Friday, September 28, 2012

Lasagna Cheese Soup

This recipe is from the founder of, Jane DeLaney. It is for Lasagna Cheese Soup! I have attached the image as well. Let me know if you need anything else or if you are able to feature it :) It's tasty. 

Came the email that I received today from Abby who works at  I thought it was a perfect timing as I was going to work on a post today. I was particularly thinking of sharing a soup dish. Well, with fall in full swing; cooler nights and shorter days, all you want to do is to get cozy with a fuzzy blanket maybe?  or better yet with a warm bowl of soup. How else can I not share this recipe?  

So here my friends is a recipe that you and I should try.  By the looks of it, it's definitely a must try. Thank you for sharing.  Check out their cool website for more recipes and weekly dinner menu.  Happy Friday

1 lb ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (32 oz) box chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broken lasagna noodles (1 inch pieces)
1 (5 oz) package shredded parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot, combine ground chuck, onion and garlic; cook over med-high heat for 8=10 minutes or until beef is browned and crumbly. Drain well.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add noodles and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in cheese.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Surprise Me | Curry Dusted Crispy Chicken and Taters

Surprise me!

These are two words that my husband loves to say, when he calls me from work, and I ask him  "What do you want for dinner?"  It's also code for "make me something special" or "I would like to grab some beer and watch the game before dinner." And if you have been married like me for almost 25 years, you know how to read those cryptic messages like clues written in an easy crossword puzzle.

When I hear these words, I dart to my kitchen, and tweak the original plan of what's for dinner.  Just like tonight, I was going to make Chicken Curry, but his statement "surprise me" challenges me to make something "fun".  Something out of the ordinary yet recognizable.

"Hmm  deconstructed chicken curry?"  he infers while nibbling his first bite.

"You recognize the flavors" I triumphantly replied.

And you bet when I saw the tapping of his fingers and nodding of the head... these were clear signals that I succeeded in bringing something new to our dinner table. Enjoy!

Curry Dusted Crispy Chicken and Taters

6 pcs chicken thigh fillets (you may use chicken breast)

2 medium potatoes, quartered
1 medium carrots, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

For breading:

1 c flour
salt &pepper
2 tbsp curry powder  (well adjust this according to your preference)
salt and pepper to taste

Season chicken fillets, potatoes and carrots with salt and pepper. Set aside

Fill a large skillet (cast iron is best) about half full with vegetable oil. Heat the oil at 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, roll the chicken pieces into the breading. Shake off excess flour. Drop 5-6 pieces into the hot oil. Make sure there's enough space to stir the chicken. Deep fry it until golden brown. Drain the fried chicken. It should be crispy goden brown.

Repeat the above procedure for the potatoes and carrots.

For the gravy:

1 tbsps. cooking oil
1 cloves of garlic
1 small onions, chopped
1 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/4 c chicken stock
1-2 tbsps curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 c coconut milk
1/2 inch ginger/garlic paste

In a pan, saute onions until golden brown.  Add tomatoes  and saute until oil separates. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir.  Spice up using the curry powder; I like to make my curry rich and flavorful so I used around 1 1/2 table spoons.  You may want to add 1 table spoon first and adjust according to your taste. Add coconut milk and let it boil and util ir's reduced. Add coriander leaves. Season with salt. The sauce shoud be thick and creamy.

To add more "fun", I sliced the chicken fillets and skewered them in a bamboo stick.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Front and Center | Daikon Salad

I've never stared at a blank screen this long.  

I mean, I've been wanting to put up this post for the past two days, but the magic of words eludes me. Hmmm... maybe I will call it a silent Friday... haha!

It's not that I have nothing to say about how good this simple salad is all about.  Because the truth is, it is! I've been eating a plate of daikon salad for the past 3 days now.  :)

Maybe that's the story of the radish.  It is one of the most under-rated vegetables.  Like a wall flower, (literally and figuratively... LOL!), they are pleasantly ignored, always served on the side of a beautifully plated sushi - for instance.  The radish sits there, although beautifully carved like a flower, waiting... its main purpose is for decoration. Yet, at the end of the dining experience, they remain uneaten.  We are unsure if it's even edible.

Another case in point, sinigang (or Filipino sour soup) for instance, has a similar story. Amongst the medley of veggies in a bowl of sinigang, the radish (or labanos in Tagalog), is always left on the plate - uneaten - seemingly waiting...

But let's give the radish a break... It may have feelings too.  : )

So today, I'm sharing with you a wonderful salad that brings to the fore - the humble radish salad. You will be delighted with the texture and the flavors... tangy, sweet, with a bite... its like all the flavors explode in your mouth.... ENJOY!

Daikon Salad


2 pcs radish (thinly sliced; I used the mandolin to slice)
1 pc carrot (thinly sliced)
1 stalk of green onions (thinly sliced)
1/3 cup caramelized peanuts, crushed

1/2 c Marukan Rice Vinegar
1/3 c Premium Fish Sauce (adjust to taste)
3 tbsp sugar (adjust to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 pc. lemon (squeezed)
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients.  Let it simmer until the sugar is dissolved.  Let it cool.  Pour the dressing in a bowl, toss the veggies together.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes as it is best served when chilled.  You can also store the salad in a bottle and could last for days in the fridge.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pinakbet Experiment: Pinakbet Galette (Vegetable Galette)

I was invited to audit a short pastry class at Kitchen Conservatory a few weeks ago, and since then, I've been wanting to give my pastry making skill a try.  "Cold dough + hot oven = flaky pastry" said Anne, as the chef/owner/instructor's words ran in my head for days.

One of the recipes we made is Caramelized Tomato Tart and the savory tart left an indelible print in my taste buds.  The vinegar in the recipe reminded me of a vegetable stew that is an iconic dish in any Filipino home.  The veggie dish is called pinakbet.

Later that week, a cousin of mine, Erick, shared a pic of Pinakbet Pizza.   And this picture plus the pastry making class gave me an A-HA moment. 

I want to make a Pinakbet Galette, came the idea.  

I played with the flavors of the traditional pinakbet and used it as a filling for a galette.  I selected to make a galette because it's not as intimidating as making a beautiful, but dangerous to make (as in easy to fail), savory pie.  I blame Martha Stewart for making picture perfect pies, now I'm afraid to even try!  But making galettes is fun... as it is more forgiving.  It gives you a free hand on how to form your crust.  

Pinakbet Galette may sound novel, or even bizarre to some.  But before you raise those eyebrows, why not give it a try.  Taste it and tell me how you like or dislike it.  We'll have fun... trying something new.. and make our own take on combining an iconic Filipino vegetable dish with some pastry goodness.

Pinakbet Galette

Pinakbet Galette (Vegetable Galette)


1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter
1 egg
cold water (pour tbsp of water at a time)

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1/4 c vinegar
1 tbsp sauteed shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
1/2 lb ground pork

1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
3 pcs. okra thinly sliced
1 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 medium squash, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven for 350 degrees.
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter cubes and mix it together.  Add in the eggs and form a ball.  Pour a little water if the dough is not holding together.  (note: water should be ice cold and pour just a little like a spoonful) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a saute pan, pour olive oil, butter, onions (put them altogether to avoid burning.  The onions and garlic will be cooking while the butter is being melted). Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add tomatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes become mushy. Add shrimp paste and vinegar.  Add pork and cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid burning.  Add olive oil if necessary.  Set aside.

Slice all veggies and drizzle olive oil.

Roll out the dough in a slightly flour coated surface.  Form a 12 inch diameter circle. Slowly lift it up and put it on a baking sheet.
Spread half of the filling onto the bottom layer.  Layer it with all the veggies.  Add the remaining filling and layer the remaining veggies. Fold the dough around the filling.  Coat the outer layer with egg wash.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the dough turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

All of the Above | Thai Inspired Dinner

When should I post on my blog what we had for dinner?

Is it when my family exclaims:

A. Mom the flavors are amazing.
B. Mom take a picture first before we finish it all.
C. Mom I'll help you take a picture
D. All of the above.

Yes, the answer is D.  All of the above.  Having said that, tonight's dinner is what I am sharing with you.  So I just took a few pictures below but if you'll excuse me, I'll go back to dinner.  Enjoy!

Thai Noodles

1/2 pack Rice Stick Noodles
2 tbsp cooking oil
1/4 lb. ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 medium egg
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 c crushed peanuts
4 cups of chicken stock

Soak the noodles in a pan filled with water.  Leave it for 30 minutes.
Saute the garlic, onions and ground pork in a pan with oil. Sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper. Stir fry for about 5 minutes or until the beef turns brown.  Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the crushed peanuts.  Transfer half of the cooked beef on a plate. Set aside.  

Using the same pan (and with half of the remaining beef mixture) add 4 cups of water.  Let it boil.  Add the noodles (do not add the water wherein the noodles were soaked in).  Cook until al dente.  Add the remaining beef mixture and give it a quick stir.  Stir in the egg and drizzle the sesame oil.  Stir for another minute or two.  Season with fish sauce. Sprinkle the rest of crushed peanuts.

Serve while it's hot.

Thai Inspired Shrimp Soup

1 lb shrimp 
3 cups rice water (water used to wash rice)
1 cup shrimp stock (boil shrimp heads. Extract its flavor by pressing the heads)
2 pcs tomatoes
1 medium onion
3 stalks lemongrass (pounded and sliced)
1/2 inch ginger (pounded)
2 tbsp lemon/pepper powder
1 chili serrano
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce (adjust to taste)


Pour the rice water in a pan.  Add tomatoes, ginger, onions and lemongrass.  Add shrimp stock. Allow water to boil or until tomatoes and onions are soft and wilted.  The color of water should turn orange.  

Add shrimp and chili Serrano.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add coconut milk.  Let it simmer.  Serve hot.  (Now if you want to add more zing to the soup, prick the chili, but do so at your own risk - the Serrano chili is about 5X as hot as the Jalapeno pepper.  The Serrano chiles rate between 8,000 to 23,000 heat units on the Scoville Scale for peppers, SHU units.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Skip to Malou in the Lou | Vietnamese Summer Rolls

A year ago, my husband got me on a flight bound for St. Louis.  I left San Diego filled with trepidation, as I did not know what adventures lay ahead.  I viewed one last time the beautiful So Cal coastline accentuated by the waves from the Pacific.  I will miss San Diego, the beaches, the weather, the park, the food and the friends we have left behind.

As our plane touched down that Friday afternoon in September, I had my first look and see what my new city is all about.  It was the end of summer and all our kids were off to college, so we thought that moving to a new city was very timely.  But just like in any move, adjusting to a new place, forging new friendships and building a new home can be very daunting.  But after a year, I am glad St. Louis has treated us well - way beyond our expectations.  I have fallen in love with St. Louis and its people.

We now enjoy the company of new friends...

Got a chance to have lunch with the Mayor:

Becoming one with Cardinal Nation...

Trekking to Food Truck Fridays...

And having a brief Taste of St. Louis...

... Continuing to be uplifted during Sunday services at the majestic Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis...

Even my blog has evolved, I've added a new segment on All Things St. Louis.

Now I've developed a new Modern Asian Cooking Series that I teach at Whole Foods and will soon have at the Kitchen Conservatory in the winter.

Another highlight is appearing on KSDK NewsChannel 5  and I look forward to another guest appearance on September 29, 2012.  

As my blog has brought me the opportunity to interact with a lot of friends and new acquaintances interested in Filipino and Asian cooking, I am reaching out to the local community to preach the wonders of Filipino and Asian food.  I want to share the unique flavors and dishes of Filipino cooking and broaden the palates of the community by highlighting Asian cuisine.  Not only is it quick and easy to prepare, but the ingredients are also readily available.

Anyone can prepare Filipino and Asian dishes that are very simple to make.  I hope you could join me in my next class Sept.11 at 6:30pm and we can start our journey to learn more about Modern Asian Cooking. Here's a link on how to register... for those not based here in STL, allow me to share with you another easy recipe called:


8 sheets rice paper
green lettuce leaves, hand torn into pieces
1/2 pack rice vermicelli
1/2 bundle of cilantro, chopped
large cocktail shrimp (ready to eat from the store)
1/2 cup chicken strips, cooked (I used left over roast chicken)

Dipping Sauce
1 tablespoon premium fish sauce
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chirashi sauce
1 tablespoon  sugar
2  tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped peanuts
2 cloves garlic, minced

Boil rice vermicelli in a pot of chicken stock for 5 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and set aside.
While others dip their rice paper in a bowl, I use a brush dipped in a bowl of warm water, then let the wet brush make the wrapper pliable.
On a flat surface, lay the wrapper and layer lettuce, rice noodles, cilantro, chicken and shrimp.  Traditionally, summer rolls have mint, so feel free to add but for me, I omit the mint.
Roll the rice paper.

In a small bow, mix the fish sauce, hoisin, Chirachi sauce, chicken stock, lime juice, garlic, sugar.  Season according to taste.  Sprinkle chopped nuts and minced garlic.

Best served cold

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Out of Focus | Inihaw na Liempo (Grilled Pork Belly)

"Oh no, we can't show this!"

My husband and I chorused upon seeing the video that we just shot. "But maybe I could work on it" I said, trying to convince my husband and for not making him feel bad about his camera work.

"No, you can't show it, it's out of focus - the camera was on the wrong setting.", he said firmly.

As much as I want to share a video blog today, I am unable to. Apparently, the pocket camera's setting was set to outdoor, the whole video was hazy, which he didn't notice because of the small screen. "No worries" was my reply as I reviewed the whole segment. I saw that I wasn't fully prepared. My lines looked too rehearsed, I talked like a robot... I realized I was the one who was not focused.

So here my friends is the dish that was supposed to be on video. Even though the video was out of focus, I'm quite pleased that it came out nicely in my photos. 

Inihaw na Baboy (Grilled Pork Belly)
6 pcs. pork belly slices (around 1/2 inch thick)
3/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 tbsp minced thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the vinegar, cooking oil, thyme and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Soak the pork slices in the mixture.  Marinate the pork for 30 minutes.  

Heat a charcoal grill.  Grill the pork slices for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let it cool.  Slice into strips. Best served with a side of mango ensalada.

Mango Ensalada
1 green mango, cubed
1 medium tomato cubed
1 small onion, chopped

1 tbsp shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) or fish sauce if shrimp paste is unavailable
1 freshly squeezed lime
1 tsp sugar
hot sauce (according to taste)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Pour the dip onto the salad and mix well.  Best served chilled.

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