Sunday, January 01, 2012

BOCHOGNOMICS 2: Two Pestos and A Pao

Happy New Year to the zero people who are still following this blog and to the voice inside my head that forced me to cook meatless pasta (gasp!). I know that the past year has been almost devoid of posting on my part and I can't honestly promise myself that I will write more about my food trips this new year. And I certainly will never promise that I will from here on out take photographs of my food before I eat it. The best I can do is try. Cliche, really, but that's all I have.

To start off my new year, I offer 3 new recipes from the Media Noche meal I prepared last night. This meal was fueled by the guilt of having eaten too much during Christmas week, the necessity of preparing relatively healthier eats for my SC folks (that's senior citizen--hurrah for the 32% aggregated discount!), and my personal conviction that no meal is complete without some kind of meat. As with the first installment of Bochognomics (exactly one year ago), prices quoted are Unimart prices, except where indicated. There are no pictures--I was halfway through my second bacon pao when I remembered that I should have taken photos. I finished my bacon pao instead.

MEATLESS PASTA: Spaghettini with Red Pesto Sauce

500g spaghettini (Php 54.50, Balducci brand)
1 small bottle sun-dried tomatoes in oil (Php 195, Molinera brand)
extra virgin olive oil (stock, but I use either Capri or Doña Elena, around Php 200 per 500ml bottle)
1/3 cup sliced black olives (Php 48.50 for 1 small bottle, Doña Elena brand)
1/2 cup fresh basil, washed and dried (Php 30 to 40)
1/2 cup fresh curly leaf parsley, washed and dried (Php 30 to 40)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
grated Parmesan (Php 77.50 for a 250g bottle, Magic Time brand)
1/4 wedge, Smoked Dutch cheese, cut into cubes (Php 161.75 for 1 wedge)
3-4 tbsp soft Goat cheese (stock, Camembert can be substitued, Php 300++ for a small disc)


For the red pesto:
1. Slice sun-dried tomatoes into semi-thick strips (to facilitate pulsing in the food processor). Reserve the oil.
2. In food processor, put sun-dried tomatoes and the oil. Add garlic, basil, parsley, olives, and 3 cheeses (all amounts according to your taste, really).
3. Pulse until everything is ground and blended. Check consistency. If too thick, thin out with EVOO (around 1/2 cup).
4. Add salt and pepper, and more cheeses, to taste.

For meatless pasta:
1. Cook 500g spaghettini in salted boiling water, then drain. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
2. Pour the red pesto sauce into pan or pot. Saute for 3-5 minutes, then add the pasta back in.
3. Make sure the sauce coats every strand of pasta. If it is too thick due to the cheeses, add the pasta water.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Top with more parmesan cheese, and serve with green pesto raisin bread (recipe below).


Raisin bread loaf (Php 65 thereabouts, Gardenia brand)
Prepared pesto

For Pesto:
3 cups fresh basil
2 cups fresh parsley
1/3 cup capers (Php 55 for 1 small bottle, Capri brand)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 cup EVOO
parmesan cheese
goat's cheese
Smoked Dutch cheese, cubed
juice from 1/2 lemon (Php 15/pc)
salt and pepper, to taste


For the pesto:
1. Place all ingredients, except EVOO, s&p, and lemon juice, in food processor.
2. Remove seeds from lemon and squeeze juice into food processor. Add salt and pepper.
3. Pulse while pouring EVOO into the lid's spout.
4. Check for taste and consistency. Add s&p, oil, or more cheeses, to taste, then pulse one final time to achieve smooth consistency.

For the bread:
1. Slice raisin bread (or any bread) pieces into halves, so if you have 5 pieces, you'll end up with 10 small ones.
2. Take a small piece of bread and slather with pesto, including a little bit of oil.
3. Toast in the oven at 200 degrees C for around 3-5 minutes (assuming oven has been preheated for 5 minutes).


8-10 pcs Man Tao or Chinese buns (Php 60)
250g bacon, cut into bits (Php 80, Holiday brand--though I would recommend pricier brands for a smokier flavor)
Optional: smoked dutch cheese, thin slices

1. Cut bacon into bits and fry in its own fat. Add a small amount of canola oil to aid in frying.
2. While the bacon is frying, steam the man tao for around 3-5 minutes.
3. When the man tao is ready, slice horizontally to form 2-sided buns. Place hot bacon bits inside. Add cheese as preferred. (Might also work with a bit of mustard and/or mayo).