Friday, October 21, 2011

Spinach and Mushroom Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic and a Little Life Update

At laaaast. (Etta James voice)

You have no idea!

But I will give you some.

I've been working on my nth chance in school.

And I did it! I actually FINISHED something!

And when I looked at my parents' faces, man!

There is no better feeling in the whole wide universe than seeing the people you love truly happy.

I want to say my work here is done, Ma and Pa.

But who am I kidding, right?

My work has just begun and I've never been more ecstatic to flip to a new chapter in my life.

New stories. New characters.

Ma was right when she told me I have to "move" to find where I ought to be.

Pa was right when he told me things will eventually fall into place.

They're both right when they gave me another chance to pick myself up from the rubble I was in and trusted me even when I didn't deserve it back then.

It may be cliche but parents do know best - and they do love best. Hands down.

What did I learn in school?

The most basic knowledge is deep inside of you - school is where you unearth it.

It's where you learn how to do things. But outside is where you can test if all you have learned will eventually work.

And there will be times that it won't.

And that's okay.

Speaking of the basics, I've been wanting to post about this ever since I've tasted it in my old workplace.

It's not much of a staple recipe that is locally known but man, for someone who loves garlic so much, I find it ridiculous that I've been missing this food all my life.

Roasting is one of the easiest and probably the most delicious way to prepare garlic.

So delicious I even eat it as a snack!

Also below, another way to enjoy it.

You're welcome!

Roasted Garlic

You will need:

4-6 whole heads of garlic
salt and pepper
olive oil
a baking sheet


Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F)
You can also use toaster oven for this recipe.

1. Slice off the top of the garlic heads enough to show its flesh.

2. Arrange the garlic heads on the baking sheet face/flesh up.

3. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the garlic heads.

4. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on the heads.

5. Place in center rack of the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Let it cool before placing in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge for future use.

Perfect for sauteing meat and vegetables, for soups, for sandwiches and for bruschettas!

Spinach and Mushroom Bruschetta with Roasted Garlic

You will need:

a whole baguette, sliced 1 or half an inch thick
1/2 cup spinach, purged and chopped finely
1/4 cup cream cheese, spreadable or softened block
1/4 cup button mushrooms (Champignon), sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 head roasted garlic
a dash of salt
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

How to make:

1. In a pan, saute one head of garlic in olive oil. The roasted garlic's flesh is soft and you can simply squeeze it out of its skin.

2. Add chopped purged spinach and button mushrooms and season with some salt. Cook in medium fire for about 5 minutes and set it in a bowl.

3. Add in cream cheese and parmesan (if you have) and mix the filling well.

4. In a non-stick pan, drizzle a little olive oil and heat the baguette slices on each side until crisp. You may also use a toaster for this.

5. Spread a generous amount of filling on top of the baguette slices and just pop it in your mouth.


The extra filling can be saved in the fridge for later. It can be used for paninis and savory crepes too!

Other than being really easy to prepare, what I love most about this is how satiating it is.

Two bruschettas and I'm solved.

Till the next eats my loves!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Parmesan-Basil Filling

I bought another cookbook last weekend. 

I have about 4 now.

It may be just 2% of all the books I have which, for someone who cooks often, is quite a shame. 

But that is about to change real soon because I have plans to buy a cookbook in every trip to Booksale.

Something I do religiously.

In the past posts, I made up recipes. 

Now, I've decided to adapt and recreate recipes from really good cookbooks.

I just want to know if I can do it.

Inside: Frank Sinatra's favorite dishes

The home kitchen is turning into the diy-eats test kitchen. 

Test kitchen because it seems that things always don't go right the first time.

I've had my share of rock solid cupcakes, runny sauces, a few burnt meat here and there.

Also, garnishing is not my strongest suit.

The learning process never ends. 

The best part is when I open the oven to unravel something great.

Something picture perfect like in the books. Something that tastes absolutely good.

The bestest part is when my dishes get rave reviews from my family. 

Hard to achieve.

Challenge accepted.

The recipe below is from Cook's Illustrated Magazine, a publication I've come to love because of how good they break complex kitchen dillemas down into very simple instructions, even a newbie would find it easy.

I also love how they give a lot of time, careful planning, and two-page spreads to each recipe. A sign that they care about food and the people who tries to make 'em good.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Parmesan-Basil Filling
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated June 2011)

Note: Buy chicken breasts with skin still attached and intact; otherwise the stuffing will leak out during cooking. 

What you need:

4 chicken breasts, skin-on, bone carefully taken out
salt and pepper
olive oil

For the cheese filling:
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated 
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced finely like a paste
a dash of salt and pepper

How to:

Pre-heat oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F)

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Using your fingers, gently loosen portion of the skin covering each breast, making a pocket big enough for filling.

3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for cheese filling and carefully fill each breast under the skin (about 1 1/2 teaspoons). 

4. Brush chicken with olive oil and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake chicken for 30-40 minutes. 

5. Serve with a side of salad or rice. 

For the record, this is the first time I've ever baked chicken. 

It turned out a little dry so add a little more olive oil. 

All in all, it was a totally delectable recipe.

I am a big fan of cheese (!!!) and sure enough the chicken skin together with the salty-tangy taste of cheese had a wild party in my mouth.

I made it this morning and it was meant to be for lunch but I think it's all gone before 10am AKA the fam bam loved it.

I live for small victories.

Till the next eats!