Date Night: Tapas!

The boyfriend and I were feeling particularly antisocial one Friday night. Okay–maybe it was just  me, because I said we should try making tapas first for us before inviting other people, whereas VMB wanted to have some friends over. Anyway, after a really heavy lunch we went to the grocery (I abide by the rule never go the supermarket hungry. You’ll spend more than you need to!) and gathered a list of things we would need to make this fine, fine spread.

We really should’ve invited people over. No matter how we tried to be good with portions, this spread lasted us about three meals, including one shared with some friends the next day. We had:

Patatas Bravas, modified. It was more of fries mixed with a bit of paprika, which we had with tartar sauce.

Baked mussels. It was the first time we ever cooked mussels, so we had to google how to clean (VMB had gloves, would you believe that!). Baked in cheese and garlic

Salpicao. We both had different takes but I ended up winning the argument. I wish I didn’t. Haha. Maybe next time.

Pan con Tomate, modified. Instead of toasting the bread with tomato and garlic, I made the sauce on the side so we can dip it and use it for other things

Cold cuts. We had cheese but decided against opening it since we already had too much food!

Since we’re not big on wine, we opted for imported beer. We went crazy when we stumbled upon Rustan’s selection, which went beyond the usual Heineken-Stella-Tiger. And the prices weren’t bad either.

Not bad for a first attempt! I think we’re ready to be  “antisocial” with friends next time!

New Things: Lasagna Soup

I’ll take a break from writing about the trip (I KNOW, talk about super procrastination!) to share with you guys a favorite “experiment” VMB and I made last month.

It all started with the weekly visit to foodgawker. This feature on lasagna soup got me excited and VMB said it was relatively easy. He picked up the ingredients on the way to my house and we spent about an hour and a half making this dish and I swear it’s G-double O-D GOOD!

It’s just like making lasagna only that you make it soupier. We tweaked the recipe and added bechamel sauce to make it creamier and substituted cream cheese for ricotta since he couldn’t find any in the grocery.

I suggest eating this right away after serving because the pasta absorbs the soup after some time. We made some for VMB’s sister to take with her to lunch the next day and it was more pasta than soup (but she tweeted that she loved it anyway!). I look forward to making this again! 🙂

This is Why I’m Fat: Turkish edition

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Two weeks in Turkey ended with my jeans crying out for help.

First meal upon arriving in Izmir was at my sister’s in-laws’ house. Her mother-in-law made us an amazing dinner of traditional Turkish dishes–stuffed green peppers, steamed rice in grape leaves, kofte, and my new favorite–chicken with walnuts or Cerkez Tavugu. Not sure if it was meant to be an appetizer but it makes for a great meal when paired with bread.

Of course, we had the best of everything from Izmir and Istanbul. My brother-in-law made sure we had shawarma (WAY different than how we know shawarma in the Philippines), Turkish kebab, medye (which is a nice snack made up of mussels and rice MUSSELS!), fresh fish, their version of pizza called Lahmacun (really thin crust “pizza”–just meat and cheese that you roll with arugula and tomatoes), coffee, Turkish ice cream (with the matching “magic show”) and what Yigit calls “the best burger in Istanbul” over at Kizilkayalar in Taksim Square. The best burger was actually a wet burger with a tasty patty inside soft bread dipped in tomato sauce and heated on the oven before serving. Don’t believe me? Ask Anthony Bourdain.

Man I miss Turkey. I’m getting really hungry now.

A Night Spent Dreaming of Dinner

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A few weeks ago, Mike and Zee invited us to their place for dinner. Do you know what a great honor that is? I’ve been a fan of Zee’s cooking even before her blog, Dreaming of Dinner, was born so this invitation was well-received with open arms (and several hungry bellies), along with a little joke that the reason why we were being invited to dinner was because they were going to make an announcement!

She asked me a few days before if I preferred Thai or ribs, and I told her to make whatever she wanted. Okay, I really wanted to say “Can we have both?” but that was asking too much. Imagine how excited we were when we got there and she prepared both–along with smashed potatoes and my all-time favorite squash soup!

No announcements were made, but we sure went home really stuffed that night! We had Squash SoupHoney Hickory Baby Back Ribs, Beef Curry, Smashed Potatoes, and Rice! (You can click on the items below to get the recipes!)

Can’t wait for the next one (hint hint) 🙂 and yes I’m aware I used too many ! to describe the food.

Dreaming of Dinner

My friend Zee made it to the Tastespotting page with her simple prawns!

Don’t these babies look delicious? Click here for her recipe!

I’ve been a fan of Zee’s food ever since she made us a wicked arroz caldo when we went on an out-of-town trip a couple of years back. (I might be mistaken, I think this fandom started earlier but the arroz caldo merits the top-of-mind spot as it’s one of the best I’ve ever had).  I’m so happy she has finally put up this blog that centers on FOOD!

I think it’s actually one of the reasons why we get along. We love good food: making it (more of Zee) and consuming it (um, me? haha). She was the one who made the delicious pesto and chicken for us while she was sick! All for the love of food, folks. If you don’t believe me, ask the dishes (I’ve been watching Beauty and the Beast again): follow her blog over at http://www.dreamingofdinner.com.

Sunday Lunch

While enjoying my morning coffee last Sunday (which rarely happens, because I wake up just in time for lunch or I’m still hungover :/ ), mom handed me these beautiful portobello mushrooms she bought recently. “Do something with it!”

I’ve never cooked portobello mushrooms in my life. I’m scared of cooking with ingredients that I love for fear of bastardizing them. I did my time on Google and helpful friends gave tips on Twitter (bake them with some mozzarella and basil). I wanted to do more since my mom was making an a nearly epic Sunday lunch (steak, sautéed potatoes with jamon serrano, salad with orange slices and blueberry feta cheese), so I scrounged around our pantry for other ingredients to use. I ended up doing a simple stuffed version!

First, I had to remove the stem and the gills carefully (I youtubed that part since I’ve never done it before. Thank God for the internetz). Then I drizzled them with equal parts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and baked for 10 minutes at 350 F degrees.

I chopped some green pepper and onions, sautéed them with olive oil, butter, garlic, a bit of the balsamic mixture, fresh basil, salt, and pepper. I made sure they’re still a bit crunchy though because I hate soggy peppers.

Then I mixed some grated cheese in a bowl. I found Gouda and Manchego, then mixed it with Quickmelt. I put the peppers and onions first then sprinkled the cheese on top. Added a bit of parsley on top and baked it for 10 minutes.

I managed to not mess it up. It was a good lunch 🙂