Saturday, April 26, 2008

Halo-halo con Zabaglione

Halo-halo con Zabaglione
Halo-halo with Zabaglione Sauce

This is my take on one of the Philippines' famous desserts snack. Instead of just plain evaporated milk, I infused the flavor of Italy here. And the result is still refreshing without sacrificing the flavor we have been familiar with.

Ingredients:

3 C Sparkling white wine like Champagne or any carbonated soda (Sprite, 7Up)
2 pcs. egg yolks
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T sugar
1/4 C raisins, soaked in rhum
1/2 C each red and green gelatin, boiled, set and cut into cubes
rice crispies (pinipig)
red mung beans, cooked with sugar
garbanzos or white kidney beans, cooked with sugar

other add-ins: bananas cooked with sugar, preserved jackfruit, sugar palm (kaong), leche flan (custard), ice cream, condensed or evaporated milk

Preparation:

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with sugar and cinnamon. Pour the sparkling wine or soda gradually until frothy. In a tall glass, arrange the ingredients i a presentable manner. Pour in the frothed zabaglione in the glass and top with rice crispies. Serves 2.

These recipes won me my first gold for the dessert-plating category. I should say I was surprised to get that. These are very easy to make recipes but all of these put together made a powerful combination-an Elite Four. Hehe...

Other than that, i managed to come up with really chic, presentable, artistic presentations that captured the eyes of the judges.

Give these recipes a try.




Spiced Toscano Schiaccia il Timballo

Spiced Toscano Schiaccia il Timballo

Spiced Tuscan Squash Flan

This is my version of leche flan or custard. It is still made with eggs and milkbut to make it richer, i put in squash puree and nutmeg. It has a little kick of spice with the nutmeg, also putting in more aroma.

Ingredients:

2 C squash or pumpkin, (the older, the better), peeled, cubed and boiled

6 pcs. egg yolks

1 C condensed milk

1 t nutmeg

1/2 C sugar

1 t vanilla extract

Preparation:

After boiling the squash, pass it through a sieve. In a bowl, combine the beaten egg yolks, condensed milk, mashed squash, vanilla extract and nutmeg powder together. Mix well. set aside. In a custard mould, dissolve the sugar to make sugar syrup as a base for the flan. Pour the mixture on the moulder. Put the moulders on a baking tray with water or just put them in a steamer. Cook until flan is firm. Preferrably, I would use small round, tin flan moulders for this recipe, so when it is plated, you would see the height of the dessert. When the flan is done, set it aside to cool, refrigerate to set properly. Unmold on a dessert plate. Serve the flan with fresh fruits or with other pastries.

Tartufi Neri e Bianchi con Frutta Tropicali

Tartufi Neri e Bianchi con Frutta Tropicali

Black and White Truffles with Tropical Fruits

This recipe was formulated during my Food Sales subject wherein we have to come up with our own unique product, make a feasibility study, marketing strategy, sales report and concept of the prospective product with their potential proponents. This recipe is a no-bake and very rich in fiber.

Ingredients:

300g chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

1/2 C condensed milk

3/4 C raisins, chopped

1 pack (300g) dried tropical fruits, (papaya, banana, pineapple, coconut meat, mango), minced

cocoa powder

confectioner's sugar

Belgian waffles

Preparation:

In a mixing bowl, combine crushed cookies, condensed milk and raisins. Mix it altogether intil you have a sticky mixture. Roll out a half-tablespoon of the mixture into a ball. Press at the center to provide space for the filling of mixed dried tropical fruits. Roll it to a ball again. Set aside. Refrigearte if preferred. Dredge each ball with cocoa powder or confectioner's sugar. To plate, put a Belgian waffle on a plate arrange four truffles into four's with alternate colors. Put another waffle on top of the truffles and dredge lightly with cocoa pwder. Garnish with edible blooms. Makes 24 pieces depending on size of truffles.

Composta di Pomodoro ala Pietro

Four desserts-exquisite!

These desserts were the most unforgettable and easiest desserts I made. Having said "easy" you will find it amazing how I managed to bag the Gold Award at a culinary competition.

It was the 4th Gastronomia Culinary Skills Competition. The theme was European-Filipino. I came up with Italian-Filipino as a concept for my desserts. The category was for "Plated Dessert Display-Freestyle." Wherein we have to display four different desserts be it cold or hot, baked or frozen, fresh or cooked. Some of the elements we have to consider are the colors, flavor, aroma, height, taste-basically everything must go together and must relate to your concept and theme.

Here are my four award-winning desserts. The first dessert was adopted from my Mom's original recipe of "Tomato Jam." I've alteres her recipe to make it my own and came up with two versions. Since I followed an Italian theme, I also decided to name the recipes in Italian.

Composta di Pomodoro ala Pietro

Candied Tomato and Tomato Compote

Ingredients:

2 pcs ripe, red firm. plump tomato, peeled and seeded, sliced into strips; the othe is peeled and seeded then, hollowed

4 T sugar

4 t water

1 t rhum or brandy

1 T fresh grapefruit juice

fresh fruits (strawberry slices, grapefruit slice, mint leaves or pandan leaves)

Preparation:

In a saucepan, pour the water and let it simmer. Add in the sugar and tomatoes. Allow the sugar to dissolve and crystalize with the tomatoes. Pour the brandy or rhum and juice. Stir the fruits to avoid burning. Once the sugar is melted and the tomatoes are begining to be somewhat clear, transfer them on a bowl. Let cool. To plate the dessert, put the grapefruit slice on a white 13" plate. On top of it, put the whole "tomato compote" and the "tomato confit" atop the compote. drizzle with syrup. Garnish with fresh fruits and a sprig of mint and/or a pandan leaf. Serves 2.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My First Kitchen Adventure

I was around 3 years old then. It was 9-ish in the morning when my Mom left me alone at home. I’m a really a smart-ass when I was alot younger. I was watching TV when something ran in my mind. I got bored quite a bit so I thought of something else to do. I was thinking of doing my Mom a little favor which she could be proud of when she gets home. The best thing I thought is to cook rice.

Yep!

So, what I did is I looked for something to cook on and found this llanera-an ellipse-shaped aluminum container used to mould and cook leche flan. i scooped rice from a huge drum and put it in the llanera. As how my Mom does it, I rinsed the rice three times untl the water gets somewhat clear. My Mom told me that rinsing the rice would remove the small stones and the rice husk or something. Me being a smart-ass thought that, “Why just rinse to clean it when I can use soap to make it more sanitized?”I put a dash of powdered detergent on the rice with water to clean it. When it has became soapy and sudsy, I rinsed it again. After the last rinse, I then put water to the rice, getting it ready to be cooked. I even finger-measured the water acting like an expert without any idea why my Mom does that. Haha!

Then, put the llanera atop the stove, lit the fire and voila! I was cooking rice. Hahahahaha! Thinking that I’m all done, I went back watching TV with my favorite show, Voltron, you know the lion version of the five robots that make up Voltron. Minutes while watching, I smelled something like burnt metal. I rushed to the kitchen and with my surprise, the llanera with rice is flaming!!! I put off the fire from the stove and blew the flames off the burning llanera. I was so frightened because I was alone and I could’ve gotten the house on fire, which then wasjust made of sawali and pawid. I threw away the evidence of course. then I went back to watching TV.

Suddenly, I heard my Mom calling me from afar. She was on a tricycle with a basket full of groceries and plastic bags . She was calling for help. I went downstairs and helped her carry the groceries. As soon as she stepped in to the house, she said “What’s that smell? Smells like burnt rice.” I just shook my shoulders, ignored her and ran away as if I know nothing. Hehe! She then yelled to our neighbor which happens to be a relative (’coz we live in a compound owned by, also, our relative Sen. Lito Lapid who was then still a Vice Governor of Pampanga. It was a horse stable prior to becoming a residential area for his relatives) saying “Hoy! your rice is burning!” I felt quite guilty ‘coz she barely has an idea what really happened and at which house’s rice is burning.All of a sudden, I heard her shrieking voice calling my name. She found the burnt llanera still red and the coal-black burnt rice. She asked me what I did when she was out. Before I could even answer, she spanked me by the butt with her hand. I was crying already when I answered “I just wanna just rice for you.” I know she felt sorry for hurting me but I understand. She went silent for a moment then I saw some tears rolling down her eyes.I felt kindled and touched on that scene.

Even though without words to express her appreciation, the tears I saw were enough to attest what and how she felt that moment. She then asked me to go up and get the groceries as we are about to prepare lunch. Probably, she realized that I have interest in cooking. So, she asked me to acompany her with preparing the ingredients, even asked me to sit beside the stove while she is cooking so that I would learn.Honestly, while typing the last part of this article, i became teary-eyed. Reminiscing that was very nostalgic. From then on, I started appreciating my Mom’s efforts in cooking and doing all the chores. I found doing chores very enjoyable having her around. Don’t get me wrong but both my Mom and Dad are very skilled cooks and heck! they do know how to cook REALLY GOOD!!! Uh-uhm!
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