The Newbie Cook
- 16,395 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
It was a very warm early spring day when Chris suggested going to Red Bank Battlefield Park for a picnic. After the last four months of winter, a picnic would be a welcome treat and I instantly started packing food for lunch.
It would’ve been so easy to make a few sandwiches and stuff them in a bag along with a couple bottles of juice, but no… I just had to go ahead and cook my planned menu for the day. Besides, I’ve been thinking of chicken adobo for weeks now and I firmly believe in satisfying one’s cravings as soon as possible. Filipinos are used to toting lots of utensils, plates and tupperwares containing viands and rice; we don’t mind the hassle of added weight and cleaning up after as long as we could eat our precious rice meals. Chris raised his brows when he saw the big paper bag stuffed near to bursting.
“What’s in that?”
“Umm… adobo. And rice. And other things.”
Since he has never had adobo before, Chris couldn’t wait to try some since I spent the last week going on and on about my mom’s version of adobo. There was a funny moment when the plates were set on the picnic table and he was digging through the bag, looking for a knife.
“Sorry. I just brought a spoon and fork for you,” I laughed. “I forgot you’re not Filipino.”
Most Pinoy foods have relatively tender or thinly sliced meat because we use just a spoon and fork for eating. For us, a spoon is not only a utensil for soup, we also need it to scoop up the rice along with the viand. Chris valiantly tried to eat with the spoon but, after a few minutes of watching him struggle without his usual knife, I took pity on him and quickly cut up the chicken into bite-sized chunks.
“My mom used to do this for me when I was a baby.”
You should’ve seen the look he gave me. 😀
Luckily, he liked the adobo and here he is all full and satisfied afterwards. There were no leftovers.
This is my first attempt to cook adobo so I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how easy it is. There are a just few ingredients, all of which are common items in a Pinoy kitchen.
I marinated the chicken for one full day so the meat soaked up the flavor. Most Pinoys cook potatoes along with this but I’m not crazy about that so I added hard-boiled chicken eggs to go along with the chicken slices. Because it is so flavorful, adobo has to be eaten with plain white rice to neutralize the saltiness and bring out the yumminess of the dish.
Miki Garcia’s recipe follows after the jump.
When I bought a pack of chicken nuggets in Shoprite, Chris nearly had a seizure because I was buying *gasp* junk food. I tartly told him that I do eat processed food every once in a while and I have nothing against decent breaded chicken nuggets. But this doesn’t mean that I won’t make a homemade version.
I was still despondent over my failed attempt to make lumpia for the first time so I drowned my sorrows over a plate of these crispy, delectable, spicy cutlets. Chris became instantly addicted and bragged about it to our friends. He even suggested making a batch to bring to our upcoming Atlantic City trip with the AC gang.
I do have a secret to tell you. I was actually trying to cook Korean fried chicken but things didn’t work out the way I thought they would. I ended up with this dish, which I think is quite good considering how easy and simple it is.
I served this with a side of buttered asparagus. Enjoy. 🙂
This is my absolute, most favorite chicken dish ever! It’s one of the first things I cooked when I was just starting to learn a year ago. I was so proud of myself because I managed to produce something edible that does not involve a can.
I pretty much stayed loyal to Steamy Kitchen’s recipe because I was not confident enough to change anything. Although I used red instead of white wine due to the latter’s unavailability, it still tasted good.
I served this to my friends when we had a poolside potluck dinner along with cherry-centred lemon muffins sometime last September 2010. I miss making it and another friend suggested that I should cook it again soon for our weekly get-togethers. This made me dig up this photo from my archive as I took it after my first try before I even started The Virgin Stove.
It’s not that I haven’t been eating since May. I just haven’t been posting since May. I will offer no excuse aside from pure laziness. (Which means I would be posting stuff as often as I can this week.)
Anyway, since I’m here, I thought I could start with something healthy.
I really like the chicken salad with honey mustard dressing I used to eat in Starbucks when I was in college. Sadly, I can’t find it in Starbucks where I live right now. So I just decided to make my own.
It’s simple enough. I cut and tossed a few vegetables, cooked chicken breast strips in a tiny bit of olive oil, blended the dressing and it was done.
And here’s the recipe. 😀
We held a (belated) bridal shower for my friend, Janis, in Apartment #2. I love our reunions! We always talk too fast because we try to cram months of news within a few hours. 🙂
We had a MAJOR food fest. Ina and Chie brought steamed crabs, hot wings and yummy pork. Jovett brought the drinks. And I made heart-shaped strawberry milk cakes and a generous amount of the squash pasta pictured here.
We had a blast!
One of the many things I love about my friends is that we love eating. We set aside our diets during our get-togethers and just enjoy the company and the food. We never have “diet Cokes only” occasions!
The pasta also served as a pretty good brunch the next day. *licks lips* It can be a good side dish, part of a multi-course meal or can be eaten alone as a light lunch or dinner.
I haven’t posted here in ages not because I no longer want to cook but because I just came from vacation, got busy, experimented with a few duds that weren’t worth posting and because Dad started to get creative in the kitchen again and OF COURSE I have to eat what he cooks, which are mostly great but I can’t post them in my blog, right? *takes deep breath* Unless he guest-blogs.
Anyhoo, I kept a bunch of interesting recipes from Serious Eats that I wanted to try out. My co-worker, Tita E, picked the Chicken with Lemon recipe out of a pile and we started talking about how wonderful the chicken with lemon or orange dishes are from Chinese restaurants.
And that brought me back to the kitchen, chopping shallots and (just like the Nick from SE) wondering whether this simple recipe would yield the first blogworthy dish I cooked this year. When I was just starting to learn how to cook, one of the first recipes I tried was chicken with orange, coriander and ginger. Just the name sounded so horribly complicated to a kitchen noob and the process wasn’t that easy either. But I made that dish several times after the first try because it was just so addictive. (And it was one of the things I could do well, heehee.)
For the lemon chicken, I added a few very minor ingredients like ground coriander seeds and cilantro but stayed mostly faithful to the recipe. It looked good but the real test would come after the bite.
My eyes teared up a bit. It was definitely the lemoniest lemon chicken I have ever eaten. Beat that Peking! This so beats eating out! And now that I’m done ranting, here’s the recipe.
If you live in Saudi Arabia, you surely know that arugula (aka rocket or gerger) is best partnered with chicken. Given the number of local kabsa restaurants, you’re probably sick of the combination by now. But then again maybe not. Kabsa – the local roast chicken – is boldly spiced and extremely delicious. And the sharp taste of arugula complements it.
Back to the chicken. The breasts were frozen solid and I had to quickly defrost them by leaving them under cold running water for around 10-15 minutes. Never use warm water as it might cause bacteria to grow. Next, I did the usual salt-exfoliation before seasoning.
They turned out quite well. While the chicken was in the oven, I also made pumpkin rice (check this recipe, with the pumpkin pureed and minus the spinach) with shallots while the chicken was cooking to match since we Filipinos just cannot eat a meal without rice.
First, let me apologize about the photos. My dSLR’s battery ran out of energy and I left the charger in Apartment #1. Of course, I was crushed when I saw the little flashing red light. I had to take pictures using my cellphone and if you’re used to clear, bright photos, cellphones will always let you down. It’s a good thing that my luck held when it came to dinner because the chicken didn’t fail me.
Or rather, Smitten Kitchen’s Zuni Cafe Chicken didn’t fail me. I just love this woman and her recipes. My mother was also on Skype and shared the useful trick about covering the chicken. She said that this will allow the chicken to cook fully without drying. I had to use dried herbs since I stopped buying them fresh for the time being. Whenever I buy fresh ones I never get to use them all and find it painful to throw a big bunch of parsley or thyme away. Good thing rosemary keeps its flavor even when dried.
I had to cook dinner for nine women and decided to serve the chickens whole in the same pan where I baked them. And because I made orange chocolate cake for dessert, I had so much orange juice that I didn’t want to waste so I just made easy soy-orange sauce based on a recipe I found on Cooks.
Okay, I’ll start yapping and just give you the recipe. 🙂