Eggplant Sandwich

>> August 18, 2011

Getting back on the healthy eating track, I made a simple eggplant sandwich for dinner - healthy and tasty.

- bread, preferably whole wheat
- 2 eggplants cut in 3 parts and then lengthwise
- slices of swiss brown mushrooms
- fresh romaine lettuce
- Salsa (optional)
- fresh tomato slices
- slice of mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Grill the eggplants. If you have no time to grill, you can also fry it but blot the eggplants with paper towels to remove the excess oil.
2. When cold enough to handle, sprinkle a bit of salt,pepper, and spanish paprika on both sides. Set aside.
3. Saute the mushrooms and sprinkle it with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Toast your bread.
5. Put the lettuce on the bread, then top it with the eggplants. Then put the salsa or tomato slice, mushrooms, and then the slice of mozzarella cheese.

I think this recipe works better in panini style.


Grilled Vegetables with Rice Noodles

>> August 16, 2011

OK, I want to begin this blog entry by saying that this vegetarian dish is a blockbuster! We had this 2 nights in a row and we seemed we can't get enough of it, I did it again in the same week. A week after, I cooked it again, twice on a separate occasion for friends who came over for dinner - and both gave 5 stars! Thanks to Natalie Ward, the owner of Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, for sharing this wonderful vegetarian dish! Her blog is always my avenue for yummy vegetarian recipes - and also worth to mention that her blog is a huge inspiration to me to live a vegetarian lifestyle.

We Filipinos love our meat so much, and we will make a way to put meat in every dish even when not necessary :P. We ordered vegetable fried rice once, only to find bits of ground pork in it. My caterer for a post wedding family luncheon, served pancit with seafood - when I specifically asked them to remove all meat in the pancit during our food tasting. When I complained, they said "Maam, there's no meat, we removed it". Apparently, they thought the word "meat" only refers to pork, chicken, and beef - but not seafood. It's disappointing that even the manager didn't have an understanding of what vegetarian food is. There are soups served in some restaurants, that the food servers thought vegetarian, and then you'll eventually find out it's not since you can taste the beef/pork/chicken broth cubes used in it. In short, I find it quite a challenge to become a vegetarian here, due to lack of vegetarian options in the menu of the majority of restaurants here, not to mention lack of vegetarian information.

See, there's a common misconception about going vegetarian (at least where I come from), and that is to become a goat. Meaning, you only eat green leafy vegetables, and those chunky, juicy ones. Being vegetarian means giving up the delicious food around you. These are examples of the many reasons why most people are discouraged to go vegetarian, and I perfectly feel and understand - it's not easy to give up meat. However, one thing that's not realized is that vegetarian food are nutritious and yummy too - you just have to know what to cook and collect as many variations of recipes as you can!

I'm not 100% vegetarian, but I make a point to eat vegetarian at least 5 times per week, or only when there's no vegetarian option when we eat out. My husband, however, is really working hard and would really refuse meat at all times - which of course, pushes me to cook all vegetables when we are at home, and motivates me to eat vegetarian when we are out (if guilt trip is considered as a form of motivation).

OK, too much blah blah! On to the recipe!


For grilled vegetables :
- 1 large broccoli head, stem discarded, cut in to bite size.
- french beans, ends trimmed
- Swiss brown mushrooms, washed and sliced
(note: the amount of the vegetables will depend on how much vegetables you'd like to top/mix with your noodles, so just estimate)

For noodles:
- 250g rice noodles, egg noodles, or vegetable noodles.
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced.
- chili powder
- sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp of soysauce + 1 Tbsp honey mixture
- 1 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce (or the regular if it's not available)
- 75ml olive oil
- 3 Tbsp of olive oil
- fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
- lemon wedges
- salt and pepper to taste

Noodle preparation:
1. Cook the noodle according to the instructions found in the packaging. Set aside.

Preparing the vegetables:
1. Boil salted water in a pot.
2. Blanch the broccoli and french beans for exactly 2 minutes. Be careful to not over boil.
3. Drain the vegetables and then soak it in cold water to shock it so it stops from cooking. Drain when it's cold.
4. Spread the vegetables on a clean towel to dry it.
5. Get a large mixing bowl and toss the broccoli, french beans, and then swiss brown mushrooms with 3 tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
6. Heat a griddle pan (or whatever grilling tool you have) on high heat for 5 minutes and start grilling the vegetables. Do this in a batch so it's not too crowded in the pan. Make some nice char marks on each side of the veggies.
7. Once done, set aside.

Preparing the vegetable toppings:
1. Heat the 75ml of olive oil in a sauce pan.
2. Fry the garlic slices until they are golden brown. Do not burn, else it will taste bitter.
3. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
4. Remove from heat and pour it on the vegetable. Toss well.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir frying the noodles:
1. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large wok over a medium high heat.
2. Add in the cooked noodles, the soy sauce + honey mixture, and oyster sauce. Mix well.
3. Sprinkle chili flakes.
4. Pour the vegetable mixture (including the oil) and toss it well with the noodles.

To serve:
Get a bowl, fill it with the noodles and vegetables. Sprinkle fresh chopped coriander and serve with a lemon wedge. Best when you eat with chopsticks!

I did some improvising in the recipe since I didn't have sesame oil and chili when I cooked this dish. I also added mushrooms just because I love mushrooms :). You can get the original recipe from Cook Eat Live Vegetarian blog.


Finally, Married and Happy!

>> August 9, 2011

Photographed by : JM Abania, the coolest, most creative, and far one of the best (aside from my hubby hehe)photographer of all time!

Will be back to blogging business next week, to tell more about the wedding, the people behind our successful celebration, and of course back to two of my favorite things in the world - FOOD and photography :).


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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