Food: Scallops & Citrus Salad

 

Around this time last year, I was already busy planning Thanksgiving dinner. But it’s a little different here in New Jersey. I don’t think it’s ready for fall. I went to the local farmer’s market to grab me a bag of brown rice. But you know how it is. My eyes started wandering around and I saw nice and plump cherry tomatoes and on the opposite side were the freshest baby arugulas. I immediately grabbed both and got the most summer-y menu in my head cooking up. As soon as I saw those crisp arugula babies, I immediately knew what I was going to make. So I grabbed the nicest grapefruit there was and stepped to the fish market next door and grabbed me a pound of scallops. I was a happy girl. I got all I need and I headed home.

Inspired by one of my favorite chefs, Anne Burrell, here’s a party served in a plate. I must say that this recipe didn’t disappoint. I don’t know how anyone could possibly not like this. Unless you are legitimately allergic to shellfish and if you are, I already feel bad for you.

This dish is super easy. I was surprised by how quick I finished “Supreme-ing” the citrus. I used to be so intimidated by how tedious it seemed. A sharp knife should do the trick. The only problem I had was browning the scallops. It wasn’t the best sear. As a matter of fact, I think I am the first to ever steam scallops in oil. I blame on the stove. hehe… Anyway, it all still worked out. I hope everyone tries this. Chef Anne was right. You don’t have to be a professional chef to cook like one.

Scallops with Citrus Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 LB. Sea Scallops
  • 2 C. Baby Arugula
  • 1 Grapefruit, supremed
  • 2 Medium-size Oranges, supremed
  • 1 Small Red Onion (or about 1/4 Large Red Onion), julienned
  • 1/4-1/2 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP. Honey
  • S&P to taste
  • Pepper flakes to taste

Here’s how:

  1. Season scallops with salt and pepper on either side and brown on both sides.
  2. Meanwhile, supreme your fruits and place in a bowl.
  3. Squeeze out juice from the pith into a separate bowl. Whisk in olive oil in a steady stream. Add honey and salt and pepper flakes. This is your dressing.
  4. Place arugula in a huge bowl and drizzle with dressing. Gently hand toss. Add onions and fruits.
  5. Plate salad and top with scallops. Drizzle more olive oil.
  6. ENJOY!

Look at all those colors. Doesn’t it remind you of summer? I love fall but I’ll find every excuse to make this salad. Now I know why Chef Anne’s such “a happy girl.” Isn’t that here line? I really love her- spikey hair and all her quirky abbreviations.

Anyway, I hope you guys try this. If it’s not too fall-y yet. Try it. I know this is an appetizer but this could be a meal in itself. Yummy!!! The bottle and stemware were props. I had to go to church. But after the service, I enjoyed it with reckless abandon. ;) What? Oh it’s Monday tomorrow. Oh well.

 

Quick Post: Scallion-Parm Drop Biscuits

I really had no intentions on posting this. I didn’t even plan on making this at all. I braved the elements and walked a mile (car’s out of commish) to the farmer’s market and Pathmark (cringe) to get some items so the Unabean and I can make something together for a Friday afternoon of fun. I bought baking ingredients so we can try the 2-minute mug brownie. It was a disaster and totally not worth it. And I wasn’t about to let a bad pin ruin my streak of culinary success this week.(No photos but amazing braised short ribs, cranberry glazed roasted pork chops, citrus-chili beans). So I remembered this recipe from Melissa D’Arabian from Ten Dollar Meals. And I have always wanted to try it. And I did and I’m sharing this with you because it was successful. And it was also green in the inside. hehe

I’m really not a baker and it’s nothing short of a miracle that I nailed this. And I almost wasn’t able to make this recipe because I didn’t have baking powder. I do howver have baking soda. I have always wondered what the difference is between baking soda and powder. Apparently there is quite a difference. I’m not going to go all nerdy right now but according to some site I googled, you can substitute baking soda with baking powder but you cannot use baking soda in place of baking powder. Catastrophe! I only had baking soda. They said it can be remedied by mixing cream of tartar and that should do it. Well, guess what? I don’t feel like taking another mile walk in the rain to get to the store  just to get cream of tartar. So I read up some more. And it said that baking soda can work if you have some acidic ingredient you can counteract the baking soda with. So, I put some greek yogurt. And it worked. So I may not be much of a baker but a little chemistry helped. (All that high school chem finally starting to sink in)

I swear I’m not trying to scare you.

Scallion-Parmesan Drop Biscuit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup All-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cold
  • 1/3 c scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 c parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp. plain 2% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c whole milk

Here’s how:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. In a food processor bowl, place flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse until well blended.
  3. Add butter and pulse until coarse and crumbly.
  4. Add scallions and parmesan cheese. Process until mixed well.
  5. Add greek yogurt and pulse a couple of times.
  6. Pour in milk and process until all ingredients come together. It is supposed to be a coarse, think batter. It is tempting to process this mixture longer but try to resist.
  7. Take a spoonful of batter and place it on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and it passes the clean fork/knife/toothpick test.

Easy peasy, right? This came out perfect. I burned the bottom but I’ll just adjust the temperature next time. The biscuits were crumbly the way they were supposed to be and yet moist. I am a firm believer of doing things from scratch as much as you can. And this is really easy and you can make it your own. You can substitute scallions and parm for something else. Go ahead and be creative. It can be sweet as much as it can be savory.

**Cut the butter into cubes and place it back in the fridge or freezer until you’re just about ready to put it in the food processor.

 

Happy bean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food: Chicken Sisig

I couldn’t think of anything else as Pinoy as Sisig. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. To me, Sisig is a Pinoy food royalty. It was probably because it was never served at my home when I was growing up. I haven’t even heard of it until a neighbor who moved from Pampanga said her mom made Sisig. I was like “What?” She explained and I forgot about everything she said two seconds later.

Then I grew older and learned to drink beer. Then my beer drinking led to drinking out with friends in bars. Yes, bars in the Philippines serve actual food in case some of you are wondering. Then some friends ordered sisig. I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t even remember how I started liking it. All I know is that now, I love it and I have been craving for it and that whenever there’s a Pinoy gathering here, it’s the first thing I put on my plate.

So last Friday, I was thinking of what to do with the ground chicken that’s been sitting in the fridge for about a week now. I’m trying to think of something that wouldn’t require a trip to the store. So basically, everything that’s already in my pantry. Then, I don’t know what it was that made me look for a Sisig recipe. I was shocked. SHOCKED by the simplicity of the ingredients. I mean you know, after the pig ears, jowls and brain. But ingredients that you wouldn’t suspect that would be in such a delectable dish as this. Vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi and onions. That’s it. I was like is this for real? Well there’s only one way to find out. If it turns out to be anything but the sisig I so loved, then I’ll just charge it to experience and the chicken that sacrificed its life for a silly experiment.

To my suprise, it was sisig indeed. I mean not the traditional Sisig but it sure tasted like the Sisig I remember and that works for me.

This recipe is adapted from Panlasang Pinoy.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 large or 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • Chili
  • S&P to taste
  • cooking oil

Here’s how:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, pour some oil and allow to warm up. Place ground chicken and allow to cook. Discard broth if there’s any.
  2. Once chicken is cooked all the way through, add vinegar, soy sauce and lemon juice in increments until you reach desired flavor.
  3. Throw in chopped onions and chili. Cook until the onions are just about translucent.
  4. Serve with piping hot steamed white rice or ice cold beer.

There’s a variety of how this is served. The most famous is on a sizzling cast-iron plate. Some people cook it in or top it with mayo. Some put chicharon. I like this option. Personally, i like mine with lots of onions and citrus because it cuts the grease.

This is what sisig looks like and I wasn’t kidding about the pig’s ears, jowls and brain. That’s what traditional sisig is. They boil the face to remove the hair then they grill it. Then they chop it up and fry it in oil before they add vinegar, soy sauce and onion. It may sound gross, but it tastes really amazing.

 

Late Post: Being Audrey Hepburn

I recently planned a small birthday party for a friend. Remember the one I made the breakfast pizza for? Lovely? Yep. She said she wanted to do something different for her birthday. Her eyes lit up when I told her why not an girl’s movie night? An outdoor movie night? It ended up not being outdoor but it was still a movie night indeed. And what’s more girly than watching a classic like Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  And on the invite we said everyone should be in their best Audrey Hepburn look. Everyone came in like a Holly Golightly reincarnate in spite of their inhibitions the morning of.

Anyway, Lovely had fun. We even had to miss out on the games because the girls spent most of the time taking pictures. By the time they were done we only had time to watch the movie. I was happy by how the party turned out.

Since it was a movie night, we decided to serve popcorn, movie theater candies and hotdogs. But I made a note to myself that next time I plan a party where Filipinos are invited, serve actual food even though the invite says 7:30pm. Because they are going to expect to be fed. Nobody complained but I guess they were just surprised that there wasn’t any real food.

I made the labels on Photoshop and asked Lovely to print them out at her office. Ssh…. I used my mom’s decanters and vases as decorations. I also used gift papers lying around the house for the penant garland and the peanut cones. Lovely recovered that tiered cake tower from a company party the night before. It worked well with the hotdogs.

This is my favorite part, the cupcake table. The boyfriend bought the cupcake tower last minute because she decided to have cupcakes at the last minute. See that light blue bag? Lovely almost didn’t notice it. Also from the boyfriend. It wasn’t a ring though. They’re not there yet. ;) Cupcakes also courtesy of the boyfriend from Mr. Cupcakes.

My little Audrey. :)

Here she is, the birthday girl.

All in all, it was a fun night. I had fun. Everyone was impressed with the decorations and was excited about this idea. I was happy how it all turned out.

A Birthday & a Breakfast Pizza

Today is a friend’s birthday and since she’s staying here with us, Aurora bean and I decided to let her in on a longstanding birthday tradition of being woken up with a really bad “Happy Birthday” song and a candle-lit breakfast cupcake. It was well received. Better than all two of Unakin’s birthdays I have done it  where I have been slapped in the face and I had to practically prop her up just so she could blow her candles. Anyway, we made someone really happy today. And I love it.

 

Lovely (birthdayer) asked what she can bring for breakfast to share with coworkers. She originally thought of pancakes. Pancakes don’t really travel well so I suggested why not a breakfast pizza? “breakfast Pizza?” So she apparently never have heard of it so she decided to go for it. A little wary about the eggs on top but it was “ahhhhhmazing” according to her. I think I left out an “h” somewhere but you get the point. And the truth is, I haven’t actually tried a breakfast pizza yet. I tried to play it cool and hoped that it turns out ok. I wasn’t even able to taste the pizza because I didn’t want to ruin it.

The Birthday Breakfast Pizza (or Breakfast Birthday Pizza…whatevs)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  • 3 tbs. traditional spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2  cup red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup italian sausage
  • 3 large eggs or 4-6 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup chives, chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Here’s how:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Prepare pizza dough according to package instructions.
  3. Spread tomato sauce evenly. Layer about half of the required amount of shredded mozzarella evenly.
  4. Evenly distribute bell pepper and onions leaving some for final topping, same with the sausage.
  5. Carefully place eggs on top. S&P to taste but this is optional.
  6. Add remaining mozzarella cheese except on eggs. Add remaining bell peppers, onions and sausage.
  7. Sprinkle parmesan evenly and drizzle pizza with olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes. (You can start lowering the heat when the crust begins to brown and the eggs aren’t cooked yet)

So there, easy peasy. You can go crazy with the toppings and choice of cheese. You can use spinach and asiago cheese. Bacon and mushrooms. Your options are endless. I just had to try to stay mainstream because I wasn’t sure how they would take it. You know, a pizza with an egg on top. But it was a hit and everyone loved it.

Anyway, I’m happy to help make someone’s day special in my own little way. Happy birthday, Lovely!