Kitchen MIshaps and Victories, Restaurant Rants and Raves and a whole lotta wanderlust!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kitschen Chaos: Salads should never be boring!

There are days I actually don't feel like cooking or don't have enough time. I really make an effort to cook at least one real meal a day since it's the only time the entire household sits together to eat. On my super busy days I end up making a salad instead, but of course, I would rather die than make it a boring leaf and vinegar dish. A little effort is still involved when making a salad as a main meal and not as a side dish. If it's the only thing you are eating, it has to be good!

Ok so, here's the latest one I did. It changes every time depending on what ingredients I have. I say be creative and adventurous, and if it sounds good... try it!

Prawn Salad with Pesto Dressing

Ingredients:

For the salad
3 large prawns per person, butterflied
1 packet of salad greens
6-8 small tomatoes, cut into quarters
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
splash of cola

 For the dressing
1 tbsp pesto (I make my own but use ready made if you want)
3 tbsp plain yogurt
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
lemon, to taste

Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto Dressing

Before anything, prepare the tomatoes and dressing because the former needs time to cool and the latter can be stored in the fridge.

  • Put tomatoes in an oven-proof sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook on 350 for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  • Mix all ingredients of the salad dressing and adjust seasoning to taste. Store in fridge until dinner!


Cook your prawns about 20 minutes before you plan to eat, so they can cool down a bit as well before you eat. You want them warm but not hot.

  • Add butter to a pan and saute garlic. Add prawns until cooked and at the last minute, add just a splash of cola. Set aside. 

Assembly time!
Now you can put everything together!

  • A generous portion of greens
  • Dot with roasted tomatoes
  • Add 3 pcs of prawns on top of each salad
  • Drizzle with pesto dressing.
  • Optional: Add shaved Parmesan Cheese!
and voila!
                 Who said salad was boring? :D Enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kitchen Chaos: Tummy Warming Khao Soi

I think today is the perfect day to share my Khao Soi recipe. I've had this about 3 times in the past 2 weeks because I love Thai food, it's so darn comforting and it's delicious. It's a curry noodle soup with so much in it that I usually consider it a meal in itself. Plus, it's SUPER easy to make. The first time I made it, I thought it would take longer than it did but I was done in about 25 minutes. We ended up having a really early dinner that day!

Ingredients:

Egg Noodles (about 100-150 grams per person)
one small red onion, sliced
one white onion, chopped
yellow curry paste (make your own or buy ready made)
red curry paste (make your own or buy ready made)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 kilo of chicken, cut into strips (can be replaced with squid, fish, or whatever else)
1/4 cup sugar snap peas
3/4 can coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
pinch of brown sugar
fish sauce, to taste
coriander
juice of 1/2 lime

Some of these additions are my own. I first tried this at Benjarong at Dusit and it didn't have certain ingredients in it, but that's the fun in cooking- adding what you like and getting rid of what you don't!

Great alternative to instant noodles, and also pretty easy to make!

How to: 

  • Cook egg noodles according to package instructions and divide into 3-4 bowls. Set aside.
  • On low heat, cook red onion until golden brown, set aside.
  • Saute chopped white onion and garlic for a few minutes and add 1 tbs each of yellow and red thai curry pastes.
  • Add 1/2 cup coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Add  chicken (or whatever meat/seafood you prefer)
  • Add chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add sugar snap peas and rest of the coconut milk. Add sugar and fish sauce to taste.
  • Add lime juice and sugar snap peas. Cook for 5 more minutes and pour on top of noodles.
  • Add fried onions and coriander.
  • Enjoy!
Khao Soi with Chicken

Khao Soi with squid balls

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kitschen Chaos: Overnight Oats for a very Good Morning!

OMG It's been 3 weeks since I last blogged. I've been so busy learning how to domesticate myself in areas outside of my kitchen and let's just say that I'm still learning. Also, when your primary job is to write, it's sometimes hard to bring yourself to write some more on your free time because you want to do other things. BUT, I promise to be better at updating! Please forgive me!

To make up for my M.I.A-ness, here's a simple recipe for overnight oats. Every time I post this on Instagram (look for me: ericaparedes) I get tweet requests for the recipe. Well, here it is, super duper easy you'll wonder how you didn't innately know it!

BASIC Overnight Oats recipe is as easy as:

1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/3 cup plain yogurt (or flavored if you wanna mix it up a bit)
1/3 cup milk (any kind, I use soy)

Mix all together and put in the fridge before you sleep.
Wake up and mix in the fun stuff like:

Sliced banana, flax seed and peanut butter

Strawberry preserves and speculoos

Dates, honey and almonds

Strawberry, banana and walnut (Put in a cute jar for cuteness sake!)

There's no limit to what you can do with this! Try your own combos and let me know what's good!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cute Alert: Native Union Pop Phones


Sometimes you really need something that will make you smile. It doesn’t really matter if you need it, or if it serves any real purpose other than amusing you- once in awhile, you just NEED it. So when my Native Union Pop Phone arrived, I was so excited to use it! I knew that I would get second glances from people at the mall or supermarket if my phone started ringing and I answered using this! 
 
As expected, my daughter tried to steal it from me the first day I had it. I let her borrow it sometimes because it’s fun to see her friends in fits of giggles when they use it, but for the most part, it’s MINE! I’ve used it to talk to friends on Skype, on my mobile phone and you can even listen to music with it. It’s a pretty cute, fun and amusing thing to own and friends keep asking where they can buy for themselves.

If you don’t like blue like mine, there’s about 9 other colors to choose from including bubble gum pink, lime green and fire engine red, so regardless of what your personality is like, there will definitely be that will fit your style. They make great presents for friends and family members that can’t live without their cellphones!


Native Union Pop Phones are available at ava.ph

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yummy in my tummy: Ye Dang Korean BBQ

It's pretty easy to miss Ye Dang, a Korean restaurant right outside Metrowalk. I actually never even noticed it before until a friend suggested we try it one particular evening we were feenin' for some K-Town grub. His ex-girlfriend was Korean, and they often visited that place to eat. 

My favorite part about eating Korean food is all the little small plates of food they put in front of you before your meal comes. I always look forward to the potatoes with the sweet sauce, sweet and spicy dilis etc! I'm half full already by the time my food comes hehe!

nomnomnomnom
  And of course, who doesn't love Korean bbq?

Hot coals! Be careful!!!

Pork belleeeehhhh in my belly. This was actually just ok. I ordered it because I wasn't with Abdul so I could. I think I'll stick to beef next time.

Aaaahhh that's better. Always stick to the beef!
Lastly, my favorite form of carbs-noodles!

chapcahe, holla!!!!
I'll be back! Ye Dang Korean BBQ is located at 88 Meralco Avenue, Pasig, TELEPHONE (632) 636.1461

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kitschen Chaos: Father's Day Dinner

Whenever there is a special occasion, you can always count on me to cook. I prefer to show my love through a full, happy tummy and satisfied smiles rather than giving something wrapped in a box. This Father's Day was no different, but at the same time, it was special because first of all, my entire family was together and second, I hosted it in my new apartment.

I only had 2 hours to cook as I only had time to go grocery shopping on the afternoon of. The trick in the kitchen is to plan your course of action and never panic.

Here's how our night went:

Cooking cooking cooking!

Making Beef with asparagus

Magic Sing. I swear our neighbors hate us already.

Mio and extended family and my oldest friend, Gina. We've known each other since we were 7!
  Dinner was a four course affair including a starter. Gina and my sister both brought dessert!

Originally, I was supposed to wrap the beef around the asparagus. I realized I didn't have serving dishes yet so no space, and second, the beef was all different lengths so some wouldn't hold. Oh well.

Since the fam was still on a Cambodia high, I made amok chicken :)

My favorite combination lately has been bagoong and honey or brown sugar- I used both in this dish.

When under time pressure, don't panic! It'll turn out ok!

Gina's contribution!

  My family will all be separated again as my brother goes home first today, my sister next week and my mom in July. These moments are really becoming more and more precious as we get older. 

My little family in our new home!

I love these people to death. Happy father's Day!

The two bunsos!

Hope your Father's Day was heartwarming!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Traveling Tummy-Cambodia Day 3

On our last day in Siem Reap, I skipped the sightseeing and decided to take a Khmer cooking class. Like I said before, I didn't always enjoy the food there but this trip made me change my mind a little bit-especially with the amok chicken I ate for three days straight. It's now my new favorite food and I've been using my home made amok paste in my kitchen the past couple nights.

You'll be able to find a lot of places to learn how to cook, specially on Pub Street, but a friend recommended Le Tigre de Papier, so I went with that. Put aside about 3 hours to make a starter and a main while they provide dessert. The class starts with a tour of the wet market section of the Old Market. I lasted about 10 minutes before I saw a huge rat and panicked. I know that this doesn't make this whole cooking class business sound very enticing but believe me, there are rats in ANY food market you will go to, specially a wet market in a developing country so don't let this stop you.

Thankfully, all our ingredients came from the restaurant and not bought from the market. I breathed a sigh of relief lol

I decided to make amok chicken as my main + fried spring rolls as my starter.

The wet market at the Old Market

The taste of Cambodia-> shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, chili, kaffir lime


Filling for the spring rolls included taro, sweet potato, carrots and shrimps

Finished product-fried spring rolls + Amok chicken= yumminess!

Afterwards, my family picked me up and we went to a Buddhist temple to get "our futures told" Though not really tarot cards or palm reading, we were able to experience our cards being read by elders and monks. 

You can buy animals such as turtles and birds to give as offerings (you release them later on) Look at this poor guy running for his life.


Choosing a card. My future is bright <3 (if it's not good, they won't read it to you!)

A monk in his saffron robe

Ananda offering her incense after her prayer

Lastly, we went to Artisans d'Angkor, a school that teaches its students how to master a particular craft, be it textiles, painting, wood work or silver, among other things. Worth a visit for some (more expensive but better quality) souvenirs!

The silk process

Student at work

Worth a visit!

Last meal was Cambodian Barbecue. So-so. Make your meal a bit more special by going somewhere else (we did have crocodile and frog meat here though)


That's it Cambodia. See you again soon! I love you so much!