March 30, 2009

Tortilla Wraps w/ Chicken, Mushroom, Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper

I've been to my sister's and during my week of stay at her place, it's been a pure feast for our tummies. Upcoming posts will feature food we cooked from the visit!

It was my turn to be the cook, so I made my way towards market. I had no idea what I'd buy for dinner. I thought that I don't particularly want to make it a meat or vegetable dish. Feeling indecisive like this gave me the idea. I was going for a little bit of both. Upon noticing the tortilla wraps among breads, the plan was set. Here's the comfort food I came up with -and it's healthy as well : Tortilla wraps with chicken, mushroom, eggplant, red bell pepper and garlic.

I am featuring my step by step cooking photos edited with Poladroid software - which I've been very interested in using recently, for my photography in general. Mentioning this, I'd like to give credit to its maker here with a link back: By the way, there's a photography group in Flickr for appreciating "poladroid" photography. In case you'd like to see mine, click here please. - I should just add this note that polaroid photography is respected. We're just a bunch of people that feel grateful for creation of almost "polaroid" images were enabled to us.

Back to yummy food!


- Two chicken breasts cut in cube-ish pieces.
- Mushrooms washed and thinly sliced ( I had the convenience of buying it readied to this)
- Three medium size eggplants and two red bell peppers broiled above oven flame - careful
- Corn and grated mozzarella ready to be used
- Three big garlic heads chopped/cut
- Spices ready to be used: Cayenne pepper, grounded black pepper, thyme
- Tortilla wraps ready on side

For the sauce:

- Yogurt, mayo and mustard mixed in 3:1:1 tablespoon ratio. (Sour cream would work better than yogurt I think. Any other sauce could be used by the way. Complete freedom here, even with ingredients themselves. Your gusto. )


March 08, 2009

Rockin' Sea Bass and Oven Potatos w/ Roasted Pine Nuts

Honestly, I've never been a fan of fish all my life. Approximately ten years ago from now, I lived in the countryside for a year. In that time my parents were in a small scale family tourism business. Tourists adored that small seaside town for it had a fame for clean sea and delicious fish - which brings me to the reason why I mention it all now. The only fish I've ever enjoyingly eaten was cooked in that place, my then home. We had a stone barbecue out in garden. My dad always seemed to be in charge at the barbecue. He was great at grilling meats, too.

Originally, mom bought the fish (sea bass) to oven grill herself. I was feeling up to a "challenge" to cook my first fish ever I guess, so I assured her she can sit back.

I planned to make a sauce out of: Olive oil, turmeric, thyme, black pepper, chopped garlic and salt. I smudged this sauce all over the fish generously; in & out. Next; cut onions in rings and chopped some dill to fill inside the fish with these. I had a feeling this was heading for a flavorful outcome.

I let the sauce start working into the flesh while I moved onto the next step I was to decide after finishing up with the fish - that is... cook something to do with potatos! Hmm.

Potatos... A-ha.

Since I was going to use the oven for the fish, I could as well cook the potato in oven. How? Using oven cooking bags.

I slice three medium sized potatos in round slices and fill the bag. Now what to include into the bag? Since the fish is supposed to be focused on I thought, I should go for a modest taste. Was I going to do that?

Mmm. Who knows. Well, pine nuts mom bought so we'd use in sweets in the cupboard... I was sooo tempted to use. Since the day is reserved for "first time ever" stuff, might as well use pine nuts in my dish too! Okay!

Naturally I go for roasting. So upon heating the pan, I throw in the nuts and also a tablespoonful of butter. Mm the smell... I keep stirring - I don't want them burned.

I can't help myself including fennel seeds yet again! I just can't - and this weakness leads to another discovery that fennel seeds release the flavor better lightly roasted. They got crunchy.

I put pine nuts on a small plate to cool down a bit - couldn't resist the mesmerizing smell so I snack on it while I was placing the fish into greasy oven paper. (Back to picture one for fish & potatos seperately placed on same oven tray ready to go into heated oven)

So I have the potatos in the oven cooking bag, a tablespoonful of olive oil, black cumin seeds, thyme. Also included were the pine nuts & fennel seeds. I grasped the bag from outside and let the ingredients mix well.

It was time for me to move onto letting oven do the rest - and mom was helpful making a big bowl of salad for us.

Cooking time must be 20 -25 minutes at 200 C degrees. Well... I don't keep track of these since there is always intuition you can rely on.

Focusing on potatos first:

Soft, loving the company of fennel seeds, black cumin seeds, thyme and oh... pine nuts for the most part. This potato dish itself could make a great dinner - I'll say that much. Wonders of oven cooking!

Now it's wise to focus on the fish - since rockstars always crave the attention. They might be too cool to admit it, yeah. Here is a close-up of my rockin' sea bass!

On the outside it was slightly crispy. I don't take much pleasure of the skin and head so my cat didn't mind helping me out. The flesh... it was so soft and moist merged with different flavors. I did enjoy fish after a long time.

Lastly, a picture of that tasty dinner. Normally we don't consume fish with pickles here! Pickle plates were already on the table when I included salad and dinner plate so the impatient me could take a quick picture before the euphoria would make me mad.

Enjoy !!!

March 05, 2009

Marinate Chicken Miu's Style!

Hmm. Well, I didn't know I had a style of my own. I love to experiment - so it's likely I'll change something when I attempt to achieve new taste. Then to correct, I say... Style of that day recently, yeah.

Chicken I sliced in chunks - I had it spend a night with spice, herbs and olive oil friends. Different buddies this time: fennel seeds, grounded black pepper, thyme, nutmeg, black cumin seeds, chopped garlic, olive oil.

The following day I took the container out to smell, and decide if chicken enjoyed friends' company last night. Pretty much I'd say. It was a good idea to not over-include of any of the ingredients; so they'd all taste well in fair amounts.

I place the chunks on the heated non-sticky pan and keep stirring. I added just some water - as by then the pan was heated well enough to not allow me cook chicken as slow as I'd like to. I thought I could use a little steam, so. Just through the end - before I was about to be done with cooking - I add little sour orange sauce (which is usually for salads and such here) just cause I couldn't help myself.

This be the satisfying outcome.


Story of "Indian Aloo Paratha which I've consumed like Salvadorian Pupusa - however I just wanted to make Japanese Gyouza" - bread.

I enjoy potato in a lot of dishes for it is so compatible with different flavors and easy to cook. Definitely in potato cooking mood - says my tummi and student pocket that day. But how? I decided it was my culinary curious day so...
"Hmm. Gyouza, Japanese gyouza!Hai!"

For gyouza fillings, I was going to use this mixture : boil potatos and mash them, stir-fry minced meat a little so it's not totally raw, spices as usual. Completed prep step - I began kneading the dough upon looking up some recipes online. It was alright until it was time to make the dumplings. Why don't they get the shape I want? They won't stick in its unique shape I've seen other people posted on images. What's wrong? This is where I say goodbye to my first attempt at gyouza. I don't have a steamer. Not up to making my own either. Onto Indian Aloo Paratha then!

Oh... basically flat Indian potato&herb bread. So delicious... So, I am not yet discouraged at this point. I can still make something out of this dough and filling. Now that it is paratha then... I look for some big cup to help me roll out the dough flat. I grab one, feeling excited for my now paratha experiment! I flatten a chunk of dough, add the filling in the middle, cover the filling from all directions on top and then gently flatten it again, making sure that filling doesn't get out much. This way, dough and filling get merged. I go through this for whole amount of dough that's there.

I pick up a pan, it's test time! I don't like my food too greasy. Pouring a tablespoonful of vegetable oil (for I think olive oil which I normally love to use might get burned due to heat and since I'm making paratha... I'll need it stay on pan - no doubt olive oil will burn...) - I place the first paratha, then follows the others as the space in my small pan allows. One by one, I make these.

Mmm the result? Here.

I say success! - since I didn't have an idea what the outcome could be. I cut a big one in slices - which is unrelated to the tradition with how Aloo Paratha is served, as a hot steaming whole bread that is.

Speaking of serving, now onto the Salvadorian Pupusa part. I had a chance to taste this very delicious tortilla (vegetable pupusa) back in last summer when I was in Los Angeles. My roommate and I've strolled up and down at the Hollywood Farmer's Market drooling on all the nutrition bombs - which in other words veggies and fruits; we were eventually very tired, not to mention the LA summer weather being so hot. Then we start looking at food stalls. Mmm they all smell great to me. I spot a Greek food stall and think of my country food - our cuisines are similar in some ways. Mexican. Salvadorian. Hey wait. Pupusa? I ask my roommate. She tells me "Just taste without knowing. That good." Okay! Indeed, it is simply delicious from the first bite to the last one. Was it the lil stuffed wonder, sour cream - or cabbage pickle... or the combination? Whatever that made me love this - definitely hooked me up on it.

As I recalled some memories, I wanted to "taste" some of last summer then. I combined my multi-cultural bread with beet pickle - as to have the sour taste. Good!

March 02, 2009

Pasta with Broiled Eggplant, Coriander and Garlic

I was craving for eggplant taste last few days, so I finally satisfied my tummy. I think this veggie enjoys garlic, coriander and olive oil's company the most. I figured I'd use these as sauce to my pasta - soon I had to start preparing because the smoky taste I was aiming for just made me impatient to wait till I could serve my meal. Picture above features my composition of garlic, coriander and eggplants - when I've already completed the first step with them; broiling on my oven flame for 5 - 10 minutes that is. I took them aside when they were soft enough. A smoky smell came out that I didn't mind inhaling a bit as I was moving onto the next step with my ingredients.

I washed & chopped some coriander leaves and got my spices ready before I'd begin peeling whole broiled eggplants' skins - a wise decision. :) As the flesh got exposed, I could begin to slightly mash up eggplant, coriander bits, chopped up garlic and also spices I'd use : Thyme, nutmeg, salt. Adding a table spoonful of olive oil upon finishing the sauce making. Simultaneously, I boiled some water and threw in some bow shaped pasta into the pan. Pasta took about 8 minutes to cook. By the way I didn't need to drain any water afterwards, cause I just add enough water to boil pasta and calculating the bit that'll evaporate!

Sprinkle some cayenne pepper just for decoration purpose and that's all! I didn't have to show a lot of effort for this healthy and yummy meal. What else would go well with it... Hmm, maybe some Turkish yogurt.

March 01, 2009

Miu's Veggie Feast Soup (Tastes Like Rasam Soup!)

Actually, I had no intention of cooking another version of many existing Rasam soup recipes. When I tasted, my initial impression was that I am familiar with this... but howcome? Didn't I just experiment and randomly bring some veggies together to find out how they'll compliment each other? Flashback to 2006. I was visiting India then... during the time I stayed and worked in New Delhi, I favorited a South Indian restaurant named "Banana Leaf". Along with masala dosa (oh... drool) they'd serve coconut chatni and rasam soup. I didn't know the name of this so nutritious, delicious soup then. I must have been so indulged in making my tummy happy. Anyhow, upon tasting this soup I cooked recently... a lot of memories came back to me.

What you need: Since it's yet another veggie dish, obviously a variety of veggies. In this one my combination included zucchini (1), green bellpepper(2), carrot(1), corn(3 tbs), celery(1 head), onion(1), garlic(2head), tomato paste(1 tbs), water, olive oil (2 tbs), fennel seeds, black cumin seeds, grounded black pepper, salt, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.

How to:
This was fairly easy. All veggies should be cut/diced into the easiest way their original shapes allow - either strips or cubes on that matter. Olive oil goes into heating pot first. Right after follows the veggies - due to my preference I let onions caramelize a bit at first then let all remaining veggie bits at once since I was kind of going to stir fry and simmer to get them soften later on so it didn't matter. Constantly need to stir. After that follows the addition of tomato paste mixed with water (ratio 1:2) sauce addition. It's time to spice it up now that the water creates steam. See, it was easy. The taste? Much more satisfying than expected.

& Vermicelli rice was good company to my soup.
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