Pan-grilled eggplants with tomato sauce and cheese Pan-grilled eggplants with tomato sauce and cheese

Easy, tasty, filling, vegetarian. When Speedy went to the condo to bring supplies for the girls, I sent this grilled eggplant dish for Sam. There are two older versions of this recipe in the archive but this is so much better and so much faster to prepare.

Why better and faster? The first time I made this dish (with meat), I boiled the eggplants. The result was good but only because there was so much meat it was easy to forgive the sogginess of the eggplant.

The next time I did a similar dish (no meat), I fried the eggplants in olive oil. Better texture, better flavor but the eggplants soaked up too much oil.

This time, I tossed the sliced eggplants in olive oil then pan-grilled them. Less oil, less mess. And, instead of baking the dish, I broiled it. Broil meaning I used the top heat of the oven. Very high temperature but for a very short time — just long enough to lightly toast the cheese and heat everything through. That way, the eggplants did not continue to cook which could have made them soggy. [Read more...]

Hot garlic-ginger eggplants Hot garlic-ginger eggplants

We had this hot garlic-ginger eggplants as a side dish for our pan-grilled liempo. But it is filling and tasty by itself so it can be served as a main dish for vegetarians and vegans. What’s in it? Lots of garlic and ginger. And my preferred chili sauce — Sriracha. Preparation time is five minutes; cooking time is ten minutes. No special utensils required, just a knife, a chopping board and a frying pan. [Read more...] Vegetarian “shrimp” tempura and meatless gising-gising

Vegetarian “shrimp” tempura and meatless gising-gising

Yesterday afternoon, before our Lone Ranger movie date with the girls, we passed by the vegetarian food store in Manila where we buy our soy-based “meat” and “seafood.” The store at the corner of Quirino and San Marcelino is known as Palomi but the sign simply says Vegetarian Food Store. One of the items we bought was a bag of vegetarian “shrimps.” I am allergic to crustaceans and it’s amusing that I can now eat shrimps as long as they are made with soya.

I cooked a third of the contents of the bag of the mock shrimps tempura style for our late lunch today. I simply cut each piece into halves, dredged them in flour, dipped them in beaten egg then rolled them in panko. Then, into the hot oil they went. They’re good though a bit bland. Next time, I’ll sprinkle them with Himalayan black salt to give them better flavor.

For the vegetable dish that I served on the side, I cooked yet another version of gising-gising (spicy mixed vegetables in coconut milk) — this time, using a mixture of sitaw (yard-long beans), eggplant and squash.

Why that combination? I mentioned the Long Ranger date with the girls earlier… Okay, we had a terrible time finding a parking space at Newport City last night. By the time we bought our movie tickets, we had less than half an hour to eat dinner before the screening time. Recipes was near the cinemas so we ate there. Recipes’ version of gising-gising was delicious in all its simplicity — just ground pork, sitaw and thick coconut cream. Speedy was so smitten and asked that we make a homemade version. Sam requested that I add squash and eggplant. And, voila! [Read more...]

Eggplant, pesto and pomodoro spaghetti eggplant-pomodoro-pasta

Tomato (pomodoro, in Italian) sauce is great by itself especially to toss pasta with. It’s rustic and comforting, and visually stimulating to boot. But plain tomato sauce can be even better — tastier with layers of flavor that blend so seamlessly that you can’t tell where the first one ends and the next one starts.

How to do that? You start with tomato sauce, homemade preferably. You add pesto and concentrated meat broth, and you let them all simmer together until really thick. [Read more...] Independence Day lunch: fried fish, poqui-poqui and bulalo soup

Independence Day lunch: fried fish, poqui-poqui and bulalo soup

I’m not big on occasions unless you’re talking birthdays. Birthdays are special. But Independence Day, I have ambivalent feelings about. Unlike other people who make plans to go out and watch Independence Day activities, we stayed home and slept in late. Very late. And when I got out of bed, the first thing I wished for was rain (it was so darn humid) — it never crossed my mind that torrential rains will ruin whatever parades, fireworks displays and whatnots have been scheduled for the day.

In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the date. Two days ago, I knew it was exactly a week before Speedy’s birthday, a week is a long time so I absentmindedly decided I should start counting the days again in three days’ time or so when I should begin making plans about what to cook and bake for birthday boy.

So, Independence Day almost came and went. Until I went online and there were all those photos of the flag and “Happy Independence Day” greetings. And that was when I realized that, subconsciously or by sheer coincidence, everything I prepared for lunch was decidedly a hundred percent Pinoy fare. [Read more...]