Sep 12, 2010

Chicken and Veggies Stir Fry


Stir fries are great when you are in such a hurry. They can be done in less than ten minutes, and you can have a hearty and tasty meal with lots of color and a little spiciness with it. It's also great with leftover chicken and extra vegetables in small amounts, that way you won't have to throw away anything.

We still have a cup of uncooked shredded cabbage left from cooking pancit canton for dinner, as well as a package of baby corn that threatens to be rotten if not used within a few days. There's also a half  of a carrot left in the crisper. The chicken I used were deboned chicken breasts for healthier options, but chicken thigh fillets can be used if you want them really juicy with the chicken's natural fat.

Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry Recipe
Serves two hungry people =)

Ingredients:

1 cup of shredded cabbage
10 pcs baby corn, cut in half
1 whole chicken breast
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Carrot strips, about half cup
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
4 tbsp olive / vegetable oil
salt
pepper

  1. Slice the chicken into half-inch strips. Rub with a pinch of each of salt and pepper.
  2. In a bowl, mix water,sugar, chili garlic sauce, vinegar, and oyster sauce until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat  and add 1 tbsp oil or butter, swirling pan to coat evenly. 
  4. Stir-fry onions and garlic until golden and caramelized.
  5. Add the chicken strips until just cooked. Do not brown. Transfer chicken and onions to a bowl.
  6. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat until smoking, then stir-fry vegetables for three to four minutes. 
  7. Add the mixture from step 2 to the pan over medium heat. Add cornstarch solution.
  8. Simmer and add chicken mixture and stir-fry until heated through and sauce thickens.
  9. Serve hot over cooked rice.


Sep 9, 2010

Perfectly Crisp Homemade French Fries


When I was younger, I always asked for french fries at home. My parents would buy those huge bags of fries from Makro and PriceSmart back then, but they taste bland and way too flour-y for me. When I started cooking, I made a lot of homemade mojos ala Shakeys, and tried making french fries from freshly bought potatoes at home. 

But no matter how I cook them, they always turn soggy with oil, or too soft. If I leave them any longer they will be hard and too crisp. What I want would be the crisp outside with the insides like mashed potatoes. And today I have made this possible.

The secret would be to use extremely hot oil in deep-frying the potatoes. The kind that has just started smoking will give you great fries as long as you don't turn down the heat; otherwise your potatoes will soak up the oil.

Here's what you have to do:

  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer. The rule of thumb would be 2 cups of oil for every 1 cup of fries.
  2. While the oil is heating, scrub the potatoes then cut them into strips at about half an inch thick. I like them big.
  3. After the oil has started smoking, place all the cut potatoes in. The oil will definitely spatter and froth like crazy. Don't lower the heat or your fries will be soggy.
  4. Don't stir, just wait for all the froth to go away and for the fries to float and achieve a nice golden color, with the outer layer seeming to bubble underneath. (see pic)
  5. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  6. Serve with ketchup, sprinkle with salt and pepper, or go with your favorite flavorings. I serve mine with
    Sep 8, 2010

    Swearing by a Smile


    The following post is my entry to Project Vanity's Asian Secrets Giveaway!

    Being vain is naturally present in every girl, lady or full-pledged woman out there. I myself am admittedly vain, but I am not one who wears makeup just to pose for scripted pictures so I can upload them to my Facebook account. I'm simple and I'm a sworn minimalist, and I could swear that I look a thousand times better that way than having my face painted nicely. Of course, it all goes differently for anyone. I can't possibly compare myself to others as we all have our own assets, but I know for sure how beautiful I look when I see myself smile at the mirror every morning, ready to take on the extremely busy life here in the Metro.

    As far as it goes, I can survive the whole day with just a small pouch, in which you can find a concealer to cover up the evidence of a late night movie marathon, a liquid blush to trick people into thinking that I have naturally rosy cheeks (trust me, it works extremely well!), and a moisturizing lip gloss to perfectly frame my sweet smile. Of course, those are just the basics. Look deeper in my pouch and you'll find a no-smudge and clump-free mascara to make my eyes a lot brighter, a brow gel to make my brows neat and younger-looking, and an eyeliner, to make dramatic days even more exciting.

    But what really is my beauty secret, you ask? It's a smile as big and as stunning as Julia Roberts shows on screen. If you greet everyone you meet the whole day with a smile, you'll get tons of admirers, even exceeding those of your so-called drop-dead-gorgeous friends and colleagues. Of course, you'll have to ask permission from your other half before trying my beauty secret, unless you want him going green with envy at every man who throws you a smile back! And oh, don't forget to give yourself a nice big smile at the mirror before you go, it will leave you feeling on top of the world and ready to take on the day's challenges with a breeze.

    That's it, actually. I do moisturizing and exfoliating daily for glowing skin, but I can only see myself radiant when I smile that oh so big smile! And here's the best part: you don't have to wait for seven days, 3 days, or even a day to see results. Just wait for five minutes, then look in the mirror and see yourself radiate with beauty all over! Hope I helped!

    Oh, don't forget to check out Project Vanity's Asian Secrets Giveaway! She's giving out some fabulous lulur and more! Here's the Sassy Chef Scoop about Project Vanity:
    Project Vanity is a practical online guide to being absolutely beautiful. Complete with reviews, tips, and of course, fabulous information that you can't get anywhere else! And the author, Liz Lanuzo, is the co-owner of Ukay Manila, the haven of deliciously unique clothes that I have been eyeing for a long time! Visit her now! =)

    Here are the Contest mechanics

    1. Simply answer this question!

    For the brides: The big day draws near and you have to look perfect. How do you plan to look your best? Youʼre encouraged to talk about your gown, makeup artist, desired look, motif, beauty rituals, and how Asian Secrets can help you on your big day.

    For the general readers: What are your beauty secrets? Youʼre encouraged to talk about the beauty products, tips, tricks that you swear by, plus how Asian Secrets can be incorporated in your routine.

    2. Blog your answer, post it as a note on Facebook, Twitter, and Plurk it. Donʼt forget to include four things: your answer to the question, the contest poster,mechanics, and link to the contest page. For Twitter and Plurk entries, include the hashtag #asiansecrets.

    3. Post all the direct links of your entries in the comments page. Donʼt forget this step, because without it, we wonʼt know you joined! Also include a valid email address.

    Weʼll be picking the grand winners based on the quality of your answer and how well you promote your entry online. The contest will run from September 8 to October 1, 12 noon. We will be announcing the winner on 6pm. Good luck!

    PS - To make things fun, I will be randomly picking two commenters in this post to win two jars of Asian Secrets. I will announce the winners here by September 18. They can pick up the lulur in the Makati office. Details to be emailed to winners.

    *Brides-to-be meaning your wedding will happen after the conclusion of the contest, which is October 1.

    Reminders:

    This contest is open only to those who live or can travel to Metro Manila. Transportation will not be reimbursed.

    The winner who wins the bridal package should be personally available on the whole day of October 2, Saturday, for the makeover and turnover of products, which I will cover for my blog. Date is tentative and may be moved.

    The winner of the iPod + makeup should be available on October 2 to personally claim the products from me. No shipping. Date is tentative and may be moved.