Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parmesan Fettucine with Tomato Broccoli and Shrimps

This is a delicious pasta dish that I made for dinner last night. It is oh so easy to make. Great for those nights after a long busy day when you are craving for a hearty yet healthy pasta meal but you feel utterly devoid of enough energy to make one. The key is to have every ingredient prepped- dice the tomatoes (3 pieces), cut the broccoli (1 head), peel, devein, and salt the shrimps (1/4 kilo), and mince the garlic (3 cloves). When all that is ready, a fabulous dinner for 2 (or 3!) is a walk in the park. (Thank heavens for that container of lovely shrimps sitting in the fridge. I just hope my mom wasn't planning anything with it for lunch today.)

Anywho, to make this, get yourself about 200 grams of fettucini, cook it according to the package instructions (don't forget to season your water with salt). San Remo fettucini, what I used here, takes 11 minutes to cook. During the last 3 minutes of boiling, throw in the broccoli florets along with the pasta. I recommend you pace yourself to get the cooking time for the pasta, broccoli, and shrimps in sync.

While the pasta is boiling, saute the garlic in about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add in the shrimps. Season it with a dash of fresh cracked black pepper and dried basil leaves (Mc Cormick is fine but you can use fresh basil, too, of course). Just when the shrimps are just starting to turn pink, add in the tomatoes. Toss in the cooked pasta and broccoli. Stir until all the ingredients are combined and the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce from the shrimp mixture.

To serve your pasta masterpiece, try to get as much of the pasta onto the plate/s first and sprinkle it generously with grated parmesan cheese. Top the parmesan fettucini with the tomato broccoli and shrimps and top everything off with more grated parmesan, if you wish. Me, I'm wild about grated Parmesan cheese. Just take a good look at the picture. I sprinkle away cheese like a mad man.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Torrone Nurzia: a taste of Italy

Torrone Nurzia
Abruzzo, Italy, to be precise. I've never heard about Sorelle Nurzia Torrone Torrone Nurzia ever until a couple of weeks ago. Writings on the box define it as "soft nougat candy with bittersweet chocolate". I've tasted nougat and bittersweet chocolate, sure. But no amount of words could have prepared me for this "exotic" and rather addicting candy. I shared a couple of chunks of Torrone Nurzia with my beautiful little three-year-old niece. And when I asked her how she liked it, she answered- after a short thoughtful pause- "It's silky". Cute.

The fact that it is addicting did not sit well with me, since Torrone Nurzia is obviously a rare treat in this country. So I decided to do a little research. My search only convinced me that short of taking a trip to Italy, there's a pretty good chance that I may never get my hands on a box of Torrone Nurzia again.

Here's a bit of history on Torrone Nurzia from Italian Cooking & Living-

"Abruzzans have a reputation as good cooks and hearty eaters. It is here that the tradition of la panarda was born-an all-out feast of 30 to 50 courses that lasts for hours, if not all day and all night... Native pastry chefs have given Abruzzo an assortment of signature desserts. Soft chocolate nougat, called torrone nurzia, was invented by Ulisse Nurzia in the 19th century in a small town at the base of the Apennines. Made from hazelnuts, chocolate, honey and almonds, the soft, chewy delicacy gets its irresistible texture from the same secret ingredient as Abruzzo's pasta-pure mountain water-evidenced by the fact that Nurzia was unable to reproduce the popular confection when he traveled north to Milan."
Read the rest of this article, here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Vanilla Cupcakes: a photo album

I am down with some sort of flu and in my boredom, I flipped through the thousand or so pictures I took and saved in my PC. Man, that's a lot. No wonder my PC is bugging. And some are actually pretty nice. Let me just share with you some photos of vanilla cupcakes I've made. It is incredible how a seemingly blank canvas of flavor can inspire imaginative combinations of flavor which kind of makes you realize that vanilla is more complex a flavor than you give it credit for.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake

Cookie Dough

Chocolate Buttercream

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Pinoy Family's Lunch Spread

In our family, we enjoy eating out as much as we love preparing our own food. Something that led our friends to quip during one dinner at home, "How can you even want to eat out when you can have all this great cooking at home?"

Clams in Ginger Soup

Pancit Canton (my mother's version)

Grilled Liempo

It's lunch like these, especially in these times where commodities prices are rising, when I ask myself the same question. And I am sure that some of you out there have had that moments in restaurants when you think, "By golly, I make a better version of this at home and it doesn't cost even half of what they're charging me for this." Wink. Wink.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sinigang sa Miso: Blue Marlin Belly

I have written a while back that I love paluto meals at Seaside or Dampa. One of my favorites that I've tried to make at home (preferably with big fresh tiger prawns!) was the buttered shrimps of Shylin. Another one of those meals that we regularly order is the Tuna Belly Sinigang sa Miso. I know that Sinigang sa Miso is traditionally made with fish head (panga). A tradition hardwired in the brains of the paluto waitresses, that I actually have to tell them twice that we want tuna belly and not "panga ng Tuna". But we prefer our sinigang meaty and not bony, one that requires... ah... chewing rather than sucking. Another key ingredient in Sinigang sa Miso that got me all curious is, well, miso. I've looked up this popularly healthy ingredient and Wikipedia says it "is a traditional Japanese food produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kĊjikin" (click here). Yeap, that's what that gritty sediment is made of- rice, barley and/or soybeans, salt, and fungus...

Blue Marlin Belly Sinigang sa Miso

True to Filipino cooking where you practically just throw your ingredients in a pot to stew, Sinigang sa Miso is not difficult to prepare. For this meal, I've followed the recipe at pinoycook.net save for the obvious substitution of Blue Marlin belly for the fish head. Slurp it from a bowl or soak your hot rice in it, there's nothing like a sour and savory soup like this one to warm you up even in the middle of a raging typhoon.
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