Chicken Legs With Wine and Yams

Interesting thing about Jacques Pépin’s 1990s healthy cooking cookbook is…

Fug dad shid!

Healthy? Remove the skin from the chickens? I don’t think so, as most of the ingredients in this dish are already pretty ‘healthy’ and natural. Yams (organic), onions, garlic, mushrooms…hell, a little salt and pepper and a cup of wine? Those are healthy as #%$& so gidouddaheah.

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Still. I did reduce the salt content as it called for, and I may add a squirt of lemon juice toward the end. Once the chicken is browned, toss in the onion, shallot, garlic, Yams, and wine and let it cook at a low simmer, covered, for twenty minutes or until the chicken is totally cooked through. Serve with rice.

Post kaon (meal) result: remarkably…ok. Not amazing, not awful. More sweet potato would have been nice, perhaps a bit saucier with a bit more wine, a touch of butter wouldn’t have hurt, but…ok. The meat was cooked well, still moist to the bone, and the yam’s sweetness was nice. As my wife says, it missed a ‘punch’ of some kind: she suggested patis the ubiquitous salty fish sauce to accentuate flavors. Hmm. Added a spritz of lemon juice but didn’t turn any corners on the flavor train. Didn’t want to put in ginger cuz…hell. It’s in so many dishes.

A work in progress.

Bigass Paella

A friend was celebrating another personal rotation with the earth around the sun the other night and I got conscripted to coming and making paella. Ordinarily this doesn’t stress me out–this ain’t my first paella-on-the-road trip. One person tends to hover around the paellera while I’m cooking, providing advice that is unneeded and annoying usually, wherever I am, and this is invariable. Still, I remain polite and quiet and do not blow my stack. Still…this happens every time and yet…every time the paella comes out just fine.

Preparing for the trip to the paella making site involves preparation and a list. Obviously, you need the cooking device, the paellera, a gasul container for heat source, attendant hoses, the butano cooking device (a twin-circle gas burner and the legs it stands on), and a spatula to stir the ingredients. Having a butane lighter to light the gas fire, of course, and then the cooking ingredients.

Cooking ingredients include clams, shrimp, mussels, chicken, pork and others prepped and cut to proper size, vegetables like tomatoes (with a grater), onions, garlic, green beans, and whatever else. Broth which is still hot and ready to pour, saffron mixed in a little wine, and…lest one forgets, the rice.

As usual, something is forgotten but recalled at the last minute; it occurred to me at the last minute that I would need cooking oil, as well. #%$&! By and by, the dish was seasoned properly (be sure to bring Spanish paprika, salt and pepper!) and go for it.

Often, finding a safe corner is important as if you’re in a windy area, the blow can put out your flame. Wifey determined in a particularly helpful moment a good spot to reposition the butano cooking spot and it all proceeded well.

Making paella really isn’t anymore difficult (to me) than preparing an omelet, just so long as you have the necessary ingredients handy. Packing it all up and doing it on the road, I wonder that having a little motorcycle  with sidecar would be handy to carry all that you need. Here in the Philippines there are mobile barbecue cooks who carry their charcoal and their portable grills with them and cook at parties or functions. Would a paella shtick like that work?FullSizeRender

Almond Cake With Mango Coulis

Someone gets nervous when I change up a recipe. I’ve made tarta de Santiago, that classic almond cake for the past several years, flourless or not, covered with chocolate ganache or not, but this recipe from Jacques Pépin’s ‘light and healthy cooking for the 90s’ according to the author, sports a lot less butter than normal. Well. All things unequal, dessert shouldn’t be a fearful thing, but nonetheless, this recipe delivers and is perfectly fine for my gluten-sensitive pals…particularly so for the myriad ‘gluten sufferers’ who just think they are sensitive.

It follows the classic approach with ground almones, potato flour (I used camote flour), sugar, and only a tablespoon of butter. Three egg yolks and five beaten egg whites folded into the batter. I baked them in my old oven at the same time and gave them an extra 10 minutes or so, but even then, the middles never quite got fully baked through. While they held their shape well enough, tasted just perfect, I’m learning the limits to multiple item baking in that stove.

The mango coulis ideally would have very ripe mangos, but of those I had, only one was super ripe and the others hovering near full sweetness. Notes that the coulis was    not so sweet was nonetheless not a problem.

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Note the center ‘crack’ where the cake didn’t fully set. It didn’t upset anyone’s tastebuds or bring complaints

Saucisse au Chou Avec Lentils

Thanks, Jacques Pepin.

I wanted to have a little fun tonight, so I found this Jacques Pepin recipe in an old 90s cookbook of his, Today’s Gourmet showcasing light and healthy French-themed meals. It is just lentils with onion, garlic, bay leaf dressed with a bit of olive oil, mustard, and a bit of pepper.

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Nestled on top, though–small little sausage patties of pork seasoned with chopped oyster mushrooms, and a melange of fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, and salt; this then marinated in the ref for a couple of hours and then wrapped as little parcels in blanched ‘chou’ or cabbage leaves. No Savoy cabbage to be found here as far as I know, so just your regular cabbage leaves this time.

It smells wonderful, the lentils at first taste seem adequately seasoned, and the quick instant-read thermapen indicates the meat is cooked through, but apparently kept moist and juicy within their little leaf packets.

Wife liked the lentils and it’s seasoning well enough, as did I. Some bites of the sausage pork parcels seemed salty, while other bites did not. Overall, I wonder if more time of letting the pork flavors marry would improve the flavors of the parcels, so perhaps another time. A decent and simple French meal. The Rioja went well with the meal.

Note: there is plenty of cabbage left over which I hope to use to make a small batch of Kim Chee. There was a little of the pork mixture left over which I will use to make little pork sausages for breakfast tomorrow. No waste in this house, if I can help it.

Tanigue…TanGIgue… (?) Ginataang Tanigue

While not a prestigious New York Times cooking website, Yummy.ph can be a go-to for anyone considering some Filipino standards. Sadly, most of the recipes half the time require access to Manila specialty markets… in my experience… but this recipe for Spanish mackerel cooked with a nice load of minced garlic and ginger with a spot of patis came out very well, served with jasmine rice and a side vegetable.

The ingredients are easily available locally, but my only recommendation is when you have removed the fish upon its finish, to continue to cook the sauce down and reduce it to a more flavorful, intense sauce. This might take another five minutes or so but it makes a difference.

Daily Yogurt News

OK, I’m betting most of you don’t really give a damn, but I was curious as to the costs of making my homemade yogurt vis a vis buying the stuff made locally which, in most cases, is from the Swiss manufacturer Nestlé.

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Their 500g container is usually ₽125 (US$2.50) whereas when I buy local milk, I pay about ₽77 per liter 3l = ₽231 (US$4.60) but this has advantages as it provides roughly 1500g of yogurt…3x as much for a little over half the price of store bought.

Yay. Not only are you getting more self-reliant, you are getting the cleanest, best, most naturally made product ever, you are improving your daily intestinal health and your immune system…besides saving moolah.

OK, you can go back to your surfing dog videos. I don’t mind.

Eggplant Stew By All Sorts Of Names

 

In the Mediterranean, eggplant is popular all over and is usually served in all manners, but when it comes to the standard stew, it’s called Caponata in Sicily, Ciambotta in southern Italy, Ratatouille in Southern France, and in Spain its Escalivada.IMG_5278

But depending on the culinary origin, it can be lightly sweet in Sicily with the addition of sugar or raisins, smoky in Spain as the vegetables are usually grilled, and so forth. In essence, one starts with eggplant and adds summer vegetables like onion, tomato, zucchini and bell peppers as the mood strikes.

This particular dish is most Sicilian with its slight addition of sugar (a simple teaspoon) which, to my tastebuds, balanced out the slight bitterness of the eggplant. Had I some raisins, they would have been a nice extra touch to toss in. It holds up well for a couple of days in the ref, can be served hot or at room temperature, and accompanies most any protein dish you can imagine with a slight edge towards grilled meats.