Monday, May 18, 2009

JB's Golden Flower Pasta Demo on The Sweet Life with Lucy Torres

Flowers on your pasta? You bet! For the Flores de Mayo episode of The Sweet Life I demo how to use the lowly bulaklak ng kalabasa, bulaklak ng katuray, and capers (which are flower buds) to make my Golden Flower Pasta. The episode will air on QTV Channel 11 on Tuesday, May26 at 5:00PM :-)

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Pasta with Three Tomatoes and Truffle Oil

Work work work study study study cook eat study study sleep. No time for blogging, though there are a dozen blogposts in my head. Cooking is therapy though. Cooking is almost always a joy. Whether it's a stew that takes a full day, or a quickie pasta. Today, a non-school day (and therefore a work day), I made tomato confit, a batch of salsa pomodoro, and a few jars of infused oil (tarragon; vanilla; orange-peel-and-chilli). We made tomato confit in school last week--it took us more than three hours in the convection oven, so I wanted to see how long it'd take me in the conventional oven at home. I figured maybe 5 or 6 hours. It took me 10 hours! Whew! It was well worth the wait though. Just like we did in school I dressed up some pasta with salsa pomodoro, tomato confit and a pan-roasted tomato, drizzled with truffle oil, and I had my Pasta with 3 Tomatoes. After dinner it was back to the grind. Now to sleep. Tomorrow, school. *yawn*

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Back when we were munching on panocha, kropek, camote cue or bahaw topped with condensada after having climbed mango trees and blowing bubbles using crushed gumamela leaves, bambinos over in Italy fresh from play in the fields were munching on crostini smeared with all manner of condimenti. I've been making bruschetta and crostini and my own ligurian pesto for a long time but I've found some new condimenti that we like so much I think I'm going to be making batches of 'em over and over hehehe. Here's the recipe for one of them. Acquasale is a recipe from Basilicata in the south of Italy.


3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
3 sweet red peppers, roasted, ribs, membranes and seeds
removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 or 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

Warm the olive oil in a large heavy pan. Add the red onion and saute over low heat until the onion starts to go limp and translucent. Add the garlic and saute briefly. Then stir in the pepper strips, and sweat them over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt,and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Toss the mixture into a food processor and pulse about 30 times. Do not puree; this stuff should be chunky in texture. If it seems too moist, add the bread crumbs. Makes 3 cups.

To make the crostini, preheat the oven to 400°F (205°c). slice up a baguette into 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. Brush the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt if you like, and then set them on a baking pan or cookie sheet & bake until lightly browned, maybe 8 minutes. Turn once midway through baking for even color. You can also do this using the broiler, or even your oven toaster, but remember that the bread will brown faster that way. Spread the Acquasale on the crostini and munch away!

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fettucine with Brandied Apples & Ham, and Garlic Enoki Mushrooms

I got some really good comments on one of the pastas I served recently at Dine & Jam. The great thing is it's a recipe of my own invention (as are many of the Dine & Jam recipes, though definitely not all). When I do use something out of a cookbook I like to tweak it anyway, but it's especially gratifying to have one of your own inventions complimented :D

Fettucine with Brandied Apples and Ham


1 lb (455g) dried fettucine
2 Fuji apples, diced or cut into small wedges
juice of 1 lemon, squeeze onto diced apples to prevent "rusting"
3 cloves garlic, minced or bashed to bits
1 Tbsp butter (or two hehe)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g cooked ham, diced
1/4 cup brandy
a small handful of minced parsley
a pinch of dried thyme (if you can get fresh thyme, so much the better)
1 1/2 cup crème fraîche
dash of nutmeg
crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper


Cook the pasta for half the time it says on the packet. Drain, butter, and set aside.

In a heavy-based pan large enough to hold the pasta, heat olive oil.
Put in garlic, parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes.
Saute til just before garlic turns color.
Put in the ham. Season with salt & pepper. Cook ham til browned.

In another heavy-based pan, melt butter. Heat til very hot, but do not brown.
Drain the apples. Cook in the butter til they begin to caramelize.
Pour in brandy. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5minutes.
Put the ham back on moderate heat. Put the brandied apples into the ham & mix it up a bit, but not too much (you don't wanna mush up the apples)
Put in the crème fraîche. Lower the heat. When just heated through, turn the fire off. Put in the nutmeg. Toss with the noodles. Check seasoning, top with Parmesan cheese & some extra minced parsley, and dig in.

I meant to make a side dish of garlic enoki mushrooms but I just didn't have time for that anymore so I served the pasta by itself. Enoki mushrooms are tiny little mushrooms that I thought would add great texture to the pasta, and make for an interesting presentation. I'm putting the recipe here but first, some notes on the pasta.

I always half-cook pasta & finish cooking in the sauce. That way they absorb flavor. In any case I'm sure you guys know how to cook pasta al dente. If you follow the timing printed on the packet your pasta'll be overcooked. Pasta-cooking water should always be salted (1 Tbsp/ 1L water). Some people like putting in oil. That prevents noodles from sticking, but also prevents sauce from staying on the noodles. When your noodles are done, drain them immediately but unless you're making lasagna NEVER rinse them under cold water (makes your noodles rubbery) Just butter them lightly and set them aside.

About the brandied apples, I just cooked them in brandy but if I make this dish again I would flambé them. Oh yeah, you don't have to use lemon juice to preserve diced apples while they're on standby. What I actually did was this: Mama happened to be baking something with canned fruit cocktail in it, and so I asked her to save the preserving liquid and I put my diced apples in that.

The whole idea behind this dish is to have the mild sweetness of the apples be there as something interesting--something you wouldn't normally see in a pasta dish--but you don't want this to be a sweet dish. You want the saltiness of the ham to still assert itself. The whole reason behind the red pepper is to veer the diner's senses away from a "this is a dessert" feeling. You don't want the sweetness overpowered either, or else the novelty is gone. You gotta find a good balance.

The first incarnation of this dish (which I did close to a year ago) used cayenne pepper and didn't have any liquor in it. It tasted like a kiddie dish, in spite of the pepper. Preparing for Dine & Jam, I added parsley for more interesting color, and switched from cayenne to dried red pepper flakes for the same reason. Added the thyme to the saute instead of at the end so the ham takes on more flavor, and tried using wine. I love cooking with wine, but for this dish it didn't work. Too sour. As soon as I thought of using brandy instead I knew I had my recipe.

On to the enoki mushrooms...

Garlic Enoki Mushrooms

4 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, bashed to bits
a bit of salt & black pepper
about 200g enoki mushrooms

Heat the oil. Add parsley, garlic, and seasoning. Cook briefly.
Toss in your shrooms. Fry til golden.
Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Societa' Dante Alighieri

My 2nd cooking class today with "DanteManila." I must say Chef Giorgio is the best cooking teacher I have ever had (after my mother, of course)! When I first saw the list of sauces we were to learn I was a little disappointed. I thought some of them were much too familiar: carbonara, puttanesca, a quattro formaggio, pesto Liguria; but there were some surprises too: penne in a sauce that he called boscaiola, and another one of his own invention which he simply called tagliatelle dello chef. I thought wrong about the sauces I thought I was already too familiar with; I learned quite a few secret tricks that I never would've thought of, and realized there'd been some things I'd been doing wrong. So now I'm learning from a real master! Man, that stuff was good!...more on that when I have the time

As I mentioned I learned a whole lot today, some of which goes against traditional (Filipino?) kitchen wisdom. It was good for psyching me up for another catering gig tomorrow, and Dine & Jam 4 next week...

By now you'll have realized I don't intend to give out any recipes or cooking secrets here. I'm not being selfish, just careful. After all, I intend for my own resto to come out of all this. Do Email me if you're curious about any of my recipes.

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