The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Project Jamie: pesce spada alla griglia con la salsa di giovanna

Clearly, we’re still on our seafood streak. We bought a couple of fresh swordfish steaks and I tried Jamie Oliver’s recipe for lemony fish.

It is my first time to cook swordfish and I was curious about the extremely simple recipe. Without counting the salt and pepper, the dish only has 6 ingredients.

We just got five herb plants and they’re all sitting on the kitchen’s window sill. Let me tell you, fresh kicks dry herbs in the pills. The chopped mint and oregano smelled so good and had a light but distinct flavor. Buying packs of fresh herbs every time I need them is so impractical since they’re expensive and most of them go bad before I get to use them all. Having plants is a more economical alternative — snip only what you need — plus it’s healthy to have plants indoors. I have to suggest this to my mom.

I followed the recipe to the letter but used slightly less olive oil. I also think that any uncooked fish aside from sushi is icky so I took his advise and cooked it for 3-4 minutes per side.

Chris got the biggest steak since he ate it alone with wine. I chose the smaller portion, added half a cup of hot, steamed rice, and a fresh cubed tomato tossed with Thai sauteed shrimp fry and garlic chili. Mmmm…

See Jamie’s recipe after the jump.

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Project Miki: Filipino-Style Seafood Paella

paella

This is a pic my husband took later on December 2013. I changed the original picture because this one was better and much yummier. Seafood included here are: mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp and squid.

The members of this little household were craving for seafood. After a few days of eating Italian, we both wanted something Asian. Something Pinoy.

I’m a little nervous about cooking any Asian dish, especially Filipino. For one, both my parents are very good cooks and I grew up eating yummy homemade Pinoy food. I would be so disappointed with myself if I can’t make something up to their standards and I probably wouldn’t eat it. Cooking Italian is relatively easy — everything goes well with risotto or pasta. But most Filipino foods have to be made with specific ingredients and the process is not always simple.

Motivated to continue my project, we flipped through Miki Garcia’s cookbook, argued which one looked yummiest, until we finally settled for paella. I tried making Kapampangan paella before (bringhe) but it was not so successful (understatement of the year *rollseyes*). I was determined to stick to the recipe this time so I wouldn’t mess up the dish especially since seafood isn’t exactly cheap.

The local fresh seafood shop, John’s Seafood, closes on Tuesdays. Isn’t it weird? Family businesses closing on Sundays are pretty common but Tuesday is unusual for me. Luckily, yesterday was a Friday so we were able to procure the three most important ingredients for paella: mussels, shrimp and squid. Unfortunately, they did not have the small, pinkish squid that Filipinos often use so I had to settle for the bigger, peeled, white ones.

Since paella is a dish that is usually served on special occasions, I always had the impression that it must be difficult to make. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it is relatively easy to cook paella. I can’t wait to make it for my family when we see each other again this April.

I had it with a glass of White Merlot wine and Chris stuck to his precious Yuengling. Miki’s recipe is shown below after the jump. I halved the recipe but followed all of her instructions except for adding the olives. Enjoy!

 

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Project Jamie: spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola

I haven’t been diligent with my Steffi x Jamie x Miki project. It’s just too easy for me to get distracted and try other things. But I promise to try and make more dishes from those books so I can meet my self-imposed deadline.

It’s a warm early-March day. By mid-afternoon, Chris and I arrived from the vet with our tiny chihuahua puppy, Basti. We’ve been up late, woke up early and the only thing we devoured since last night were cups of French roast coffee.  Chris went straight to the garden and started pulling weeds out but I insisted on eating something substantial to appease my complaining tummy.

We were both ornery, hot and hungry. We both needed comfort food. We needed something Italian.

I chose this dish because it looked and sounded interesting. I also have an intense craving for seafood considering that we’ve been eating a lot of beef and pork lately. (I know, I know… I should eat more greens.) I tried to be as faithful to the recipe as much as I could but I did tweak things a bit based on the availability of ingredients and taste preferences. My revisions are listed after the recipe below.

Is it the best pasta dish I’ve ever had? No, but it’s definitely in the Top 10. We enjoyed it immensely and I hope you do, too.

Thanks, Jamie. 🙂

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Stir-Fried Pork Over Crispy Noodles

I feel really lazy today. I have had to deal with a lot of things regarding my immigration, current job, possible future jobs, and worrying about the previous subjects. And there’s also a husband who has a  cold and demanded that he should be babied. My only kitchen activity will be opening a jar of 7-herb Ragu, tossing in a head of minced garlic, half of a chopped onion, a small knob of butter and a bacon and mushroom topping. And, of course, pasta. Some might say that it’s still considered cooking but it just feels wrong to take credit for spaghetti sauce that I didn’t make out of scratch.

However, I was more diligent last week. Aside from cooking up a storm almost every day of the week (even when we were in DC), I managed to try three completely new recipes. One is the dish which I’m just about to talk about as soon as I finish my small talk.

When I was in Singapore five years ago, I ate in kopitiams (food courts) almost everyday. I was particularly addicted to crispy fried noodles and I would order it often. Since then, I tried to find a similar dish in several Southeast Asian restaurants but nothing came close to the inexpensive but lovely noodles in Singapore’s kopitiams. So, I figured that I may as well try making it myself.

The first time I tried cooking crispy fried noodles a month ago ended in disaster — it was not edible at all. The result of this second experiment was not as wonderful as the Singaporean version but it is definitely edible. Who knew that crispy fried noodles would be such a pain to cook?

The noodles I’m familiar with were loosely cupped over a bowl. This one is more like a noodle cake that was browned on both sides. I’m not perfectly satisfied with it yet so I intend to tweak it until I get it right even if it takes 50 more tries.

In the meantime, here’s the recipe. It’s another version of my this pork and broccoli stir fry noodles I made a while back. Feel free to tweak it yourself. One thing’s for sure: saucy stir-fries taste so much better over a bed of crispy noodles than soft ones.

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