Saturday, January 26, 2013

Different Strokes | Paella ala Benedict

If you hear my brother-in-law, Benedict, and I "arguing" in the kitchen, you may think we are often at each other's throat.  But the truth is we're not.  We enjoy each other's company, we grew up in the same hometown and our parents have been close friends for decades.  Our "arguments" stem from our different styles of cooking.  He's more of a traditionalist while I have a more modern approach.  He sticks to the cookbook while I love to create my own.  He is so organized, cleans as he goes... while - uhmmm - let's just say I clean after - way after, hehe.

But I gotta give it to him, because every time I'm in Orlando and I invade his kitchen, he lets me cook my recipes.  But we've also learned our lesson:  we should not cook at the same time, and much more, the same dish.  With that in mind, our latest collaboration last holiday season ran smoothly and the spread was fantaboulous!


I am proud to share what we served  for the holidays (remember we can't be in the same kitchen so we can't be in the same post either--- hehe, so I'll share my porchetta recipe in a future post).

This is Benedict in his sanctuary--the kitchen. He stamped his kitchen with his name on it, well literally and figuratively.  I mean, each shelf is organized and labeled.  His pantry is in a FIFO (first in, first out) arrangement.  And his MacGyver-usque gadgets come in handy when you need them.


So today it's my pleasure to share with you Benedict's Paella.  Again, we differ in our style of cooking this dish, but his recipe turned out perfectly.


Ingredients:
1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 lb clams
1 lb mussels
3 pcs chorizos (sliced)
1/2 lb pork (sliced)
2 chicken breast (sliced)
2 bell pepper (sliced)
1 pack green beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1 tsp saffron
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 medium onion (chopped)
2 tbsp oil
3 cups rice (washed and soaked)
6 cups broth
4 boiled eggs

Procedure:
Boil shrimp, mussels and clams.  Drain and set aside.  (He said, you could use the seafood stock but he says you might find it so strong, so he suggests using chicken broth instead)
Heat olive oil on a large skillet or paella pan.  Add chicken and pork.  Brown both sides.  Add chorizos and let it sweat.  Pour tomato sauce.  Add rice and give it a quick stir.  Add chicken stock (around 4-5 cups) and sprinkle safron. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked.  Add the seafood, bell pepper and green beans.  Cover for a few minutes and you're ready to serve an EPIC rice dish!  Enjoy!


And oh I'll see you at Dierbergs this week for the Thai Cravings series.  And for more rice recipes, join me at WholeFoods at Town and Country on Feb 20 for SurpRice Party cooking class. See you #STL!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fiesta Filipino Cooking Class Recap

It was a huge success.  The Fiesta Filipino cooking class that I conducted at the Kitchen Conservatory in Clayton was both well attended and, more importantly, well received. This was a dream come true for me, as I am very passionate about sharing Filipino food recipes to a wider audience.



It was a dellight to have 12 people attend my class.  Yep it was a fun hands-on cooking class; they discovered the culinary process of making latik (coconut sprinkles formed from the reduction of coconut milk; the class gave the a first hand experience of using banana leaves for steaming fish and baking sweet rice cake.  And they had fun learning how Filipinos celebrate fiestas. Oh and special thanks goes to Anita, who assisted me throughout the night.

True to its title Fiesta Filipino, we prepared dishes normally served during Fiestas.  We started off with a sweet and savory braised pork leg called Patatim. And what's not to love with braising pork, especially during these cold winter months? 



Then we went on with Fresh Lumpia: a vegetable dish sautéed with meat, shrimp, garlic and onions all rolled in a delicate crepe.  The lumpia is topped with a sweet soy sauce-based sauce and sprinkled with fresh garlic and crushed peanuts



Then we preceded to steaming our big red snapper. I will share you the recipe for this Fiesta iconic dish we call  Fiesta Holiday Fish below.

We made two desserts.  The first one was Majah Blanca,  This is a popular Filipino dessert made by simmering together coconut cream, milk and sugar. and letting it cool and set.  The creamy coconut cream pudding is punctuated with toasted coconut milk crumbs on top


And the fiesta is not complete without the dessert called biko (Sweet Sticky Rice with Caramelized Coconut Cream).  Women gather together to make this special dessert cooked in banana lined pans. 


You may want to see the photos posted on Kitchen Conservatory's Facebook page.  I'm sure you will agree with me as the photos reveal that they had a wonderful time.  And don't we look like we are one big happy family preparing a spread for a real Fiesta?  Yes indeed we all warmed up to each other and were soon gathered around the kitchen.  It felt like a fiesta. 

Fiesta Holiday Fish
(We prepared a whole red snapper during the class but for the purpose of this post, I recreated the dish using a slice of mahi mahi. But traditionally, a whole fish is used). 


1 large grouper/ pampano or red snapper
2 pcs lemon
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushesd
3 pcs. ginger, peeled and crushed 
2 cups mayo
4 tbsp cream cheese
3 pcs. shallots
1 pc. red bell pepper
3 pcs. carrots, peeled and blanched
1 cup pickle relish
3 boiled eggs, mashed.

Clean the fish.  Score both sides of the fish. Squeeze the lemons over the fish and sprinkle salt and pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Lay the fish flat on a banana leaf. Add onions, ginger, cilantro and garlic.


Wrap the fish with the banana leaf.


Steam the fish for about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from steamer and pat the fish dry.

In a bowl, mix mayo and milk together.  Add shallots and pickle relish. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayo mixture on both sides of the fish.  Arrange the sliced pepper, boiled eggs and carrots on top of the fish. Enjoy!


 If you want to join me next week, I will be teaching at Whole Foods Town and Country.  Check out my cooking class schedule here... And btw, one of the dishes that I will be teaching is Seafood Sinigang.  Sinigang was one of the winning dishes on the most recent episode of Top Chef (Seattle Bites) prepared by fellow Filipino Sheldon from Hawaii.  

Until next time - See you STL!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Off to a great start

A New Year brings in new hope, new dreams... and endless possibilities.

I love the "gifts" of the new year.  I'm ecstatic, in fact, I am all fired up and ready to face 2013.  I hope you are too!  Now if it is obvious to you that my smile is showing from ear to ear, let me tell you why.

Remember my Modern Asian Cooking Series I launched late last year?  Well it's off to a great start, as I will be cooking in 3 different venues in the St. Louis, MO area: WholeFoods Town and Country (every third Wednesday of the month) Kitchen Conservatory in Clayton and at different Dierbergs locations. It will be a fun food adventure as I take my students to the Far East and introduce them to the flavors of Asia.  

So here are the classes I will be teaching and a brief description of the menu and what they share about me... (Warning:  this is a shameless plug alert--haha!) But I tell you, this is an opportunity I celebrate as a food blogger.  And my foodblogger friends know exactly what I mean. 

1. Kitchen Conservatory : January 8, 2013 6:00 PM to 8;30 PM
SKIP TO MALOU - FIESTA FILIPINO 
It is a delight to welcome the charming food blogger, Malou Perez-Nievera, who shares her passion for her native Filipino cuisine. This hands-on class will create iconic festival dishes, including fresh vegetable and meat spring rolls with crushed peanuts and sweet sauce, patatim - braised pork shoulder with star anise, and the colorful centerpiece of the fiesta table - steamed fish with creamy sauce and vibrant peppers. Prepare two traditional desserts, starting with majah blanca - coconut cream pudding, plus sweet rice cakes - a special dessert cooked in banana-lined pans.


2. Whole Foods Town and Country : January 16, 2013 6:00 - 8:30 PM
Skip to Malou: Modern Asian Cooking Series
Get ready as Malou Perez-Nievera, an award winning food blogger takes us to an adventure to the Far East featuring the flavors of the Philippines.  Filipino Food is finally getting the attention of the US food scene and as Andrew Zimmerin said   Filipino Food is the next big thing. Filipino food is an eclectic mix of food with Spanish influences and with the influences of its neighboring Asian countries.  So get ready to whet your palate as we prepare a typical daily menu repertoire of go-to Filipino favorites.

Seafood in Tamarind Broth:  is considered the dish most representative of Filipino palette: it’s slightly tangy, slightly sour and with a tinge of spice. Barely less than 15 minutes to make, this proves no night is a busy night for home cooking; definitely refreshing and comforting during winter nights.

Stuffed Eggplant: This dish has the eggplant as the center piece.  The egg and the ground pork make this eggplant omelet the perfect match for the tamarind broth.

Yema:  End the meal with something delightful.  A custard candy made of egg yolks and condensed milk.  It’s bite size, so you don’t have to worry about overloading calories.

3. Dierbergs presents: Skip to Malou: Thai Cravings 
When you’re hungry and only Thai flavors will do,do it yourself! With just a few simple ingredients, Malou will show you how fast and easy it is to bring your favorite Thai specialties to the table in minutes. $37

Pad Thai Noodles • Panang Curry • Sticky Rice with Mango

Venues and Schedule:
Bogey Hills (BH) Jan. 30, Wed., 6:30-8:30 PMClarkson (CL) Jan. 22, Tues., 6:30-8:30 PMEdwardsville (ED) Feb. 25, Mon., 6:30-8:30 PMSouthroads (SR) Feb. 11, Mon., 6:30-8:30 PMWest Oak (WO) Feb. 4, Mon., 6:30-8:30 PMMalou Perez-Nievera, Culinary Professional

Happy New Year.  I hope the new year brings you a BLESSful and a BLISSful life!

xoxo,
Malou

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