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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

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Whenever there are dinner parties at home, a pasta dish is always a staple. More often than not, it is my penne in cheesy-creamy tomato sauce that I serve and everyone seems to love this.

Just a couple of days ago, I celebrated my birthday and I thought of making this pasta dish again just for convenience. I have made this particular dish countless times, I can even make it with my eyes closed, really 😉

So, as I was walking along the grocery aisle looking for ingredients, I suddenly felt this need to cook something different and new. Searching for inspiration, I went to the the spices section to look for a new flavor profile. There and then, I saw a Cajun seasoning mix.

Looking back during my early college days, whenever my sisters would save up some extra baon and whenever I third wheel with them during their dates, we would go to TGI Friday’s and their Cajun Shrimp and Chicken Pasta is always a must order. Spicy and creamy, I find this simple chicken pasta dish to have one of the most amazing combination of flavors in the world of pastas.

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So after that flashback, I decided to make my own version of this TGI Friday’s classic.

Here’s my recipe:

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I am a believer that life would be more special when everything is served on or in a pie -be it on top of a crispy-chewy dough, or enveloped in a flaky pastry.

This explains why one of my chef-heroes is Andy Bates. He is the Willy Wonka of pies! Check out his pie repertoire -which includes Gumbo Pies and Chocolate Brownie Pies among others- and you’ll drool with his awesomeness.

It is through him where I got the inspiration for this recipe. The original recipe call for puff pastry. I want to make it even more decadent, so I used my all-time favorite pie crust recipe, Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee. You may use your favorite burger patty recipe, too. Although the most common is just a seasoning of salt and pepper, I always add to my ground beef some finely chopped onions and a few teaspoons of worcestershire sauce. You may also choose to add your preferred fixings. It can be as simple as just a plain slice of cheese or you may go crazy with caramelized onions, mushrooms, gourmet cheeses and bacon. Wait… Bacon? Shooot! Why did I forget bacon???

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Moving on… Imagine a juicy patty with all your favorite fixings wrapped in the most perfect, flaky, buttery pastry. I know, you should be making this now.  Here’s the recipe: (more…)

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Alton Brown has this little story to tell:  According to The History of Science and Technology, by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, in 610 AD “…an Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, ‘pretiola’ (“little rewards”)”.  Though there also other accounts on the origin of pretzels, most agree that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by German monks.

Living in the province, the only pretzel I knew then were the Jack ‘n Jill chocolate-covered pretzel sticks. A staple in our canteen, I’d always buy one (when there’s extra baon) during snack time. Moving to Manila for college, I was then introduced to Auntie Anne’s and got semi-obsessed with them. Again, when there’s extra baon, I’d always get some.

This semi-obsesion led me to search for various recipes. Of course, I first tried those claiming to be similar to AA’s. Some yielded great results but mostly were disappointing. Most often than not, I’d end up with great-tasting pretzels that would harden after a few hours. I’ve also tried making a caramel sauce to go with it, similar to that of AA’s.

Going back, I’ve realized that along with brownies, pretzels were actually the first few treats I ever baked.

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It must have been fate when I caught an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats featuring these German treats.  His scientific approach to baking pretzels helped a lot. Learning a lot from that episode, I finally gave up on my Auntie Anne’s quest and settled with his recipe which personally, is way way better.

These pretzels have a crunchy outer skin with a soft bread inside. Dipped in mustard and paired with a cold cold drink, this is probably among my favorite comfort foods. With a minor tweak,  here’s my recipe.

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FINALLY!!! My first post for 2013! And there’s no better recipe to share than my most favorite food in the world -FRIED CHICKEN!

Mind you, this is no ordinary fried chicken, coz after being fried to crispy goodness, it is then tossed in a buttery-garlicky-cheesy sauce!

For followers of my blog, I have already shared one of my favorite fried chicken recipes (here). This one’s equally good, even better, I think. Plus, it’s easier to make. The sauce is sinful, yes, but you’ll get over your guilt once you take a bite of the succulent piece of fried chicken. Not to mention dipping it in a even more sinful dipping sauce.

Ok, I think that intro’s enough, I’m drooling already.

Here’s the recipe.

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Cheesecakes intimidate me. To start with, it’s a sosyal food. Then it’s complicated to make (sort of) because you have to usually cook it in a bain-marie. Also, cream cheese is a bit pricey here in the Philippines. And I’m not really a fan of cheesecakes,  so  I never thought I’d ever make one.

But all of these changed when I chanced upon an episode of Anna Olson’s Fresh on the Asian Food Channel. She made mini lemon meringue cheesecakes and turned a complicated recipe into a simple one. First there was no bain-marie method involved (thank God!) and they were so tiny, so they cook fast. The serving portion is just perfect, and they were so cute to look at. With her recipe, I was determined to make one too.

As fate would have it, last Wednesday, we threw a surprise baby shower for my sister. It was my chance to try out her recipe. However, my sister’s having a baby boy, so color-wise, yellow wouldn’t go well with the theme. It has to be blue! (Last year, I made pink cupcakes for my other sister’s baby shower). So what is a blue cheesecake? Go figure!


Loosely-based on Anna Olson’s lemon meringue cheesecake recipe, here’s my mini blueberry cheesecake recipe: (more…)

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Carbs and cheese? You can’t go wrong with that! It is probably one of everybody’s comfort foods. But as sinfully good  a hot serving of mac and cheese seems, it can be quite boring. So to spice things up -yeah literally!- add some heat! Ok, so carbs, cheese and some heat? Man, we have a winner!

I’ve read a couple of times of how good mac and cheese  with hot sauce is. So when I had to opportunity to make one, I just had to do it. Problem is, on that very same night, I didn’t have hot sauce in the pantry. No Tabasco, not even Mama Sita! Haha! What I saw in the pantry was Sriracha. Perfect! I’ve always preferred Sriracha over Tabasco anyway.

 


For those who are unfamiliar with Sriracha, it is the Asian hot sauce. It is a Thai (I always thought it was Vietnamese) hot sauce  made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Unlike most regular hot sauces, Sriracha is usually tangier and sweeter. Personally, I find Sriracha more robust  in flavor than Tabasco, therefore perfect with my recipe!

And since July 7 is National Macaroni Day, make one today! Here’s my recipe

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Herbed Ricotta Crostinis

Crostinis, which means “little toasts” in Italian, is an hors d’oeuvre consisting of small slices of toasted bread and toppings. Typically, the breads used for making crostinis are French or Italian baguettes. Toppings may include a selection of different cheeses, cold cuts, a variety of meat, and vegetables. It can even go as simple as just a brush of olive oil and a topping of herbs.

In short, crostini is just a fancy name for bread slices that have been brushed with oil, toasted until golden brown and topped with an assortment of, well, toppings.What I really really like about crostinis is that it is so versatile. They make an endless varieties of flavor-packed, and easy to make appetizers. Heck, you can even use leftover pan de sal! 🙂

Case in point…

Last Monday, I made fresh ricotta for a lasagna recipe that I was trying out. This left me with some unused ricotta. Good thing, there was a day-old French baguette sitting on the corner. So I grabbed the baguette, sliced and toasted ’em, then topped them with ricotta, salt, pepper and a generous sprinkle of my favorite Italian seasoning. By the way, I suggest using day-old breads because they ate more dry than freshly-baked breads; thus easier to toast or grill. And for those who are not familiar with Italian seasoning, it is just a mixture of classic Italian herbs like marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and basil. This savory herb mixture contains all the flavors of Italy  that you can easily  and quickly use to season any dish. Anyway, I didn’t know at first that the little toasts I made are called crostinis until I saw a recipe in an Italian cookbook I was browsing through.

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