dadscookgoodfood

Two dads who enjoy cooking for their families

Archive for the category “Snack”

Antonio’s Arroz Caldo

arroz caldo

Named after Daddy Robert’s son, this chicken rice porridge is a combination of simple ingredients: spring chicken, ginger, garlic, onions, safflower, salt and pepper. My idea was to keep the ingredients basic and all-natural and avoiding the addition of chicken bouillon or fish sauce.

Arroz caldo (literally hot rice) or lugaw (in Tagalog) is a well-known Filipino dish that serves as a complete meal, a merienda (snack), or as soup. It is a comfort food for Filipinos, usually during cold or rainy weather. It is an elixir for those who are feeling under the weather. Its preparation and ingredients are akin to the Chinese congee and other rice porridge dishes in Asia.

Antonio’s Arroz Caldo

Ingredients:
1 whole young chicken (spring chicken)
½ cup medium grain sticky rice and ½ cup Milagrosa rice
4 cloves of garlic, chopped and minced
1 thumb sized ginger, cut into strips
4 hardboiled eggs
1 onion head, finely chopped
1 tbsp. safflower (Kasubha)
1 scalion, cut diagonally
Lemon wedges
Salt (kosher)
1 tbsp. ground pepper
3 tbsp. canola oil
6-8 cups of water

Directions:
1. After washing the chicken, chop the chicken into appropriate serving portions.

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2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and ginger until light brown. Add chicken pieces and stir to allow the chicken to absorb the garlic and ginger. Add salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is golden brown.

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3. Add rice and mix with the chicken and herbs until rice is well coated.

rice soup
4. Deglaze pan by adding water slowly. Once deglazed, add the rest of the water until chicken is covered.

deglaze
5. Stir occasionally to prevent rice from sticking on the pot and until you get a smooth consistency. Do this for about 40 minutes.

kasubha
6. Add kasubha for colour and flavour then add scallions and cook for 5 minutes.

arroz
7. Finally, add hardboiled egg. Serve with toasted garlic, lemon wedges, fish sauce and sprinkle with more scallions if desired. Enjoy!

*The secret to delicious arroz caldo is deglazing and good chicken stock. As mentioned earlier, I tried to maintain all-natural ingredients (salt, pepper and herbs) without having to add chicken bouillon or fish sauce. You can make the chicken stock in advance but for this one, deglazing the pot then slow cooking the porridge allows the flavours of the chicken and herbs to blend and gives the porridge a delicious taste.

W’cha Like A HEaLThy Sandwich?

helt sandwich2

Living in a fast paced city in North America coupled with the demands of work, sometimes, leaves dads and moms compromising a healthy meal for their kids, like eating in a fast food. Ironically, people’s preference for fast food seemed to have declined recently , with food industry giants reporting slipping profits last year. According to a recent report , younger consumers are more concerned about what they eat (compared to the previous generation) and their preference for healthy food has seen a decline in sales in fast food. This has prompted food industry giants to rethink and revisit their strategies when it comes to selling their food products.

But apart from city life, recent economic issues have forced our family to watch our budget for almost everything, including food, but mindful of ensuring our kids that we are all still eating healthy and enjoying good food. Apart from setting aside certain food preparation practices from our home country (think of cooking pancit!), these times also call for more healthy and quick alternatives. Part of this is to rethink and revisit some of the food we used to prepare but have often referred to as a snack or even fast food and not associated with the usual home cooked meal. This brings me to looking at sandwich as a healthy yet quick alternative.

A quick check on the sandwich’s etymology tells us that the word was originally a family name from Kent, England; which literally means ‘sandy harbour’ or ‘trading centre on sand’. The real inventor of sandwich was not John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich*, but most probably his cook whom he instructed to prepare his food in such a way that he would not have to be interrupted during a gambling marathon. Foodtime.org  wrote that Montagu copied this from his trips to Greece and Turkey where he saw locals grilling pita bread as an appetizer (also called mezes).

On the other hand, the Nibble astutely pointed out that ‘edible plates’ to hold roasted meat or fish from hand to mouth were made from unleavened breads and most likely started in 9000 B.C.E.! Interestingly, sandwiches were also associated with men who ate it during late night parties but the first person who wrote a cookbook for sandwiches was a woman, Charlotte Mason!

But I digress. The sandwich as a meal does not stop from putting meat and spread between two pieces of bread. Although we do have our own favourites (My siblings and I used to enjoy butter with condensed milk on a warm pan de sal and Reuben sandwich) sandwiches have certainly evolved from slices of white and rye bread to using baguette, croissant or even pita and tortillas . Apart from its varying cultural influences and variety, sandwiches have changed to healthy meal alternatives that can be quickly prepared and enjoyed. For our family, a sandwich lunch or dinner is something we all look forward to. Here’s a simple sandwich that all of us help prepared. Except for the potato chips (unless you go for baked ones!) :-D, the rest of the ingredients are good and yes, healthy alternatives. Enjoy!

HELT sandwich

HELT* Sandwich
(Ham, Egg, Lettuce, and Tomato)

Ingredients:

2 slices of whole wheat or light rye bread
1 slice of roasted forest ham
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 tbsp of skimmed milk
1 leaf of Romaine lettuce
4 slices of marble cheese
2 slices of tomato
Some lite mayonnaise and mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Prepare all ingredients: slices of tomato and cheese, a piece of forest ham, lettuce and bread.
2. Preheat oven to 270 ‘ F.
3. In a small bowl, whisk one egg and skimmed milk then add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is cooked.
5. Spread butter on the two slices of bread then place the ham on one side of the bread and the slices of cheese on the other piece. Warm both pieces in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese slices have melted.
6. Remove the warm bread pieces of bread and immediately spread some light mayonnaise and mustard on the ham.
7. Place the egg on top of the ham then add the tomatoes and lettuce over it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with the remaining piece of bread with cheese.
8. Put two toothpicks in the middle of the bread and slice the bread using a bread knife. Enjoy!

*Earl is a title in the Old English period for a person of noble class or rank that may be serving as a leader (or governor) for a division in England.

*Sandwich is a historic town in Kent, England. The town still exists to this date. The first English celery was grown here and salt was taken from its salt marshes. Presently, Sandwich has cafes and restaurants within this historic town including seafood restaurants, Greek, Italian, Indian, a sandwich shop (of course!) and two Thai restaurants, among others!

For sandwich cornucopia, check out this sandwich glossary from the website, The Nibble.

Sandwich photos by Ana Saplala.

No-Cook Oatmeal Surprise

oats with fruits

It’s only a week away before the new school year starts. From our homefront, the kids are not really excited about the end of their summer break. For instance, one of them noticed that the trees’ leaves are turning yellowish orange. Another chimed in saying that the earlier sunsets and cooler evenings herald the impending turn of the season. This also means trying to go back to a routine of waking up early and fighting off the sleepiness that is further aggravated by bed weather.

Having noticed these changes and adjustments and knowing that school is just around the bend, I thought of experimenting on a breakfast meal that might give their lethargic bodies a right jolt. Two weeks ago, I happen to see Michael Smith‘s recipe book, “Family Meals,” at a local supermarket and saw a breakfast idea that reminded me of how pinipig is prepared by my grandmother. It never occured to me that oatmeal, which is traditionally cooked as a hot breakfast, can be ‘cooked in cold milk.’

Called Overnight Oatmeal Jars with Last-Minute Stir-Ins, this breakfast idea simply cuts down on the morning stress of preparing breakfast and the hassle of ensuring that the kids would be packed with enough nutrients to sustain them throughout the day. Having quick-cooking oats sitting in our cupboard for quite some time and extra mason jars supposedly for storing more fruit jams, I thought of giving the recipe a try. I made two; one for my wife to try and whoa! We both love it!

I also found out that there are a lot of ways of enriching the flavours of the oatmeal: Smith adds yoghurt, fruits, and nuts and Monica Matheny adds cocoa powder or peanut butter with banana to the oats. This made me more excited because my kids, who seem to be getting tired with our usual corn cereal with milk, can look forward to something new.

The recipe that I am sharing below is based on my memory of Smith’s suggestions and tweaked to my own taste. As well, you may have other ideas re tweaking this recipe so feel free to post your suggestions. You may want to ask your kids to prepare this one too. Enjoy and bon appetit!

No-Cook Oatmeal Surprise

6 tablespoons of Quick-Cooking Oats
1/2 cup of whole or skim milk
1 tbsp. plain yogurt
¼ tsp. cinnamon (or ¼ tsp. vanilla or lemon zest)
1 tbsp. brown sugar (or 1 tbsp. of honey or maple syrup)
1 tbsp. mixed nuts, chopped* (almonds, cashews, or walnuts)
5 pcs. medium-sized fruits, sliced (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches or apples)

Directions:

oats jar
1. Place oats inside a half-pint mason jar.

oats milk

oats milk
2. Add milk, cinnamon, mixed nuts, fruits and any of the sweeteners.

oats milk2    oats milk3
3. Close the lid and give it a good shake until all the ingredients are well-mixed. You can also stir it a bit with a spoon if you wish to soak the oats well.

oats with fruits
4. Store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and top with a dollop of yogurt and additional fruits or nuts. Serve chilled as breakfast food or snack.

*You may omit the nuts if your child is allergic to nuts. Likewise, you can substitute whole or skim milk with soy or almond milk if your child is lactose-intolerant.

 

Nowie’s Yogieberry Delight!

 

Nowie strawberry dessert1

“Noelle is a magician in the kitchen!” So goes my other kid who discovered her sibling concocting a delicious snack for herself.

My wife and I were not surprised with our daughter’s recent kitchen adventure since our kids have always seen us prepare food at home. In fact, as soon as they are able to help us at the kitchen, we encouraged them to assist us in planning the menu as well as in preparing our meals. Sometimes, they find food preparation or cooking as a chore to avoid; but often times see it as an opportunity to think of dishes they would love to eat. This includes eating snacks even after dinner, which can be a bit challenging because like most kids, ours would occasionally ask for salty or sugary snacks such as chips, cookies, and soda pop.

However, despite the threat of TV commercials that constantly egg us to buy these products; our kids’ school is doing a good job in promoting healthy eating! As a matter of fact, Noelle commits only to ‘healthy food only’ like a mantra.

Recently, my wife discovered that Noelle prepared a simple healthy snack at the kitchen which she thought of herself. Using only ingredients she found at home, she prepared this snack (or dessert) over the weekend, much to our delight. I thought of featuring her recipe for this week’s blog as a way of encouraging you, dear readers, to allow your child to explore and prepare food that she can enjoy for herself!

Nowie’s Yogieberry Delight

Ingredients:
5 pcs. of medium strawberries
1 100 gm. of yogurt
1 tbsp. of honey

Directions:

1. Prepare all ingredients. Wash strawberries gently in a bowl of cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

2. On a cutting board, gently remove the stems and the hull of the strawberries.

3. Slice them into thin slices from the centre.

4. Put the sliced strawberries in a small bowl and add yogurt.

5. Drizzle the strawberry and yogurt with a teaspoon of honey.

6. Serve immediately and enjoy! 😀

Noelle strawberry dessert2

Easy to Bake Muffins with an Extra Zing!

muffinsWhoa! Looks like these muffins are running away from my hungry kids! 😀

Uh oh! Did I hear the kids clamoring for a different breakfast food? Did one of them say that he was getting tired of pancakes and toast? Did I hear her say she didn’t want to have hot or cold cereals tomorrow morning? But do I have the time and money to prepare a heavy and healthy breakfast? Well, I’ll take this challenge head on!

But let me think: I have to prepare something different for breakfast that’s delicious but easy to make.  Wait! Muffins are easy to make and easy to bake! And yes! There are muffin recipes whose ingredients can be found at most homes, which means no extra trips to the nearby supermarket! Woot! 😀

Now this recipe below is definitely easy to bake and carries with it (surprise!) an extra zing! I’m sure that some dads-like me do not know that the often  misunderstood lemon, can do wonders. Other than using it as an essential ingredient to seafood and or effectively using it as deodorizer (!), a lemon can give that much needed punch to the simplest pastries like muffins! Kapow! 😉 Now, that’s definitely something my family and I need to start our day right!

Lemon Zest Oatmeal Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup easy-to-cook oatmeal

½ cup raisins

½ cup brown sugar

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

2 tsp. lemon zest

Pam Butter Spray (for greasing muffin pans)

Chocolate chips and/or walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Prepare the ingredients and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

pam

2. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter or butter spray.

dry ingredients

3. Mix and toss all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl: wheat flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, raisins and salt.

wet ingredients

4. Put in all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl: unsalted butter, large egg, and buttermilk. Whisk all ingredients until well beaten.

mix

5. Pour buttermilk mixture into the dry mixture and mix well until well-blended.

lemon zest

6. Add lemon zest and mix well.

spoon

7. Pour batter using a spoon into greased muffin pans. You may also add chocolate chips and nuts as a topping before baking.

bake muffin

8. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes.  You may check by inserting a toothpick into the muffin and this should come out clean.

cool muffin

9. Cool for about 2-3 minutes then remove from the muffin pan.

remove muffin

serve muffins

10. You may store the muffins for at least 2 days in an air-tight container. If desired, microwave the muffins for about 10-15 seconds before serving. Serve with milk!

(Recipe adapted from Selection’s Blueberry Lemon Muffin and Anna Olson’s Blueberry Bran Muffin)

Good Food Does The Trick or: Why You Have to be a Magician at the Kitchen When Your Child is Sick

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When I got sick as a child, my mother used to prepare arroz caldo (chicken congee) for me. The arroz caldo is just perfect; warm and tasty rice porridge with tender chicken sprinkled with toasted garlic. She then squeezed some kalamansi (Calamandarin) and added a dash of patis to give the arroz some zing. When my own kids got sick, I tried to replicate my mother’s elixir but with mild success. Fellow dad, Robert, recommended Vanjo Merano’s recipe here his arroz caldo recipe was easier to prepare** and tasted good as well.

The past week has been challenging for us because our kid was recommended to have a soft diet for a week. Although I’ve somehow mastered preparing arroz caldo, I could not risk asking her to eat it every day. Initially, I thought of having different toppings; like what one Chinese restaurant in Manila offers but it might just be too expensive and arduous to prepare. So my wife and I thought of some dishes that will be good and nutritious for our kid; some of which we’re sharing below. These two dishes were what I call as accidental as I realized that the goto (beef congee) for instance, was borne out of feeling tired with eating arroz caldo so a beef variety would probably make a difference. The potato dish was supposedly baked so I rehash (no pun intended) my wife’s baked potato recipe where she boiled the potato first before baking it so it would come out softer. It’s the addition of mozzarella cheese that made the difference.

Finally, because a kids’ palate (like most of us) taste funny making it more challenging to eat when they’re sick, I thought of making it more tasty and fun for her by buying “soft food” to come up with a good and healthy menu: applesauce, hot chocolate with marshmallows, soft bread with cheese, crushed strawberries with milk, bananas with crushed ginger cookies and oatmeal with Dino eggs (this one proved to be really fun as she watched the “eggs” hatch in warm water)! 😀 Truly, we’ve come along from my mother’s arroz caldo but I must admit that good ol’ mom’s recipe still works!

IMG_2760

BEEFALICIOUS CONGEE* (GOTO)

Ingredients:
2-3 pieces of beef shank, precooked and shredded
1 cup of rice
2 beef bouillon cubes+
1 ½ liters of water
2 tbsp. safflower (saffron), washed
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 thumb size ginger, julienned
1 egg, hardboiled
2 tbsp. canola oil
Chopped spring onions (scallions) for topping
Patis (fish sauce) and kalamansi/lemon for flavouring

*Some of the ingredients were based on Vanjo Merano’s arroz caldo recipe.
**For example, Merano said that it was okay to use ordinary rice-the one we used for cooking-so this saved me some money from buying glutinous (malagkit) rice.
+ An alternative would be 1 ½ liters of beef stock

Directions:
1. Prepare ingredients.
2. In a preheated pan, sauté garlic, onion and ginger in oil.
3. Add bouillon cubes into the mixture until it’s dissolved in oil.
4. Add shredded beef shank and rice. Continue sautéing for 3 minutes.
5. Add water and cook for 30 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent rice from sticking at the bottom.
6. Before serving, add safflower and hardboiled egg.
7. Top it with toasted garlic, scallions and serve with a dash of patis and squeeze lemon over it. Serve warm.

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POTATO MOUNTIES (BAKED POTATO WEDGES WITH MOZZARELLA CHEESE)

Ingredients:
1 medium sized potato (Russet or Yukon brand)
2 tbsp olive oil
A dash of salt and pepper
Mozzarella cheese for topping

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius.
2. Meanwhile, boil the potato for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. You can check for tenderness if the tines of the fork pierce on the potato. Remember not to overcook since you would still be baking the potato.
3. Once done, slice the potato into bite size wedges.
4. Mix olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and toss the potato wedges.
5. Place the potato pieces in a baking tray lined with foil. This would make cleaning the pan easier when the cheese melts.
6. Sprinkle the potato wedges with mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
7. This dish is good if served with baked meatballs. Enjoy!

Mama Mia! Pizza, Pizza!

Woo hoo! Thank God for weekends! In our case, since we, Dads, usually cook during weekdays, our wives give us a reprieve by taking command of the kitchen and whip up their piece de resistance. For this weekend, my wife declared that she’ll be baking pizza for dinner.

We knew from long ago that pizza was once considered a poor man’s meal in Italy where the poor people of Naples in the 16th century added the once-thought of poisonous Peruvian tomatoes to their yeast dough.

The Margherita pizza has its interesting origins, too, dating back to 1889 when the Italian Queen Margherita, favoured the classic pizza a la marinara because it resembled the Italian flag with its colours of green (basil), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes). However, from our experience, looks does not simply tell everything. For instance, on a trip to Paris, our pizza looked more North American  because it was overloaded with toppings such as cheese, onions, mushrooms, and meat! In fact, it was the presence of an accordionist that reminded us we were in France and that simply changed the pizza’s flavour. 😉

At any rate, my wife went for a North American version but with Queen Margherita in mind. The basil was replaced with green bell pepper, the red tomato sauce was highlighted with salami and there was mozzarella cheese overload! We all love it! What’s best about her version is it actually costs less than the pizza we buy from the popular pizza restaurant. We even got more for less because each of us had a share of the pie. In fact, there was enough pizza dough for a cheese pizza which my daughter baked for herself. It’s definitely a dish that kids will enjoy doing, too. 😀

On the side (and at her request), I complemented the pizza with a romaine and walnut salad tossed with lemon maple dressing and a banana strawberry smoothie for dessert.

Indeed, life is good and the best reason why we look forward to weekends! Buon appetito!

MAMA’S PIZZA

Ingredients:
1 pack of pizza dough*
1 can of pizza sauce*
1 pack of salami
3 pcs. button mushrooms
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
2 tbsp. cornmeal or flour

Directions:

1. Dust a baking pan or the counter with cornmeal or flour and add olive oil to prevent the pizza dough from sticking.

2. Stretch the dough on a square^ or circular pan or the counter. There are various ways of doing this; some use a rolling pin, drape and stretch it with their hands and for the more adventurous, tossing it in the air. My wife used both the rolling pin, and the draped and stretched method. A word of caution: Be careful not to stretch too much as the dough might tear. Once the dough has been stretched, wait for about 30-40 minutes for the dough to rise again a bit.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Next, chop the mushrooms into thin slices, grate the mozzarella cheese, and slice the green bell peppers. Depending on your kids’ taste, you may add one or two more toppings such as onions or basil and that’s it! Too many toppings tend to overpower the taste of the other ingredients. In this case, we abide by the rule, ‘less is more’ because less toppings allow the flavours to linger in your palate making the pizza more tasty.

5. Using a spatula or spoon, spread the pizza sauce on top evenly. My wife said that tomato sauce or pasta sauce may do.  Others even suggest teriyaki or barbecue sauce so it’s really up to you which sauce will match your toppings+.

6.   Next, top it with grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sliced green bell pepper, and mushrooms.

7.   Put the pizza in the oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for 20 minutes. Check if the cheese has melted and has started to brown.

8.   Once it’s cooked, let it cool for about 3-5 minutes before slicing. A 9 x 12 baking pan yields 12 slices of pizza. Enjoy!

*Incidentally, pizza doughs are usually sold at bakeries and pizzerias. For a complete recipe of how pizza doughs are made, you can check the following websites:

http://video.about.com/italianfood/Pizza.htm

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/cooking_school/your_own_pizzeria_2.php

+ A topping of roasted chicken strips, for instance, tastes better with barbecue or teriyaki sauce than tomato sauce. Anchovies go best with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Remember not to put toppings with high-water content if you do not want to end up with a soggy pizza.

^My wife said that you’ll save more when using a square pan than a circular pan because it can yield more servings.

Delicious Pancakes Plus One!

Kids, ready na ang hotcake! (Kids, hotcake is ready!)

Our cook beckons and we all rush to the dining room eager to have our share of hotcakes (pancakes to the Generation Y Pinoy) topped with a generous spread of butter and a sprinkling of white sugar (or Karo Syrup). Growing up in suburban Manila, hotcake was staple merienda (snack food) food. Hotcake brand names for us are White King or Maya. Perhaps, it was our own experience of restaurant dining that we found out that hotcake is referred to as pancake and yes, it is breakfast food!

In North America, pancakes are usually served during breakfast at home or in diners. Because it`s easy and quick to prepare, a stack of 12 pancakes is usually ready in less than an hour.  Topped with whipped butter, crispy bacon, some fruit jam or maple syrup, pancakes make a great meal.

For this week`s food blog, we`re doing a redux. Although we`ve featured pancakes as our Valentine`s treat (click here for our pancake recipe) , we thought of adding up a few details for this reissue which we have discovered along the way.

For instance, we found out that adding one piece of blended banana with milk and some walnuts to the buttermilk pancake mix gives the pancake an extra zing.

You can also add fruits and sprinkle some confectioner`s sugar on top, which is a spin-off from our white sugar and butter days!

Or how about adding chocolate bits to the batter and sliced bananas? You can add or mix the fruits and nuts, too; but stick to smaller and more solid pieces (e.g. raisins, blueberries, cheese, slither of almonds) than the ones that might melt during the cooking process.

For instance, adding chocolate chips to the batter can melt and mess up your cooking.  If you’d like a chocolate flavored pancake, you may add some chocolate syrup to the batter then mix it well. However, if you wish to add chocolate chips or bits, make sure to add them when cooking the pancakes and that they are completely immersed in the batter.

This prevents the pancake from having an uneven surface assuring you that the cake cooks evenly once you flip it to the other side. Also, adding sweetened fruits or jam reduces your pancake syrup intake, which is good for diabetics. 🙂

Finally, use non-stick pans. I discovered that when you pour or spray oil on the pan, the pancake does not cook evenly or ends up with slightly singed surfaces. But if you like your pancakes to have a slightly burnt taste, then this is the way to go. You can see the difference between the pancake cooked in oil (left) and the non stick pan (right).

Hey folks! Enjoy and have another hotcake…er…pancake!

Traditional Apple Pie: A Thanksgiving Treat!

Thanksgiving is that time of the year when family and friends gather for dinner and give thanks for a bountiful harvest.  It is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October in Canada and the 4th Thursday of November in the US. Initially, we thought that Canada’s harvest season is earlier because of the early onset of winter but it turns out that there is a historical significance to the celebration.

Since Thanksgiving is just around the bend,  we thought it best to set aside the initial article and  re-post a Thanksgiving treat that we usually associate with this season. The recipe featured here was adapted by our loved ones from Tyler Florence  of the Food Network but whenever there is any modification in the recipe, the bakers took note of it.

Incidentally, apple pie is good when served with vanilla ice cream! Hope you enjoy this recipe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Traditional Apple Pie

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

¾ cups shortening (Crisco)

Ice water

Filling (below)

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl cut the shortening and salt. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of ice water over the mixture and mix just until the dough is moistened. Repeat by adding 6 to 8 tbsp water (one a time) until all is just moist.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the dough in half and roll into a ball. Roll 1 ball into a circle to fit a 9 to 10 inch pie plate.

Transfer the pastry to the pie plate, careful not to stretch the pastry. Trim it even on the edges of the plate.

Add the apple filling into the pastry lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces and put on top of the filling.

Roll the remaining pastry into a 10-12 inch circle. Place on top of the filling.

Trim the edges of the pie plate and crimp as desired. Cut slits to allow steam to escape when baking.

Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over the pie.

Cover the edges with foil to prevent over browning. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Filling: We did this first and let it stand before making the dough.

½ cup to 1 cup all purpose flour

6 to 7 cups apples cut into thin slices (we used gala apples)

1 cup white sugar We lessened these to about ¾ cup each.

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon – We added a little more of this.

2 tbsp butter

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl until apples are well coated.

A Taste of Americana: Nathan’s Famous Beef Hotdogs

Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs.
Dwight David Eisenhower

Yes, the Dads take Eisenhower’s advice seriously all the time. 😀  The simple things in life are indeed enough to make our tummies happy. 🙂  So, we thought of taking our lunch from the usual culinary food which we were sure our families will enjoy.  On our last hurrah for this summer, we headed for Coney Island where the Atlantic Ocean pairs up with the fine sand of the Brighton Beach. We were certain that the long weekend would bring people in droves to this side of the island, so it was worth hitting the road early. When a hint of the ocean showed up along the highway, the smell of sea salt arrested our senses, somewhat akin to the air that greets us whenever we visit the beaches of the Philippines.  Soon after, we knew that this experience was a prelude to a more tasty food adventure!

Nathan’s Famous, which started as a small hotdog stand in 1916, is an old and familiar establishment on this side of Coney Island. It boasts of a façade that features a humongous board with recent records of the famous 4th of July hotdog eating contest. The restaurant features several food counters on all sides of the building, supposedly to provide quick and fast service. However, we noticed that when you get fast service, your food is given to you with no frills, like hotdogs on paper plates and drinks with no cup holders.  🙂 But if you want those extra perks, you have to wait patiently for the server to put all of these in boxes and holders.

Although Nathan’s Famous gained its popularity by selling hotdogs, the restaurant today has expanded its menu to other fast food such as chicken tenders, Philly cheese steaks and burgers. For our food trip, we thought of sticking to hotdogs. They usually come in one size although their website menu reads that the beef dogs also come in various sizes as well. To add some zing, there’s an option of having free sauerkraut and onions for toppings. The beef hotdogs taste lighter and may pass for most hotdogs sold in any New York hotdog stand or supermarket so it’s probably the toppings that make a difference. If you opt for other toppings such as cheese, salsa or chili, you have to pay extra. The cheese is creamy yet light and compliments the hotdog’s “lite” taste. On the other hand, adding chili makes you think that you’re having an extra meal with the dog.  😀

You can also order an extra bag of their popular crinkled French fries, which comes with a small plastic fork to allow you to pitch and enjoy those deep-fried potatoes while they’re hot. Everything goes well with a tall cup of  cold soda (or for Canadians, pop!).

Incidentally, Nathan’s Famous is a brand name that you can buy in most New York supermarkets. In fact, Nathan’s Famous kiosks and food carts are found in most states and in other countries such as Canada, Jamaica, and China .  So why bother drive to their Coney Island outlet if you can just buy from a kiosk or the supermarket and enjoy the same beef hotdog at home? Of course, the toppings may be hard to duplicate but we knew that having it at Coney Island adds something to the taste. Because taste is a sensory experience, the smell of sea salt, the sound of the roaring sea, the cool breeze and the quaint old Americana atmosphere of Coney Island, including its boardwalk, gives the Nathan’s dining experience at the Island a whole lot of difference.

Now that summer is about to end, we recommend bringing the whole family to Nathan’s Famous at Coney Island. You’ll get to enjoy the clear and clean waters of Brighton Beach, rediscover the joy of walking down memory lane via the boardwalk and satisfy your hunger with Nathan’s Famous hotdogs. DCGF definitely gives Nathan’s Famous a “thumbs up.”  🙂

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