Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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No matter how much I wanted to be happy and excited to share this uber deliciously-perfect recipe of my Chips Ahoy copycat cookie, I can’t help but feel sad that I could not enjoy this treat as much as I want to (insert 100 sad faces here).

The worst thing that could happen to a person who loves to cook is to get sick and needs to be in a strict no-sugar-no-fat diet. I’m not sick but I’ll be in trouble if I won’t cut back on sat and trans fat as well as on sugar. I have to watch what I eat. Period. I cannot elaborate much about it. All I could say is that my blood analysis was not as clean as it has to be.

Ok.

This classic cookie treat is one of the world’s favorites. I failed on many attempts to make this cookie because I always end up with runny, extra soft if not cranky cookies I even gave up trying. But yesterday, as I was contemplating on making Tiramisu and the will to quick shop for ingredients, I thought about baking almond cookies. I browsed the internet for a perfect dough but there are hundreds if not thousands of websites claiming that their cookie dough is the best cookie dough you could ever find. Now that’s confusing.

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Since I am not very good in pastries and baking, I didn’t have a choice but to experiment and yes, find the best almond cookie photo on Google images. But as I surf through everything, I can’t help but drool over the chocolate chip cookies photos and the next thing I know, I was already foraging my kitchen for ingredients. Luckily (or unluckily for my blood sugar’s sake), I found it all.

There are still thousands of recipes to choose from. Some suggests to let the dough inside the fridge for over 24 hours. Some suggests to brown the butter before creaming the sugar for it will give a nutty texture. I told myself I would look for something that I could experiment with. Meaning, I will whip my Chocolate Chip Cookies according to at least 5 recipes I found, make a right combination of ingredients and well, try that dough-chilling thingy if it really works.

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Ingredients:

  • 150 gram unsalted butter; soften in room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 cup chocolate chip + more; I used what remained from the Chocolate Crinkles.

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Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F oven and prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment.

2. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and corn starch in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

3. Using the electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and continue mixing until fully incorporated.

4. Add flour gradually into the mixture and beat well to fully combine. Once you have a sticky fully incorporated dough, stir in your chocolate chip using a spatula.

5. Cover the dough and chill inside the fridge for about 30 minutes.

6. Slightly oil your hands and scoop a tablespoonful of dough. Roll it into a ball and place onto the cookie sheets in 2-inch distance with each other. In a regular cookie sheet, you can place about 12 cookies.

7. Press your dough half-way using a fork to flatten it. Not sure why I did this. Maybe because I want my cookies to be exactly in a nice flat-round shape.

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8. Add 3 or more chocolate chip to your individual cookie dough by slightly pressing it down.

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9. Bake one sheet in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Rotate the sheet between baking to make sure your cookies are evenly baked. Whatever happens, do not bake it more than 10 minutes. Bake the other sheet when the first one is done.

10. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the cookie sheet before transferring into a wire rack to cool completely.

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10. Store in a lid-tight cookie jar and keep until 2-3 weeks. (if there will be leftovers, I doubt it)

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The result? Perfect Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s soooo chocolatey, the dough is not super sugary-sweet, the edges are cookie crumby but the center remained smooth and delicious. Maybe some prefer the soft kind of cookie but me, I want that Chips Ahoy texture. Though I didn’t exactly achieve that consistency, not to brag or anything, I was able to bake one of the best choco chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.

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So, that’s how I made my first time ever yummy-iest Choco Chip Cookies! No fuss. So quick and easy. I didn’t have to bear the agony of 24 hours of waiting for the dough. I’m not quite sure if there will be a huge difference if I didn’t chill it for 30 minutes. Nevertheless, it’s too sinful to eat but too sinful not to divulge. Hope you’ll give this a try soon while I, will pretend that I still have that runny and cranky cookies inside my cookie jar right now.

Fish Coconut Milk Curry: Faking it again!

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It’s Sunday and I was supposed to be out to unwind somewhere near Tel-Aviv beach or strut the whole street of Dizengoff. But I decided to stay home and cook. I was caught up between a long overdue defrosted Nile Perch inside my fridge and the boring thoughts of eating another oven-baked fish. And since it’s quite cooler today, I craved for something spicy. I thought about making chicken curry but my chicken was rock-frozen inside the freezer. So, I came up with a brilliant beyond brilliant idea of making fish curry instead.

Now, let me tell you that there are authentic fish curry recipes out there. If you are looking for Indian or Thai Fish curry with original spices from God knows where, then this recipe is not for you. I am more than contented of the outcome of my fish curry even if I only used a couple of local ingredients I found inside my cupboard. In short, /me whispers “this is one of those fake recipes I love to share”. Maybe I should make one category for that. He he!

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Panyang and I are suffering from Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease and today is the day that we badly need our Losec. We love spicy food but we’re both afraid that we might end up in the hospital after lunch. I just prayed that our stomach will behave today so we can enjoy this Fish Coconut Milk Curry and thank God, we both even enjoyed a glass of melon smoothie after our sumptuous lunch.

 So, this recipe was adapted from Steamy Kitchen but of course, I altered one or two ingredients because that’s all I have at home. It turned out more than yummy than I expected it to be. Panyang enjoyed it with her ever reliable Polenta, and I couldn’t resist but steam a cup of Basmati Rice.

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Ingredients:

  • half a kilo skinless and boneless fish fillets; mine was a little more than half a kilo of Nile Perch
  • 2 tbsp. Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp. Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili Paste
  • 1 red onion; grated
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 ripe tomato; diced. I used about a cup of peeled canned tomatoes
  • 1 and 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 fresh chili peppers
  • cooking oil

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

1. Make sure your fish is clean and dry by patting it with a paper towel. Cut into 2-inch pieces. I cut it a bit bigger because I don’t want it to shred apart in case I accidentally overcooked it.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and throw in your onion. Saute for about a minute and add your garlic and ginger. Continue cooking in medium-low heat for about 5 minutes to bring out the smell and flavor of ginger.

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3. Add the tomato and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Press-smash the tomato with the spatula to break it and form a bit of a paste. Add your coriander, curry powder and chili paste. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for another minute to bring out the aroma of the spices.

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4. Pour in your coconut milk and 1 chili pepper (slit in half) and simmer in medium-high heat.

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5. When it starts to boil, add the brown sugar and fish. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. DO NOT OVERCOOKED THE FISH. Adjust your seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary.

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6. Transfer into a serving bowl and garnish with raw chili pepper (for presentation purposes only). Serve with Polenta or Rice or Mashed Potato.

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So this is my Fish Coconut Milk Curry inspired but not copied. It’s super delicious believe me. It was not very spicy since I mellowed down on my chilies. But as I always say, the degree of flavor will always vary on how you want it to be. I guess you can make Curry Shrimps with the same set of ingredients too. For Chicken or Pork curry, I suggest to throw in some potatoes and carrots to expand the flavor.
So, I hope you’ll give this a try soon and don’t forget to share how it went. Happy Sunday guys.. Hello Monday tomorrow. Shame! :(

Garlic Parm Hot Wings

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The washing machine broke down, I had to deal with the overflowed water all over the place. I had to do the ironing and accidentally made a burn stain on Panyang’s blouse. I’m a bit under the weather today but forced to clean my room because I spilled a cup of vinegar on the floor because I was trying to fix the stain on Panyang’s blouse. What the HELL?! It’s like the universe conspired to smack me with a huge fly swatter today. I’m over exhausted it feels like I’m going to pass out anytime soon.

But that didn’t stop me from making this delicious Garlic Parm Hot Wings. I told myself, “at least eat something good ok? (and blog about it)”. It was 12:30pm when I suddenly realized that I have nothing to eat for lunch. The Fried Flat Noodles from yesterday was just enough for Panyang to eat. So, to buzz beat the time, I started to make my forever favorite chicken wings. I was running out of time so I didn’t have the chance to photo-docu’ the step by step instructions. But, this recipe is too simple to make and I guess photos aren’t necessary.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo Chicken Wings; tipped and cut in two
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. (or more) chili paste/sauce ; u can use Tabasco
  • salt and pepper
  • dried oregano and thyme

Instructions:

 

  1. Put your chicken wings in a big deep bowl where there will be plenty of room to mix.
  2. Using your mortar and pestle, mash the garlic witha little salt to form a paste. You can also do this using your food processor by combining oil, little salt and garlic then process to form a paste.
  3. Transfer your garlic paste into the bowl of chicken wings. Throw in chili flakes, oil, chili sauce/paste, dried herbs and half of Parmesan. Season with salt and lots of peppers. Mix well until fully incorporated.
  4. Throw in the other half of the Parmesan and mix again.
  5. Transfer your seasoned wings to a foiled and oiled baking dish. Make room for every piece of wings. Sprinkle each piece with more grated Parmesan.
  6. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 30-35 minutes or until wings turned golden brown.
  7. Let it cool down for about 5 minutes while preparing a mayo-mustard dip. Transfer to a plate and serve.

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I usually love to put this longer inside the oven to have a little burnt texture. It makes the skin crispy and juicy. As to how spicy it can be, you can always adjust your chili paste or sauce and your pepper.

So, this is my consolation after a day of unfortunate events. I hope you’ll give this a try soon. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner and maybe for late night movie marathon with your family or friends. Have a nice weekend everyone. :)

Fried Flat Rice Noodles: Not So Malaysian

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I have this habit of thawing or defrosting things from the freezer a couple of days before I actually cook it. That’s because I don’t like the water-soaking technique on frozen stuff. I also detest room temperature defrosting so I usually defrost it inside the refrigerator.

Today, after my early self-inflicting pain (scheduled myself for my annual flu shot), I went home and rummaged the kitchen for something to whip for lunch. Lo and behold, I found 1 chicken breast, 2 small slices of liver and a small square piece of pork prolly from the previous dishes I cooked. The good kind-heart-ed alien inside me said “there are many unfortunate people in this world who cannot afford to eat a decent meal, don’t throw your food away”. And I was like, “Hoowkey?! So what will I do with all these pieces of different meat?

Make a noodle!

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Lads and Gents, before anything else, I would like to say sorry to my Malaysian/Singaporeans/Chinese readers because I almost ruined your famous Char Kway Teow. This post should be with that title but I’m too ashamed to even call this dish CKT! (face palm!).

A few days ago, after following Spicytones food blog, I decided to make Char Kway Teow. I found the flat rice noodles in the supermarket but couldn’t find Tofu. The noodle craving had been set aside until I could find Tofu in this so provincial place called Petah Tikva. And today, with all due respect to this amazing dish, I decided to make it with my raw meat leftovers. No, I didn’t include the liver because I thought it will be too much and too mushy (and too shameful).

So, a bit nervous and at the same time hungry, I soaked my rice noodles in a deep bowl of water and waited for it to get softer. 20 minutes after, my rice noodles were still  hard rice noodles (again, face palm). There are so many stressful things in this world!!. Anyhooo, I decided to cook the rice noodles in boiling water and cold rinse it. It turned out fine and I was able to make my fake CKT.

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Ingredients:

  • 250 grams dry flat rice noodles; should be soaked overnight or you can soak it in lukewarm water for I guess, 1 hour or until soft.
  • 50 grams of bean sprouts
  • 50 grams cabbage; supposed to be Chinese cabbage; thinly sliced
  • a handful of celery; chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic; chopped
  • about a 1 and 1/2 cup of cubed chicken breast and pork meat
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. spring onion; chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chili paste
  • salt and pepper
  • a bit of hot water
  • a tsp. of sesame oil

 

 

 

Instructions:

1. Cook your flat rice noodles in a pot of boiling water until soft. Drain and cold-rinse with tap water. Drain well and set aside.

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2. Prepare your big deep wok by heating a bit of olive oil. Throw in your cubed chicken and pork tidbits. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook on high heat for about 7-10 minutes or until pork meat is tender enough. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

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3. Using the same wok, on high heat, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Throw in your garlic when your oil is steaming hot and saute (or shake the wok) until golden brown. Add chili paste and mix but take a bit of precaution because your wok is too hot. Add your soft rice noodles and stir fry it until well coated with garlic, chili and oil.

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4. Add soy sauce and mix well by shaking your wok continuously. Add the cabbage, celery, bean sprout and cooked meat. Mix well with 2 wooden spoons and shake your wok from time to time until everything is fully incorporated. Add a little hot water if it’s too dry.

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5. Drizzle with sesame oil and mix. Make a small well in the middle and crack in the eggs. Wait for the eggs to be slightly cooked before mixing it with the noodles.

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6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You have to be careful with your salt because the soy sauce is salty enough but you can be generous with your pepper. I love noodles with lots of ground pepper.

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7.  Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with spring onions and serve with lemon wedges.

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I know there are jaws that dropped way too low because of what I did to this recipe but, believe it or not, it’s EFFIN’ DELICIOUS!!! If you are looking for authentic Char Kway Teow, then this recipe is not for you. Authentic Penang CKT main ingredient is shrimps and not chicken or pork meat. It can be with Tofu too if you want a pure vegan noodle. But nevertheless, my experiment turned out delicious and I enjoyed it very much. The only consolation I could give to our dear Malaysian friends is … I ate this with chopsticks … for about 3 minutes … Well yeah of course, I ate the rest with the super convenient fork because I noticed that I could not pick a single noodle thread with my chopsticks.

I hope you’ll give this a try or make your own because this dish is to versatile that you can throw in almost everything. Thanks Panyang for bolstering me that I didn’t mess up this dish at all. *whispers “She finished a big bowl of it and asked for more, shhhh”.

Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Peas and Mushrooms

I am deeply devastated with what happened in the Philippines yesterday. A 7.2 magnitude quake hit the country and the epicenter was in Bohol, a province of beauty and rich culture and the worst, it’s just an island away from my province. Ak! I was worried for my family and love ones but by God’s mercy, they were safe. Up to this moment, they are still having aftershocks and the government put them in a state of calamity. Please pray for my countrymen’s safety.

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And because I was too stressed yesterday, I felt the need to cook something. Cooking is one of the few things that makes me forget the world. It’s taking me to Neverland where I’m calm and at peace. I love to read as well (reminds me that I have loads of books and ebooks to read).

I found some frozen shrimps inside the freezer and thought about making another Pasta in Shrimp and Vegetable Sauce but decided to look for some pasta-shrimp recipe online. I stumbled upon cookingwithcoley.com‘s recipe of Cajun Shrimp Pasta and started rummaging my kitchen for ingredients. Fortunately, I found everything except for prosciutto which is just an optional ingredient. The recipe turned out super delicious without prosciutto.

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I followed almost all the ingredients but totally altered Coley’s method of cooking it. I wanted mine to be more half-done compared to her. After all, almost all the ingredients are pre-cooked and requires a minimum time to get done. Except for the shrimps of course but still, a minute or two of saute`-ing is enough to cook it.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes; halved
  • 1 can whole champignon mushrooms; halved
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 1 small onion
  • 6 cloves garlic; chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. shrimps; cleaned and deveined
  • 1 tsp. of Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • olive oil
  • 225 g.  Fusilli Pasta or any pasta you love
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; grated

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

1. Cook your pasta according to package instructions. Drain well. Drizzle with little olive oil, keep warm, cover and set aside.

2. Using a large pan, saute onion in a tablespoon of butter until translucent. Add your garlic and saute` for another minute. Add your shrimps and season with Cajun seasoning. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until shrimps started to turn pink.

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3. Throw in your tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes until shrimps are totally cooked.

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4. Add the white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes and let everything cook with it. Let the wine reduce in half then add your frozen peas and light cream.

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5. Turn off heat and add your Fusilli Pasta. Mix well. Some of the liquid will be absorbed by the pasta. Add your basil leaves and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper and mix well.

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6. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and sprig of basil. I was trying to copy Coley’s grated Parmesan so I used my coconut grater to have that long strips of Parmesan cheese. :D

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*I don’t want my tomatoes to get crushed so I didn’t allow it to get overcooked. I love the spring-y effect of this dish even if it’s already fall season here in Israel. It turned out yummy and fresh. I didn’t have that mushy texture of tomatoes so the shrimps flavor was highlighted. I hope you’ll give this a try soon. Don’t forget to hit back and leave a comment. Thank you.*

Fish Fillets Filled with Spinach and Almond Flakes

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I found 2 Carp Fish Fillets inside the freezer the other day and I had no idea what to do with it. I wanted to eat something from the oven since I was too lazy to do anything at all. Slices of lemon, salt, pepper, a dash of cumin, pop into the oven and Voila!, set for lunch. But, I was also desperate to have something for the blog site so I dragged my lazy bu** out from my bed and started looking for something to copy from the internet because I cannot blog about my 15 minute fish popping method. It’s sooooo self-explanatory and everyone can do that.

Back to my internet hunt, I found an interesting recipe from http://www.theepochtimes.com. It’s Fish Fillets Filled with Spinach and Pine Nuts. I realized that I used all the pine nuts for my Pasta Pesto and I need to go for a quick shop for me to make the recipe. But then again, I figured that I can choose different variations for the filling and I’m not limited to pine nuts. I was enormously happy when I found almond flakes inside my cupboard. Yey!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Fish Fillets; you can use Bass, Tilapia or any thin fresh boneless (at all) fish fillets. (I used Carp but I don’t really recommend it because it has too many small fish bones)
  • 2 tbsp. almond flakes
  • about 500 g. Fresh Spinach;  stems removed and washed well
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • hot paprika or chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • green herbs to garnish; can be basil, dill, parsley or oregano

For the Sauce:

  • 4-5 tbsp. of Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. chili paste or sliced peppers; optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic; chopped
  • olive oil

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

2. Using a pan, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the almond flakes and toast slightly. Add the spinach leaves and cook for about 2 minutes or until the leaves are soft but not overcooked.

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3. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and set aside to cool down.

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4. Place the spinach filling over each fillet (skin side). Roll it from one end to the other. Place it in an oven-proof dish with the end down to prevent it from rolling back or you can seal it with a toothpick to make sure.

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5. Pour some olive oil over the fish. Season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Sprinkle some hot paprika or chili flakes. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. You have to check from time to time. Do not overbake to avoid drying out the fish.

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6. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small pan, heat olive oil and saute` the garlic and sliced peppers (if you have) for about a minute. Pour in tomato sauce and chili paste and simmer for about 5-6 minutes in low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

7. I wanted some rocket salad with this so I prepared a bowl of it with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

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7. When your fish is done. Place a handful of rocket salad on a plate. Transfer your filled fish on top of it. Pour some tomato chili sauce over the fish and top with chopped combination of herbs. I put parsley and basil.

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TIPS:

  • you can totally omit the rocket salad but I personally love the tangy taste of balsamic vinegar against the fish and its chili sauce.
  • you can serve this with rice, mashed potato or any salad.
  • I recommend to use other white thin fish instead of Carp Fish.
  • You can use sliced mushroom, tomatoes, onions or leeks instead of pine nuts or almond flakes.
  • of course, you can omit the sliced peppers or chili paste if you don’t like anything spicy.

*You will enjoy the different textures and kicks of spices in this simple fish dish. I cannot say this is easy to prepare but I believe everyone can do it. It requires a bit of an effort but it will be worth it because it’s yummy and it’s healthy. I hope you’ll give this a go for your dinner later or tomorrow. Enjoy!*

Chicken Schnitzel: The Israeli Way

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It was 7 years ago when I came to Israel and the first thing my employer asked when I came to her was, “Do you know how to cook?” And I was like … “hell yeah!”. Then she told me that there are only 2 things in this world she loves to eat, Chicken Soup and Schnitzel. And I was like “What in seven hell is SCHNITZEL?”

It’s nothing but golden fried crispy chicken breast. It was originally called Wiener Schnitzel, a traditional Viennese Cuisine made from escalopes of veal coated with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. But it became popular in Israel when European Jews started to migrate here. The recipe evolved and people eventually learned to love chicken, fish and turkey schnitzel instead of veal. Today, you can seldom find a restaurant here in Israel that doesn’t include chicken schnitzel on their menu list. It’s so popular that you cannot even find a single foreign caregiver who doesn’t know how to make one. Even in supermarkets, when you want to buy chicken breasts, you usually ask for “a kilo of schnitzel” instead of “a kilo of chicken breasts”. It’s usually pre-pounded and thin enough to coat and fry.

However, there are many methods on how to make Chicken Schnitzel. Most of the restaurant follow the Kosher way of making one. The not-so Jewish folks (like me) do it the other way. But either, Chicken Schnitzel is one of the best way to cook chicken breasts. It’s juicy, crispy, perfect pair for french fries and of course, kids love it. It’s more like chicken nuggets but way bigger and flatter.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces chicken breasts; divided into 4 pieces ( I usually slice my chicken breast into 2 parts coz I don’t normally like super wide piece of schnitzel).
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk (if you want kosher then you have to omit the milk of course)
  • Panko breadcrumbs (or whatever breadcrumbs you want)
  • plain flour
  • sesame seeds; optional
  • salt and pepper
  • hot paprika
  • canola cooking oil

Instructions:

1. If your chicken breasts are not pre-pounded from the supermarket, you need a mallet to pound the chicken meat. Place a long plastic wrap on your countertop or chopping board. Place the chicken on top of it and cover with another plastic wrap. Pound the meat until they are about a quarter of an inch thick.

2. Season with salt, pepper and hot paprika then set aside inside the fridge.

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2. Prepare 3 shallow bowls and 1 empty plate. One with your beaten eggs plus milk, one with flour plus some salt and one with bread crumbs plus sesame seeds and a little ground pepper. The other extra plate is where you will place your well-coated chicken breast before frying.

3. Dip your chicken breasts one by one into your 3 bowls. First with beaten eggs, then with flour, back to your beaten eggs then finally with your Panko breadcrumbs. Coat well and set aside using your empty plate.
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4. Heat your oil in a pan in medium-low heat. Wait until it’s hot enough but not smoking hot for it will burn your crumbs in no time. Fry your coated chicken breasts not more than 2 pieces at a time. It will only take about 2-3 minutes to cook per side because the meat is very thin. Make sure not to overcook your breaded chicken because it will be greasy and tasteless. If the crumbs starts to get golden and sounds crispy against your metal fork, then it’s done.

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5. Transfer into a plate with paper towel to soak off excess oil. Serve with mustard, mayo, or ketchup with your favorite side dish. It could be salad, french fries, rice or mashed potato.
DSC_5145*They usually serve Chicken Schnitzel with lemon and trust me, it’s super yummy with lemon. But then again, you can eat this with anything you want. So that’s how I make my schnitzel and I hope you’ll give this a try. :)*

How To Make A Perfect Polenta

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As promised, here’s a sequel to my Pork Stew from Foodwishes’ video blog. Today, I will teach you how to make a perfect Polenta. Polenta is a cornmeal boiled into a porridge and usually paired with almost everything. But the thing is, you’ll end up eating raw cornmeal if you don’t know how to make it. It’s so simple to make a perfect Polenta but, people are hesitant to make one because they thought it will require too much time laddle-ing and dealing with the molten lava cornmeal bubble. Actually, NO. If you know how to regulate your heat, you will never have to deal with burns and occasional curses. There are regular quick cook cornmeal that you can find in any supermarkets. If you want instant Polenta, you can go for this. But I don’t think the quality and texture will be as good as the usual.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Polenta
  • 4 cups water (you can use chicken broth)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Boil water with a teaspoon of salt. Using a whisk, gradually add the Polenta into the boiling water while whisking. To avoid serious lumps, you have to pour in the Polenta slowly and steady into the boiling water. Keep on stirring and make sure you have no cornmeal lumps.
  2. Turn your heat to low and continue stirring until Polenta starts to thicken.
  3. In a steady low flame, cover your Polenta and cook for about 30 minutes with occasional stirring every 5-6 minutes in between. Cover-stir-cover-stir.
  4. Try it and if it’s not yet soft and tender, give it more time to cook.
  5. Once it’s cooked, throw in the butter and grated Parmesan cheese and stir until fully incorporated. Taste for salt.

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         6.  Cover and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

         7.  After 5 minutes, transfer into a serving dish or bowl. Top with a chunk of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese.

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*Now you can serve this with any kind of stew or braises. It’s smooth, tender, delicious and comforting. It doesn’t feel like eating corn at all. I hope you’ll give this a try especially with the Pork Stew I posted earlier. Enjoy*

Pork Stew in Milk But No Milk!

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Ok. This is supposed to be my take on Chef John’s Pork Al Latte but, I don’t understand how in the world I COULD NOT FIND CREME FRAICHE in Petah Tikva? *pissed*

The only consolation I have is the fact that my pork stew turned out delicious even if I settled for my 38% heavy cream instead of creme fraiche. Actually, maiale al latte is an Italian dish of pork cooked and melt-in-your-mouth-tenderized using pure milk. But because Chef John is Chef John, he altered the recipe by using creme fraiche and chicken broth. I intend to follow his recipe but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find creme fraiche here in my place.

Then, because I am ME, I thought about using heavy cream instead. I was not sure it will be this good but I was sure it will be eatable. C’mon! What can be bad with heavy cream? Unless it will curd up like milk. But that’s supposed to be the purpose of this “oh so wrong but taste so right” dish.

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Another thing that made me calm down after my 2 hour quest for creme fraiche was the Knorr pork bouillon I found inside my cupboard. I diluted it in 2 cups of boiling water and use it instead of chicken broth. It brought out the pure taste of pork meat.

I am planning to recreate this recipe both with Chef John’s recipe and the original Italian Maiale Al Latte I found in one of my cookbooks. But for now, let me share to you guys my newest experiment. Believe me, it was so tasty, Panyang and I were able to finish the whole 4 cups of Polenta. Hehe.

And speaking of Polenta, I have a bonus recipe on how to make one in a separate post. (An obvious Chef John’s die-hard fan).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pound pork shoulder, cut in 2-inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic; sliced
  • 1 medium onion; chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or pork broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 strips bacon; sliced in small pieces
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage leaves; chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper.

2. In a heavy pan, heat your olive oil and brown your bacon for about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and set aside leaving the fats in the pan.

3. Set your stove to medium-high and brown your pork chunks in that bacon fat until your pork will have a nice brown crust on it. Approximately about 10 minutes of searing and turning.

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4. Transfer the pork chunks into a plate or bowl. Throw in your onion to de-glaze the pan and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

5. Add 1 cup and a half of the broth (reserve the other half cup if needed) and the heavy cream. Add back the fried bacon and throw in the chopped fresh sage leaves.

DSC_5095DSC_50976. As soon as it starts to simmer, put back your pork chunks into the pan with the accumulated juices and turn your heat to low. Let it simmer for a moment. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the meat is almost tender.

7. Uncover and continue cooking until sauce thickens and turn into a nice gravy and the meat is super duper tender. Add more broth if necessary.

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8. Add the red chili pepper flakes and season to taste. Usually, the broth will give you enough seasoning so you don’t really need to add salt.

9. Serve on top of a well-cooked Polenta and garnish with sprigs of sage. Well of course you can eat this with mashed potato, rice or pasta.

DSC_5119* Chef John did a little frying thing on some Sage leaves to garnish but I was too lazy to do that plus I was very hungry. I really hope you’ll give this a try. It’s another alternative to chicken wine and mushroom gravy or to your traditional Filipino pork adobo. Don’t forget to check out my next post for Polenta recipe. Thank you for visiting my blog :)*

Penne Pasta in Spinach Basil Pesto Sauce

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Sister’s Favorite!

My sister has no clue about cooking in general. It’s not her “cup of tea”. Growing up in a servantless home, I remember her doing all the cleaning and laundry but she didn’t consider the idea of manning the kitchen. It was my territory and remained mine until now. We grew up as her being Cinderelly and I, being the wicked witch who constantly laddle-ing my huge cauldron at the kitchen. However, she loves food as much as I love my new battery-operated grinding mill! Yey!

It was like 2 months ago when Panyang and I saw this on TV while we were watching a cooking show. And we both agreed that it’s very convenient and we should start looking for one to buy. I found one here in a local cooking store in Petah Tikva for only 65NIS (approx. $18USD). It’s actually a pepper grinder with adjustable grinding level. It means, you can adjust how you want your pepper to come out. The thing is, you don’t need to grind it manually. You just need to push that silver button on top and you’ll have your freshly ground pepper in whatever size you want it to be. Well yeah, I’m a sucker for this small irrelevant things. Haha!raw

In the Philippines, we are more into a tomato sauce kind of pasta dishes. We cannot actually visualize pasta in another color or taste. Pasta means sweet tasting spaghetti in red color. (or maybe it was just me because I grew up in a town where we eat spaghetti with ketchup and hotdog tidbits). But then again, things changed when I started to explore the world away from home. I learned a great deal of things when I went abroad 7 years ago and I realized that there are many things in this world that everyone could fully experience.

 DSC_5042As I delve into the world, I learned that pasta in its simplest form can turn into a great meal in different colors and textures. One beautiful thing I discovered was that basil is undeniably good for pasta. The first time I did a pesto sauce was like 5 years ago and it was a hit. It became my sister’s absolute favorite. She’s not so particular with the name. She’s just asking me to make “that yummy green pasta”.

I’ve searched for many recipes online and found several inspirations. Until recently, I was able to make my own set of ingredients. Anyway, everything is just a lame copy of some yummy recipes available. You’ll just eventually learn how to make your own according to your taste. As much as I love Basil, I still love making pasta pesto sauce with spinach than just pure basil. Maybe because I want to feel the garlic. Basil has the tendency to overpower it no matter how many cloves you put in.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach (you can use the frozen ones but make sure to thaw and drain it well before using)
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic; halved (you can add more if you want)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (and some more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 225 grams Penne Rigate Pasta or any kind of pasta

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. To toast the pine nuts, put it in a small pan under low heat and toast by continuously shaking the pan until the pine nuts turns slightly brown. Do not over toast it. DSC_4993

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2. Combine the basil, spinach, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.

3. Add gradually the oil while processing until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a big deep bowl.

5. Pour over your pesto sauce and mix well. You can probably use only a half of the whole pesto sauce for your 225 grams of Penne Rigate.

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6. Transfer into individual warm serving plate. Garnish with some toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and sprig of basil. Serve immediately.

Options:

1. You can serve this with grilled chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper and hot paprika. Sear on a hot grill pan for 2-3 minutes each side depending on the thickness of the meat. Slice in strips and put on top of the pesto pasta.

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2. You can keep the remaining half of the pesto sauce in a tight-lid container and put inside the freezer up to 2-3 months. Thaw and use as sauce for another spinach and pesto pasta dish.

DSC_5028* I hope you’ll give this a try soon. It’s so delicious but not so greasy and intense. It’s lighter than usual pesto sauce except of course, I put more garlic because I love garlic and there’s no such thing as too much garlic in my world. But, you can always adjust the ingredients according to how you prefer it*

I can’t wait to share this to my sister. *Evil Grin*