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