Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is a century-old Russian dish that has become predominantly popular in most countries such as the US, UK, Australia, China, Japan, Brazil, Iran, Sweden, Finland among others. It is an easy, hearty meal that typically consists of sautéed pieces of beef topped with sauce and smetana (a range of sour creams used in many Central and Eastern European cuisines).

It was my search for more beef recipes and a layover in Moscow that might have inspired me to get curious and try out this dish. With its Russian-sounding name and terrifically complicated flavors, I felt intimidated at first, but apparently, it was a super-duper easy dish to make. There might have been hundreds of ways now to cook beef stroganoff, yet I tell you, this recipe might appear too simple, but it’s definitely a delicious one. Beef stroganoff goes very well with rice, potatoes and carrots, or (pasta) egg noodles. Read more

Papet Vaudois (Leeks with Potatoes and Sausage)

The leek is one of the vegetables that I find generally plentiful in Europe, all year-round. Yet every time I see it when I do food shopping, I just ignore it. But, it’s not only leeks. I’m also a stranger to other regulars such as artichoke, turnips, endives…there must be even more!

You see, leeks are not very common in the Philippines – or even in Southeast Asia in general – because they just won’t thrive in hot and humid weather. Somehow I learned that it could be found in the Mountain Province, a landlocked, very mountainous, cold region at the north of the Philippines. The cool weather up there might have been conducive for growing this plant, in modest versions for the least. Due to its rarity of course, leeks aren’t part of the Filipino diet. Read more

So Swiss: The Malakoff

The name sounds Russian, but malakoff is authentically Swiss. A classic cheese beignet that can be most likely found in the canton of Vaud, it is believed that the recipe was brought by the Swiss mercenaries who joined the Crimean War under the French-British forces fighting against Russia. This Swiss cheese bread was particularly named after the major battle of Malakoff that resulted in the fall of Sevastopol, thus ending the battle.

Hardly it reminds of the past war nowadays, the malakoff is typically served as a first course, and enjoyed with served cornichons (guerkins in English), pickled onions and mustard. As always, this Swiss cheese ball pairs well with a glass of Chasselas wine.

My first taste of malakoff was last spring 2010 at Café Restaurant l’Union in Bursins. The crispy outer brown bread complemented well with strong-flavored Swiss cheese oozing from the inside. To the extent that I enjoyed the malakoff so much I later found myself enjoying cornichons and mustard as well. It was also on that day, I learned to enjoy eating guerkins and mustard. I felt so proud of myself. Read more

Summer Solstice (Part Deux)

See the first part of Summer Solstice here.

Sunday Lunch – Fish Provencal

It was a sunny Sunday again. After breakfast, mahal and I decided to go out for our usual hiking. Both weary and hungry after over an hour of walk at midday passing by wheat fields, forest and Swiss cows, how lucky I was this recipe I had to make is another easy one.

I couldn’t find halibut fillets in the French supermarket, so I relied to my stock knowledge presuming that halibut is closely related to cod fish. Since the latter is available, I bought it. But do correct me if I’m wrong.

Ingredients:

  • 4 halibut fillets, each 6 to 8 oz.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 to 3 tbs. fine dried bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the fillets snugly in a single layer.
  2. Place the fillets in the prepared baking dish, season lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the wine. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the fish, overlapping them slightly if necessary.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the garlic, tarragon, parsley and thyme. Spoon the herb mixture evenly over the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil.
  4. Bake until the bread crumbs are browned on top and the fish is opaque throughout, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately, directly from the baking dish. Serves 4.

Provencal dishes closely resemble the delectable cuisines of Italy and in this simple dish you can find fresh tomatoes, garlic and herbs that are the iconic ingredients of southern France. Personally I love Italian cuisines and same goes definitely with southern French cuisines. Particularly this Fish Provencal recipe is very easy and quick to make and yet you can leave your guests impressed with your cooking prowess. I guess I heard my mahal telling me, “Keep it up!” But then, I must have been too busy savoring this fishy dish! Read more

Summer Solstice (Part Un)

The Herbes de Provence Rotisserie Chicken was first published at thefilipinoexpat.com. You can find it here.

It was a happy sigh of relief when we thought of the Spring goddess coming to rescue us from bitter-cold winter this year. Two months passed by since then, it seemed likely that she might have gone somewhere else. I was already getting excited to see the birds and the trees, the flowers and the bees coming out full of life, but given the almost zero degrees temperature at springtime, they themselves were unsure if they really should. Meanwhile, I had been in constant bouts with myself just for deciding on what exactly to wear.  Oh spring, where art thou really?

At the end of another season, summer starts to come as it should be. Whoopie! And that excitement led me to check my knack for cooking again. Read more

Pancit Bihon Guisado

I’m no expert in cooking but I love good food. Now it’s time to stay longer in the kitchen and see if the magic WOKS with me, one recipe at a time.

This is it, pancit! Isang taon na! (It’s one year already!)

I celebrated my first year of stay in Switzerland by simply cooking pancit last Saturday. Next to rice, pancit is another big star on the Filipino dining table. In every celebration, pancit is a must. It goes with a lot of varieties, but the most common of all, which I cooked for myself is what we called pancit bihon guisado.

Pancit (or pansit) is a Filipino term for noodles in Filipino cuisine. The Chinese introduced noodles into the Philippines and it has been adopted into a local cuisine since then. There’s also a food lore handed down from the Chinese, that noodles should be eaten on one’s birthday because noodles represent long life and good health. In my case I don’t only wish the same for myself, but also for a much longer, much enjoyable stay. Though it wasn’t my birthday yet, that must have been the other reason why I served pansit to celebrate! Read more