Thursday, July 31, 2008

Caprese Salad (Insalata Caprese)

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It is a fact. Technology is taking over every aspect of our lives.

For the last decade, the advancement of technology from the medical to industrial to the telecommunications industry (most especially), has truly made leaps and bounds. Amazing.

So much have changed that I feel the world actually seems so much smaller than ever. The internet has done a huge difference in our day-to-day existence. Instead of writing letters via post/mail that will take days to get to the recipient, we send an email that only takes seconds to be read. Text messages have replaced personal phone calls. Photo albums are now gathering dust somewhere in favor of digital pictures that are saved in our computers. We can now all view videos together even if we are halfway around the world from each other, thanks to YouTube. News can be broadcast within seconds worldwide. Heck, we can now even date online. And with cell phones and every conceivable tracking device there is, “not being able to contact” someone has become short of impossible.

I can go on and on regarding the merits of technology but on the flipside of it are also its disadvantages. Technology has replaced our interpersonal communications that we have lost much of that valuable “personal” touch in the process.

With these techno-gizmos available at our fingertips, a question begs to be asked. Will there come a point that people will actually forget how to communicate personally? Worse, will the English language change to wazup, LOL and BRB, from hello, you’re funny and goodbye?

In a society that's laden with superficial standards which we don’t feel we always measure up to, computers have become our scape-goats. It is easy to hide behind our monitors to avoid being judged. How long before a personal handshake be completely replaced with the keyboard? Will a robot eventually take the place of a human-to-human, interpersonal communication? Hmmnn… food for thought.

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I miss the good old, simple life sometimes. Yes, technology is good, but there are things in life that cannot be replaced with it. So once in a while, let’s remember those times before the internet, iPhones and iPods, shall we? Let’s make time for our friends and families by speaking to them in person, sending them cards with personal handwritten notes or even visit them in person, ok?

So with this post, I would like to remember our missionary friends (the Logan family) who are in South Africa. I have actually made this for them in the past as mentioned in my previous post, but thought that this dish deserves a post of its own.

This salad is not only pretty, but delicious as well. It is especially good for warm summer days when the last thing you would want to do is stand in front of the stove /oven and cook!

Moreover, this is a breeze to make. You can put this together probably within 5 minutes and you’ll have a fresh salad that will transport you to the isles of Capri -- with the aid of your imagination, of course! :o)

Insalata Caprese
(from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis)

1-1/2 pounds tomatoes like vine-ripened tomatoes*
1 pound fresh mozzarella
3/4 to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed basil leaves, torn or cut into thin strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
drizzle of fresh lemon juice

1. Slice the tomatoes and cheese into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange the salad on a serving platter or individual plates in an alternating pattern.
2. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
3. Scatter the basil leaves over the top and drizzle with the oil and lemon juice.
4. Serve at room temperature.

NOTE*: I used two types of tomatoes. I thought that the different shapes would help the salad look attractive. If only I found sun-gold yellow tomatoes or even heirloom ones, then this salad even look more "summery"...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Avocado Shake

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Gosh, I hate going to the dentist. It’s one of those things that if only I can do without, I’d gladly refrain from having. I just can’t stand the sensation I get from someone picking on my teeth with metal, or the scrubbing/scraping/drilling/grinding, or the simple fact that you lay there with your mouth wide open for a long time that your jaw hurts! Uh-oh. Not pleasant at all.

Not that dentists are bad or anything. They’re not. In fact, I know that in the whole scheme of things, having a healthy set of teeth is really essential to our well-being. But I don’t know how or why I developed a negative attitude towards going to the dentist. Hmmn. It could be because the very first visit (that I fully remember) entailed a tooth-filling – and that horrifying, anesthetic-free “teeth-drilling” experience left me scarred for life? (Yep, not even a topical anesthesia was given!)

But I have to tell you this. In a 3rd-world country such as the Philippines, the people’s priority is to put food on their table; everything else becomes secondary – and that includes seeing the doctor for merely routine physical check-ups or regular dental cleaning. People there GENERALLY seek medical attention ONLY when there are already symptoms of disorder showing up physically; or when they are in actual pain; or when they already need urgent care. Once again, this is due to the lack of means to be able to afford regular visits to the doctor. Most folks there don’t have insurance policies; heck a lot don’t have a steady source of income in the first place and majority live below the poverty line.


Anyway, forgive me on my ranting about the dentist... You guessed it, I've just been there! Hah! And I needed to express myself. I'm fully convinced, whether it's in the Philippines or the US, I still don't like paying my dentist a visit!

So as a tribute to all dentists, here is something that you can enjoy, even if you are toothless. HAHAHAHAHA…. Presenting to you my AVOCADO SHAKE.

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This is one of the things that I was so surprised about when I came to the US. I noticed that here, avocados are mostly used for savory applications – in salads and salsas. In the Philippines, I’ve only had this fruit eaten with a bit of sugar, as a dessert mashed with condensed milk and cooled in the fridge for a few minutes, or as a shake!.. (Oh yeah, I’ve had guacamole there, but back in my days, Mexican food wasn’t as popular as it is there now).

Avocados just remind me of my childhood as well. That’s probably why I like ‘em so much. Reminds me of those days when me and my cousins would run along the little plantation my grandparents had in their property. They have mostly “cacao” (cocoa) and banana plants as well as coconut trees, but there were a couple of huge avocado trees as well that would yield the sweetest, finest evergreen-avocados I have ever seen.

So here’s my all time favorite summer treat, second to mango shake, of course. (We can have this all-year round in the Philippines, actually.)
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I am also sending this treat to Grace of A Southern Grace as an entry to her Beat The Heat event. This doesn’t require much to prepare – just a few strokes from the blender, and voila…. a refreshing treat!

Hope you try it.. it’s really good, filling and healthy too!

Avocado Shake
1 ripe avocado
1 cup evaporated milk (or fresh milk)*
1 cup crushed ice
3 tablespoons sugar (or more, depending on your taste)

Scoop the avocado from the pulp and into a blender. Add the milk, ice and sugar to desired taste. Blend until pureed. Garnish with slices of avocados.

NOTE*:You can substitute with condensed milk. Start with 1/4 cup and add some more until you get the desired creaminess and sweetness to your liking. If you use condensed milk, omit sugar as condensed milk is already sweet.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mussels In White Wine

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Florida isn't called the Sunshine State for no reason. It truly lives up to its name because here, we live in a sweltering heat for most of the year. At times it feels like living in a huge oven cranked way up. It really does.

So rain in a place like this is truly refreshing. Its cooling effect is certainly much needed. It is a welcome respite to the daily humdrum of our lives, at least for me.
There is something about rain that is soothing. In the bible, rain means blessing. It symbolizes a fresh start, a new beginning.

Where I originally come from (Philippines), there were only 2 seasons – the dry (summer) and the wet (rainy) season, with the latter being longer because really, it rains even in the middle of summer.

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As a teenager, I looked forward to the rainy season. For me, it meant curling up in my bed to read a good novel; or, I would simply sit by the window to look at the rain drops drenching the ground while the sun-stroked leaves of the trees and plants are being quenched by its refreshing shower.

It was during those rainy times that I learned how to daydream. Yes, as a girl, I’ve done my share of daydreaming. The steady sound of the rain pounding the roof, the occasional lightning that strikes and the roll of thunderstorm thereafter had a hypnotic-like effect that caused me to drift away into the land of fantasy. Most often than not, those fantasies were related to the romance-novels that I’ve read where I usually was the story’s heroine, or the love-interest of a gorgeous young Prince. Isn't that how it is when we're young?

(In those days, there were no computers, video games and cellphones.)

Oh well, those were the days. Now back to reality.

I made this dish a while back but I did this after a day of incessant raining. I felt that a warm soup getting home after work would be good for my tired body. And I happened to have these mussels which I originally purchased because I had planned on making “baked tahong” (baked mussels, a popular dish in the Philippines). But then, since I wanted soup, I guess the “baked tahong” will have to wait for next time.


Afterall, a girl is entitled to change her mind, isn't she?

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Mussels Soup In White Wine
1 lb mussels
1 c white wine
1 c chicken broth/stock
1 pc shallot, finely chopped
2 pcs garlic, finely chopped
1/3 c spinach
2 tbsp parsely*, chopped
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Rinse and scrub mussels. Using a pairing knife, remove the strings that hang from the shells and discard.
2. In a pot set over medium heat, combine wine, shallots, garlic, and salt.
3. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the mussels.
4. Cover and increase heat to high. Cook until mussels are open.
5. Stir in spinach, parsely (or whatever herbs you want) and butter. Remove from heat. Discard any unopened mussels.
6. Serve immediately with a crusty bread. Garnish with chives.

*NOTE: You can use whatever herb you like such as basil or tarragon.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Taste & Create XII: Ginger Cookies

It's really true. Time flies by so quickly when we are busy. I've had a full plate at work and at home lately, so it seemed just like a few days ago when I received the information on who my partner was for this month's Taste & Create... and before I knew it, I am a few days away from the deadline! Fortunately, I already know what to do and I got the ingredients on hand, so all I really had to do was to make time to do it! Nike's got it -- just do it!

For this month's Taste & Create, I am partnered with Divya of Dil Se. Divya is of Indian (Asian) descent. She, like me, somehow found her way here to the U.S. She is based in California, which is a melting pot of different cultures from all over the world. No wonder why her blog reflects this mix of Indian as well as American/Western cuisine.

It was easy for me to decide which one to do for the event. When I saw this in Divya's blog and read the recipe, it made my mouth water. That's a good sign, isn't it? So, I thought no further... Ginger Cookies it is!

Ginger is one of the most common spice for Asian cooking. The root has a strong, pungent flavor, while the dried/powdered ones have this sweet-spicy smell to it. A lot of Westerners do not really like it, or can't stand much of it in a dish. The flavor is indeed very strong when one is not used to it.

As for me, I grew up with it, so I love its flavor. Ginger also happens to have lot of medical benefits as well. In the Philippines, we have a traditional drink called "Salabat" which is made from boiling ginger roots in water (with a bit of sugar). I remember my Mom used to make this concoction for me whenever I get colds. Just try and see how effective it is. And hey, drinking salabat has a side benefit. It is supposedly good for your singing voice! So whether you're a professional singer or just a huge Karaoke singing enthusiast (like most Filipinos are), I urge you to try this and see if you won't be belting out tunes in no time. Hahaha.. (How about that, Susan of SGCC?)



While I love ginger in savory dishes, I love it in sweets just as much. For instance, gingerbread. I love this holiday treat but I've never gotten around to try baking one from scratch. And I thought that this cookie might have the same taste as that of gingerbread, so I decided to do it.

The recipe was easy and very simple. There was nothing more that I did to it; I simply thought of adding cyrstallized (candied) ginger on top for more flavor (and for looks too).

And boy was I right. The cookies have the same flavor going on as gingerbread with the combined spices of cinnamon, ground cloves and the ginger in it. The ginger candy at the center gives you that nice sweet-spicy-chewy bite that's just enough to give this cookie a little kick. Hmmmn.... the flavors of Christmas -- they're happy flavors!

Next time maybe, I'd minced the candied ginger and mix it in the batter so there'll be little specs of ginger goodness all throughout the cookie... what do you think?

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I will for sure be making lots of these come Christmas holidays. Thanks, Divya for a great recipe. No wonder why you love these cookies! And I love 'em too.

Maybe this will be Santa's new favorite cookie too?

(Taste & Create is a monthly food event created by Nicole of For The Love Of Food. Bloggers are paired off with one another and they have to do a recipe of their choice from each other...and of course, blog about it!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pork Medallions In Sherry Wine and Dried Cherries Pan Sauce


Unlike in the past when abstaining from eating pork was mostly because it was a religious taboo, nowadays the issue about this controversial meat has become more than that.

Pork is said to be one of the unhealthiest meat on earth. So many books have been written lately discouraging consumers to partake of this "dirty" animal. A number of research claim that ALL pork products is unfit for human consumption. One such research for instance, is that of Prof. Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg, MD. In his article from "the Adverse Influence of Pork Consumption on Health", he reports that pork allegedly contains homotoxine (human poison) or death enzyme.

However accurate these reports are, I would never know. But if you choose not to eat pork (or anything else) for whatever reason, then I applaud you for acting on your conviction. That is so admirable, and I am saying this with all my heart. As for me, I am not an advocate of abstaining on certain food nor on extreme diets (except if you have major health issues that necessitate you to do it). My principle has always been: balance and moderation and lots of exercise are the keys to a healthy living. When one lives in an excessive lifestyle (in all aspects), then one is surely bound to self-destruction. Thus, having said this, I will continue to enjoy partaking of this "other white meat" -- once in a while, that is.



Admittedly though, I have become health conscious and have been more aware of nutritional labels especially during the last couple of years. Maybe because my mother was stricken with the dreaded big "C", which eventually caused her demise less than a year ago. For this reason, my hubby and I try to eat healthy as much as possible.

Like I said earlier, I like to have my pork once in a while. For this dish, I used the lean cut of meat, pork tenderloin. The sauce in this dish is lovely, with its deep red color due to the red wine. It's rich and velvety. Make extra, I'd suggest, if you love saucy dishes like I do... Well, if you must know, Filipinos in general prefer saucy dishes. Since every meal is eaten with rice, we like to drizzle sauce over the rice and mix 'em up so our rice wouldn't be that dry... Yum! That's the way most Filipinos like their rice!

Ironically though, I did not serve this dish with rice. We had rice the past two nights when I cooked this dish so I thought, polenta would be the best alternative. And I was right. The polenta soaked up all the flavorful sauce of this dish. I also served steamed green beans with lemon along side this dish. Hmnn.. what a wonderful, balanced meal. Don't you think?



Pork Medallions In Sherry Wine and Dried Cherries Pan Sauce
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup sweet sherry (ruby port or other sweet red wine)
1/3 cup dried sweet cherries
4 teaspoons seedless raspberry jam
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 med onion, sliced (sweet or yellow)
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh parsley springs (optional)

Preparation:

1. Combine first 4 ingredients.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat for 2 minutes. Cut the pork crosswise into 16 pieces. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.
3. place pork in pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove pork from pan.
4. Then saute onion in pan until soft and transluscent.

4. Stir in wine mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat.
5. Stir in butter with a whisk.
6. Serve on a bed of polenta. Pour sauce over pork. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Simple Polenta With Fresh Parsley

3 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
1. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan.
2. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
3. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, milk, butter, parsley and pepper, and stir until the butter and cheese melt.
5. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve with Pork Medallions.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Hazelnut Tulipe

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Ice cream!

It's got to be my husband and I’s favorite dessert. We are both so bad. We can possibly gorge down a whole container of ice cream in one sitting... if we don't control ourselves. But I'm glad to say that it hasn't happened yet, not so far anyways. Hahhaha.. Not that we are planning on doing it anytime soon, or ever. God forbid.

But I got to say, I've never had this much ice cream indulgement until I came to the US. In the Philippines, ice cream is more of an occassional treat for most families, so I've never really enjoyed a lot of it when I was growing up (except for the local ice-cream from the push-cart being sold in the street, which is more like a sherbet actually). But everything changed a bit when I started working. Ice cream became a familiar treat to my palate, as it was present on every birthday celebration there was in my office. That and cake. Couldn't be badder (yeah, i know, wrong grammar), but couldn' be better at the same time (now you know, I wanted my words to rhyme!). Ice cream and cake is the yin and yang of every birthday celebration, in my opinion. One is not the same withouth the other.

Anyways, back to my advent in the US. Imagine my delight in discoving the BUY ONE, TAKE ONE deals in the groceries for ice cream! Sweet!!! (Yeah, literally) My ice-cream starved pysche dictated that I should buy everytime there was a sale, so I began hoarding them in my fridge. Actually, I'm over exaggerating... but I was buying them more often than I should. But don't worry. I'm over that stage now (though I admit buy-one-take-one ice cream is still pretty hard to resist sometimes).

Since summer is here, cool treats are in! And so, to celebrate my love for this frozen dessert, and to surprise Mr. J with something a little special, I made a tulipe - which is actually a hazelnut cookie curl.

I really do think that the addition of finely ground hazelnut made the cookie extra special. This was my first time to try doing this, so I was proceeding with caution. Yeah, some cookies did not come out successfully, but I did manage to get 4 good tulipes out of the 6 that I made. Pretty good for a first try, don't you think?

Next time though, I'll make it a point to follow the instructions to the T. I thought that the amount of the batter required for the cookie was too little that I doubled it. That was a major mistake. For the tulipe to be pliable, it has to be as thin as possible; mine came out a tiny bit thicker. Also, I chose to leave it a few minutes longer in the oven than called for, because I wanted crispier edges.. So as you can see, they are short of being burnt!

The ice cream is, of course, store bought. I have yet to try making a homemade one, when I get my ice cream maker that is. The recipe recommended vanilla ice cream, but I decided that Neapolitan is more exciting with its three different flavors.

Oh, the raspberry sauce is also homemade. Initially, I thought of doing a chocolate ganache for drizzling on top, but the dessert is already rich as it is, so I decided to go with the fruit puree instead.
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As you can see, the presentation came out elegant. The tulipe surrounds a mound of ice cream in a crunchy embrace while it rests on a pool of raspberry sauce. No wonder the hubby exclaimed, "OOOH!".

That was music to my ears. :o)

Hazelnut Tulipe
Cookies
1/3 c shelled hazelnuts (filberts)
1/4 c butter or margarine
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp rum extract
1/3 c unsifted all-purpose flour

Raspberry Sauce
2 pkg (12 oz size) frozen, unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1/2 pint fresh raspberries (for garnish)
Mint leaves, for garnish(optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a shallow pan, bake hazelnuts 10-15 mins or until skins crack. Remove from oven; wrap in towel. When cool enough to handle, roll nuts in towel to remove as much skin as possible. Let cool; finely chop cooled nuts in food processor or blender.

2. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Grease and flour three large baking sheets. In a small saucepan, melt butter; cool. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar, the salt and rum extract until foamy. Whisk in melter butter, then flour. Add nuts.

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3. Use the rim of a glass to make two 5-in circles on prepared baking sheets. (I made the marks at the back of the parchment paper). Spoon 2 level tablespoons batter onto each circle. Spread evenly to fill circle. Bake 5 minutes or until edges are brown. Spray the bottoms of six 6-oz custard cups with non stick cooking spray.

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4. Using pancake turner, lift cookies from baking sheets; invert onto greased bottoms of custard cups. With fingers, gently mold around cup. If cookies are too brittle, reheat briefly in oven. Cool tulipes completely on wire rack; then lift tulipes off cups and place on wire racks.

5. Make raspberry sauce. Combine thawed raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar; let stand 20-30 mins. Using back of large spoon, press berries and any juice through a strainer set over a large deep bowl until only seeds remain; discard seeds. Cover raspberry puree and refrigerate until serving.

NOTE: I did not have rum extract, so I used coconut rum instead, and it worked! If you don't have hazelnuts, you may use toasted almonds. In this case, Amarretto Liqueur might be good to use since it's almond-flavored. Also, you can use strawberries for the sauce in place of raspberries. The puree can be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. For a lighter alternative, you can fill tulipe with a low-fat frozen yoghurt. Or, you can fill the bowl with slices of fresh tropical fruit such as mango, kiwi, pineapple and papaya; top with vanilla yoghurt.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shrimp and Scallop Mediterranean Pasta


Compared to what we have from where I come from (the Philippines), everything in America is super-sized, or is geared to being one. And I mean, everything! That includes houses, cars, buildings, clothes, furniture, grocery items, fast food items and all things you can think of. I believe this is one of the results of a free enterprise. Competition is tough, that’s why every company there is has to fight tooth and nail to get their market. And how? Well, by catering to one of human nature’s weakness -greed - and sending messages that inculcate within us “the bigger, the better” mentality.

But I have to say though, in fairness, that this mentality is NOT unique to America. It’s happening all over the world, wherever free enterprise thrives. But you know what, in other places such as the Philippines, their concept of “BIG” is definitely not the same as what’s considered as such here.

Just to give you an example …. say for instance, clothes…. Here in the US, I buy my shirts usually medium (if I want it to fit well) or large (a little loose). But in the Philippines, my size is an XL (on a good day) or XXL (that’s really a bad day)! Whew! Can you understand the frustration I have when shopping there? ( That's why I maintain that America got it right with clothing sizes... Lol!)

Relatively, food portions / servings in America are also huge. That's why eating in a restaurant is always an experience to me..everytime. I never stopped being amazed at the portions the customer gets! It’s humongous! I’m telling you, one serving they give you here can already feed two Filipinos, at least. I am not kidding.

So when Mr. J came to the Philippines, it was also the reverse experience for him. The servings are much smaller back in my homeland, comparable almost to a kiddie portion here. Imagine my hubby's surprise when we ate at a local pizza place in Cebu (the city where I come from) .... we ordered a large pizza, and what came was the size of a round 8" plate. He looked at the pizza and at me in confusion and said, "that's it? This is personal size!" Yep, that's the size of the large pizza in the Philippines. One gets a much smaller small portion there, commensurate to the Filipino's tiny frames, maybe?

Why am I talking about this? Well, because the dish I have for you today is actually something meant for a smaller portion - it was originally an appetizer in a popular restaurant. This dish was without the pasta; just the saucy shrimps and scallops served with bread so we can dip it, and soak up all that wonderful goodness in a bite. I like it so much that I decided to experiment to try to re-create it, and turn it into a main course by adding pasta.
So, here it is. I am also sending this dish out as my entry to Presto Pasta Nights being hosted by Gay of A Scientist In the Kitchen.





Shrimp & Scallop Mediterranean Pasta

4 oz linguine or thin-style spaghetti
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
15 kalamata olives, half peices
4 tbsp sundried tomatoes (in olive),julienne
1/2 lb shrimps, small or medium
1/2 lb scallops
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbsp (or more) feta cheese, crumbles
2 tbsp chopped parsely or torn basil, for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a pot bring water to boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente.
2. In the meantime,heat butter and olive oil in a saute pan. Add garlic and green onions. Saute until the aroma fills the air.
3. Add kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes - cook for 30 seconds.
4. Add shrimp and scallops, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until firm. Do not overcook. Remove shellfish from pan but keep warm.
5. Add chicken broth, white wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce until half the amount.
6. Return shellfish to pan. Add the pasta. Mix well.
7. Add the lemon juice, feta cheese and parsley.
8. Remove from heat. Serve garnished with torn basil and more feta cheese, if preferred.


NOTE: The measurements I have given you for the spices are all in estimates, as I was eyeballing everything. Pls. feel free to reduce or increase the amounts, according to your preference.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Coleslaw Salad



This post is sort of a continuation to my previous post, which was about our July 4th celebration. As mentioned to you, my hubby and I decided to grill some rib-eyes, and I prepared this side salad.

Like I said, this coleslaw was inspired by KFC. I've always liked how they prepared the coleslaw, so I wanted to make an imitation of theirs. I've browsed through the internet for recipes, and I was so surprised that there's a lot that came up as a result of my search. I compared a lot of the recipes that I found and noticed that most of them have similar ingredients, only the ratio varies just a tiny bit. So, I decided to make my own version.

The salad is a breeze to make, mainly because I also decided to use the pre-shredded mix in the bag. Of course, nothing beats fresh ingredients from the market. But for working wives like me, or if you're pressed for time, those pre-washed, bagged salads are a huge help.

Anyway, the following recipe is more like a method than anything else. Please feel free to adjust the ingredients' ratio, according to your preferences. The measurements I gave below are all an approximation, as I eyeballed everything, and tasted the mix every now and then until I've convinced myself that I've come close to KFC-coleslaw taste that I was trying to achieve.

Coleslaw Salad

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbsps granulated sugar (more or less, depending on your taste)
1 bag of pre-shreddix coleslaw mix (or approx 1 head shredded cabbage, 3 medium sized shredded carrots)
1/4 kosher salt
1/4 freshly ground pepper

1. In a bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients, from onion thru lemon. Let it stand while you shred the vegetables. (Skip this if using the pre-shredded mix)
2. Add the vegetables to the mixture. Toss until dressing is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cover the salad with plastic and let it rest in the fridge for about 2 hrs before serving.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Grilled Rib-Eye & July 4th


July 4th, a reminder of America's independence and freedom as a nation and as a people. It is a reminder that FREEDOM is certainly not FREE. Great men who went before paid a great price so that Americans can enjoy the kind of liberty that they have today. So, I pay homage to the great leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, and all those brave men and women who fought for their vision of "a land for the free" to come into a reality. As well, I'd like to thank all those soldiers who are in the battlefront defending this country and the principles it stands for. Thank you so much for putting your lives on the line. God bless you, God bless America!

With that said, I am also thankful that July 4th is a non-working holiday. It fell on a Friday so we have a 3-day weekend. Yipee!! But my hubby and I both have no family in Florida, our best friends are in South Africa (as missionaries), and gas is so crazy expensive to drive anywhere --- so we had nowhere to go!! ... LOL. Actually, that's not entirely true. We do have other friends, but we just chose to stay in the house. We had a truly lazy day; we slept in and just watched pay per view movies. I do thank God that after all these years, we still find it a pleasure to hang out with each other.

But in a true July 4th tradition, we have to fire up the grill, right? So we did that in the afternoon. For our July 4th celebration, we choose to grill rib-eyes (hubby's fave cut of meat) and corn on the cob. I made coleslaw salad and had Bush's grilling beans. We also had garlic bread. Quite a spread for just the two of us, huh?

It's such a pleasure to collaborate with Mr. J. He likes mixing up spices, and that's just what he did for the steak. And after surveying what we have in the fridge and pantry, he also came up with a steak sauce - a mixture of horseradish, mayo and pineapple... Sounds weird huh? But it came out good. I'll tell you more about it as I explain to you how he made it.

As for me, we had coleslaw mix in the bag, so I decided to make a the coleslaw salad- KFC style. I've always liked KFC's coleslaw, and so, I tried to imitate that - which I think I did a good job of. It tasted yummy. But hey, you might say I'm biased because I made it. Well, you just gotta try it yourself, won't you now? For the beans... we'll we just had to try this new product. But since it's from the can, we didn't do a whole lot except added sauteed onions and a bit more seasoning to it.

It was a nice celebration. It was like going out to eat, except that we did not spend a lot. Plus, we have leftovers in the fridge
, so I don't have to cook anything for tonight. That's the way I like it! :o)



Recipes will have to follow when I get it from Mr. J..as for now, hope you had a good July 4th celebration as well.