Sunday, July 26, 2015

Butter Tarts

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I was fortunate enough to grab hold of organic pecans although it was more of a favor as my friend wanted me to bake pecan pie for her family. I didn't mind as I wanted to test if my pie recipes help up to the more humid climate here in the Philippines. I'm glad to say it held quite beautifully although it was not much of a big surprise as pecan pies are very popular in the Southern part of the USA which is also quite humid most time of the year.

Anyway, as with most recipes, I was left with about a half a cup of pecans that needed to be baked in one way or another. This led me to my go-to baking blog, the JoyofBaking. There was the perfect recipe for my leftover pecans in the form of butter tarts. In a word, it was scrumptious. 
Butter Tarts - Adapted*

Pastry Dough:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
pinch of salt
1/4 cup ice cold water

1/3 unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped roughly

1. Prepare the pastry dough by sifting the flour, sugar and salt into a
    large bowl. Add the butter and with your hands, work the dough 
    until it resembles coarse crumbs. 

2. Slowly add the water until the dough comes together. Gather into a 
    ball and wrap with clingfilm. Store in the fridge for at least 30 
    minutes to allow the dough to rest. 

3. When the dough has rested, divide the dough into 10 equal parts and
    roll each portion onto a floured surface until you get a 4-inch disk. 

4. Lay each disk onto a cupcake pan and flute the edges if desired. Prick
    the bottom and the sides of the pastry disk with a fork and store in 
    the fridge until ready to use. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

5. To prepare the filling, beat the butter with the sugar in a large bowl
    at high speed until creamy. Lower the speed to medium and add the 
    eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla
    extract and the cream.

6. Divide the nuts into the prepared pastry shells and pour in the filling.
    Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry shell is golden brown 
    and the filling is puffed and set. 

7. Allow to cool before removing from the pan. 

*Joy of Baking - Butter Tarts

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Callos (non-tripe version)

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I have been cooking Callos regularly ever since I managed to successfully cook the dish using different recipes, usually of the original Madrid variety. However, it was a trip to our local farmer's market where I was able to taste a local version of Callos and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted. However, I should not really doubt that it would taste good as the same stall was selling what is now my favorite fresh ubod lumpia. I have become the Callos snob as of late thinking that Callos should be given its proper due by preparing it as authentically or as close as you can get to the Madrid version. However, I have to say that adding a few ingredients not typical of the dish do have its merit. The green olives cuts into the fattiness of the dish and gives it a good balance. The chickpeas on the other hand brings an added crunch to an otherwise mushy dish. The use of "terno" instead of tripe also lends quite a distinct taste to the dish although a single bite will assure you that what you are enjoying is indeed Callos.


10 lbs "terno" (ox tail, cheek, and legs), sliced into large portions
3 large onions, diced
8-10 bay leaves
1 whole clove garlic, roughly diced
3 large carrots, diced
1 32-oz canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
12 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 cup canned pimientos, sliced
2 cups green olives
1 cup chickpeas
8-10 oz canned Spanish chorizo (about 1 cup), sliced
salt and pepper
*4 tbsp olive oil (optional)

1. In a large pot, boil the meat with enough water, half the onions and 4
    bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Let it boil for about an hour 
    over medium heat. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. 

2. Pour off the liquid and wash the meat pieces and trim off any hard 

3. In another large pot, heat the olive oil if using, over medium high 
    heat. Saute the remaining onions, bay leaves and garlic until 
    softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the carrots and cook for
    another 3 minutes. 

4. Return the meat pieces into the pot and pour in the beef broth. Bring
    to a boil and once boiling, cover the pot and lower the heat to 
    medium low and allow to simmer for at least two hours. Add water if 
    necessary to make sure the meat is submerged while simmering. 

5. Add the can of tomatoes and simmer for an additional hour or until 
    the meat is very tender. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Make
    sure that the meat is tender enough that the bones come off easily.

6. Pick off the large bones and slice the meat into 1-inch dice. Add the
    paprika, oregano, pimiento, chickpeas, tomato paste, and olives. 
    Bring to a boil and allow to simmer at medium low heat for 30 
    minutes. Add more water if the sauce is too thick. 

7. Check for seasoning and add the chorizo. Simmer for another 30 
    minutes. Let it rest for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to 
    meld. Serve with steamed white rice. 

* The canned Spanish chorizo is stored in lard. If you want, you can use the lard instead of the olive oil to suate. It adds an extra flavor to the dish. 

Pork Barbecue

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
A simple summer staple and I cannot believe this is not in my blog yet. My Dad has stopped eating pork but he recently started eating them again so this was a welcome relief for me since I can only do so much with fish. Our pork barbecue is on the sweet side and that is how my family prepared it as far back as I can remember. I used to make this for the yearly picnic when I was working as a postdoc at Emory. Everyone loved them since the flavor is probably quite different from the usual barbecue flavor. Anyway, this is perfect even in the middle of summer paired with ice-cold soda. 

Pork Barbecue

2 lbs pork belly
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar,
    and olive oil in a large bowl.  

2. Add the pork and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least
    30 minutes in the fridge. You can do this overnight and the flavors 
    just seep into the meat. 

3. Prepare the coals and make sure it is not too hot. Grill the belly until
    it turns a beautiful brown color with a bit of charring. 

4. You can serve them whole or you can cut them into smaller pieces. 
    A good condiment is a combination of 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp soy 
    sauce, finely minced garlic clove and seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rustic Roasted Chicken Galantine

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Chicken Galantine is a French dish that is prepared to impress. It is laborious, both in the preparation and in the cooking process. The ingredients are varied but there seems to be a common thread among the different recipes I read to prepare my own rustic version of this dish. The filling is usually prepared using either ground veal or beef in combination with ground pork. The nut of choice are pistachio nuts with either apricot or raisins to add some nuttiness and sweetness respectively, to the flavor. Traditionally ground into a forcemeat, I am going to prepare my filling more like a meatloaf preserving the texture of the various ingredients intact for maximum impact. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of cold cuts and the galantine is prepared to resemble one. Another big change is how I plan to cook my galantine. The original recipe calls for the galantine to be wrapped in cheesecloth and poached in a broth. I am baking my galantine and serving it warm.

Rustic Roasted Chicken Galantine

3-4 shallots, finely diced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
50g pistachios, shelled and roughly diced
1 whole chicken, about 2 lbs
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb bacon strips
5 tbsp heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup golden raisins
4 tbsp white wine
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil

1. Debone the chicken leaving the leg and wing bones intact. Set aside. 
    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the shallots 
    until softened. Let cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except the bacon. Add
    the shallots and mix with your hands. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Lay flat the deboned chicken, skin side down and season with salt and 
    pepper. Layer the bacon strips until it covers the inside of the chicken. 

5. Fill with the meat filling and gather the edges securing with a toothpick or 
    by sewing. Truss the chicken with a butcher's twine and place in the 
    center of a baking pan lined with aluminum foil seam side down. Baste 
    with enough olive oil to help brown the skin.

6. Bake for 1 1/2 hour or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F. Let it rest
    for 15 minutes covered with foil before slicing.    

Dave Lebovitz's Chocolate Tart

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Thank goodness for Dave Lebovitz! This guy is after my gastronomic heart. After sharing his wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipe, he came up with another amazing chocolate concoction. The ever chocolatey and gooey Chocolate Tart. This was meant to be the star of a party I planned for friends but ended up being a dessert given as gifts to friends. The party went bust. Anyway, this was a stellar find in the cacophany of chocolate tart recipes on the internet. It also comes with the most buttery French tart dough recipe which earned raves as well. Nothing works better with butter than the French. On to the recipe!

Dave Lebovitz's Chocolate Tart*

Crust (for a 9-inch tart an):
3 oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp palm oil
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
150 g flour (slightly rounded cup)

1. In a deep frying pan over low heat, melt the butter with the oil, water, 
    sugar and salt. Once melted, increase the heat to medium high. 

2. Continue to cook until the butter is bubbly and the edges start to turn 
    golden brown. 

3. Turn off the heat and carefully add the flour and stir quickly until it 
    starts to form a ball and the dough pulls away from the sides.

4. When cooled slightly, transfer to the tart pan and spread towards the 
    sides and edges until the pan is completely covered. Use the tines of 
    the fork to flatten and press the dough onto the tart pan. 

5. Prick the dough with the tines of the fork all around and bake at 400°F
    in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Let cool before filling. 

Chocolate Filling:
1 1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp warm freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 oz semisweet chocolate
2 oz 70% cacao chocolate
2 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp dark rum

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a deep non-stick pan, melt the sugar over medium low heat until it 
    melts and caramelizes.

3. Very carefully, add the warm coffee and stir quickly with a rubber 
    spatula. If the caramel siezes, continue to cook until it becomes smooth. 
    Add the butter and salt until incorporated. 

4. Turn off the heat and add the chocolates. Stir until it melts into the 
    caramel mixture. 

5. Mix in the eggs one at a time and add the flour. Mix well. Add the rum 
    and pour the filling into the prepared tart shell. 

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not overbake. The edges will be a bit puffy 
    but the center should still be jiggly. Allow to cool completely before 
*Chocolate Tart: My Life in Paris blog

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Penelope Casas' Callos

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Callos, a name which to me evokes the Spanish colonization of the Philippines for over 300 years. Despite the hardships the Filipino had to endure during this period, there were influences in our culture that may or may not be a welcome choice to the Filipinos. One such influence is in our food. The original Callos may have hailed from Madrid, Spain but Callos is a staple in most celebrations here in the Philippines. I have to admit that our family came across this dish kind of late but I have been trying on different versions of this dish recently based on recipes considered as original to Spain and not the adapted local version. Why the original? Simple. The original Callos is quite rustic and meager in terms of preparation and the amount of ingredients while the local version of the dish have morphed into different varieties with the addition of white beans, chick peas and even carrots. I just want a simple dish with nothing else to distract me from its pure and clean flavor. 

Copyright 2015 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This new recipe is from Penelope Casas and uses beef tripe as the base. Pork legs are added for both texture and flavor. Morcilla or blood sausage is typically added in most recipes I've read but this particular recipe called for Spanish chorizo. I used an authentic Spanish chorizo imported from Spain and another one that is locally made (both canned). I have to admit, both are fairly similar in taste and in terms of prize, both are also quite expensive. Still, it was worth the expense. If cholesterol is not an issue for you, use the lard in the can as well. It adds to the flavor of the dish.

Penelope Casas' Callos

6-8 lbs beef tripe
4 lbs pork legs, sliced into 1-inch medallions
6-8 bay leaves
6 large Spanish onions, diced
1 bulb garlic, crushed and diced
2 tsp dried oregano
14-oz canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp peppercorns, freshly ground
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
2 cups white wine
12 cups beef broth
1 lb Spanish sausages (Chorizo)
1/2 lb cured ham, diced
6 tbsp Spanish paprika
6 tbsp flour
1 tsp red chili flakes
6 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste

1. In a large pot, fill with enough cold water to cover the tripe and the pig's 
    feet. Bring to a boil and immediately drain the liquid.

2. Rinse the tripe with cold water and slice into 2-inch squares. Clean the 
    pig's feet of any debris and set aside with the tripe. 

3. In the same large pot, add the tripe and pigs feet with half the onions, 
    garlic, bay leaves, oregano, diced tomatoes, white wine, beef broth, 
    nutmeg, thyme, ground peppercorns and season with a bit of salt. Bring 
    to a boil and simmer covered for 3 hours over low heat. Check 
    occasionally and add more water if needed. Stir to prevent the meat 
    from sticking to the pan. 

4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the 
    remaining onions until softened. Season with salt. Add the chorizo and 
    cook until heated through. You may add the lard from the can if desired. 
    Stir in the flour and paprika and cook for a minute. Loosen with about 
    2 cups of water and add to the large pot. Stir well to prevent any lumps.

5. Add the red chili flakes and continue to simmer for another 1-2 hours or 
    until the tripe is very tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the meat from 
    sticking to the bottom of the pan. When ready to serve, fish out the pork 
    pieces and remove the bones. Slice the pork skin and meat into smaller 
    pieces and return to the pot. Check for flavor and adjust accordingly 
    with salt. 

*The New York Times: Cooking section