Help I Have So Much Basil!

>> May 31, 2011

I just trimmed my basil, and I ended up with this:

This is just from one pot. I've got so much I don't know what to do with them. I still have pesto so I can't make more. I need ideas!


Panizza, But Not Quite

Panizza Pizza was a love a first sight taste experience.

The very first time I encountered panizza was at C Italian Dining, Angeles City, Pampangga, where we held a film shoot for an AVP project. Panizza pizza is apparently the pride of the house. I'm not a pizza person, and so I didn't know what it was or how it's eaten.

Do I eat it with fork and knife? Do I eat it with my hands? But it's cut in a strip. How can I eat it with glamour like that? What's alfalfa sprouts and arugula doing on the table?

It would be awkward to eat it wrong while you are being filmed, so we asked the kind chef, who prepared all our great food that day, Chef Chris Locher, to tell us how we should execute the eating part :P. So he said, sprinkle the alfalfa sprouts on a strip. Lay the crunchy arugula on top. Roll it. And serve it to your lady like a gentleman.

So we started filming. Mark and I felt awkward at first to be filmed while eating and hearing directions on the sides of what we should do. It was the first time we had an "acting" gig haha! My cheeks where trembling and my hands were tensed. But as soon as I took a bite off that panizza - everything went real and natural. It was so good, I didn't have to act like I like it - because I love it! I think that's the best experience in that entire day of filming. From that moment on, it never left my taste.

This recipe is inspired by Chef Chris Locher's panizza. It's not very close to what he served to us, but this will work for us, for now - until I learn to make my own dough :).

- a ready made pizza crust (preferrably thin), but if you can make your own dough, do it.
- Del Monte Italian pizza sauce
- slices of ripe tomatoes
- alfalfa sprouts
- baby arugula leaves
- olive oil
- mozarella cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Brush the pizza crust with olive oil.
3. Spread the pizza sauce.
4. Spread the tomatoes
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
6. Top it with grated mozarella cheese and put it in the oven.
7. When it's ready, slice it in strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide.

To serve:

Step 1: Sprinkle alfalfa sprouts on one strip.

Step 2: Lay some crunchy baby arugula on top.

Step 3: Roll it. (In this case, my pizza crust is too thick to roll so we folded it like a sandwich :P).

Step 4: Munch munch!


Another Veggie Evening

>> May 27, 2011

A simple pesto pasta and a nice side salad is perfect for a light dinner. Salad recipe coming up ;).

Eat healthy and have a great weekend everyone!


A Taste of Freshness - Mixed Citrus Salad

Not all salad has to have green leafy lettuce. Salads also need not to be strictly all vegetable, or all fruits - you can combine them and it works ;).

I borrowed a citrus salad recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite sites to stalk when it comes to healthy food. I must say it is refreshing and it taste superb. It's nice to have a break from green leafy salad I'm so used to (and i super loveee), and go for some juicy, refreshing fruits.

Mixed Citrus Salad. Forgive my mint for looking dry, I forgot to sprinkle the dressing.

- your own choices of citrus. In this recipe, I have orange, ponkan and pomelo.
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. crushed feta cheese
- fresh peppermint, sliced in to strips

1. Peel your citrus using a knife, removing the white pith or until you see the actual flesh of the fruit. It is quite hard to explain how but click here to view a video of how you can peel an orange with a knife.
2. Put your finely chopped onion in a bowl and rest a strainer on top of it. Slice the citrus fruits and put it in the strainer. In this way, the excess juices would fall on the onion to add flavor and to soften it a bit. I also like to squeeze the juice of the "rejects" slices (slices that aren't so pretty :P) on the onion to add more liquid.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the redwine vinegar (or lemon juice), mustard, olive oil together. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. I also like adding a little bit of honey to give it a sweet twist.
4. Get a big flat plate and layout the citrus fruits. Scoop out the red onion and spread it out. Sprinkle the half (if it's a lot) of the juices from the onion bowl too.
5. Drizzle the dressing (red wine vinegar + dijon mustard mixture) all over.
6. Top it off with crushed feta cheese and mint strips.

Bon apetite!


Tricolore Omelette and My Breakfast Complement

>> May 17, 2011

I was supposed to take a break from taking food photographs for at least a week because I'd like to stay away from distractions and just give my 100% attention to my testing job. I could only think of the beta version we'll be deploying very soon, and I must say I am getting more nervous and excited each day. Nervous because I don't want to screw it up by missing important areas to test; excited because it's an ass-kicking software which will take the e-learning industry to the next level  ;)

Despite the lack of sleep and rest from working all night, I was feeling inspired to cook and take photos this morning. Yesterday I was stalking reviewing the recipes of Elena, the blog owner of Photogenic Food : Quick and Easy Recipes. I stumbled upon her blog while testing out google search and trying keywords to pull up my newly bought domain, which contained the word "Photogenic". I immediately fell in love with the simplicity, easy to cook/prepare attitude of this blog - not just the cooking part, but how Elena presented these recipes.

Her mozarella and tomato omelette caught my eyes. It reminded me of tricolore salad, one of my many favorites. Inspired by her recipe, I made my personal version (actually i was just pushed to freestyle because I didn't realize I don't have enough eggs to follow her recipe :P ).

So I'm going to call it Tricolore Omelette.

- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp of milk
- 1 small tomato, sliced
- mozarella cheese (grated or thinly sliced)
- fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Beat the eggs. Add milk. Sprinkle salt.
2. Heat oil in a pan. When it's hot enough, pour the egg mixture.
3. While egg is cooking, top it with mozarella cheese. If you have thin slices, just distribute it evenly. Make sure you don't put too much as you don't want to overwhelm your omellete with cheese. Distribute the tomato slices as well.
4. When it's ready, or the mozarella has melted, fold the egg just like how you normally fold an omelette.
5. Sprinkle pepper and serve with fresh basil leaves.

On to my second inspiration source...

Mark's first magazine cover was just published! We just got a copy and I'm feeling super thrilled seeing the photos he made published in front page, and all over the magazine. He's had a number of shoots with Monday, but this is the first time he got to shoot the cover, and being on the cover is really something. I feel proud to see Mark's work on a magazine cover - and mind you, it's not just a so-so magazine :). Thanks to Monday for giving Mark this opportunity. Very happy to see that his hardwork - the consistency of delivering high-quality, professional photographs paid off :).  So this morning, Monday Magazine was the perfect complement for my tricolore.

Dingdong Dantes is definitely a yummy breakfast. Aruguuuy! (quoting elvira and iya)

My Pupi is popular :D

Isn't she lovely?


Potato Carrot balls

>> May 10, 2011

I started to get a little bit alarmed on my weight gain when my favorite dresses started to feel tight on the armpit area, and my tops slowly started to fit me like winnie the pooh. Part of the worry is not about the weight gain - but my favorite clothes I might end up keeping in the boxes, or worse, give away, because it wouldn't fit me anymore. My precious clothes... they're so hard to let go!

Kidding aside, I have reached my ideal weight that I have been trying to achieve for the last 3 years. I am honestly enjoying the benefits that comes with it (e.g. being able to buy clothes in the women's section versus teens). However, I do not want to enroll myself to the journey of continuous weight gain program, which made me a bit conscious recently. Althought my arms, legs, and thighs are still in shape, fats accumulating in my abdominal area doesn't seem so cute anymore. I shouldn't be surprised because I haven't been physically active eversince Mark came. My apetite also went a few notch up to compensate for my sleep deprivation and hard domex labor 3x a week at home :P.

But, we gotta do what we gotta do. I decided to stop being oblivious and stop ignoring the fact that I'm in the road of gaining more than I should. And since I couldn't promise myself with a regular workout, I should just make meals that are filling but less fattening.

For lunch yesterday, I prepared potato carrot balls matched with fresh green leafy salad.

- 1 pc large potato, peeled and quartered
- 1 pc medium sized carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium sized white onion, finely chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- bread crumbs
- all purpose flour for breading
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil the potato and carrot until tender.
2. In a mixing bowl, put the carrot, potato and butter, mash them together.
3. Toss in the bell peppers and onion. Mix them well using a spoon or a rubber spatula.
4. Add salt and pepper, according to your liking.
5. Add the beaten egg and mix well.
6. If the mixture is too wet, sprinkle about 1 tbs of bread crumbs.
7. Cover you plam with flour. Use a spoon to scoop a portion and mold a ball out of the potato mixture using your palm. The flour will serve as your breading.
8. Heat oil in a deep frying pan, and start frying the balls until golden brown.

Do not forget to blot the potato-carrot balls with paper towel to remove excess oil. A nice dip for this is ketchup.

Serve it with a salad made of romaine lettuce, fresh chopped tomatoes, white onions and cucumber. Do not put any mayo based dressing, but instead, just add salt and pepper, and a bit of extra virgin olive oil and toss them together. You can also use a little amount of vinigrette if you prefer it sour.


Karniyarik Inspired Eggplants

I didn't do any grocery shopping last week since I was caught up (and still currently is) with my job. I checked my fridge to see what's left to cook and found eggplants. Mark and I have been eating fried take-aways/deliveries since I can hardly find time to cook. My ass was always glued on either work chair, or on the bed, working. I don't know what to do with the eggplants except to fry them - and I was kinda sick of fried stuff.

It was a blessing in disguise to find Delish Recipes that I found a purpose for my eggplants. It turned out to be a great dinner.

I just finished typing the ingredients and steps (eggplant preparation, stuffing and baking) when blogger decided to fuck me right in the ass. As much as I wanted to redo it, I have to go cook for my starving husband. So I'll leave you the link where you can get the video tutorial for this recipe.

I swear, I tried to make it look photogenic. I replaced ground meat with veggiemeat.


Save Your Bread

>> May 5, 2011

Buying a loaf of bread and consume it within a couple of days is difficult to achieve, specially if there are just 2 people to finish it (if you don't eat bread everyday). Since it wouldn't last for a week, I always end up wasting about half of it. One technique I learned to extend the bread life is to freeze it. Now it lasts for a week or so.

Anyways, bread doesn't get moldy right away after it reaches its best before date.
It first gets dry, crumbly - just simply stale. Texture isn't as pleasing, and its probably not nice to make sandwich out of it anymore. But it doesn't need to end there, wasting bread bought from your hard-earned money. It's still good for frying :). Why not make a french toast out of it? In fact, french toast is best made from stale bread. If you google its history, it was known as pain perdu, which literally means "lost bread", an old bread that would have been thrown away but instead, used in a dish.

This morning, I realized I still have left over bread from Bizu in the freezer, that has been there for at about 1 1/2 weeks (gross ba? haha). I defrosted and made french toasts, topped with sliced fresh strawberries and banana to add nutritional value. Ooh lekker!


Bubble Blahs

I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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