Sunday, June 26, 2011

#41: Chicken Florentine

when I buy chicken, I always ask the butcher to keep the chicken breast whole and I just use the rest of the chicken for stews or for frying. The breast of a whole chicken can fairly feed 2 to 3 people. If you want to feed four, set aside 2 whole chicken breasts for your meal.

This one is just so restaurant-y that some people are intimidated to even try to do this. But I assure you that this is much easier than it looks. Again, malunggay is the leafy vegetable of choice here more for its nutritional value. The slight bitterness of this vegetable goes well with the ham and cheese.  However, if you prefer kangkong or native spinach, it's okay. You will definitely wow your family or your friends with this elegant offering. 
Chicken Florentine
Sosy Level: 5
Pawis Level: 3
Featured Ingredient: Malunggay (don't you just love it? I have another Malunggay recipe here)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Parental Workout

Now that I have a two year old girl, I realize that you cannot be lazy when you are a parent. And when I say lazy, i do not mean simply physically. Most of us are usually diligent physically: we wake up very early, we battle our way to work, tackle our tasks and our chores. We try to be as nimble as we can so we can get more things done. But there is a certain emotional laziness that will be checked once you become a steward of a child. I can say this now because I myself looked it in the face and struggled with it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#40: Loving Cheesecakes

Whenever I feel down or if ever I am hit by a sudden desire to indulge, the first three things that comes to my mind is a good massage, coffee and a big, luscious slice of cheesecake. My friends can tell that when I am craving for dessert, "cheesecake" is the first thing to come out my mouth. Just writing these things make me close my eyes and draw a deep sigh straight from my food-loving heart.

Being able to say these things mean I only want cheesecake for my family when there is a special occasion, given my budget allows me to. We were able to sample with the family two cheesecakes this last quarter. One is from Banapple and one is from Cheesecake Etc. Let me relate to you our experience from both. This will probably help you decide what you might like to have in the future.

Before I start, I will describe to you the kind of cheesecake that I like. I know different individuals have different tastes. With this you will know where I am coming from. I like my cheesecake a bit heavy, not too sweet, in fact, I like it with a bit of tang. Now that I have said that, let us begin with

Banapple's Strawberry Crumble Cheesecake
Taste: 5/10
My birthday this year landed on the day that our car is prohibited on the road during rush hour. We can only use our car by 7pm so it was a rush rom our house to my parents' where we would have my birthday dinner. To save time, I asked my brother if he could pick up my cake for me. He was happy to bring home the cheesecake but a bit fatigued (in a happy way) because the box containing the cake was so heavy! The whole cake weighed more than a kilo. Not bad for something that is worth P860, right? In my mind, it bode well because it meant that that I'll be eating some heavy-loaded cheesecake.

Dessert time! We took our cake knife and excitedly sliced our finale for the night. You bet it was heavy! It was so dense that it was like slicing cheese! There was a "crumble" part in the name so I was expecting some toffee or perhaps solidified wedges of sugar but apparently, it was just crust crumbs sprinkled on top of the strawberry sauce which was sort of a slight letdown for me. Each of us had only an inch-thick slice but it was more dessert than we can handle on an already full stomach. You see this slice on the left? Three of us shared this. The cheesecake had a very thick texture that is perfect for a calorie loaded snack but a bit too heavy for dessert after dinner. 

I have high regard for Banapple, especially after they took my heart with just one bite of their Banoffee Pie. However, I felt that this item lacked the tang I'm looking for in a cheesecake. Even if it is very heavy, I did not experience the sweet-salty-tangy balance that I usually like in a cheesecake. It was sweeter than I expected and lacking a roundness in the flavor. Or perhaps it was also a case of the texture overwhelming the taste. It's good thing that the crust was very tasty that it cut the jaw-straining texture of the cake. Our family's response is: It is good and it was well worth the amount you'll pay for it. But we won't order it again anytime soon and be part of our classic choices. We'll probably try something else when we look at Banapple's menu again.

Cheesecake Etc.'s Mango Passion Cheesecake
Taste: 7/10
It was Mother's Day and it is the perfect excuse to treat for our mom (and ourselves!) with another cheesecake. My brother got a coupon from Cheesecake Etc. and bought my mom a whole Mango Passion Cheesecake. It looked pretty nice with the greeting written on it and all the ribbon and curls. As opposed to the cheesecake that we had during the previous occasion, this is a light mango-flavored cheesecake with a nice mango jelly topping. I was expecting it to be sweet but it turned to be pretty balanced. The creaminess married well with the fruity mango flavor in the cake while the topping gave your palate a tangy exclamation point. It was actually a nice dessert experience, not too overpowering but and just right to cap off a dinner. 

One thing though, it seems to be more of a mango mousse dessert than a cheesecake because it was very light (contrary to Banapple's utterly heavy cake, this was too light in fact) and was actually melting at room temperature. My brother said that it sold for P150 per slice. For me, this may be asking too much if you are going to get something that tasted more like mousse cake instead of cheesecake. It seems that you are getting more cream than cream cheese. If they called it mango mousse cake, then this is probably the best mango mousse cake that I have tasted so far. If not for my brother's coupon, one will usually pay P 895.00 for a whole cake. Not bad, not bad at all; I had two slices that night. 

How about you, what was your best cheesecake slice do far?

Friday, June 3, 2011

#39: Oriental Cabbage Salad

I used to have this notion that salad greens can only be lettuce. Whatever its first name is, so long as its last name is lettuce, then that's what you can use for salads: Romaine lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, Butterhead lettuce and so on. Otherwise, there are the more expensive and equally hard-to-find greens (at least here in the Philippines) such as the alfalfa, arugula, rocket, mustard, chard.. most of these I haven't even seen yet in person! I only see this whenever I watch Jaime Oliver! He has his own organic veggie garden, so.. oh well.

Going back, my brain was stuck in this idea that leafy salads only belong to the upscale Filipino dining table. That was until one of my mentors Kuya Hubert Cheock introduced me  to this clever little salad  made from our featured ingredient: CABBAGE!