Recipe: Pan Roasted Bell Pepper and Minced Veggies

Sometimes, we get tired from the usual viand and rice, or tortilla and veggie platter (will post about this), so I think something up which is based from meat dishes I see on one of the several food and cooking shows I watch.  :)

This one’s really easy and is really a treat!

The Wandering Boots_Vegetarian_Bellpepper

Ingredients:

  • Green Bell Peppers (nice if you could get your hands on medium to large-sized ones)
  • Eggplant (peeled)
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cheese
  • Quail Eggs
  • Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Ground Pepper
  • Lemon or Calamansi

The Wandering Boots_Vegetarian_Bellpepper 02

Procedure:

  1. Cut the Bell Peppers in half, take the seeds out, clean the halves and set them aside.  You can decide to cut it horizontally or vertically.  The advantage of cutting the top half from the bottom is that the halves can sit on the pan without any problems, instead of the other way wherein the halves will look like boats (like the ones I have on the photo) but I prefer the bell pepper cups shallow and I had really small ones to work with at that time so to make them look bigger, I cut them that way.
  2. Prepare the rest of the veggies.  Dice the eggplant, almost pea-sized.  Cut the tomatoes almost the same size as the eggplant.  Mince the onions and the garlic.
  3. Fry the quail eggs, sunny-side-up (I like them over-easy) and set them aside.
  4. In the leftover oil, saute the onions and garlic.
  5. Add all the other veggies, ground pepper, and add soy sauce.  Optional, try adding BBQ sauce also if you’re a fan of sweet and salty.
  6. Once all the veggies are cooked, remove them from the pan and put them inside your bell pepper halves.
  7. Put them in your pan (make sure there’s no oil in it) and cover (or bake if you want).  This is the same technique we used in the no-bake-stove-top pizza recipe I shared years back.
  8. After 5 minutes or so (depending on how crunchy or roasted you want your bell peppers), add slices of quick melt cheese on top, or your preferred cheese and cover the pan again.
  9. Wait for the cheese to melt and drape the bell pepper and take the halves out.
  10. Put the quail egg on top and serve with either lemon or calamansi.
  11. Best served hot and with rice.

Note:  You can do this with meat by replacing eggplant with ground beef.  But honestly, you won’t need to.  This recipe easily fooled Mario who asked me twice if there really isn’t any meat in the dish because eggplant can mimic the texture of ground beef and the soy sauce and ground black pepper can give it the taste it needs to pull-off the act.

This dish is VERY flexible.  I can imagine many different combinations of vegetables.

One of the keys in making people like the dish is making the dish look yummy.  So whether you’re serving this dish to another person, or to yourself, pay attention to plating and once you start eating, pay attention to the layers of flavors you have successfully whisked up in your own kitchen.  Make your kitchen a great adventure land, and you, the master.

The Wandering Boots

Zucchini Fries – Healthier Alternative to Potato Fries

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Here’s a healthier alternative to the carbohydrates loaded Potato Fries that we love so much paired with our oil dripping burgers.

The Wandering Boots Zucchini Fries 12

Ingredients:

Zucchini (incase you’re asking if you can substitute cucumber for zucchini – you can try but the bigger seeds in the cucumber might be a problem)

Flour

Water

Chicken Cubes

STEP 1

Cut the fries into the size you want them to be. I chose to cut them 2 ways, the French Fries style and the Mojo Potatos style. This was my first time doing this so I wanted to experiment.

The Wandering Boots Zucchini Fries 06

STEP 2

For my version of Zucchini Fries, I used a temura-like batter because I just wanted a light coat (didn’t want very thick floury and oily fries) with chicken cubes instead of salt so that it would taste close to Shakey’s Mojo Potatos that I love so much.  For the batter, you can mix flour with water (you can make it as thick as you want by adjusting the water you mix – start with a small amount of water).  Dip (or dump all the slices) into the batter, and pick one piece at a time and drop into the fryer.

The Wandering Boots Zucchini Fries 13
I like mine really thick so the way I test it is if I pick-up one slice, there's almost little or no batter dripping off of it. The yellow bits are the chicken cube I mixed in.

STEP 3
Deep fry in really hot oil.
TIP: To test how hot the oil is, you can drop a couple of drops of the batter into the oil and see if it sizzles.

The Wandering Boots Zucchini Fries 02
Can you see the sizzle? And yes, I love cooking with my chopsticks. Not only is it cleaner because I don't need to touch anything with my finger, less dripping, and there's just better control with the chopsticks (like extensions of your thumb and index finger).
The Wandering Boots Zucchini Fries 16
Here's the color I like and what tells me that they're done just right.

FINAL STEP!
TIP: Best if you let them sit on a cooling rack and let the oil drip so they remain crispy or lay them in plate lined with kitchen towel or paper towel so that the oil will be absorbed from the fries. But the paper towel method is least effective in maintaining the crispiness of the fries.

TIP2:  Eat while they’re hot.  Remember that zucchini, like cucumber, are watery, so they can get soggy if left uneaten for some time.

The Wandering Boots Zucchini Fries 10
Time to eat!

The Wandering Boots

No Bake, Stove Top Pizza – Easiest Homemade Pizza Recipe!

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One day, me and Mario were at the grocery and he requested that we bake our own pizza…  So naturally I said, we can’t, because we don’t have an oven…  So then I suggested, we can make pizza “pandesal”, or even pizza baguette and just use an oven toaster (hassle)… ^_^;  But then I had a lightbulb moment!  I want my pizza to still be that wonderful iconic circle of goodness, can hold tomato sauce on top and not absorb it, can carry toppings and not be soaked and soggy, I want my pizza to be crispy, if it’s not deep dish then I want the crust to be crazy thin!  The perfect idea, a Tortilla Pizza!  I’ve been playing with tortilla bread for a long time now, cooking my version of KFC’s twister and then before they had that sandwich style chicken in a tortilla (I forgot what they called it).  So now, pizza is the game!  Here’s my Tortilla Pizza recipe!

Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe

Tortilla Pizza Recipe

Ingredients:

Tortilla bread

*  You can choose any kind you want – wheat, regular, vegetarian — and any size as long as it fits in your pan.  You can buy this in the freezer section of the grocery, together with the ready-made pizza crust and lumpia wrapper (at least for SM Sucat Hypermarket that’s exactly where you’ll find it.)

Tomato sauce

Quickmelt cheese (Mozzarella cheese if you have budget)

I’ve tried brands Magnolia and Che Vital.  Magnolia melts quicker and all the way through while Che Vital doesn’t really melt well but that’s 30PHP cheaper.

Toppings

This can be anything you want, I prefer red onions, greenbell pepper, mushrooms, pre-cooked and seasoned ground beef.

Other things you’ll need:

A pan with cover (to keep the hot air inside the pan and heat the pizza evenly on top.  Otherwise, the tortilla will get burnt while the cheese isn’t totally melted.)

A flat spatula (I recommend something that’s really wide and flexible so it’ll be really easy to slide under the pizza for getting it into the pan and out of the pan)

Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe
This kind of spatula or an even more flexible one would be ideal. Photo credit http://4ugifts.co.il

Simple steps:

1)  With the covered pan in place, put the stove on in low fire/heat and leave it closed while we’re preparing the pizza.

2)  Use a spoon or a ladle to get some tomato sauce into the tortilla bread and use the bottom of the ladle to spread the sauce all over the bread.

Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe

3)  You can start piling up the toppings at this point.  You can either put slices of cheese first before the rest of the toppings, or leave the cheese for last so that they melt on top of the toppings and bind them together.  Or, you can always put a thin layer of cheese at the bottom, then rest of the toppings, and  top it with a thin layer of cheese.

*  Note:  If you’re using Magnolia Quickmelt, you don’t really need to grate the cheese because this brand of cheese melts easily and completely.  You won’t even notice which block of cheese was what and where after it’s been melted.  But if you’re using Che Vital Quickmelt cheese, better to grate or cut really thin slices.  This cheese will melt but not completely, so you’ll still see rectangular cheese slices in the pizza.

Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe
This is a sample of one version I did using Magnolia Quickmelt. I sliced thin strips of cheese and laid them in the bottom (after the tomato sauce), then all the toppings on top of that. Plus additional slices of cheese on top of everything else. It's inside the pan now, ready for melting... ^_^
Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe
And this is how it looks like after the cheese melts. See what I mean about the cheese being completely melted? Yum!
Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe
This is the version using Che Vital Quickmelt. I grated the cheese to make it easier to melt.
Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe
And again with the Che Vital Quickmelt, after the cheese melted. Not really a total meltdown. I like Magnolia's Quickmelt cheese better because when it melts, it blankets over the whole pizza.

4)  With the help of the flat spatula, place the “pizza-to-be” in the pan, and place the cover back.

5)  Pizza will be ready in 5 minutes, and you can open the cover to check on it every now and then even before 5 minutes is up, so  you can decide whether to let it stay for a while more before take it out using your flexible flat spatula.

Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe
More please! Yum! I can finish 2 6inch tortilla pizza in one sitting. ^_^ And I use a regular knife to slice them up. A pizza cutter would just be too fancy and expensive. I'd rather buy 300PHP worth of toppings or more tortilla bread than get a pizza cutter (unless it's for free - that's a different story). ^_^;

This is really easy, and pizza will be flying out of the kitchen in quicker time than in takes to finish the 1st batch!  Mario and I have been having this pizza feast for 1 week now and because of the 100% control over which toppings you can add to the recipe (or prefer not to have), there can be a number of variety of pizza flavors you can experiment with!  Every dinner time, our kitchen smells like Pizza Hut kitchen (no joke)!  It makes me hungry just thinking about it now… ^_^  Another thing I like about this Tortilla Pizza recipe is that I can enjoy more toppings, less bread… ^_^;

Have fun with this recipe and the different pizza flavors you come up with!  Hmm…. how about dried squid pizza instead of anchovies…?  Hmmm….

Easiest and Quickest Tortilla Pizza Recipe

*** Quick tips:

–  Don’t put cheese at the very edge of the tortilla because once it melts, it will have a tendency to spill over the bread and make a hot sizzling pan of cheesy mess.

–  If you want a great bargain on tortilla bread (50% off of the usual price which is around 100PHP for 12pcs of 6inch, or 120PHP for 10pcs of 12inch tortilla), you can wait for the half-off sale (closing sale) of French Baker.  The Mall of Asia  and Megamall branches have a good number of tortilla breads left over at the end of the day and nobody, except for me and my bro (that I know of) buys them.

Make Your Own Milkshake – Beat the Summer Heat!

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Heat wave, everyone!  Although the real summer heat was a little behind the schedule (heat wave should’ve arrived as early as March), I still can’t believe we’re going to have to bear with all this hot summer for at least 1 or 2 more months!  It barely has been 3 days before I really felt the summer heat and I’m just about to give up if I can…  Luckily, there are ways we can fight it in terms of protecting your skin, wearing more comfortable, light colored, and airy clothes…  and there’s by way of food!  Summer is a good excuse to making your own milkshake at home!  Say hello to my creamy strawberry milkshake!

Milkshake Recipe

This is hardly a recipe, and I bet a lot of you know how to make your own, but let me put this here anyway (for those who may not know how to)…  ^_^

Ingredients:

Fresh Milk

*  Not flavored anything else, preferably, so that it won’t play tug-of-war with the flavor of your ice cream.  But if you’re pairing it with vanilla ice cream – which is a little bit neutral than the other ice cream flavors, then you can probably use strawberry flavored milk or chocolate flavored milk if you like)

Your preferred flavor of ice cream (I recommend vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry)

*  It’s best to stick with the regular and non-chunky ice cream variants because Milkshakes (at least traditionally) are smooth and creamy.  If you try using rocky road or nutty ice cream flavors, it would be hard to blend and smooth out the chunks without melting your ice cream all the way.  But if you prefer that, then by all means, go ahead.  ^_^

Whip cream (optional)

*  You’ll also need a blender, or a hand-held mixer.  If you don’t want to use any of those, then you can also just use your spoon or fork to mix everything together but don’t expect a really smooth result.

How to Prepare Your Very Own Milk Shake

There’s nothing more simple than this.  Just put 5 or so scoops of ice cream into the blender, or into your glass (if you’re not using a blender).  Pour in some milk.  I suggest 1:3 proportion.  That’s 1 part milk for every 3 parts ice cream (no, we’re not mixing liquor here – maybe we should… ^_^).  You can add more ice cream if you want your shake to be really thick, creamy, and sweet.  Add whip cream on top and you’re good to go!

The ice cream I chose used real strawberry that's why there were spots on the shake which are actually strawberry bits and seeds.

Smile at the sun as you hardly feel the heat with your super cool milk shake!  You never have to leave house again if you want 1 tall glass of this!

Easy Tuna Sisig – For Lent and For Diet

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I mentioned in my other blog that I prepare my own tuna sisig and use that for my wheat bread sandwich whenever I decide to go on a “no-rice-diet“, while my husband loves this with rice and more mayo on the side (that’s how he always eats his sisig, any kind of sisig).  Here’s the recipe and just a quick, easy instruction on how to prepare it.

TUNA SISIG Recipe (Quick and Easy Home Version)

serves 2-4 with rice / makes 5-6 sandwiches

Ingredients:

You can choose not to add egg. One or two depending on the batch you're making and how, umm.. "creamy" you want it to be. Is it just me or is that thing smiling? ^_^
I choose Hot and Spicy so that I won’t have to add hot sauce anymore.
420g of Tuna is good for 1 week if you're using it for sandwich, or 1 meal and a half if you're preparing this for 2-3 people. Really depends on how hungry those people are, I guess. 420g for me and my husband is just 1 meal. ^_^ Go figure...

Onions

Green Bell Pepper

Calamansi

Soysauce

Mayonnaise

Egg (1-2)

Canned Tuna (either Tuna in Oil or Hot and Spicy Tuna)

Salt and Pepper (season according to taste)

* Chili or Hot Sauce (optional)

So your next question would probably be, “How much mayo, or soysauce, etc?”.  Forgive me, I never really measure.  I use my small wooden ladle both to cook and to, kinda, measure the stuff I throw into the pan (the liquid ones) but for the onions, bell pepper, etc, you just have to wing it.  I love generous amounts of onions and green bell pepper.  If you’re not a fan of these two, then go easy on them.

How to Prepare Your Tuna Sisig

1)  Open the canned tuna with a can opener (of course) but do not open all way so that you can use the very can it’s in as a strainer but don’t completely drain it.

2)  After draining some of the liquid from the can, lift the top of the can with your knife or spoon and pour everything into a hot pan (medium heat).

3)  Add the onions (you can leave some of the onions for later if you want them a little crunchy and add them right at the end).

4)  Add soy sauce, mayo, egg, and hotsauce.  Mix everything together.

5)  Season with salt and/or pepper.

6)  You can add the calamansi now or just have it available when you serve the hot tuna sisig.  I prefer adding it right away.

7)  Serve hot with rice or let it cool a bit, put it in your air tight storage (I use Lock n’ Lock), and put it in the fridge to use on your sandwich anytime you want.  For sandwich, sometimes I like it cold, and sometimes I reheat the tuna sisig.

This batch was moist (instead of the usual dry sisig) because I really didn't drain the canned tuna at all. If you want a crispy batch, drain the tuna well.
Paired with wheat bread (I use Gardenia).

 

*  I add honey barbeque sauce sometimes to add a little sweet kick to my sandwich.

I hope you find this recipe useful!  Do your own twist to this and share them on the comments area below!