lemon

Pork Sinigang (Sinigang na Baboy)

Yesterday  I had a long-standing wish fulfilled 🙂
(Mind you, there are “BIG WISHES” in life and then there are “small wishes” This was a small wish, but nevertheless, I am happy that it finally came through)
For years, I wished there’d be a good Filipino restaurant in my neighborhood, but there is only one that I know of within a few miles around, and frankly, that one sucks!
I don’t want to go into details, but believe me, if it would be halfway decent I would still go there. I have tried it three times, but all three times it was VERY disappointing, so I stopped going there and gave up hope. Whenever I needed a Pinoy food-fix, I had to prepare it myself.
So yesterday I went to do some errands in a close-by shopping center to which I have been going for more than 15 years. Much to my surprise, I saw a “new” restaurant named Manila Grill&BBQ  tucked away in a corner. (I asked an employee how long they’ve been open and he said more than two years)
I had never noticed it before, maybe because what sticks out on the sign is  Grill & BBQ,  so one does not quickly associate this with Pinoy food………..
The place is very clean, simply but nicely appointed and the employees are very friendly, attentive and professional.
The food, THE FOOD 🙂 – it was absolutely delightful, very authentic, nicely presented and wonderfully tasty. The prices are moderate and overall, it was one of the best lunch experiences I had in any restaurant in Miami in years.
You can read more about it here: Manila Grill & BBQ, Pembroke Pines, Florida
So now, back to the dish at hand,  Sinigang Na Baboy
Sinigang is a sour soup native to the Philippines. Beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and even chicken (sinampalukang manok) can be used. The one featured here today uses pork as the main ingredient. One can use boneless pork, though bony parts of the pig known as “buto-buto” are usually preferred. Neck bones, spare ribs, baby back ribs, and pork belly all can be used.
The most common vegetables used are egglant, okra, onion, green beans, tomato and taro root.
The most common souring agent is tamarind juice, (sampalog), but if not available, you can use calamansi, lime, lemon,  guava, bilimbi (kamias), green mango, pineapple, and wild mangosteen (santol) To go an even easier route, you can buy instant “Sinigang Mix” ready to add to the stock while cooking. (For my personal taste this is too salty and not sour enough)
Today I went to look-up the sinigang I posted before on ChefsOpinion, but much to my surprise I could not find a single post, although I cook sinigang quite often. I then checked my folder of unpublished posts and low and behold, there was a bunch of pics of a sinigang I cooked about 6 years ago but never published. Looking at the quality of the pics I understand why I hesitated, but what the heck, here it is:
Sinigang na baboy from the distant past 🙂
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Masaya Ang Buhay !   Kainan Na !
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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Sinigang Na Baboy  (Pork Sinigang)

Sinigang Na Baboy (Pork Sinigang)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Lahmacun

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Lahmacun,  (Armenian: լահմաջու lahmaǰu or լահմաջո lahmaǰo; Turkish: Lahmacun, Arabic: لحم عجين‎, laḥm ʿajīnلحم بعجين‎, laḥm biʿajīn,  “meat with dough”
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Pizza …………
Is there anybody who does not like pizza ? I am sure there are a few people who don’t, but then, you can’t please everybody . 😦
I love pizza a lot, but I love pizza the way I remember having it when I was very young and I ate a slice or two almost daily. You see, when I was working in Munich for the first time, during the 1972 Olympic Games, money was tight, so cheap street food at night was the usual dinner. The new and very “IN” thing at the time and place was the new craze of pizza by the slice, sold for 1.00 DM through reach-through windows at pizzerias in  Schwabing, which was the “It” place in Munich and probably the hippest place in all of Germany during the 70’s. One slice was big enough to satisfy the hunger of a normal person, two slices if you had the munchies, which was a normal thing to have at 2.00 am after a night of dancing, drinking and a few puffs of the good stuff 🙂
Anyway, what was so great about this pizza was its absolute simplicity. Great, thin and crispy crust, a bit of cheese and a bit of tomato sauce, and if you wanted to splurge, a few slices of salami. Heaven, right there !
Not at all like the over-sauced, cheese-laden, multi-topping loaded “pies” you get served in most places nowadays.
To this day, if I order a pizza in a restaurant, I always ask for “easy on the cheese and sauce”.
When I make pizza at home, I usually prepare the “pizza” which hails from middle eastern countries as well as some countries which are situated in the area that used to be the Soviet Union. I was first introduced to these meat pies while travelling in Russia, Turkey and Israel, back in the 70’s when traveling meant an introduction to local, ethnic food on an almost daily basis, because at that time the McDonald’s and the KFC’s and such had not yet permeated every street corner around the globe and if you wanted to have reasonable priced nourishment, you had to eat what the locals ate. Good stuff, good times !
Most of these pies were made with a variation of a simple yeast dough, usually very thin, spread with meat paste, baked until crisp, topped with some kind of salad leaves and raw onions, cut into wedges and drizzled with lemon juice. The meat was usually lamb, but sometimes beef (and some mystery meats we don’t want to get into here). The only major variation I encountered was in Turkey, where sometimes the dough was much thicker and not crispy and the pie was rolled into a döner kebap-like concoction, (Döner kebap / Gyro / Shawarma) when it is served as street food and therefore rolled into a tight roll so it can be eaten without utensils.
When I prepare these “pies”, I usually don’t go to the length of making my own dough. I either buy ready made fresh pizza dough and roll it myself, or I buy pre-baked thin crust pizza. Sometimes I also use lavash, flour tortillas or naan. In my experience, all of these work fine and I love them all. Remember, the main ingredient is the meat paste, not the dough. Below, you can see three different dough’s I used. All of them are great and non of them are inferior to the others, just different.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good ! 
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Lahmacun (sun dried tomato wrap-base)

Lahmacun (sun-dried tomato tortilla-base)

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Lahmacun (naan base)

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Lahmacun (pre-baked thin pizza dough-base)

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For the meat paste, use either ground lamb or ground beef. Add diced peppers, onions, tomatoes with its pulp, and chopped parsley or cilantro.
Then season with garlic paste, oregano, freshly ground black pepper, cumin, kosher salt, paprika powder and a dash of olive oil.
The paste should be fairly moist – if too dry, add more chopped tomatoes. Mix all ingredients without overworking the paste.
Spread meat paste thinly on the dough, bake at 400F until meat is cooked and dough is crisp.

To serve, top with salad and onions, drizzle with lemon juice, cut into wedges or roll into sandwich

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Brush the pie base with a good extra virgin olive oil
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For the salad topping, drizzle fresh leaves and onions with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chili pepper flakes and kosher salt
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Pre-baked pizza dough – Base
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Naan – Base  (cut into wedges or roll tight after baking for a one-handed sandwich)
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Sun-dried tomato tortilla – Base
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Fritto Misto

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It  is time for me to confess:  I am a food-shopping maniac. My kitchen usually contains enough fresh, dried, frozen and pickled food to feed a family of four for a few weeks. So, every couple of months I give myself the daunting task to empty my cup board, fridge and freezer completely in order to be able to start replenishing all over again.  So today, after two weeks of feeding myself and Bella with all the goodies already in the house, I finally achieved my goal: (my iron-will was victorious) – all food is gone and tomorrow morning I will start a new crusade to the butcher, grocery store and farmers-markets to make sure I have again enough food in the house, just in case………. ???? – well, something, you never know.

(My friends who live in the neighborhood will remember that after the last major hurricane left our area for nearly three weeks without electricity, Maria and I hosted daily free lunches in our garden for 20 to 30 people, sometimes a lot more. Tasty food from the grill and fire pit and plenty of beer and even more wine, all nicely cooled in the lake. What a blessing our full freezer and pantry proved to be then ) 🙂

But, let’s get back to the topic at hand.
The remaining few things I had left in the freezer were some squid, a few small shrimp, a piece of cod filet and in the fridge a bit of greens, lemon, scallions, an onion and some grape tomatoes . Perfect !
Some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for the salad, the seafood marinated with cayenne pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic and dusted in rice flour, two chilies and the scallions thrown into the mix, then quickly deep-fried and Voilà – Fritto Misto !   Life is Good !
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Buen Apetito !   Viva Italia !
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Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

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Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

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Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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$ 90 Salad Splurge …………….

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How do you justify an $90 salad for one?
I do by arguing that if I go to a restaurant and spend the same amount or even more, especially here in South Florida, my food will most likely not be as good and most certainly not as ample and luxurious. Three lbs of stone crab claws ($75) is a generous portion but not excessive. Add the shrimp, avocado and the other ingredients and you reach an eye-watering $90 bucks- definitely not something you want to do often, but once in a while for a special occasion ………….  so today I was celebrating my upcoming birthday (December 2nd !) 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Live a Little ! 🙂
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Crab And Shrimp Salad

Stone Crab And Shrimp Salad

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Crab And Shrimp Salad

Stone Crab And Shrimp Salad

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Crab And Shrimp Salad

Stone Crab And Shrimp Salad

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Seafood Snack

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Your choice:
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$ 3.95 – 1 pack of crappy “Nachos”
$ 4.50 – 1 small tub of crappy “Salsa”
$ 3.50 – 1 small can of crappy “Cheese Dip”

Total: $ 11.95 for a crappy snack 😦
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OR !!!
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$ 11.00 – 1,5 lbs snow crab legs
$ 6.00 – 0.5 lb eat & peel shrimp
$ 1.00 for some Thai sweet & spicy chili sauce
$ 0.50 half a lemon
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Total: 18.50 for a delicious, healthy, beautiful snack 🙂
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You be the judge !

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Bon Appetit !  (Either way) 🙂
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Seafood Salad

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This  afternoon I went to my fishmonger with the intention to get a fresh trout or a small snapper for a light dinner of fish and salad. What I came away with instead were the following:
Caviar, snow crab legs, king crab legs, clams, mussels, shrimp and crayfish. A short trip to the grocer for some endive, iceberg, grissini and a lemon, then five minutes of preparation and BINGO ! – best meal of the month 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
I got a bit carried away with the amount of pictures here, but this stuff is just too sexy and beautiful not to show off and drool over 🙂
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P.P.S.
If you wonder why there is no “fru fru” on this dish – I believe these beauties need no embellishment other than them self.
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Seafood Salad - lettuce in lime vinaigrette, endive in lime vinaigrette, grissini, lemon, caviar on sour dough bread, mussels, clams, shrimp. king crab, snow crab, crayfish, scallops

Seafood Salad – lettuce in lime vinaigrette, endive in lime vinaigrette, grissini, lemon, caviar on sour dough bread, mussels, clams, shrimp. king crab, snow crab, crayfish, scallops

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Seafood Salad - lettuce in lime vinaigrette, endive in lime vinaigrette, grissini, lemon, caviar on sour dough bread, mussels, clams, shrimp. king crab, snow crab, crayfish, scallops

Seafood Salad – lettuce in lime vinaigrette, endive in lime vinaigrette, grissini, lemon, caviar on sour dough bread, mussels, clams, shrimp. king crab, snow crab, crayfish, scallops

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Seafood Salad - lettuce in lime vinaigrette, endive in lime vinaigrette, grissini, lemon, caviar on sour dough bread, mussels, clams, shrimp. king crab, snow crab, crayfish, scallops

Seafood Salad – lettuce in lime vinaigrette, endive in lime vinaigrette, grissini, lemon, caviar on sour dough bread, mussels, clams, shrimp. king crab, snow crab, crayfish, scallops

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Sautéed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter



This  evening  I tried a new type of fish which I never had before:  Swai .
When I first saw the fish being sold for $ 4.00 a pound I was naturally very sceptical and went on a bit of research online. Much to my surprise, this seems to be a good choice, healthy and recommended by  fish authorities.
So, with my suspicion nullified I went on to prepare the fish this evening and I must say, it was excellent. Sweet, flaky, white flesh, great taste 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !

Sauted Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

Sauted Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

Sauted Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

Sauteed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter



Preparation :

season fish with sea salt and cayenne pepper, dredge in a mixture of half corn starch, half panko bread crumbs

season fish with sea salt and cayenne pepper, dredge in a mixture of half corn starch, half panko bread crumbs

saute filets in butter until golden on both sides and cooked through, reove from pan, reserve, keep butter on heat until starting to foam and brown

saute filets in butter until golden on both sides and cooked through, remove from pan, reserve, keep butter on heat until starting to foam and brown

meanwhile, saute cooked ptatoes in garlic oil until golden, add diced peppers, saute another minute

meanwhile, saute cooked potatoes in garlic oil until golden, add diced peppers, saute another minute

add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper

add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper

transfer potatoes to serving dish

transfer potatoes to serving dish

top with fish

top potatoes with fish filets

top fish filets with peeled, sliced lemon

top fish filets with peeled, sliced lemon

add capers to hot brown butter, saute for a few seconds

add capers to hot brown butter, saute for a few seconds

top lemon slices with chopped italian parsley, top wit brown caper butter

top lemon slices with chopped italian parsley, top wit brown caper butter

Sauteed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

sautéed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

Sauteed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

sautéed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

Sauteed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

sautéed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

Sauteed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter

sautéed Swai Filet In Brown Caper Butter



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Calamari Rellenos – Stuffed Fried Squid

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The  first time I ate this dish was in 1974 in Vigo, Spain. I was in Spain for the very first time and I fell head over heels in love with the country, the food, the wine, the culture, the music and, of course, the women 🙂  I remember many things from these first visit’s to this beautiful, fascinating country. However, what stands out from all these memories is my first lunch with friends at a small restaurant on the pier in the port of Vigo. Most of my friends had fried calamari, the way we were all  familiar with, fried breaded rings which are probably the most widely known calamari dish of all. I however wanted to try something I never had before, so I ordered the “Calamar Relleno”.
To this day I can recall the platter that was served to me and how much I admired the dish, so much richer and tasty compared to the fried rings I was used to. They were served with a simple salad and lemon wedges. No fancy sauce, garnish or other fru fru that would have destracted from the wholesomeness of this amazing dish.

Buen Provecho !    La Vida es Buena!   Viva España !  



Calamar Rellenos -Stuffed Fried Squid

Calamar Rellenos -Stuffed Fried Squid



Calamar Rellenos -Stuffed Fried Squid

Calamar Rellenos -Stuffed Fried Squid


 

 



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Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

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The  secret for the success of this dish is in the seasoned flour/bread crumbs in which to dredge the seafood, as well as frying it in small batches in very hot peanut oil. Mix 1/3 of panko bread crumbs, 1/3 of regular bread crumbs and 1/3 of corn starch. Season with plenty of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic and grated lemon peel. Fry for about one minute only or until the coating has turned golden brown. Remember, this is NOT breaded seafood, so you don’t have to worry if the seafood is not completely covered by the coating. The flour mixture serves to  give color, taste and texture. I served this with creamed spinach and tonkatsu sauce, but a green salad and remoulade sauce will fit just as well. Just make sure that you squeeze the lemon on one piece of seafood at a time, so by the time each bite reaches your mouth, the crumbs will still be crispy 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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tonkatsu sauce recipe click here
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creamed spinach  recipe click here
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Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

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Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

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Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

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Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce

Fried Seafood, Creamed Spinach & Tonkatsu Sauce >>>>  

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Panko Breaded St. Peter’s Fish In Lemon/Caper Butter

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Tonight,  a simple dinner of St. Peter’s fish and salad was all I wanted and all I needed.
Crispy fish filet with a bit of lemon/caper butter and romaine lettuce with peppers, radish and onion in raspberry vinaigrette.
Aaahhhh, the simple life 🙂
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Dear Friend’s, to help support this blog, please be so kind and click on the video below.  ( You don’t have to watch it, just click once )   Thank you 🙂
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