Sunday, February 27, 2011

Broiled Salmon Heads and Sauteed Mustard Greens

I know. Some of you might be shocked to know that some people love to eat fish heads. Yes, just the fish heads.  There's something in the gooey, slimy fish head that makes it a delicacy especially in the Asian culture.  That's actually the best part to eat in a fish. I'm one fan of the fish head and because I have  been cooking this in my kitchen ever since, my children have grown to love this exotic delectable dish.  Tonight my son and his girlfriend volunteered to cook them.  Broiled fish heads, that's what we had for dinner plus a side dish of Sauteed Mustard Greens.

Broiled Salmon Heads
2 Salmon heads (cut each head into two)
dash 1 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
juice of 3 lemons

Wash and clean each half salmon head in warm running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Put on a baking dish or inside a fish cage grill. Dash with salt and pepper, and squeeze the lemons on top. Broil in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Put in the center of the rack or at the lower bottom of the oven (depends on how hot your oven gets).  When cooked, put them on serving plates.

Sauteed Mustard Greens
1 bunch mustard green (cut 1/3 of an inch/separate the stalk from the leaves)
1/2 lb ground beef or pork
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2  medium sliced yellow onion
1 chopped Roma tomato
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil

Brown the garlic in canola oil for 1 minute, then add the sliced onion until onion becomes transparent.  Add the ground meat and brown for about 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked.  Add the mustard green starting with the sliced stalk and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes, then add the cut green leaves.  Drizzle the fish sauce all over and mix well.

*Serve with steamed Jazmine rice
*Tried and Tested at Chris' kitchen 02/27/2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kare-Kare (Oxtail and Tripe Stew)

For an exotic, rich, delicious dish, a  healthy preparation is a must. Boil the oxtail and tripe in separate pots until tender. When done, you can cook them right away or let them cool and keep them in the refrigerator overnight to allow the fats to solidify and float on top. The next day, remove and discard all the fats.  You can't really remove 100% of them, but at least you can remove most of the visible ones. 

1 big oxtail (around 2 to 3 pounds), cut into pieces
2 pounds honeycomb tripe, clean
2 packages Annatto seeds
1 cup skinless peanuts 
1/2 cup white rice 1 cup peanut butter
2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/3" diagonally
2 cups string beans, cut 2 "
1 banana heart, cut to 8 pieces vertically (optional)
1 stalk Bokchoy, cut into fourths vertically
Shrimp Paste

Wash oxtail and tripe well and put them separate pots pot with water covering the and boil until tender. Oxtail might take 1 1/2 to 2 hours to boil until tender. Tripe will take around 45 to 1 hour to boil until fork tender. Bring  to a rapid boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium and to medium-low and simmer until tender. 

Rub the tripe with salt to remove grime and wash well with warm running water. Put in a pot  with water and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes or until tender.  Let cool.

Keep both pots of tongue and tripe in the refrigerator overnight if you want to remove excess fats. 
Cut tripe into bite-sized pieces.  Discard liquid from tripe.

Bring pot with oxtail back to stove and cook over medium heat. Add the ground peanuts or peanut butter and mix well until well blended.   Add the ground toasted rice.  Add the Annatto liquid and mix well. Simmer over low heat for a few minutes. 
Add the eggplants, string beans, banana heart (optional), and simmer for 3 minutes or until cooked. Add the Bok Choy and turn heat off. 

To extract red coloring from Annatto seeds
In a small stainless steel sauce pan, add 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and Annatto seeds. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until red color comes out or for 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup liquid from the pot where oxtail was boiled and cook for  1 minute. Pour red liquid into the pot with the oxtail through a sieve. 

*Serves 6 or more
*Serve with Bagoong Alamang , a sweet shrimp paste, as condiment.
*Eat with steamed white Jazmine rice
*Tested and tried at Chris' kitchen 02/25/2011
*Tested and tried 08/10/2020 by Lola Chris

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pike Mackerel Eggplant Salad

3 pieces Pike mackerel
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medium-sized eggplant
1/2 diced mango
2 diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 small diced red onion or 1 shallot
1/2 sliced jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lemon

Salt the pike mackerels. Heat frying pan and add the cooking oil.  Fry Pike mackerel until golden brown.  Set aside. Grill the eggplant on live charcoal or stove until cooked.  Let cool. 
Peel the skin of the eggplants and lay whole on top of each green lettuce leaf.
Dice the mangoes,tomatoes and onions. Mix together in a bowl and add the chopped cilantro and juice of one lemon.  Mix well.

On a serving plate, arrange the green lettuce leaves around the plate. Lay each eggplant on top of the green lettuce leaf. Put 2 cups of the mango mixture on the center of the plate and top with cooked shrimp paste (bagoong). Snap each of the fish with your fingers and arranged around the center of the plate. 

*  Serves 4
*  Serve with steamed Jazmine rice
*  Tested and tried at Chris' kitchen 02/24/2011

Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)

What I like in Banh Mi sandwiches are the crunchy Vietnamese baguette, the blanched carrots and cucumber marinated in seasoned vinegar, the white part of the green onion (cut into thin strips), sprigs of cilantro, and the special sauce that gives life to this delicious sandwich. I used fish fillet (tilapia) which I pan fried as the main ingredient. You can also use chicken, pork, beef, or other seafood like shrimps, crabs, etc. depending on what you like.

Main Ingredient
3 tilapia fillets (sprinkle salt & pepper and add lemon juice)
dash of salt & pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 to 4 tablespoons canola canola oil

1/2 cup sliced blanched carrots
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup turnip or Jicama (cut into thin strips)
1/2 cup seasoned vinegar
3 green leaf lettuce
8 sprigs of cilantro
3 stalks green onion (use only the bottom white part)

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon Nuoc Nam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold water

Vietnamese Baguette
3 eight inches Vietnamese Baguette (horizontally sliced in the middle but not all the way through)

Pan fry the tilapia fillets in canola oil until cook or for about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside. Blanched the sliced carrot in hot boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes.  Let cool. Marinate carrots with the sliced cucumber in the seasoned vinegar for about 10 minutes.  Make your special sauce by adding them all together in a bowl and mix in the blender. Reheat 8" baguettes that have been sliced in the middle horizontally but not all the way through. 

How to arrange your Banh Mi
Get one 8" baguette and line the bottom with the green lettuce, fish, carrots, cucumber, strips of Jicama or turnip, green onion (white only), and sprigs of cilantro.  Drizzle generously with the special sauce.  Put a toothpick in the middle of both ends of the sandwich to hold them together then cut in the middle and serve immediately. Do the same thing with the other two 8" baguettes.

Serves 3
Tested in Chris' kitchen on 02/24/2011 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Romaine Tomato Salad

Salads are meant to be refreshing.  Fresh greens, fresh tomatoes, crunchy toasted nuts, and a dressing that shouldn't overpower the flavor of the greens and the other ingredients you throw in this merry gathering. I love to add toasted crunchy nuts for some texture, some herbs like parsley or basil, cheese, and some fruit. For the dressing, I either do not use one or just stick to the basic like vinegar and oil. 

Dinner the other night was roast chicken and Romaine Tomato Salad. The chicken was baked at 400 degrees F for 1 hour.  That's the way my son cooks his roast chicken and I tried doing it his way. The one important thing he told me was to make sure the chicken was at room temperature. It actually came out so tender and no red blood dripping on my plate which I dislike so much.

The salad is the one I'd like to feature here,  for you can find here in my blog that I cook more roast chicken in different ways. I make salad depending on what ingredients are on hand.  I throw in a lot of flavors and texture. I love to use different kinds of greens, seafood, chicken, tuna, nuts, fruits, and cheese. I also love to make my own dressing or none at all.

Romaine Tomato Salad

2 romaine greens, cut into pieces
1/2 iceberg salad, cut into pieces
4 tops flat-leaf parsley, basil or mint
10 cherry tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into pieces
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese,  cut into pieces
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts 
1/2 can sliced peaches
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup or more balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper


Put all greens and herbs on a big serving salad bowl.  Add the tomatoes, cheese, and nuts. Top with the sliced peaches.  Mix the vinegar and oil in a blender for the dressing. Sprinkle salt & pepper.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

French Country Bread and Baguettes

4 cups bread flour
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
oil for bowl


In a bowl, mix together the flour and the salt.

In another bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and half of the flour/salt mixture. Using your hands, mix until it forms a dough. Then, cover with a dish cloth and let sit at room temperature for 3 hours. It should triple in size.

Gently incorporate the rest of the flour/salt, using your hands.

Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. It should be supple and elastic when you stop kneading.

Lightly oil a bowl. Place dough in bowl. Cover with a dish towel. Let sit for 1 hour. It should double in size.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Knead again. Then cut dough into 3 parts and form each part into a long baguette. Place on a baking sheet. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

Place a bowl of water in the oven. Bake baguettes for about 25 minutes (maybe less). Remove the bowl of water after 15 minutes of baking.

Baguettes are particularly crusty and light because they are cooked at extremely high temperatures and are vaporized. Even though domestic ovens can't go as high a real French bakery ovens, you can still make an excellent baguette, by remembering to put a bowl of water in the oven. And, of course by baking at a very high temperature.

Beef Stew with Potato Fingerlings, Green Peppers, and Carrots

2 1/2 lbs beef (sliced 3/4" thick diagonally 2" X  3"
3 cups potato fingerlings (cut in half with skin on)
3 cups carrots (cut 1/2 inch)
1 big bell pepper (cut into 12 pieces lengthwise)
1 medium-sized sliced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablesppoons canola or olive oil
1 big can tomato sauce
4 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 laurel or bay leaves

Marinate the beef with the garlic, onion, vinegar, and bay leaves for 30 minutes or longer.  Heat a saute pan to high.  Brown the marinated beef and cook until it sweats.  Add the tomato sauce and the beef stock and cook for 40 minutes until meat is tender.  Add the carrots, potato fingerlings, and green peppers,  and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat.  Mix everything together and the sauce should thicken by this time.  Simmer on low for about 5 to 10 minutes more.  Serve with rice or bread.   

*Serves 6 to 8
Kitchen Tried and Tested by author on 02/07/2011

Homemade French Country Baguette And Strawberry Jam

My daughter took a photo of her plate this morning before eating her breakfast and she emailed it to me. A plate of a simple dish all of which were homemade. 

The hearty French country baguette was baked last night and the strawberry jam was made the other night.  The baguette was crusty on the outside and just right inside, soft and hearty.  Strawberry jam is not too sweet and made of organic strawberries, brown sugar, and lime juice.  No artificial ingredients but all natural and organic.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Butter Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a bread pan with butter and set aside.

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