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.