Saturday, December 27, 2014

Death by Chocolate

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
If I had to post a new recipe, what better than to start with something really out there. Just by the name alone, you know you are in for a treat. I actually made this cake a long time ago back in 1997. I tried it once but it was a bit dry for my taste so I never baked it again although my friends said it tasted good. Back then however, I was just a novice baker and this was one of my daring attempts of a much more involved recipe. Now, I can confidently say at this point without being smug that I have more experience with baking and I know just by reading a recipe whether it will come out great or not. I also know whether I can bake the cake and have it come out great or not. This time, I knew it will be good.

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The cake is a bit expensive with 2 lbs of chocolate not to mention the 3 kinds of chocolates used for garnishing. I eventually opted only to use two of the three, not for the lack of resources but rather, the lack of equipment. It also requires about a pound of butter. Word of advice, use unsalted and get the best brand of butter you can find. It really makes a difference. One last word of caution, cut the cake into thin slices. Overall, it tastes like chocolate with a little bit of cake and not the other way around. Serve with ice-cold fresh milk.

Death by Chocolate - Adapted*

For the cake:
8 oz bittersweet chocolates
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups self rising flour
1 tsp baking powder

For the Filling and Topping:
4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
4 tbsp brandy
14 oz bittersweet chocolates
7/8 cup unsalted butter

Chocolate Ganache:
8 oz semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the
    base with parchment paper. Set aside. 

2. In a small pan, melt the chocolate and butter with the milk over low heat 
    until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Mix well 
    and cool slightly. 

3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs yolks with the sour cream and beat in the 
    chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold in. 

4. Beat the egg whites in a grease-free bowl and fold into the mixture. Pour 
    into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until firm to the 
    touch. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan and turn out onto a wire rack to 
    cool completely. 

5. To prepare the filling, heat the jam with 1 tbsp of brandy over low heat in 
    a small pan. Allow to cool and set aside. In another pot, melt the 
    chocolate with the butter and the remaining brandy. Stir until smooth. 
    Allow to cool. 

6. To assemble the cake, slice the cake into 3 layers. Arrange the lower layer 
    and spread with half the jam filling and top with half the chocolate filling. 
    Top with the second layer. Spread with the remaining jam and chocolate 
    filling and top with the third layer. Cool in the fridge for about an hour or 
    until set. 

7. Prepare the ganache by melting the chocolate in the cream over low heat. 
    Once smooth, add the coffee and vanilla extract. Allow to cool while 
    constantly stirring with a wire whisk. The ganache is ready when it is 
    spreadable. If in a hurry, you can cool in the fridge but keep an eye on it. 

8. Cover the cooled cake with the ganache and top with chocolate shavings 
    of bittersweet and white chocolate bars. 

*France, C. Chocolate Ecstasy, Anness Publishing Limited, London: 1996.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Black Rice Paella

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Black Rice or Arros Negre is a Spanish dish similar to seafood paella but only in terms of preparation. The black color is obtained by using squid ink or cuttlefish ink. Mistakenly referred to as Black Paella, it is technically not a paella dish. Oftentimes, shrimps and crabs are added to the dish which is cooked in a seafood broth. 

For my version of Black Rice, I actually leaned more towards the paella dish and literally used organic black rice that I bought in the local market of Miagao. In Bacolod where I grew up, organic black rice is very expensive because the residents of Bacolod city are willing to pay for a much higher price especially since it is organic. In Miagao where rice is basically white rice, nobody gave a damn that there was this underpriced organic product and I for one am only too happy to take advantage of this treat. 

To prepare this dish, you need a lot of patience and suppress the urge to open the large wok during the last part of the preparation. This is to ensure that the rice is cooked perfectly while the meat stays moist and flavorful. I hope you give this dish a try. 

Black Rice Paella

6 cups organic black rice
2 lbs chicken, cut into eights
1 lb assorted sausages
48 pcs quail eggs, hard boiled and peeled
2 large red bell peppers, julienned
1 cup white onions, diced
32 oz canned diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground coriander
4 tbsp olive oil
1 10-oz frozen peas
1 cup black olives
lemon wedges
parsley leaves

1. Wash the rice in water and drain. Set aside.

2. In a large wok, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the 
    sausages until browned. set aside. 

3. In the same wok, saute the garlic, onions and bay leaf. Season with salt 
    and pepper and cook until softened. 

4. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken
    on both sides. Add the paprika, oregano, thyme, and coriander. 

5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 
    the broth and season with the mustard. Return to a boil and cook for 10 
    minutes covered. 

6. Add the rice and pour in the diced tomatoes. Check for seasoning and 
    adjust accordingly. Lower the heat to medium low and cook uncovered 
    until almost all the liquid has evaporated. 

7. Stir in the frozen peas, black olives and red bell peppers. Slice the sausages 
    into wedges and arrange on top of the rice with the quail eggs. 

8. Lower the heat to its lowest setting and cook covered until the rice has 
    cooked perfectly. Garnish with the chopped parsley leaves and the lemon 
    wedges. Drizzle with more olive oil if desired.   

Fried Fillet of Cream Dory

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I purchased a pack of frozen cream dory a few weeks ago and I was trying to figure out what was the best way to cook them. I tried baking them before but it came out a bit soggy so that was out of the question. I didn't want it to be cooked in a stew but I did know that I wanted something fried. Thus, I decided to make fried fish with a crunchy crust that will be perfect for eating as a main dish or as a snack in the form of a fried patty in a sandwich. 

One of my favorite restaurant items is Fish and Chips and although I'm not craving the chips part, I am craving the fish part. Thus, I decided to use my recipe for fried chicken but changed the herbs for the breading mix to perfectly match this delicate and flaky fish. I also made a parsley bagna cauda to complement the dish and it was just what was needed to elevate this dish from being simply fried to mouth watering.   

Fried Fillet of Cream Dory

1 lb frozen cream dory, thawed
1 cup panko
1 cup flour
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
oil for frying
2 eggs

1. in a small bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tbsp water. Set aside. 

2. In a small shallow bowl, combine the panko, Herbes de Provence, paprika, 
    tarragon, and Cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. In another shallow bowl, sift the flour to remove the lumps. 

4. Cut the fillet into 3-inch portions. Season with salt and pepper and dredge 
    with the flour. Tap off excess flour.

5. Dip into the egg wash and carefully dredge into the panko mixture. 

6. Fry in a pre-warmed oil until golden brown. Do the same for the rest of 
    the cream dory fillet. 

7. Serve warm with the bagna cauda. 

Bagna Cauda

3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fish sauce
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp parsley
lemon zests
salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, allow to cool for about 3 

2. Combine the melted butter with the rest of the ingredients except for 
    salt and pepper into a blender. Blitz until a creamy texture is obtained. 

3. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. Keep 

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This was my third attempt and I should also say successful in terms of having a mousse that holds its shape when eaten. Normally, this recipe would have been a no-brainer given that I have tackled more complicated recipes than this. However, there are a lot of things to be said when your main problem is not the technique but rather, the ingredient. This version of chocolate mousse is decadent because you basically have nothing more save for eggs, chocolate, and butter. The trick is, you have to use the best ingredients to achieve this French chocolate mousse.

The recipe I used came courtesy of Dave Lebovitz from his own blog. The recipe is of course from Julia Child's iconic book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Even my French friend, Cedric, made this dessert during our chocolate mousse battle about three years ago. When his parents came to visit, they also made this wonderful dessert for us and it was heavenly. 

I made a modified version of this dessert and is posted on this blog but I have always wanted to try the read deal. That is when I came to have problems. First off, get the best chocolates you can get. I have been using a block of baking chocolate at our local baking store here which makes it a bit cheaper but it turned out that it is thusly priced and for good reason. The chocolate has a lot of additives and is really not suited for this type of preparation. This successful attempt was due to my use of a combination of both unsweetened dark chocolate and Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate morsels. Next up is the butter. Use the unsalted butter kind and make sure it is real butter. Don't go for the substitutes as they will not work as well. Lastly, get the freshest eggs as much as possible. They really do make a big difference.

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse - Adapted*

4 oz Hershey's semisweet chocolate
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 oz unsalted butter
1/4 cup strong black coffee
2/3 cup white sugar + 1 tbsp
4 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp brandy
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a small metal bowl, melt the chocolates, coffee and butter over a pot 
    with barely simmering water. Set aside. 

2. In another metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and brandy over a pot
    with barely simmering water until the mixture is thick like mayonnaise. 

3. Immediately dunk the egg yolk mixture in a larger bowl filled with ice. 
    Beat until cool and thick. Fold in the chocolate mixture carefully. 

4. In a third separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks 
    are formed. Add the 1 tbsp sugar and continue to beat until it becomes 
    glossy but not stiff. Fold in the vanilla.

5. Fold a third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture and once
    incorporated, fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites. Do not overdo it 
    or the mousse will lose volume. 

6. Scoop a good amount of mousse into ramekins and seal the top with 
    clingfilm. Chill for 4 hours or until the mousse has set. 
*Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse: Dave Lebovitz: Living the Sweet Life in Paris.

Fish Eyes Soup

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The inspiration for this rather macabre dish is a very famous restaurant dish in Davao. Marina Tuna offers a variety of dishes using tuna and one of them is the Tuna Eyes Soup. If fish eyes are not to your palate, just look away and savor the broth that comes from this soup. It is simply divine. You will not want anything to slurp on during the cold winter months or when you are feeling a bit run down from too much work. This soup is just amazing. 

Anyway, looking at the picture of the actual dish, I had to try and imagine what it tasted like when I feasted on it a few months ago during my trip to Davao. Marina Tuna was the first restaurant we went to after we checked in at the hotel and it was a good sign of what lay ahead of our 4 day trip. Granted you may not want to prepare this dish but if you are brave enough, I will write down the basics for you. 

Fish Eyes Soup

2 lbs head of large marine fish, cleaned and cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large white onion, diced
4 tomatoes, quartered
5 stalks of green onions, sliced
2 Japanese eggplant, cut in 2-inch lengths and halved
3 small radishes, peeled and sliced into thin medallions
1 stalk lemon grass
1 tamarind bullion
4 pieces batwan (optional)
1 cup green beans, sliced into 1-inch lengths
8 cups water
salt and pepper
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup water spinach tops (kangkong)

1. In a large pot, add the garlic, white onion, lemon grass, tamarind bullion,
    batwan if using and water. Season with a tablespoon of salt and some 
    pepper. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

3. Once boiling, add the tomatoes, eggplant and radishes. Lower the heat to 
    medium low and cover. Simmer for about 5 minutes. 

4. Add the fish. Season with the fish sauce and simmer covered for 20 
    minutes or until the eggplant is tender but not mushy. 

5. Add the green beans and cook until it turns bright green. Check for flavor 
    and adjust accordingly. 

6. Prior to serving, add the water spinach and cook until just wilted. Garnish 
    with the green onions ans serve while hot. 


Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Brazil's "National Dish" is a gastronimic delight in its simplicity. The inspiration came from being part of the planning committee to look for caterers of our school's alumni event. Our theme is Brazil's Carnaval so we wanted every bit of the the event to evoke the spirit of Brazil. In terms of food, we really cannot expect our local caterers here to prepare authentic Brazilian dishes but we can surely come close by doing a bit of research. That research came up with this very simple dish which actually evokes a very similar dish back home. Not very surprising since a lot of Filipino dishes have a strong Spanish influence to them. 

To prove a point, my hometown boasts the KBL which stands for Kadios, Baboy and Langka or in English, Pigeon Pea, Pork and Young Jackfruit. It is a stew that is best cooked over charcoal and is served on Sunday lunches right after the family has gone to mass. This was how we usually enjoyed this dish growing up in my hometown. The stew makes use of cheaper cuts of pork so a good slow cooking over burning coals is ideal. Similar to KBL, I used ham hocks for my Feijoada which require a bit of cooking time and to balance the flavor, I added smoked Polish sausages. Originally, black beans would have been ideal but I ended up getting a variety of black beans that cooked a bit lighter in terms of color although the flavor was quite delectable nonetheless. 

The preparations are very similar with the exception of the addition of the young jackfruit slices but this very simple dish really packs quite a bit of WOW in the flavor department. I would eat this dish everyday if it were not my doctor will have a fit because of my gout.


4 lbs ham hocks - sliced into 2-inch thick rounds
1 1/2 lb smoked Polish sausages, sliced in thirds
2 large onions, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs black beans
1/2 cup tomato paste
4 bay leaves
salt and pepper
4 tbsp coconut oil
8-12 cups beef broth

1. In a large bowl, soak the beans in water for 8 hours to overnight. Drain 
    and set aside. 

2. In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Saute the 
    garlic and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. 

3. Add the bay leaves and saute for a minute. Pour the broth and add the
    ham hocks one at a time. Add more water to fully cover the pork pieces. 

4. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 
    covered for another 30 minutes. 

5. Add the beans and continue to simmer until the ham hocks are almost 
    falling apart and the beans are soft and tender. This will take about 2 
    hours. Add more water if necessary. 

6. Once the meat and the beans are tender, add the smoked sausages and 
    the tomato paste. Continue to simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. 

7. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve while hot. 


Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Moqueca is a saltwater fish stew native to Brazil. Depending on the location, it can be cooked in coconut cream with tomatoes and some key ingredients like cilantro and palm oil. Traditionally cooked in a terra cotta pot, shrimps can be added in combination with boneless fillet of fish when preparing this hearty stew. 

I do have access to a terra cotta pot in my hometown but I made use of modern metallic pans to cook this dish. We used to cook on them but it has been such a long time since I've used one and I'm not sure how great a brand new pot will hold when you use it to cook a stew dish. In terms of the kind of fish you can use, it rather depends on what is available in your market that day. For me, the main star which is the fish can be any fillet of white fish that has some sturdiness to it. Cream dory or maybe even tilapia will be perfect for this type of preparation. Both are freshwater fish but the texture is perfect for this type of preparation and they are readily available in the grocery stores. Tuna or salmon would have been perfect for this stew. There are numerous authentic recipes of the dish but I used and modified the recipe from this blog.

Moqueca - Adapted*

2 lbs cream dory fillets, cit into 2 inch lengths
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small white onion, diced
1/4 cup calmondin juice, or lime 
5 stalks green onions, chopped finely
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped coarsely
4 large tomatoes, diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
3 cup fresh coconut cream
3 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper

1. Mariante the fish fillet in the calmondin juice and season with salt and 
    pepper. Set aside. 

2.  In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Saute the 
     garlic, white onions, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and tomatoes 
     until softened. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Add the chili flakes and cook for another minute. Mix in the paprika and 
    continue to saute for another minute. 

4. Arrange the fish in one layer over the softened saute mix and pour in the
    marinade. Ladle the coconut cream and continue to cook until it start to 
    boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer covered for about 10 minutes. 

5. Add the green onions and about half of the cilantro and continue to 
    simmer for another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste. 

6.  To serve, garnish with the rest of the cilantro or more green onions and 
     pair with steamed white rice. 

*Moqueca: Simply Recipes

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chicken Curry with Basil Leaves

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Chicken curry is a very common dish in the Philippines during fiestas or special occasions. Well, in my family anyway.This curry dish although very simple is quite unique in the sense that this is the first time that I am cooking a curry dish from scratch. I used to buy a packet of Madras curry powder mix back in the US while here in the Philippines, I use the curry mix sold in the market that is a bit sweeter in terms of taste once cooked in coconut cream. I am aware that for Indians, they actually prepare their own curry mix based on the region that they come from. I made the mistake of asking which brand of curry powder mix they bought for a dish that they had cooked that I loved. Never will I ask again.

Anyway, this is a very simple curry dish but make sure that you have the best powdered spice for this dish to actually work. The result was a creamy dish although the sauce is still a bit loose and not too thick. The basil leaves are the perfect aromatic foil to this otherwise rich dish and gives it some sense of balance in terms of flavor and aroma. The recipe is an adaptation from the blog, Simply Recipes.   

Chicken Curry with Basil Leaves - Adapted*

2 lbs chicken, cut into smaller pieces
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and sliced
1 finger chili
2 tbsp margarine + 2 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups fresh coconut cream
20 basil leaves
salt and pepper
Curry Mix:
1/2 tsp celery powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1. In a deep pan, heat the margarine with the oil over medium high heat.
    Saute the garlic, ginger, and onions until softened. Season with salt and

2. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Season with salt and 

3. Add the coconut cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat
    to medium low and simmer covered for 10 minutes. 

4. Add the curry mix and the finger chili. Simmer covered for another 15 to
    20 minutes or until the chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked.  Add a 
    small amount of hot water if it starts to thicken a bit too quickly.

5. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Mix in the basil leaves and 
    stir until just wilted. Serve immediately with steamed white rice. 

*Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce, Simply Recipes blog. 

Corkscrew Pasta with Shrimps in Creamy Pesto Sauce

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Shrimps plus pesto equals magic! Really! This is what I have been dreaming of for the last few weeks. I was saving a good batch of shrimps for a friend who loves them but I needed to practice on a recipe that he specifically asked for so that I can do it perfectly this time. However, with the bad weather, good shrimps are hard to find. It was probably my luck when my brother who came for a visit brought with him a bag of fresh shrimps. At that time, I knew it was time to make pesto. It wasn't the recipe I was planning to make but I had a big bunch of organic basil leaves in my fridge so it had to be a pesto dish.

The recipe is a combination of Emeril's take on a pasta dish with shrimps and a creamy pesto sauce. I had to change the recipe a bit as I wanted a much lighter dressing on my pasta. Overall, the longest preparation time is when you cook the pasta. The rest of the dish was quite easy to put together with tremendous results.

Corkscrew Pasta with Shrimps in Creamy Pesto Sauce - Adapted*

Seasoning Mix:
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp Spanish paprika
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried thyme

2 lbs fresh shrimps, peeled and deveined
1 lb corkscrew pasta
1/2 cup pesto
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Cook until al dente. Set aside. 
    Save some of the pasta water.

2. Season the shrimps with the seasoning mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 

3. In a large pan, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium high heat. Add
    the shrimps and cook until it turns salmon pink. Remove from the pan and 
    set aside. 

4. Saute the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add
    the garlic and continue to saute until the garlic turns golden brown. 

5. Add the cream and the pesto. Stir quickly and cook until it simmers. Add
    the cooked pasta and stir until the sauce has coated the pasta. Mix in the
    cooked shrimps. If the pasta is a bit dry, loosen with the pasta water. 

6. Turn off the heat and sprinkle in the cheese and the parsley. Serve 

 *Lagasse, E.; Shrimp with Linguini in a Creamy Pesto Sauce.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tuna Salad

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
A favorite of mine since college, this is one of my favorite sandwich filling since Dunkin Donuts introduced the Tuna Sandwich melt back in the 90s. They still do serve this sandwich but I must say, I now prefer my version over the DD version. Now, one thing I love about my country is that we have this brand of canned tuna which is Century Tuna. They have both the solid and chunk tuna in oil so what you end up getting is a really creamy tuna that has been soaked in olive oil. Once you drain the liquid off the can, you are left with a wonderful tasting tuna that is perfect for this type of preparation. 

Tuna Salad

3 -184 g cans Century Tuna solid in vegetable oil
2 medium carrots, grated on medium grate
1 onion, diced finely
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pickle relish
1/4 cup celery, diced finely
salt and pepper

1. To prepare the salad, drain the canned tuna and combine with the onions,
    pickle relish, carrots and celery. 

2. Add enough mayonnaise until the salad comes together. Season with salt 
    and pepper. You may not need the whole cup.

3. Store in the fridge covered for at least 2 hours before serving. I like it 
    best as a sandwich filling but it also goes well with celery sticks and 
    Romaine lettuce leaves.

Adobo - Iloilo Version

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This is yet another version of the national dish of the country. I did not know there was actually a second version to the dish in the western visayan region. I always thought that the one version I cook is representative of the region but I was proven wrong. Anyway, the main difference between the two dishes is really not that significant although this minor change will render the dish a bit different in terms of how it looks and very slightly on how it tastes. Overall, the dish is still very delicious. 

To make the switch, all you need really is annatto powder. Traditionally, you extract the annatto color from the actual seeds which you can still do. However, with the wonders of large supermarkets, you can now buy annatto powder and they work the same way without all the mess. 

Adobo - Iloilo Version

1 lb chicken pieces (about 8 pieces)
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, sliced
3 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp annatto powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tbsp oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. Once hot, saute the
    onions with the garlic until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add
    the bay leaves. 

2. Add the chicken to the pan in one layer and season with salt and pepper.
    Brown on both sides. Once browned, add the vinegar. 

3. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium low. Simmer covered for 
    about 20 minutes. 

4. Add the annatto powder and brown sugar and mix well into the vinegar 
    sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for another 15 minutes. If it 
    starts to dry up, add a bit of water. 

5. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. There should be a good 
    balance between sweet, sour and salty. If you prefer it a bit sweeter, add
    more sugar. If you want it a bit drier, just continue to simmer uncovered 
    until you reach the desired consistency. Serve with steamed rice.   

Pan-seared Tuna

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
What I'm presenting is a real treat. I'm one of those people who love sashimi which is basically raw fish dipped in soy sauce with a bit of wasabi. Nothing is more simple and yet nourishing than this exquisite Japanese dish.The inspiration to prepare this dish came to me when I went to the market one morning and they laid out freshly cut tuna. My mind suddenly thought of sashimi and tuna rolls but try as I might, there is a shortage of Japanese rice at the moment in my hometown. So with a heavy heart, I had no choice but to freeze the most wonderful and freshly cut slabs of tuna meat until I can get hold of the things I will need to prepare an authentic Japanese meal.

Two weeks have passed and there is still no Japanese rice to be bought in the market and grocery stores so I have decided to cook the tuna a bit differently. I'm glad I sliced the tuna slab into large portions that I can actually prepare it pan-seared with the middle part still gloriously reddish pink. The question is, how do I season it? Well, after some research, I came up with the prefect marinade and coating to prepare my lovely tuna. 

Pan-seared Tuna

6-8 oz sushi grade tuna steaks (at least 1-inch thick)
3 tbsp dark sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
dash or two of black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 stalks spring onions, chopped finely
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp olive oil

1. To marinade the steaks, combine in a shallow bowl the sesame oil, soy
    sauce, ginger, garlic, spring onions, lemon juice and season with the 
    black pepper. 

2. Arrange the tune steaks so that they are laid flat in the bowl and marinate
    for about 30 minutes turning them halfway. 

3. When ready to sear, heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium 
    heat. Dredge the tuna steaks with the sesame seeds on the top and the 

4. Sear the tuna steaks for about 1 1/2 minute on each side. Remove from 
    the pan and let cool for a minute. Slice into the desired thickness and 
    serve with a side of soy sauce and wasabi.  

Gelato Ice Candy - 3 Flavors

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Summer time in the Philippines is quite hot and humid. I remember growing up that we used to snack on ice candy that we would either buy from the neighbors or ones that we made ourselves. Now, Ice candy in the simplest terms is a poor man's ice cream frozen in little plastic bags so you end up with a tube-like ice treat in various flavors ranging from mango, avocado, cantaloupe, coconut or even just simply, milk. It was always fun preparing them to eat or to sell. However, what is even more fun is eating them on a hot summer day. 

This summer, I decided to revisit this childhood memory by recreating this wonderful treat but in a more adult version. I used to make gelato while living in the US and I figured, how about I make a gelato base and add three different kinds of fruits. The gelato base will create a much more creamy consistency that will result to an ice candy that melts in your mouth just like any regular ice cream would. Since it was the height of summer, I decided to make use of the abundant supply of mangoes, avocados, and cantaloupe. Because the avocados have a tendency to turn brown when exposed to air, the mashed avocados were mixed with the juice of 1 lemon. 

Gelato Ice Candy, Three Flavors

2 cup fresh milk (full fat)
1 cup cream
1 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of mashed fruit (avocado, mango or cantaloupe)
20 ice candy wrappers 

1. In a small pot, warm the milk over medium low heat. When almost boiling,
    simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. 

2. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch with the sugar and egg yolks. Mix 
    well with a fork. Add to the cooled milk and stir well. 

3. Turn on the heat at medium low and cook the egg milk mixture until it 
    thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside until it 
    cools to room temperature. 

4. Once the gelato base is cool, add your choice of fruit and the cream. Stir 
    well and pour into the little bags and tie the ends tightly. Freeze overnight 
    or until the ice candy is set. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Herbed Cheese Sticks

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This very simple dish is a favorite of mine since I first tasted it a long time ago. I can't think of the reason why but I seldom make it until I moved to the US for graduate school. I used to make this for potluck parties especially for a picnic in the park or just as a snack really. The reason being is that there are only two ingredients to this wonderful treat which are cheese and a spring roll wrapper. The trick to making these bad boys is to make sure that your oil is very hot when you start frying them. The wrappers have to crisp up to a golden hue before the cheese filling melts and starts to ooze out. 

My cousin makes this a bit differently for two reasons. One, we buy our spring roll wrappers fresh off the wet market so they are round instead of square. The wrappers come in various sizes so we usually go for the medium or the smaller ones for this treat. Two, she slices the cheese thinly and rolls the wrapper without folding the sides so it becomes almost like a fried cheese roll. It is delicious. Now, since I like to push a simple recipe into something more complicated, I actually took it one step further and decided to soak these wrapped cheese delights in an eggwash onto an herbed bread crumb mix before frying them. The result is similar to a mozzarella stick that I tasted in one of the local restaurants here in town. This is definitely worth a try.

Herbed Cheese Sticks

1 lb Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese - 2 to 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
40 round spring roll wrappers, about 6 inches in diameter
1 cups bread crumbs - Japanese style
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 eggs
oil for frying

1. To make the cheese sticks, place one slice of cheese about a third from 
    the edge of a wrapper and fold the edge over it. Tuck in the sides 
    towards the center and roll forward tightly to seal. Wet the edge with 
    water to ensure it stays put.

2. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside. 

3. To prepare the breading mix, combine the dried herbs with the bread
    crumbs in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper. 

4. To fry, heat enough oil at medium high heat. Dip the cheese sticks in the 
    egg wash and quickly dredge with the breading mix. Fry in batches of 5 
    so that they fry quickly. Turn them once and continue to fry until it is 
    evenly golden brown in color. 

5. Serve immediately with your choice of condiment. Marinara sauce, tomato 
    ketchup or sweet chili sauce are perfect choices for this treat. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bacon Butty or Bacon Sarnie?

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I have a weakness for British Comedies. I could go on and on about which one is my favorite but it might take me a few weeks to do so. During one of my self-imposed  BritCom marathon however, something came up over and over again as a sort of running joke that piqued my interest and I just had to give it a try. Bacon Butty or Bacon Sarnie was Onslow's favorite for breakfast in the beloved BritCom, Keeping Up Appearances. Heck, he actually asks for it practically all day long. I just never really thought about it until recently when I decided to look up this famous sandwich and figure out how to make it. It was then that I realized that it was no joke. Surprisingly enough, the Brits are actually quite particular when it comes to making the sandwich so I read a couple of versions and synthesized what I think is closest to the original.

The sandwich in itself turned out to be fairly simple to prepare. The only issue is that the main ingredient which is bacon is on my list of my not to eat food. As a compromise, I made myself a much frugal version of the sandwich and ate only half of it. I did make the fully stacked version for my friend who loves bacon. Now, as to the actual name of the sandwich, when made with white bread, it is a sarnie. When made on white rolls, it is a butty. 

Bacon Sarnie/Butty

1 lb thick cut bacon
unsalted butter
HP sauce
6 slices white loaf

1. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until the edges are 
    slightly golden brown. Set aside. 

2. Slather a liberal amount of softened butter on the bread slices. Divide and 
    layer the bacon slices onto three bread slices. 

3. Season with the HP sauce to taste. Top with the remaining slices of bread.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Callos MadrileƱa

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Finally, a Callos recipe. The evolution of my love for Callos came a bit slow. This was not something I cooked regularly nor was it something my family loved. In fact, this was an alien concept to me until much later when I was living in the US. My friend, Nashiely, who is Mexican invited me over for dinner at their place when her parents came for a visit. Her Mom, an excellent cook made Callos and I was the only one who ate it. She made the real deal with tripe although her version also included the addition of chickpeas. Prior to this occassion however, there was another occasion where Callos was served although the exact details escape me somehow but when I went home for a visit, I requested that Callos be cooked. This was way back in 2004. 

Fast forward to now, I have been cooking Callos whenever my friends requested for it here in my hometown. I did make this dish once when I lived in Montana and my roommate who was also my landlord, banned the dish from being ever made again. He said that cooking the tripe stank the house. So there goes my Callos fix. At that time, I followed the recipe of MarketMan as written in his blog but there were a few changes I made due to the unavailability of certain ingredients so I made do with what was available. Here in Bacolod, I have learned my lesson and I now know that to make this dish, it requires planning because tripe has to be pre-ordered and so are the other beef portions that make up this wonderful dish. The good thing is that they are fairly reasonably priced.

If you ever decide that you want to prepare this dish, have the whole day set for nothing else but to making Callos. Actually, it is best if you start at night and then you serve it for lunch or dinner the next day. To make sure that the steps are described accurately, I will break down the recipe in three steps.

By the way, I am adapting the name of the dish as MarketMan named his version due to the fact that I did follow a recipe that is indeed more Spanish in origin rather than Filipino. If you notice, there are no chickpeas or potatoes in the recipe which are used as extenders. My version is indeed a meat lovers delight and a nightmare for persons with uric acid problems.   

Callos - Adapted from MarketManila*


4 lbs ox tripe
sea salt
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

1. Clean the tripe by rubbing with the sea salt. Scrape off any residual grit 
    and rinse off with water.  Slice into manageable sizes so that they all 
    fit your stock pot.

2. In a large pot, layer the tripe and add the bay leaves, onions, garlic, white 
    vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover the 
    tripe and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, lower the 
    heat to medium low and simmer covered for about 30 minutes. 

3. Turn off the heat and leave the tripe in the stock pot until cooled. 

4. Once cooled, drain the tripe and slice into rectangular pieces or depending 
    on how big or small the dish requires them to be. Rinse with more water 
    and check if it smells clean. 

To prepare the tripe for cooking, here is the next step:

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
In a large pot, arrange the tripe and add 1 cup of white wine and 2 bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and add enough water to cover the tripe. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered until the tripe is fork tender. This will take a couple of hours so check regularly and make sure to add enough water every now and then. If using a pressure cooker, it takes about 40 minutes of cooking once it starts to whistle. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Drain and rinse with water. Set aside.

Ox Tail, Legs, and Face 

8 lbs of ox tail, legs and face
2 bay leaves
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and pepper

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
In a large pot, arrange the ox pieces and cover with enough water. Season with the bay leaves, onions, garlic and enough salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered for about 3-4 hours or until the meat is very tender. If using a pressure cooker, cook over medium high heat for 40 minutes when it starts to whistle. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. 

Once cooled, fish out the meat pieces and rinse any muck that has stuck to the meat and slice to the desired size. Pour the broth through a sieve and set aside. 


Pre-cooked tripe and ox meat
2 onions, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, diced
3 carrots, diced
4 bay leaves
1 32-oz canned diced tomatoes
1 200-g canned pimientos
1 1/2 to 2 lbs kielbasa (or blood sausages and Spanish chorizo if available), 
   sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
8 cups beef broth
1 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp diced chili
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

1. In a large pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, fry the 
    sausages until slightly browned. Set aside. 

2. In the same pot, saute the onions with the bay leaves, garlic, paprika, and 
    chili. Cook until the onions have softened. Season with salt and pepper. 

3. Add the carrots and pimientos and cook until heated through. Pour in the 
    beef broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tripe, ox meat and 
    the sausages. 

4. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered for 30 minutes. 

5. Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato paste and check for seasoning. 
    Adjust accordingly. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour 
    until you achieve the desired consistency. If needed, add more beef broth 
    if it starts to thicken too quickly. Add the oregano when the Callos is 
    almost ready.

6. At this point, you can serve the Callos after you check for flavor and make 
    the necessary adjustment. The stew should be thick enough to coat the 
    meat pieces but is still loose enough that that it drips when tipped. 

If not serving right away, allow to cool and store in the fridge. When ready to serve, reheat over low flame and when needed, add a little bit of beef broth to loosen the stew. Recheck for flavor and serve hot. 

*Callos ala Madrilena: MarketManila blog.