Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Partners with Rouxbe Online Cooking School

I’ve been a member of Rouxbe Online Cooking School since December 2007. And ever since I started my blog, I’ve been sharing some of their video recipes and techniques so you can become a better cook. About a week ago, I’ve just become a Rouxbe Cooking School affiliate partner. I partnered with Rouxbe to help you improve your cooking skills and techniques, to encourage you to cook more at home and to inspire you to bring your passion back in cooking (just in case you lost it).

Here’s a story of how I found Rouxbe.

A few months after my father died, I just wanted to give up on cooking professionally and at that time I am so confused about what I really want in life. And as I was searching through the internet I found Kimberley’s blog sum.ptuo.us who writes about Rouxbe and taking cooking video instructions to a new and higher level. A few months later, Kimberley is now working at Rouxbe Online Cooking School team as co-producer and writer. So, I actually have to thank Kimberley for leading me to Rouxbe. And it was also Kimberley’s blog that slowly helped me get back into cooking by reading her post one at a time. It was also her attention to detail that opened my eyes back to the world of food and cooking. It didn’t happen overnight. It took time for me to bring that passion back.

For some of you who are new to my blog and who are not familiar with Rouxbe Online Cooking School, here’s an inspiring introduction from Joe Girard, one of the co-founders of Rouxbe.


The first video I ever watched was the Chicken Saltimbocca, which is really tempting and from then on I was hooked and I emailed them telling them how I felt about their videos and how it inspired me to cook again. And I also found out that they also partnered with NWCAV (Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver) who are owned by my two former chef instructors. As someone who went to hotel school in Switzerland and culinary school in Canada, I still need help when it comes to improving and mastering those cooking skills and technique that I’ve forgotten how to do most especially if you haven’t worked in a professional kitchen in such a long time. And Rouxbe Online Cooking School has been indispensable in my life. As a member and as a student of Rouxbe, I can watch the cooking lessons anytime I want to.

One of the lessons: The Water Test | Heating the Pan

As part of their affiliate program, I have the power to give you a free, full-access, no-videos-barred, 14-day pass to their site. All you have to do is go to the Rouxbe Online Cooking School and redeem the 14-day Gift Membership. After the trial, you can join for as little as $15 per month; however, there is no obligation. Remember, I even went to cooking school to become a professional cook and despite of all the trainings I received, cooking is not the same without world’s first-ever online cooking school, which is Rouxbe.


So, what are you waiting for?

Love and light,





Saturday, April 24, 2010

Guest Post: Kare Kare (Ox Tail and Peanut Stew)


Kare Kare is one of the Filipino dishes that are loved by many Filipino people. You either have to be brave or a Filipino to try Kare Kare. But the world’s palate has changed and people are willing to try anything. Kare Kare is not your everyday food unless you order them at restaurants and use a ready to use sauce mix. But after making it a few times, I just realized it’s not so difficult to make it at all.

Rasa Malaysia is one of the authorities in Asian cuisine on the web today. If you’re looking for great Asian recipes, Rasa Malaysia is the site to visit and you’ll find recipes with sensational and brilliant photography. The brainchild of Rasa Malasyia is no other than Bee Yinn Low who also writes for Nyonya Food and an Asian recipe column for InSing.com. Bee is currently working on her first cookbook which is due Fall 2011.

When Bee of Rasa Malaysia invited me to do a guest post about Filipino food, I thought she made a mistake. But no, she didn’t. It’s clear enough that the message is especially for me. I am honored to be invited by Bee to contribute a Filipino classic to the biggest independent Asian recipe site on the net. I hope I did justice to the classic Kare Kare.

Check out my post and recipe at Rasa Malaysia and read the story why I chose Kare Kare as my contribution to her site.

Love and light, 



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Sunday, April 18, 2010

International Pizza Pie Incident: Breakfast Pizza


My friends from Les Roches are aware that I have a huge appetite. Coming from a tropical country, you can just imagine how hungry I am most of the time when I stayed in Switzerland for 10 months. Les Roches is located at the heart of Bluche, Crans Montana and there’s a restaurant called Saint Nick’s which serves one of the best Spaghetti aux Moules. They also have some great pizzas and one of them is Pizza Capricciosa. During our mid-term break, a trip to Italy is definitely part of the plan. Back then, I wasn’t really keen on what food I ate nor do I take photographs of every dish that goes through my mouth. But I definitely want to go back to Italy again. I really can’t remember the foods that I’ve eaten in Rome and Tuscany except for pastas and pizzas. And I do vividly remember that I finished about one and one-half large size pizza (on top of the other foods) and was actually hesitant to finish the other half but some of them are aware that I actually want to finish it.

For this International Pizza Pie Incident, I’m supposed to make pizza Rustica but due to time constraints I wasn’t able to plan ahead of time. Although I don’t have a specific recipe, my theme for this pizza incident is breakfast pizza. Maybe even a breakfast pizza party for Penny’s (our host) birthday who is celebrating her special day tomorrow, or better yet a grilled pizza party. You can use any ingredient you like because the most important part of the recipe is the pizza crust. Just remember to add the egg. My friend Jehan mentioned that she had a rectangular-shaped thin-crust pizza rolled with arugula and alfalfa sprouts in one of the restaurants in Metro Manila. So, I’m also including that in the recipe. If your pizza dough is thin enough, you can fold it in half in between the alfalfa and the arugula, and eat it like sandwich. And watch the egg yolk oozes out from the dough.


I still like my pizza thin and crusty (and rustic) instead of thick and doughy.  I’m going to keep mine simple and focus on the dough which is easy to make and you might want to try different recipes until you find the one that you really like. Let me encourage and entice you to make your own pizza dough with this video from Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Make sure to read the recipe and the notes for better results.


I saw a pizza dough recipe from Yummy Magazine with beer added to it, so I gave it a try. But there is something wrong with the recipe and I have to add 2 more cups of additional flour and ½ cup of semolina flour before it became a dough.  I am still happy with the results even if my oven is not suitable for it. On top of that, it is really a cruel summer to make the dough. A pizza stone is normally use in baking pizzas which I don’t have so I have to use a different method. I’m happy with the outcome of the dough except that it didn’t have the crusty-on-the-edge texture I’m looking for. But it was good. Maybe next time, I’ll use more beer and less water, milk and maybe even less yeast. And substitute it with healthier flours or even make it gluten free. And some chopped fresh herbs added to the dough would be great too.


I like my pizza rustic with a little bit of irregularity in its shape. But here's a video technique from Rouxbe Online Cooking School on how to shape it.


Breakfast Pizza

Makes 8-12 pizzas (depending on your appetite)

Pizza Dough (recipe and procedure slightly adapted from Yummy Magazine and  Rouxbe Online Cooking School )
¼ cup lukewarm water (60 ml)
2 tsp instant dry yeast (10 g)
½ tsp sugar (2 g)
¼ cup beer (60ml) - at room temperature
¼ cup milk (60 ml) - at room temperature
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
1 cup water (225 ml)
4 cups unbleached bread flour or all-purpose flour (500 g)
½ cup semolina flour (100 g)
2 tsp unrefined sea salt (10 g)

Topping
Basic Tomato Sauce
Goat, feta, ricotta or yogurt cheese
Chili and garlic marinated green olives
Parmigianino Regiano, grated
Basil leaves, chopped
Red chili pepper flakes
8-12 eggs

extra flour, to shape the dough
semolina or corn meal for dusting

To serve:
Arugula
Alfalfa sprouts

To make the dough, pour the lukewarm water and the sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and wait until it dissolves. Then, add the beer, milk and olive oil and water and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Add half of the bread and semolina flour and stir to combine. Then add the remaining flours and the salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. With your hands, bring the dough together and turn it out onto a lightly-dusted counter. Knead the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it feels and looks smooth. Lightly coat the dough with oil and place onto large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator to allow the flavor to develop. Before kneading the dough, remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours before shaping it.

At least 30 minutes before making the pizza, place a pizza stone in the oven then preheat the oven to 450ยบ degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a pizza stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan. 

To shape the pizza dough, divide the dough into 8 -12 pieces (depending on your appetite) and cover with damp towel. Dust the counter lightly with flour. Take one piece of the dough and flat into a round while turning and stretching it until nice and thin. Gently transfer the dough on a sheet pan or (pizza peel) that has been sprinkled with semolina or cornmeal.

To assemble the pizza, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the dough. Top with cheese and olives, and sprinkle with parmesan, basil leaves and red chili pepper flakes. Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone or bake directly on the sheet pan. Bake the pizza for about 4 minutes, and then add the egg on top. Bake the pizza for another 5 minutes or until whites are set and the yolks are still runny. You might need to rotate the pan and allow the other side to cook or move the tray at the lower or upper part of the oven.

Once done, transfer to a place and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with arugula and alfalfa sprouts.

Notes:

If you’re not using the all of the dough, divide them into 8-12 parts. Lightly coat the dough with olive oil and place in individual zippered freezer bag. Place the dough in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before you plant to make the pizza, transfer the dough in the refrigerator.


Check out the other pizza creations from other food bloggers:

So, what is your favorite pizza topping? And to Penny, happy birthday!!

Love and light,



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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lessons from Watermelon Kimchi

Last week I had an idea of making a watermelon rind kimchi and here are some lessons that I’ve learned from it just in case you want to make your own:
  • Make sure to cut off the soft flesh from the watermelon rind. The soft flesh will break down very quickly when you ferment them which results in an unpleasant texture. This is what happened when I used regular cucumbers which are peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes. Fermentation process differs from one ingredient to another.
  • This particular type of kimchi is not meant to be stored for longer periods of time. The cell structure of watermelon rind breaks down faster compared to Korean radish. Although they taste better the following day and the day after after, they become soft on the third day. I also have 2 jars of watermelon rind kimchi but I gave the other half to my brother. 
  • Make the watermelon kimchi in smaller batches. 
  • Cut the watermelon rind into larger pieces. 
  • Cut down fermentation time as the kimchi will continue to ferment in the refrigerator.
  • I removed the additional water at the end of the recipe as the watermelon rind will continue to draw moisture out from the watermelon.
If you don't feel like making kimchi out of the watermelon rind, you can also cut them into strips and stir-fry them with chicken, beef or shrimps. They area also great cooked with other grains as a congee.

Would I make this kimchi again? Oh yes, I would.

Did you make yours?

Love and light,





Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Watermelon Rind Kimchi



When I was 7 years old, I attempted to carry a huge watermelon that is sitting on our kitchen countertop. Just like any other curious kid, I carried it anyway although I know it’s going to be heavy. Before I even had the chance to carry with my short arms and small hands, the watermelon just slipped and plummeted onto the ground. And when I looked down, they were split into two. The first thing I did was to cry out loud. My brother was there and he brought me to see dad who was in his room watching television and he told dad what happened. I thought dad’s going to be angry with me but he wasn’t. He understood. That story is a classic.

Last Sunday, my brother John and his family brought us a huge watermelon as his “Easter egg” present for us. Since the temperature is rising, watermelon is a great way to cool down the body. But in Chinese medicine, you’re not allowed to eat it when you are suffering from cough because of its’ warm nature. I would say it’s because of the gritty texture upon swallowing.


I have about 4 ½ pounds of watermelon rind and throwing them away would be a huge waste. You can peel the watermelon by cutting the ends first and peel the skin with a knife or you could cut the watermelon into pieces before you separate the flesh from the rind and peel it. It's just a bit time consuming. I usually juice the watermelon rind along with celery and carrots or cucumber but since my juicer broke down many months ago, I kept the rind in the fridge first. Making pickles out of this rind would be a great way to use it but I ended up making a kimchi out of it. I think it’s another serendipitous moment.

I prepared this kimchi somewhat different from the Napa Cabbage Kimchi. After salting the rind and allowing it to sit for an hour or so, I added the rest of the ingredients without draining or rinsing the watermelon rind. The liquid from the rind will act as a brine for the mixture. I am also using pink Himalayan sea salt for this kimchi which provides added minerals. I forgot to mention from my other kimchi post that it’s important to taste your mixture after you make them. You probably know that already. Then, the following day, you have to taste it again and check whether the kimchi needs to be fermented a little bit longer. That would be according to your taste.




Since the tropical heat can dry our newly laundered wet clothes in just two hours, I fermented my watermelon rind kimchi for just 1 day which is recommended so the rind will be crunchier than the day before. My sister-in-law prefers this one compared to the Napa Cabbage Kimchi because the Watermelon Rind Kimchi is more flavorful and spicier with the addition of Thai chili powder. You can also do the same thing with small cucumber and Korean radish and varying the ingredients by adding some small salted shrimps. I also added some whey (a highly recommend ingredient in lacto-fermented foods) to each bottle so there's enough liquid to cover the mixture. I'll do a post about whey in the future. In the meantime, enjoy this kimchi.



Watermelon Rind Kimchi

Makes enough kimchi to fill about 2 bottles of 500 gram jars

4 ½ lbs watermelon rind
2 tbsp unrefined sea salt

1-inch piece fresh ginger root
5 cloves garlic
6 green onions (Philippine size)
1 small onion (optional)

1/3 cup Korean chili powder
1 tbsp Thai chili powder
2 tbsp honey

To prepare your ingredients, cut watermelon rind into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the salt and toss to combine. Then set it aside for about 1 hour to draw the moisture out of the watermelon rind. Then, peel and grate the ginger, and finely chop the garlic and green onions, and cut the onion into medium dice.

To prepare the kimchi, add the ginger root, garlic, green onion and onions to the bowl with the watermelon rind. Then, add the Korean and Thai chili powder, and the honey. Wear a disposable glove and toss the mixture for about 5 -7minutes. Taste the mixture and add more chili powder or honey according to your taste. Transfer to 2 glass bottles. Cover and leave at room temperature to ferment for one to three days.

Notes:

Gluten-Free; Vegetarian; Dairy-Free (if whey is not used)

A must -read: Lessons from Watermelon Kimchi
  • Make sure to cut off the soft flesh from the rind so that the kimchi will remain its crunchiness.

Enjoy!!

Love and light,


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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Guest Post: Easter Sunday and a White Chocolate Cheesecake



My guest post for Easter Sunday is for Shirley who is the blog author of Enriching Your Kid. Shirley is a mother of two adorable kids who is passionate about healthy foods and healthy living. She also runs another blog called Agape Series where she shares information about skills and development for kids. But Shirley is more than just a food blogger, she is a great friend and a person after God’s own heart.When she asked me to do a post for Easter Sunday, I was actually filled with nervousness but I trust that God is working in and through me.

Easter Sunday has a very important meaning and I want to write something that would touch the heart’s of the readers including mine. I know that many of us have experienced and are experiencing days that seem to be hopeless and the many faces of fears are preventing us to move forward in life. And I am one of those people.

But we need to face life with the promises of God in our hearts and trust that His providential hand and His unconditional love through Jesus Christ will get us through all the way to the finish line. (I know it’s easier said than done). The forces of evil may have triumphed on our dark, bleak and unpromising Fridays… but Sunday is coming. As I write this post, I want my every day to be Easter Sunday because without it and our redemption, there would be no hope left in this world.

Shirley, thank you for your invitation and for being my friend. I appreciate the prayers and support you have given me and for igniting my faith.

Head over to Shirley’s blog Enriching Your Kid and find out more about my Easter Sunday post and my recipe for White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Have a blessed Easter Sunday and the days, weeks, months and years to come. Let your everyday be Easter Sunday.

Love and light,



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