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1/29/2008

Italian Sausages by Ruy

23 comments

One of the things I got to making courtesy of the long holiday vacation.



Italian sausages. One of my favorite sausages for its distinct flavor, spicyness, versatility and its close ties to another favorite food which is pizza.=)







I made two batches (due to Liv's demand) and immediately realized that the quality of meat is key in this sausage. There was a great difference between the meat of the two different meatshops I bought from. The difference in the freshness of one over the other was as bright as day. For best results, the meat has to be as fresh as can be.

Italian Sausage is very simple to make. All you need is some salt, fennel seeds and some chili flakes.
Approximately:
1kg ground lean pork
1.5 tbsp salt
1tbsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp chili flakes
(some recipes have paprika and minced cloves but i didn't put any in mine)


Just mix them all together and you're good to go.
You can make them into patties or stuff them into hog casings. This was the most exciting but scariest part. Hog casings can be pretty delicate and you need to handle them with care. I just used a sausage funnel and manually stuffed the meat into the casings. It took hours to stuff 4kg of meat (even with help) as I was just doing it manually and for the first time.

I went crazy over the fact that I could make these Italian Sausages as hot as I wanted so I made a separate batch for the chili monsters in the family, throwing in 1 tsp of chili flakes per kg.

At the end of the day my adventure got pretty good reviews from the eaters specially Liv.

How sweet is that.=)

1/26/2008

Power of Pizza

10 comments

It's been said time and again that the fastest way to a man's heart is through food. Now, if you make that food pizza then you've found the shortcut to Ruy's heart.


I decided to come home one day with this:



At 11:30pm, one does not have much choice as to the food she can order. My choices at that time were KFC and Pizza Hut. I called Ruy and asked him what he would prefer and of course he chose Pizza Hut.


I have mentioned in other posts that I am not a pizza person and I only have a handful of flavors which I actually enjoy. The BBQ Ribs Pizza from Pizza Hut is that one flavor which slightly swayed my opinion on pizzas. This is the first pizza I actually craved. During my pregnancy the hormonal me would order this at 12mn...


This pizza is not for everyone. A lot of people are put off by the sweetness of the ribs "Pizza is not supposed to be sweet" according to these people. I do not subscribe to this line of thought. The more dessert-like things are the better. =)

This pizza has oodles of onions which further add to the sweetness of the ribs and its sauce. The ribs are marinated in the exact same way their a la carte rib dish is. The meat is tasty and tender although my husband is currently doubting their 'rib-ness', he says we can't tell what part that meat really is from as they're sliced in small pieces. I say I don't care what they are, if it tastes like ribs and it's labeled as ribs then that's what it is. =) Other ingredients include mushrooms and bell peppers though they're practically indistinguishable as the ribs and its sauce are the main attraction here.

Greedy old me decided to have their cheezy pops instead of the traditional crust. I made the mistake of eating the pops first (which are quite tasty) and ended up not being able to eat much of the pizza. The pops were really heavy on the stomach plus they make the pizza slice very difficult to handle leaving both Ruy and myself with toppings on our shirts. (Thank goodness I don't do the laundry)

1/22/2008

Liv's Yummy Chocolate Mousse

25 comments

I never got around to posting a picture of the choco mousse from Chef Liv's kitchen.


Here it is:




Like I said, it came out a teenie weenie bit fluffy but it didn't matter at all. It tasted excellent. The flavor of the chocolate came out like a beautiful midnight stroll, as my tongue gyrated in between waves of thick, silky smooth mousse.

My wife has the palate, I promise.

Great job Chef Liv!

Cook some more?=)

1/20/2008

Racks Ribs - Food We Love

9 comments

For this entry, I am happy to be posting one of our all time favorite things to eat.


When we're not sure of what we want to have for lunch or dinner, this place is definitely a risk free choice because we know we'll enjoy our food.
Such was the case during our most recent Racks dinner. We were basically driving all over Ortigas (for quite a while) trying to figure out what we wanted to eat.
Really, sometimes you get to a point when you've enjoyed quite a lot of meals one after the other that it overwhelms like a power surge. As soon as you try to draw/pick just one of those experiences to relive for one particular dinner, your brain gets overloaded with flavors followed by confusion and then automatically shuts down, refusing to feed any helpful data.
For such moments, our old reliables, our comfort foods, play a most vital role to get us to eat without feeling like "we should have gone here..." or "I feel like I still want something else..."
Racks does that for us so we were just overjoyed when it re-opened in Ortigas after a period of hibernation.

Racks Fish & Chips was our adventurous choice that evening most probably because one of our options that evening was Fish & Co. We were very happy to potentially get the best of both worlds.
The coating of the fish was crisp and the flesh was not dry at all, however, it's not one of the best Fish & Chips i've ever tasted. It was just okay.

The two bottles in the background however, are definitely among the top barbecue sauces for me.





Liv paired it with white wine.




And of course, a rack of the oh so tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs basking in its smokey flavor which I love soaking with their signature Racks BBQ Sauce.
This is definitely what we went here for!



I ate this with a loaf of garlic bread as I was felt like eating "light" (who am I kidding?)...



Culinary Training

2 comments

Last Thursday, Ruy and I commemorated our 7th year as a couple. We would have wanted to celebrate but unfortunately we were both busy with work.

I decided that this occasion would be the perfect excuse to get Ruy something which he’s been wanting but has never gotten around to buying for himself, an instructional food book.

The book I got him is called Kitchen Essentials by Le Cordon Bleu.

I do think that it’s the closest thing we could get at this point in time to formal culinary training. Ruy already cooks quite well but he just wants to fine tune his skills and learn the proper way of doing things instead of just winging it and hoping everything turns out okay. So while he can’t take classes in Le Cordon Bleu, Scottsdale Culinary School, Hollywood Kitchen Academy, or Sacramento Kitchen Academy Ruy will just have to make do with that book.

Now in theory, buying the book seemed like a good idea but now I’m having second thoughts. Ruy’s “Must Buy List” is growing and growing and growing.. Sometimes it gets a bit ridiculous already. For example he wants to buy a mezza luna. This is a knife shaped like a semi circle with two handles (one for each side) and is used for chopping things. He also wants to buy a fish kettle. I have yet to see a fish kettle here in the Philippines and I think it’s just a funny thing to want for someone like Ruy who is not really into fish.

I might sound like I’m whining but I really appreciate having someone who likes cooking and can do it well. This is why I’m seriously wondering if Ruy should have formal culinary training, I’m just worried he’d go home with bags full of mezza luna’s and fish kettle. Hehehe

1/18/2008

New Year, New Address

1 comments

With this new year comes something exciting for us. You can now find us at:


http://www.atasteofmarriedlife.com/


So please, please, please update your links okay?

1/17/2008

Double-double, cheese-cheese burger-burger please please!

12 comments

Order: One double cheeseburger meal and one double cheeseburger sandwich.





Instructions: Put one double cheeseburger (except the bun and just the bun!) inside the other.


The result:


The double double cheeseburger!!!

Four mean beef patties and cheese + lots of pickles and onions = a happy Ruy
This beauty is a McDonalds favorite of mine. Not too heavy but definitely not whimpy.
Oozing cheese melts under the pressure of hot freshly cooked beef patties while a squad of pickles and onions lay in wait to ambush your senses with this fastfood wonder.

I used to get double quarter pounders but eventually decided to downsize to a more "moderate" alternative. I find it much tastier too.=)

Thanks Liv my honey for the pasalubong!

1/13/2008

Close Encounters of the Blogger Kind

20 comments

It was a cold, rainy evening...the kind of evening which makes one lazy and content to just stay at home and snuggle in front of the TV. Ruy and I (being the boring, old farts that we are) would have been perfectly happy watching Top Chef at home but we braved the streets leading to Serendra to meet up with several other foodies/bloggers.


It was supposed to be a big group but some couldn't make it at the last minute, Anton was whisked away to Boracay. Toni's dad had an accident involving a motorcycle (we hope he's fine now Toni). Didi had another appointment. There was another girl who was supposed to go...we can't remember her name cause she stood us up...tsk tsk tsk. =)


The severely reduced group is now only composed of Spanx, Doc Chef and of course us two. From 8 people to 4 -- the number was cut but the fun wasn't. Good food, good company you can't go wrong with that.


We trooped to Cuillere for this dinner feast and it really is so much fun eating with other foodies. These are people who are not afraid of a few calories (carabo milkshake, foie gras, goat cheese..ulk) and who are not weirded out by someone taking pictures of food. It was quite funny to see how as soon as the food arrived, everyone had their cameras up.


Here's our take of the food we had:


(Arugula with Basil Vinaigrette, Cherry Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, Warm Goat Cheese Salad on top of a bread
drizzled with Honey, Php 385)




LIV: This salad would have been wonderful if only it was served at the start of the meal and it actually had pine nuts on it. I hate it when restaurants don't tell you that something's not going to be in your dish. It's as if they're just assuming you wouldn't notice it. Luckily, I was not in a bitchy mood and didn't feel like making any kind of scene.


RUY: I have to agree that it is quite disappointing to be served something that doesn't have what it says it has. I was also under the impression that they totally forgot about our salad because we were almost done with our main course when it finally arrived (after I followed up the order to a surprised looking waiter). However, I have to say that this salad was lovely. The goat cheese and honey combo was simply delicious. Rich and mildly salty cheese with fresh and sweet honeyed veggies. I'll definitely give this another chance.



(Breaded Chicken Breast Rolled with Ham and Cheese served with Lemon and
Tarragon Butter Sauce, Php295)
RUY: Yummy chicken. As soon as I had my first bite I totally forgot the lemon, butter tarragon sauce that came with it. The meat was very tasty and juicy with a hint of citrus. Delicious.


Looking back, I wonder what the thing beside the chicken is. It seems to me like runny mashed potato. I ate it and it was okay but what is it? Hay, I really lost myself wolfing down the chicken.


LIV: While Ruy's gushing over the chicken, I wasn't that much impressed with it. I would have to say that it's an okay dish but there's nothing distinct and memorable about it. This could be our fault cause we weren't able to use the Lemon-Tarragon Butter Sauce cause someone (ehem) didn't see the container of the butter. I have a feeling the sauce would have taken the dish to another level



( Pan-seared Foie Gras drizzled with Raspberry Infused port wine reduction served with a side of greens, Php 1,495)

LIV: This is the best Foie Gras I've ever tasted in the Philippines...granted I've only tried it in around 4 restos, so I can say that it's the best among the 4 restos...hahaha. It's really hard to go wrong with foie gras -- at the very least you'd have a good enough foie gras. If you are lucky you can have something wonderful and I could say that Cuillere's version is quite wonderful. They didn't fall into the trap of overcooking the foie gras and so what we had was a foie gras which retained it's buttery consistency. I would have been tons happier with more greens (somehow eating veggies with foie gras seems like the proper thing to do...it somehow feels healthier that way hehehe)



RUY: What can I say, authentic foie gras is just deadly. Every bite feels like a journey into Donald Trump's heavy taste in interiors where all the gold and ornate carvings would have been too much to bear except that each piece probably has a grand story (and costs a fortune). The foie gras was an artery constricting experience of rich flavor that oozes oh so gently on top of the palate like a shining custard from seductive hell. I don't think any amount of this opulent indulgence will ever be enough.




I liked the raspberry syrup too.



(Ice Cream Sandwich with your Choice of Ice Cream Flavor)

LIV: Ah the dessert of Spanx with the deceiving glass. When the waiter placed it on the table, the glass tilted dangerously and the ever alert Doc Chef with his surgical precision and spider-like reflexes tried to rescue it. Only to find out a few seconds after that the glass was really designed that way. It was still a valiant effort Doc Chef

(Stewed Apples with Toffee Syrup, Whipped Cream, Flambeed with Brandy and Topped with French Vanilla Ice Cream, Php 195)




Liv: The decription was soo tempting that I was expecting something marvelous. I was a bit disappointed with what we had. It wasn't bad at all...it just wasn't as phenomenal as it sounded.



(Carabao Milkshake : Cheese Flavor, Php 195)




Liv: This for me was the biggest disappointment. I've heard people sing praise about this and I found that it tastes just like melted ice cream.




Ruy: My sentiments exactly




Liv: In general it is a commendable restaurant but with it's reputation and it's claim I guess I was expecting it to be several notches higher than the usual restos here.




1/09/2008

Ruy Experimenting: Ginataang Pansit

20 comments

I just wanna share a little dish I thought up daydreaming during one of my long travels. Ginataang pansit.





I just love coconut so much that I'd love to sneak it into anything anytime I can and having just cooked a pretty okay pansit immersed in teriyaki and oyster sauce (haven't posted about this yet). I just thought that perhaps coconut milk could do the same trick. The idea seemed simple enough, and it was.





I thought it would work best with seafood so I cooked it with shrimps. Sauteeing the usual stuff, a seafood cube, carrots, onion leeks, chicharo and shrimps, I added coconut milk (around 2cups) and the dried pansit canton (around 400g) noodles which sucked the yummy liquid in like crazy. Adding a bit of water to make sure all the noodles would get cooked, I then put in my final ingredient which was kangkong.








The product was pretty good. The noodles had a distinct milky taste and the seafood flavor was very prominent but not overpowering. The kangkong complimented everything excellently.

Quite easy and rewarding, I'll definitely do this again. =)

To Sell or Not to Sell

0 comments

That is the question on our minds right now.

Ruy has been running around the kitchen like a chicken with it's head cut off....wait let me rephrase that, he's like a chicken with ADHD with it's head cut off. He has been cooking and cooking and cooking. While I generally like what he cooks (Ruy says I'm his worse critic) there are some I don't really understand (like his next post) and some which I'm head over heels in love with.

I tried one of his creations last month and honestly told him "Honey I would pay for this". I realize that we could actually sell some of the things Ruy makes. The problem is the logistics. Time to make everything and more importantly, time to facilitate transactions and delivery.

I wish we had something like this shopping cart software which would help us immensely. It helps merchant who need a venue to market their goods.

Oh well, I really think this is a viable idea and I hope we can work around the kinks.

1/04/2008

Stuffed Chicken

23 comments

A late new year's post this is but I insist on making it a new year's post nonetheless.=)


My first stuffed poultry (chicken).


Inspired by the thanksgiving posts and articles in some blogs and food magazines I've read, I couldn't resist the call of stuffing. The thought of packing a hollowed husk of poultry with a stuffing born from one's most beautiful dreams and wildest imaginations (anything goes) was just too seductive an ode to ignore. I could be as creative, crazy, carefree with what I wanted inside the womb of my chicken. Naturally, I thought to put in/incorporate the dish that I love to cook most abd which could possibly work. Chili. =)


Oh sweet freedom.


Here's a rundown of what happened.


I bought a whole de-boned chicken (which I just learned is readily available thanks to Liv's Food Magazine) and marinated in Lemon butter with roasted garlic and pepper.







Prepped ingredients for the stuffing.








With mad glee I sauteed ground beef in a LOT of onions and tomatoes, spicing it with cumin and chili powder and some liquid seasoning.





Having sauted it till the onions were satisfactorily translucent and tomatoes turned to liquid, I then added mushrooms and red kidney beans (in the absence of pinto beans in the grocery).









When I felt the timing was right, I added tiny cubed potatoes and some fresh chili peppers.







As a final touch, I poured in around three fourths of a big Chiz Whiz bottle.
And tada! Ruy's mexican pistolero chili stuffing was finished.




With just my keen bolero-sewing intuition (meaning I just sewed away without a clue on how its really supposed to be done), I was able to seal in all the stuffing I dared cram inside the chicken.




However, thanks to my ignorance, I didnt think to dust off the garlic bits from the marinade which clung all over the chicken before roasting it. The garlic bits burned and left some not-too-nice looking black pockmarks on the roasted chicken's skin.

Anyway this is how it cooked.





Thankfully except for the pockmark eyesores, the chicken didn't burn and it wasn't raw. It was actually quite juicy and the skin was tasty. Whew!

I just wish the de-boned chicken offered more meat to go with all the stuffing I put inside. As it was, the chicken disappeared way before the surprise that was tucked inside of it.



Now that I write about it, I realize that I am thankful for the opportunity I have been blessed with to embark on such a whimsical but luckily successful project. I'm thankful for all the people who are willing to entrust their lives to my cause by happily eating these things I make (the most willing of whom is my wife) and making sure that I can cook without any thought of food going to waste . =)



To all the people who take the time to read this blog, thank you very much and I wish I could all give you a bite of my first stuffed chicken.=)




With all the love stuffed inside my heart, HAPPY NEW YEAR!



1/01/2008

Chef Liv

16 comments



Olivia's Chops with Herbed Butter:



An original blend of of pork chops marinated in lemon, butter and spices (garlic I was able to identifiy garlic and basil among others among others) slathered with a buttery herb sauce.



I liked it a lot! The taste of the pork chops as evenly balanced and the butter sauce gave a nice dose of herby flavor.





Spicy Tuna With Creamy Pesto:



Another Liv original, this was a tasty dish made from spicy century tuna blended with cream and pesto on a bed of springy, aldente angel har pasta. Quite good. This provides another way to cook the ever versatile canned tuna.=)






Herbed Potatoes Ala Liv: Inspite of Liv's constant complaining that she made it too salty, I thought it went really well with the pork chop's subtle flavors and added a necessary flavor. Baked in olive oil and herbs, this was good enough to be eaten by itself.






Fluffy Mousse:



When Liv opened her final surprise for dessert I was just delighted! She baked a chocolate cake! It was absolutely delicious and moist, fluffy like a sponge cake and a very tasty chocolate icing. After around two slices of praising the "cake", it was only then that I realized that Liv has been referring to it as "chocolate mousse!!! She's been trying to tell me all along that it was supposed to be chocolate mousse but for some reason or accident, the chocolate dough (brownie?) base rose ridiculously when she baked it in the oven (too much baking powder?) and turned into the sponge cake i was devouring! Haha!



Oh well, it was one heck of a delicious mistake.=)



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