Filipino Kare-Kare

I’ve been married to my wife now for a couple of handful of years, and as she is from Filipino descent, I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface of Filipino cuisine. I’ve tinkered with giniling, adobo, afritada, lechon manok, the torta, chicharrones with rice, lumpia shanghai, and even a take on sisig, but there is one thing I haven’t tried yet, and that is kare-kare.  You see, my father-in-law is from a province from the Philippines known as Papanga, and they are known for their cooking, and one of their traditional dishes is kare-kare.

Kare-kare is essentially a stew, typically made with oxtail, however other variations do exist. Now I’ve purchased oxtail for my father-in-law in the past, typically from my local Mexican supermarket, but I’ve never smelled, nor tasted this authentic Filipino stew. So as I was at the market a few weeks back, I saw some folks buying oxtail in bulk, and that led me to some interest. I moseyed over there and asked how they were going to make those oxtails. They politely said, that they braise them and serve them with vegetables. That sparked that idea of making kare-kare, and that’s when it began.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Let’s get started.

Now, let me state that not only was this awesome, but I got two thumbs up, with almost a bit of a giggle (because it was that good) from my father-in-law. That meant a lot to me. I also would state that you can go a number of different ways with kare-kare, but this was my take on it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs oxtail, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1/2 lb beef tripe, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 10 cups of water
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 bundle of snake beans, or green beans cut into 3 inch segments
  • 5 baby bok choy, rinsed
  • 4 baby Asian egg plant, cut in half
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup of toasted, ground rice
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp roasted bagoong (shrimp paste)
  • 1 tbsp annatto powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding water to a large soup pot. Add in the oxtail, and bring to a boil. When the scum comes to the surface, skim with a large spoon and discard. Continue boiling until all of the scum is removed, about 3 hours or so.

Next add in the tripe, black peppercorns, fish sauce, and bay leaf. Continue to cook at a low boil for about 1 hour, then remove from the stove and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients for making kare-kare

Now you might be wondering why I put it in the refrigerator overnight. I do this, not only because my mother-in-law recommended it, but I knew that it was going to have fat from the oxtail that would surface, and I wanted to remove that for a cleaner stew.

So the next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and remove the 1 inch hardened fat that surfaced.

Return the stock pot back to the stove, and bring to a medium heat.

The next couple of steps will get you to have a few pans on the stove. Once your stew comes back to a simmer, remove the oxtail from it and place them on a plate.

Next, heat up a small skillet on medium heat, and add in the oil, and the annatto powder. This gives the great color to the kare-kare. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add in the onions and garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the annatto oil mixture to the stock and give it a good stir.

Add in the roasted shrimp paste as well as the peanut butter and toasted rice. Give another good stir, and continue to simmer the stock.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a bit of oil onto the carrots and egg plants, and cooke until tender, about 30 minutes.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Next, get a stock pot out and add with water, about half way up. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the snake beans, and cook for a few minutes. Once cooked, add them to a bowl of ice water to blanch them. Strain and reserve them for later use.

Do the same with the bok choy.

To a large skillet, bring it to a medium-high heat, and add the oxtail. Brown both sides, and then return them back to the stock.

Now you are ready to serve.

Some will cook the vegetables in the stock, and I went a different route as suggested by our cousin in California. My father-in-law said this is ‘fancy’ kare-kare. I’ll take that.

When you are ready to plate, again, you can go a couple of different routes. I plated mine, arranging the oxtail and tripe, near the rice and array of vegetables, ladling the awesome sauce over the top. However you can add everything to a serving bowl, excluding the rice, mix, and serve. It’s entirely up to you.

Kare-Kare Recipe

When I offered my plating to my father-in-law, I think he was in a bit of shock. Not only how I performed with the classic Papangan kare-kare recipe, but how it was plated. He called me later in the day, thanking me of a job well done. Now I know what kare-kare is, and how awesome this stew was. By the way, have no fear of the oxtail or tripe. It’s a winning combination that will have you wanting more and more.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope to offer you a lot more Filipino recipes in the future.

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Corned Beef McMuffin

This past weekend, my son and I were running some morning errands, and as he did not have breakfast before heading out the door, I asked if he wanted to stop at McDonald’s. I know, I know. McDonald’s. But he is still a kid, and he probably only eats there about 6 times a year. Heck, when I was growing up, I think we ate there once a week! He had a tiny bit of excitement in his voice, so I pulled through the drive-through, and he ordered what he always orders, the sausage mcMuffin. As we continued to drive, he said to me, which I thought was pretty darn cute, “You know dad, I probably would have never ordered this if you did not pursue me when we went camping this past summer. I probably would have ordered those pancakes which were never very good.” For whatever reason, that meant something to me. He was grateful, even though it was over a sausage mcMuffin.

I will admit though that a homemade egg mcMuffin is my favorite breakfast sandwich. Not only that, but this time of year I get overly excited that corned beef hits the markets, and go on sale. I’m a corned beef junky. I love everything about it, well with the exception of the boring corned beef with cabbage and potatoes. I’m sorry, but not a fan. I am a fan however of corned beef. I’ve done things such as reuben style potato skins, corned beef hash quesadillas, an awesome melt, my favorite hash, the classic sandwich, even potstickers, corned beef cheese burger, and now the corned beef mcMuffin!

Corned Beef McMuffin Recipe

As you can see, I really like corned beef. My wife on the other hand will not even come near it. Maybe it is the smell, I don’t know, but that only means more for me! So as the corned beef just came on sale, I decided to make it last night, and come up with this awesome breakfast sandwich.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 English muffin, split and toasted
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • 1/2 cup of chopped and cooked corned beef, seared
  • 1 egg, cooked over easy or sunny side up

Simple ingredients, however the corned beef takes this one to a whole new level. McDonald’s you should probably take note.

Start by heating a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the canola oil, and let it come to temperature. Add in the chopped corned beef, and cook until you get some nice crispy edges. Remove to a small bowl, and set to the side. Next, crack the egg, and cook until your desired doneness. During this time, toast your English muffin. Once toasted, lay down the American cheese on the bottom muffin, top with the cooked egg, and carefully place the crisped corned beef on top. Top with the top muffin, and get ready to go.

Now I love the classic egg mcMuffin, as well as the sausage mcMuffin, but this one, well I’m not going to joke, but this is hands down my all-time favorite! It’s a great time of year, not only for coming up with great corned beef recipes, but to enjoy this awesome corned beef mcMuffin! Hope you enjoy.

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Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Beans

There are many times throughout the week that I want something hearty, but without meat. I want a main course, or heck even a side dish that would go well with things like roasted chicken, and this is one of those dishes. You have to love a dish that is really simple to put together, yet one that is complex in flavor, and texture. I knew that my wife, and one of my kids (maybe two), would really love this pasta dish. What ended up happening is that I really, really was the one who loved this pasta with pest, potatoes, and green beans.

Pasta Salad with Pesto, Potatoes, and Beans

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 3 red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 pound gemini pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding the cubed potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. During this time, make a simple pesto.

To a food processor, add the basil, and lightly toasted almonds. You can go traditional by adding garlic, and pine nuts, but I wanted to go simple here and the basil and almonds were really, really good. Pulse the basil and almonds, then slowly add in the olive oil, and salt, until you have a nice pesto consistency.

Move the pesto into a small bowl, and set to the side.

Boil your pasta until al dente, drain, and place into a mixing bowl.

A couple of more steps and you are about ready to serve.

To a sauté pan, add about 1 cup of water, and the green beans. Bring to simmer, and cook the beans for about 3-4 minutes. I love the snap of the green bean for this pasta.

Next, add the canola oil to a large skillet, and bring it to a medium-high heat.

How to make pasta with pesto, potatoes, and green beans

Add the cooked potatoes, and cook until they are golden brown. Season with a pinch of salt.

Drain the beans and add them to the pasta.

Add the pesto, then top with the hot, and slightly crisp potatoes. Give everything a good stir, taste, and season with any additional salt.

The great thing about this pasta salad is that you can serve it cold, at room temperature, or warm. Who doesn’t love that?

When my daughter got home for school, she always asks two questions; what’s for dinner and can I have a snack? Then she saw the pasta salad as the centerpiece of the dinner table. She asked if she could try it (I never turn down that interest), and she totally fell in love. My boys on the other hand were not as excited. I mean pasta with green pesto flecks on it, seriously? What they did not know is they totally missed out on an awesome pasta salad that was not only simple, but super packed with awesome flavor and texture.

Give this one a try if you are going meatless during the week, and are looking for a dish that is not only hearty, but perfect to eat as leftovers. Hope you enjoy!

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Risotto Cakes

This past weekend was a busy one. I had to work on Friday night for an event, one that is always a bit stressful, and as I wanted to do something for Valentine’s day for my wife that night, I was just unable to. With that said, my wife had sent me a message saying that she had something nice for me when I came home. That made my day to say the least! When I arrived home around 9:30, my wife had an array of cheeses set out on our cheeseboard, along with a couple of delicious beers, and a very thoughtful card. Did I say that made my day?

The following day, I had already planned a nice dinner for my wife, and kids. I had initially decided to go out to dinner, but the cost for dinner service was insane, and I knew I could make a great dinner for my entire family for what restaurants were charging for just the two of us, plus I could probably do a better job, and it was a bit more sexy cooking with my wife.

Risotto Cakes

I had planned a dinner for all of us. It was surf and turf, along with creamy, mushroom risotto. I offered up bone-in rib eyes, beef tenderloin, and succulent shrimp. The kids were jazzed, mostly about the surf and turf, but I think my wife and I were more excited about the mushroom risotto! The dinner turned out awesome, and we had probably a better time staying in and cooking together than going out into the cold, just to be with those who default to a dinner at a restaurant. The following day, we had leftovers, and one of them being a bunch of risotto. I knew exactly what I wanted to make, and as I initially thought of making awesome Italian arancini, I decided to come up with making risotto cakes. These things are excellent, and make a great side dish to any meal.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the mushroom risotto:

  • 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice (Italian short grain rice, used for making risotto)
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cups baby portabello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of brandy
  • 6 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for making the risotto cakes:

  • Cold, leftover risotto
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)

Start by making the risotto.

To a sauce pan, add in all of the chicken stock, and bring it up to a simmer. You need warm/hot stock for this process, not cold stock.

To a medium pot, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and to that add your shallots, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook for roughly four minutes, then add in the arborio rice. Stir, cooking for about three minutes, and continue to stir. Add in about a 1/4 cup of the hot stock, and then add in brandy. Stir. The liquid should quickly begin to evaporate.

Now here is the trick, and you must stick with the trick, and that is when you are adding your stock, you will want to keep stirring while the liquid evaporates while cooking the rice. Throw in 2 cups of the chicken stock, and stir until the stock evaporates. Continue this process with the remaining stock. Begin tasting for tenderness. You want the risotto to be creamy and tender. Once done, season with salt and pepper, and the grated cheese. Stir, and serve immediately. Enjoy, then when you are done eating this as a side dish, let it cool, and cover, and refrigerate over night.

The following day is when you make your risotto cakes.

To a bowl, add the egg, and beat it until nice and smooth.

How to make risotto cakes

Add in about 3 cups of the cold risotto, and the bread crumbs. Mix to combine all of the ingredients, and them form them into cakes. I use a ring mold, as I like the molds for a great presentation, but if you do not have ring molds, then form them into patties, as shown above.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, and add in the olive oil. Bring the oil up to temperature, then add the risotto cakes. I like to add a bit more of the panko bread crumbs to the top and bottom of each risotto cake.

Cook for about 3 minutes, per side, or until nice and golden on each side. Manage your heat as well so that you do not burn the cakes. When I flip the first risotto cake, I place the lid on the skillet, and reduce the heat to a medium-low, to ensure that the risotto cake gets heated through, then I uncover, raise the heat to a medium, and continue to cook until both sides are nice and golden brown.

Remove with a slotted spatula, and serve. Shower with chopped parsley if you prefer.

These risotto cakes are super yummy. No lie. They are everything you love in a risotto (but better), but have this great crispy exterior, and this awesome creamy interior. My wife loved them up, and I couldn’t have been happier to have her cook with my the previous evening and see her enjoy these the following day. Life is good. Hope you enjoy!

Risotto Cakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the mushroom risotto:
  • 1½ cups of Arborio rice (Italian short grain rice, used for making risotto)
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cups baby portabello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of brandy
  • 6 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Ingredients for making the risotto cakes:
  • Cold, leftover risotto
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • Flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by making the risotto.
  2. To a sauce pan, add in all of the chicken stock, and bring it up to a simmer. You need warm/hot stock for this process, not cold stock.
  3. To a medium pot, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and to that add your shallots, mushrooms, and garlic Cook for roughly four minutes, then add in the arborio rice. Stir, cooking for a minute or two, as you continue to stir. Add in about a ¼ cup of the hot stock, and then add in brandy. Stir. The liquid should quickly begin to evaporate.
  4. Now here is the trick, and you must stick with the trick, and that is when you are adding your stock, you will want to keep stirring while the liquid evaporates while cooking the rice. Throw in 2 cups of the chicken stock, and cook and stir until evaporated, and continue this process with the remaining stock. Begin tasting for tenderness. You want the risotto to be creamy and tender. Once done, season with salt and pepper, and the grated cheese. Stir, and serve immediately. Enjoy, then when you are done eating this as a side dish, let it cool, and cover, and refrigerate over night.
  5. The following day is when you make your risotto cakes.
  6. To a bowl, add the egg, and beat it until nice and smooth.
  7. Add in about 2 cups of the cold risotto, and the bread crumbs. Mix to combine all of the ingredients, and them form them into cakes. I use a ring mold, as I like the molds for a great presentation, but if you do not have ring molds, then form them into patties, as shown above.
  8. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, and add in the olive oil. Bring the oil up to temperature, then add the risotto cakes. I like to add a bit more of the panko bread crumbs to the top and bottom of each risotto cake.
  9. Cook for about 3 minutes, per side, or until nice and golden on each side. Manage your heat as well so that you do not burn the cakes. When I flip the first risotto cake, I place the lid on the skillet, and reduce the heat to a medium-low, to ensure that the risotto cake gets heated through, then I uncover, raise the heat to a medium, and continue to cook until both sides are nice and golden brown.
  10. Remove with a slotted spatula, and serve.

 

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