Saturday, June 30, 2012

Creamy Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Pasta


Creamy Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Pasta

My Creamy Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes Pasta is a recipe I turn to when I want a quick yet filling pasta dish. It requires very few ingredients, but the simplicity of the latter betrays the rather complex flavors that result from the mix. The combination of the sun-dried tomatoes and the milk is to blame for this. 

I have made this recipe so many times that I came up with a routine for it. That lull when I wait for the water for the pasta to boil, that is when I start prepping my ingredients-- cutting the chicken into one inch cubes and seasoning it, mincing the garlic, slicing the sundried tomatoes into strips, and heating the pan. When the pasta water boils, I throw in the pasta which takes about 11 minutes to cook to al dente. This is approximately enough time for me to cook the sauce, to which I will toss in my cooked pasta.

See? Easy.

Creamy Chicken & Sun-dried Tomatoes Pasta

Ingredients
250 grams uncooked spaghetti
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
salt
pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Directions
Cook spaghetti according to package.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a pan on medium heat, saute sun-dried tomatoes and garlic cloves in about a tablespoon of the olive oil from the sundried tomatoes for about two minutes. Add chili flakes.
Toss in the chicken and saute for about three minutes.
Pour in the wine and let chicken cook until the wine has almost boiled away.
Stir in the milk and a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, then let it simmer until it turns a little orange from the sun-dried tomatoes.
Add the cooked pasta and stir until it is well coated in sauce.
Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Serves 3-4.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eat Like a Viking


Vikings' Lobsters


My mother invited the whole family for a Sunday dinner at Vikings to take advantage of the 2 gift  certificates for holiday/weekend buffet that were given to her and my brother. The only thing we had to do to get the free feast was to book a reservation, which is a steal considering a weekend dinner at Vikings could cost about a thousand bucks easy. The gift certificates were good for a month so we had about eight weekends to choose from.

Easy? Not.


After enduring countless busy tones and three failed attempts to call in for a reservation, I found out that if I do not reserve at least a week from my desired date, I will never be able to because Vikings gets fully booked very fast.

Fortunately, Vikings extended the gift certificates for another month when we still could not get a reservation on the last weekend of the effectivity date. When I was able to finally reserve a table, it was not even for the prime dinner time of 7PM but for the early bird slot of 5PM to 730PM.

(There is a 2-hour time limit, with a 30 minute grace period. We were handed our bill at exactly 7PM without us having to ask for it.)


When we arrived at Vikings at 5PM, I was surprised to see lines of people outside the restaurant. There were two  actually, one for those who have reservations the other for those who do not. Now it was not my first time to eat at Vikings, having eaten there around the time when it just opened, but at that very moment, as I looked over the line of people who waited there despite knowing full well that there is a very slim chance that there would be an opening in the reservation list that has been fully booked days before, I realized how immensely popular Vikings has grown. Getting a following like this would mean that Vikings is consistently living up to its claim of being "The Best Buffet in Manila."

Chocolate Fondue
Dessert Buffet
Halo Halo Station
At first, I thought that I would regret the early bird booking considering 5PM is way too early to have dinner. But I have realized that it is preferable for 2 main reasons. One, because it is cheaper at Php988 (plus 5% service charge) than the regular Php1,088 (plus 5% service charge) weekend/holiday dinner rate. Two, since 5PM is the start of dinner service, everything is fresher and more abundant than what you probably would get coming in at 7PM. Just make sure you have a light lunch, or a very early one.

Sashimi plate: Tamago, Salmon, Tuna
Roast Beef, Oven-baked Lechon, Yangchow Fried Rice
Admittedly, nobody in our group had the stomach nor the audacity to try EVERYTHING on the buffet, in fact not even all of us together could. But we sure did get our fair share. We got some selections from the Chinese food section, some meats from the roasts station, some lobster (what kind exactly I don't know), a couple of sashimi, sushi, and maki, a few fried entrees from the Japanese food section, a handful of nachos, a serving or two of desserts (the bibingka and puto bumbong are made on the spot), and other odds and ends.

Tuna Sashimi
Salmon Sashimi
Among our favorites were the freshly grilled rib eye steak (cooked upon order and served to your table), salmon and tuna sashimi (fresh as can be), and the roast beef. Finally we washed everything down with beverages of our choice, iced tea, coffee, iced coffee, and my personal favorite, hot jasmine tea. Of course no Viking feast is complete without mead. Sure enough, Vikings offers free flowing draft beer and cans upon cans of Tiger beer.

Miso Soup
VIKINGS - A Feast From The Sea is located at: Bldg. B, By The Bay, Seaside Boulevard, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Philippines.

Vikings' Rates
(click to enlarge)
Contact Information

Telephone Numbers:
846-3888; 846-4888; 846-5888; 0917-5653888; & 0923-7303888

Email:
reservations.vikings@yahoo.com

Website:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cinnabon's Pecanbon

Mini Pecanbon
Php95
Okay. This may not be the healthiest thing in the world but it sure is ridiculously yummy and, yes, worth breaking my diet for. The Pecanbon is one of my most favorite pastry and when I chanced upon a Cinnabon store while strolling through a mall a couple of days ago, I simply could not resist having one. In my defense, I got only the mini version of it.

My Pecanbon came to me in an unassuming paper plate complete with plastic cutlery, meant perhaps to shame me into consuming it with some semblance of finesse instead of devouring it using my bare fingers. I was after all in a public place. Ah but even with cutlery, I finished my little Pecanbon in just under a minute. And how could I not? It was nice and warm, sprinkled with a generous amount of chopped pecans and dripping in wonderful caramelly goo. I realized I should have gotten the full-sized Pecanbon when I caught myself scraping the otherwise empty plate for the sweet and sticky traces that remained.

Underneath it all is Cinnabon's original cinnamon roll, which I love to bits on its own. But when I am breaking a punishing diet, I figured I'd go for broke.

Cinnabon-SM Mall of Asia branch is located at the 2nd Floor, Food Court, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers


Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers

Another consideration when watching your cholesterol is making sure that you control your sodium and oil intake as well. The Americal Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1500 mg of sodium a day (1 teaspoon of salt has 2300 mg of sodium). (http://www.heart.org/...) A quick search on the net on the other hand tells you to limit unsaturated vegetable oils to up to 6-8 teaspoons a day. (http://wiki.answers.com/...)

Taking this information to heart, I came up with this chicken recipe which should keep hunger at bay while keeping my daily meals within healthy limits. Skinless chicken breast fillet is my new best friend (See: http://foodnotebook.blogspot.com/...). This is a big thing considering I have always preferred the dark meat of the chicken over the white. White meat had always tasted flavorless to me. Converting to white meat and liking it, well, the trick is to infuse as much flavor and moisture you can into it.

This recipe for Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers takes care of all of that. 6 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoons of salt may not sound that much, but with the flavors of lemon, black pepper, garlic, oregano, and cilantro melded into the marinade, it makes for a wonderfully tasty and juicy chicken meal that's healthy at the same time. It's convenient and easy to make, too. I prepared this in the morning to marinate and it was ready to grill by lunch. What is left can be had for dinner tonight or, if there's a different meal on the menu for dinner, for lunch the next day.

Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken Skewers

Ingredients
1/2 lemon's juice
6 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried cilantro
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced

4 skinless, bonless chicken breast halves, cut in 1.5 inch chunks (about 18)

2 onions, quartered
2 tomatoes, quartered
4 bamboo yakitori skewers

Directions
In a bowl, combine first 7 ingredients to make the marinade. Add chicken chunks, cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Thread 3 marinated chicken cubes alternately with a slice of each of tomato and onion.
In a medium hot cast iron grill, cook chicken skewers for a total of 10 minutes, turning periodically to make sure all sides are grilled.
Makes 4 servings (2 skewers per serving).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day at Don Limone


Lamb Shanks
Php395
Thinking of a special place to have dinner with dad this Father's Day? Add Don Limone Grill to your options. In this cozy little restaurant inside BF Paranaque subdivision, dad gets delicious Paella and beer on the house!


Bleu Cheese Burger
Aside from Paella, there are a lot of equally good food to try at Don Limone. The Lamb Shanks, for instance, is a good bet for a special dinner. A fairly recent addition to the menu, it is a satisfying meal of very tender lamb shanks braised in Burgundy sauce and served with herb couscous.

Chocolate Supreme
Cheesecake

If dad is more of a burger kind of guy, although not on the regular menu (the last time I checked, at least...), you can try asking your server if the chef can fix up a nice lean beef burger with either cheddar cheese or bleu cheese. Don Limone would serve these burgers in their freshly-baked focaccia instead of the usual burger bun, and they certainly taste as delicious and as unique as they look.

Finally, no trip to Don Limone is complete without cheesecake for dessert. Nothing less than Chocolate Supreme sounds about right for the sweetest dad in the world.

Don Limone Cheese Burger
Happy Father's Day!

ADDRESS:
# 199 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, 1720 ParaƱaque, Philippines
CONTACT NO.:
(02)3451803
EMAIL:
info@donlimone.com
WEBSITE:
www.donlimone.com
FACEBOOK PAGE:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Recipe for a Healthy Heart


Spicy Chicken Breasts

I have been learning about cholesterol lately (OK, fine, it's a health thing.) and I've realized, quite alarmingly, that a lot of the food I love to eat are cholesterol bombs. A piece of fried chicken (a staple in our house) for example, has 116mg of cholesterol (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/crispy-fried-chicken/). 116mg of cholesterol used to sound meaningless to me, but once you learn that: 
"The American Heart Association suggests you restrict your daily cholesterol to no more than 300mg if you're healthy. If you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, like obesity, smoking and hereditary factors, limit you cholesterol intake to less than 200mg daily (Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/333329),"
fire alarms should start ringing in your head the minute you see fried chicken sitting on the dining table. Limiting my cholesterol intake to less than 200mg daily means that when I eat a piece of fried chicken, I am pretty much done with food for the day. This is not a good thing. Especially when for a couple of years now, I've lived, and eaten, by the credo, "fat is flavor."

After a dizzying research about good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, sodium, etc., while I am not completely swearing off the occasional buffalo wing, I figured I should inject some healthier meals in my diet. So. In an attempt to eat healthier, I have been on the lookout for recipes that taste good despite being low in cholesterol. The recipe for Spicy Chicken Breasts courtesy of allrecipes.com is one such recipe. Per serving of 1 chicken breast, it has only  68 mg of cholesterol, a total fat content of 2.4g, and only 173 calories. I have not really paid attention to the nutritional information found in every allrecipes.com recipe before, but I really appreciate them now.

Spicy Chicken Breasts

Ingredients
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper. Set aside about 3 tablespoons of this seasoning mixture for the chicken; store the remainder in an airtight container for later use (for seasoning fish, meats, or vegetables).
Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Rub some of the reserved 3 tablespoons of seasoning onto both sides of the chicken breasts.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Place chicken on the grill, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gorging on Philippine Cuisine at Rose and Grace Restaurant


Sago't Gulaman

Happy Independence Day, Philippines!

Rose and Grace Restaurant is known for their Bulalo, a classic Philippine soup dish made with bone in beef shank. (The star here is the rich buttery bone marrow found in the beef bones.) But Rose and Grace is not only about Bulalo. They also offer a very wide range of classic Filipino dishes ranging from the most basic adobo to the rather exotic kalderetang kambing.

Turo-turo Counter
This is a cafeteria style restaurant where you can point to your food choices from behind glass. A lot of the dishes come in servings big enough for two, so ask first, lest you end up ordering too much food. (The grilled tuna, for instance, is all of about a kilo of tuna belly.)

Lumpiang Sariwa
Bistek
During our recent visit to Rose and Grace in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, we decided on a serving each of Bistek  Tagalog and Lumpiang Sariwa. The Bistek is delightful and demands a lot of hot steamed rice. The beef is very tender and it tastes a lot like how my mother makes it at home. I also got myself a tall glass of Sago't Gulaman, perhaps my most favorite samalamig of all time, having grown up on the thing.


Rose and Grace also sells a lot of local delicacies that are perfect for pasalubong for your loved ones, such as chicharon, suman sa lihiya,  different kinds of puto, and assorted jams.

So if you are feeling patriotic, especially this Independence Day, head on over at Rose and Grace Restaurant and feast on Filipino food to your heart's content.

Rose and Grace Restaurant Sto. Tomas Branch is located at Maharlika Highway, Sto. Tomas, Batangas, Philippines.

Tel. No.: 043 – 778 – 1052

Monday, June 11, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake, Finally!


Foodlab's Red Velvet Cheesecake
Php1,000 for a whole cake

I cashed in my winnings last Saturday.

It involved a previous post about a certain beer cheesecake. Foodlab, the imaginative crew that brought us this notoriously popular cheesecake flavor, really liked my sweet little article that they rewarded me with a whole cheesecake of my choice. Yay!

Foodlab's Red Velvet Cheesecake
Php140 per slice
For my prize, I picked the Red Velvet Cheesecake, one of Foodlab's newest cheesecake creations. Described as "a nod to the original recipe with Coke Classic and red beets with cream cheese icing" (https://www.facebook.com/FoodLab.Inc), Foodlab's Red Velvet Cheesecake debuted in Midnight Mercato on May 4, 2012 under a "weekly special" status. According to Chef Kevin Mize, this cheesecake is gaining so much popularity among the Midnight Mercato crowd that they have decided to put it on regular rotation.

The fame is understandable, in light of the proliferation of red velvet cakes and red velvet cupcakes in the local pastry market to satisfy a growing demand. I always thought that it was only a matter of time before we see a cheesecake version of it, too.

Foodlab's Red Velvet Cheesecake is as eye-catching as it is appetizing. It is deep dark red in color and has a wonderfully delicate flavor. To top it all off, the cream cheese frosting does wonders to this cheesecake, which I must say pleasantly surprised me because at first I thought it sounded like too much cream cheese for comfort. Far from it, the cream cheese frosting offered a smooth texture contrast to the velvety cheesecake. It certainly stays true to Foodlab's tradition of using only the finest local ingredients and intelligent experimentation to create unique and great tasting food.

Thank you, Foodlab!
I love love love this cheesecake.

Contact information:

Email: foodlabinc.ph@gmail.com
Location: Mercato Centrale, Bonifacio Global City

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