Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sharpened At Last!

I have a few new Global knives that have been sitting around since I bought them in Tokyo last year. They are used , but still at factory edges since I've been too lazy to get my whetstone out and sharpen them, but today I woke up and just had the urge of sharpening all my knives, so I did!

I got out my whetstone, let it soak while I ate breakfast, and prepared my knives. The first four knives have been my knives since cooking school, 1 Global and 3 Wusthof knives, the Global being my favorite. Then there are the last 3 which are my new Globals.

This is my station....still clean and dry.

I sharpened each knife on the rough side of the whetstone, then on the smooth side, then honed them....what a task! After working up a sweat, I was excited to put my new knives to the test so I took out a carrot and did a few knife cuts. The two I tested were the long chef's knife(Model GP-14) and the oriental cook knife (Model G-4).
They are both so different, the GP-14 is long and heavy which can sometimes feel a little intimidating to use, but when I used it, it felt very strong and secure. The weight allowed the cut to just flow through, it's a great knife. I did have some difficulty to control it when I tried the finer cuts like julienne (1mm x 1mm x 4 cm) and brunoise (2mm x 2mm x 2mm), but either than that it's a great knife.

The G-4 is my new favorite, it's lighter and shorter, but extremely precise. I love the feel and handling of the knife. Once I made my first cut through the carrot, it just glided and the slice was perfect. It instantly felt so comfortable, I didn't even have to adjust to it. It's made in between a chef's knife and a vegetable knife, so it's pretty much good for anything.

Here are some of my sample cuts. The julienne, the top half was done with the GP-14, which is a little wider than the perfcut cuts from the G-4 below.
These are the brunoise from my G-4. I'm so glad I finally sharpened them, they are now better than new and I'm getting excited to keep using them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roasted Spiced Eggplant

I recently had a hot pot eggplant dish in Gloria Maris, Greenhills. I really enjoyed it and I still had some eggplants in my fridge, so I thought I'd make a roasted eggplant dish.

I first roasted the eggplant on my stove. When all parts were charred, I put it in a bowl and covered it with cling wrap to sweat, then peeled off the skin and mashed it. Then in a pan with some oil, I put in some turmeric and chili powder then sauteed chopped onions and chopped ginger. I let it sweat for a few minutes then added some pureed tomatoes, let it cook out a bit and added my mashed eggplants. I let it cook some more and added some sliced tomatoes near the end before turning off the heat.

I don't really measure my ingredients, but in total I used about 5 tomatoes, one big eggplant, one onion, half an inch of ginger, and about a quarter teaspoon of turmeric, and a little more than a quarter teaspoon of chili powder.

The turn out of the dish was quite pleasant. The roasted flavor really came out which I love. The heat from the chili gave it some kick and the tomatoes cooled it down. Adding the bit of turmeric added earthiness to the dish.
Looking forward, next time, I think I would grate the ginger instead of chop it because sometimes it was overpowering. I'm thinking of adding some soy beans and maybe red bell peppers for some color and texture.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Daja vu Moment in Cyma Greenbelt

For lunch today, my family decided to eat at Cyma in Greenbelt. I was actually quite excited because I've always enjoyed the food and the service there. However, today was different. I had a deja vu moment just like in Sala last year.

We got to the restaurant around 11:30am hoping to finish lunch early. We ordered a number of dishes and I specifically ordered the vegetable souvlaki. About 45 minutes into the meal, all the dishes have been served except for mine. When we followed up the order with the server, he kept saying it was almost done, just a few more minutes. About 20 minutes later, I see a cook walk in with 2 Rustan's Supermarket bags full of vegetables. About another 20 minutes later, my order still hasn't arrived! My family is done eating and I just asked the server to cancel the stupid dish and he said it'll be another 3 minutes! I just got so frustrated I told them to remove it from the bill and we didn't want to wait any longer. They were so reluctant to remove it and tried to convince us to wait riduculous!

I wish they would have just been honest from the beginning that they we would have to wait because they went out to buy the ingredients rather than trying to make us believe it'll be coming soon.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Palak Paneer--First Attempt

I never used to cook much vegetable dishes and when I did, it was usually just a side dish. Yesterday, I thought I'd try to make palak paneer, which is an Indian dish made of spinach and a light cheese made from milk. I found a recipe by Manujula for the ingredients and procedure. I didn't measure but I did use the same ingredients, omitting the flour and used fresh spinach

I made the paneer from scratch. It's quite easy, just boil milk and curdle it with white vinegar.
When the milk has curdled, just drain it in cheese cloth and let it sit for at least an hour with some weight on top.
After cubing and frying the paneer, mixing all the spices, spinach, and the cream, this is the end product. It tasted pretty good, more spinach than what I've tried before, but I didn't mind it. I can't wait to try more dishes. I think I've finally found inspiration to cook more again. :)