Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pancakes from scratch

I'm taking an online course (through on The Science of Gastronomy. It's being offered by the University of Hongkong's Professors Lam Lung Yeung and King L. Chow. The class is very interesting and exciting because it explains the basic scientific principles that are applied on food preparation, just totally brings out my inner geek. We just started today and after watching the video lectures, it inspired me to brush up my basic cooking skills. And what could be more basic than re-reading Michael Ruhlman's Ratio.

                                   2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1/2 part butter: 2 parts flour

Using the book's basic ratio for simple cakes, I made these pancakes from scratch for our afternoon snacks (note: the original recipe calls for milk, but I thought I could never go wrong with buttermilk). And, using an organic vanilla paste wouldn't hurt either.

So, here's the recipe (and I am telling you this is waaaay better than a store bought pancake mix):

Wet ingredients:

8 oz ( 1 cup) buttermilk, you can also use homemade yoghurt or milk
2 large eggs
2 oz butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

8 oz flour ( you can replace 25% of the flour with cornmeal, whole wheat flour, or other ground cereals for complex textures and flavors).
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Whisk until properly mixed.  Press through a strainer to get rid of lumps. Cook it on a griddle with a lightly oiled surface. A film of bacon fat would give it a nice crisp crust.

This will make 8 medium size pancakes. You can double or half the ratio depending on how many people you are feeding.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Smoky Chorizo and Artichoke Pasta

Scott was doing a strict raw food diet for many months and decided to slowly come out of his diet by introducing a few animal protein for his lunch (he still takes smoothies in the afternoon and at night). He likes salmon, tuna steak or any fish, and occasionally would have meat. I was in a rush for an after lunch appointment  last week, so I planned on throwing in artichokes on the pasta. The chorizo was just an after thought when I realized that it needed a bit more sustenance and I have a few left-over in the fridge.

If you are entertaining but you don't have the luxury of time (yet you still want to impress your guests), this is the pasta to prepare. It will be bring out your inner Nigella (hopefully, sans the choking -- ok, that wasn't funny).

Just sauté the chorizo, onions and garlic in the artichoke's olive oil marinade. The chorizo already has oil so make sure that you don't put a lot. Add the artichoke, boiled pasta, and half a cup of pasta water (the water that you used to boil the pasta). Toss. Add pepper, add a dash or cayenne pepper, parsley and paprika. That's it!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Demystifying the secret of Jollibee Spaghetti

When a Filipino abroad hears a greeting like this, "Hello, Welcome to Jollibee!", it evokes deep-seated and strong emotional connections that instantly brings that Pinoy living far away from the motherland, a sense of being home.

 I can say this based on experience. After living in Thailand for more than 4 years, I went to Singapore for a weekend on the 1st week that Jollibee Singapore opened. It's been a year since the last time I visited the joint so we decided to brave the long line to have our Jollibee fix. And when I heard the staff welcoming everyone in, it was like music to my ears (but maybe because I also stood in line for 1.5 hours and it was more of a relief).

That's me waiting in line for 1.5 hours

Anthony Bourdain with Chef Roi Choi recently gave Jollibee a thumbs up in his new CNN show Parts Unknown, which shows that this iconic fast food eatery known to cater to Pinoy sweet taste  is slowly becoming more accepted internationally.

But the spaghetti, in my opinion, is still an acquired taste. You have to be Pinoy to accept that a sweet pasta using a banana ketchup actually makes sense. I had second thoughts on trying to add sweetened condensed milk (!) on my pasta, seriously! that sweet? But there is no denying that this is the food of my childhood, it's the first pasta that I have learned to love. So, when my friend Romeo, a professional chef based in Manila, tried to hack the recipe for the popular spaghetti for fun, he sent us a copy. I didn't have all the ingredients since most of it is not available where I am. But, my other friend Raymond tested it and he can affirm that it tasted exactly like the original.

Without further adieu, click on the picture and it will direct you to the step-by-step guide on how to make a spaghetti ala Jollibee.