with Parmesan and Romano.

While serving that up I was already discussing dinner with Sarah, and with Mama (via text). Wanting to refresh our palates, and because we had some nice tuna in the fridge we decided to prepare a Japanese dinner.

So. Tuna sashimi. Some simple maki would be nice, I thought. I wanted to make some gunkan-maki (battleship rolls), maybe topped with that tobiko (salmon roe) I still had in the freezer. I was all out of kikkoman though, and nori (dried and pressed sheets of seaweed). Wasabi, too.

Off to Circle-C, our friendly neighborhood mini-mall which houses a Robinson's Supermarket. Smaller & not as well-stocked as nearby Cherry Foodarama, Robinson's nevertheless carries a few items Cherry does not, like dried konbu, (edible kelp for making sushi rice). Also on the menu was kani salad, and vegetable tempura. I had a mind to serve crêpes samurai (sweet crêpes with mango, custard & meringue filling) for dessert, almost as a culinary pun but it's past mango season, and prices are prohibitive (P65-P85 per kg!!). Stubbornly bought some anyway, but they were too sour for dessert. Other stuff on my grocery list: shoyu (kikkoman); imitation-wasabi-in-a-tube; lettuce & cucumbers for the kani salad; veggies for the tempura--okra, onions, green bell pepper (still had carrots in the fridge); fresh ginger root; spinach; oyster mushrooms (still had dried shiitakes in the pantry).

Prep was a quickie: cooked rice, washed, chopped & steamed veggies, reconstituted shiitakes, almost forgot to remove konbu from the rice at the boil (would've made the rice slimy), had Sarah shred the cucumber (she's getting pretty handy with my chef's knife), made the tempura batter, fried the tempura (crusted the mushrooms with sesame seeds for interest), assembled kani salad, sliced the tuna (wished I had a santoku instead of the un-chilled boning knife I was using hehehe!). Ran out of time for the gunkan-maki, rolled regular maki at the table instead. Dinner served!

Half an hour later we were rubbing our full, happy bellies. No space for the nonexistent crepes samurai hehe.

maki

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Revisiting Asia

While we took a break from Dine&Jam I thought I'd take a break from cooking pasta, too. Steph and I found ourselves eating a lot of asian food. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Persian, Pinoy. Mama and I revisited some of the recipes we hadn't prepared in a long time. We were reminded we could put this stuff on the menu, too! Here's an asian spread Steph, Sarah and I prepared one December night. We took a few shots while waiting for Mama & Papa to come home and then we tucked in and demolished the spread hehehe.



Thai Bagoong Rice



Bulgogi (Korean beef stew)



Thai Pandan-Wrapped Chicken


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