Tortang Talong  – Filipino Eggplant Omelette

Tortang Talong – Filipino Eggplant Omelette

Italy may have their Eggplant Parmesan but the Philippines has their Tortang Talong or Eggplant Omelette.  The word “torta” has many meanings in the Latin based language.  In Italy and other countries whose language is rooted in latin it usually means cake or pie.  In Mexico it refers to a sandwhich.  In Spain it can mean either a cake or an omelette.

The Philippines was under Spanish rule for about 500 years.  Much of its language, customs, and cuisine is adapted from the Spanish culture.  Hence many favorite Filipino dishes include Arroz Valenciana or Paella,  Arroz Caldo, Pastel de Lengua, Menudo, Chorizo, and Torta, just to name a few.

The word “tortang” is derived from the Spanish word “Torta”.  In the Philippines when they refer to something as “tortang” it means that it is made like a torta, which in this case mean omelette.  So Tortang Talong means Eggplant Omelette since Talong is the Filipino name for Eggplant.

Tortang Talong is a simple yet tasty way to eat eggplant.  It uses the long Asian eggplant instead of the large round eggplant normally used in the Italian Eggplant Parmesan.  The eggplant is cooked, usually over an open fire or grill, flattened, dipped in beaten eggs, then fried.  There are many versions of this Filipino dish, some of which include ground meat.  In my family we usually make it without as it’s pretty filling without meat.  I make it at home for our meatless dinner nights.  Served with a tossed salad and some olives and pickles on the side it’s simply delicious!

You can roast the eggplant up to a day in advance.  Leave the skin on and store in the fridge until ready to use.  Depending on the size of the eggplant you can either make one to share or smaller individual ones.  I usually make 2 and that feeds around 4 people.

Tortang Talong

Ingredients:

1 Asian Long Eggplant

2 Eggs

1/2 Tsp. Minced Garlic

Salt & Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Directions:

Roast or broil the eggplant with the skin on.  You will know the eggplant is cooked when it is soft and the skin is a bit wrinkled and has turned brownish in color.

Peel cooked eggplant.  You can do this by holding the stem and gently pulling off the skin with your fingers.  The meat may stick to the skin so be careful peeling it so that you don’t take the eggplant meat with the skin.  Do not remove the stem.

Place peeled eggplant on a flat plate and gently flatten with a fork.  You should end up with eggplant meat fanning out from the top stem.

Beat eggs, garlic, salt & pepper together in  a shallow dish.

Place about 1/2 tsp. oil in a large frying pan and heat.

Place eggplant in egg mixture.  Use the fork to gently immerse eggplant (but not the stem) in the egg mixture.  Allow the eggplant to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible.

Holding the eggplant by the stem gently place it in the hot oil.  You can pour some more egg mixture over the eggplant in the pan so that the eggplant is completely covered.

Cook until the bottom starts to turn golden brown and the egg mixture on the top starts to get a bit dry.

Gently flip the eggplant over and cook until that side turns golden brown.

Slide finished omelette onto a serving dish and serve.

Tortang Talong - Filipino Eggplant Omelette
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Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

I think one of the prettiest salads you can have is the Caprese Salad.  It’s vibrant colors are so inviting, promising something creamy, fresh and delicious.

What you may ask is a Caprese Salad.  It’s an Italian salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil with a light vinaigrette dressing.  It’s said that Caprese Salad was originally made to honor the Italian flag which is Red, White, and Green; the same colors of the salad.

Caprese Salad is definitely a family favorite.  It’s not only delicious but it’s so easy to make.  We have it for lunch, as a panino or sandwich.  You can place the ingredients between 2 slices of bread or better yet a ciabatta roll, grill it just until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, and you have a wonderfully simple meal!

The most important thing to remember when making Caprese Salad at home is to use the freshest ingredients you can find.  This mean unless absolutely necessary the prepacked balls of mozzarella in the supermarket’s dairy case just won’t do!

Short of bringing home fresh mozzarella from Italy (which I’ve actually done) I usually find fresh mozzarella at Costco or the deli counter.  It’s the balls of cheese that’s usually floating in the tub it’s packaged in.  You’ll know it’s fresh because it’s softer than those hard balls packed in plastic wrap.

Tomatoes of course are fresh, pick nice ripe ones.  I get mine from my garden along with the fresh basil.  If you don’t have a basil plant (and you should! it’s so easy to keep even a small one in the kitchen window) you can buy fresh basil leaves at the grocery store.

Once you have all the fresh ingredients all  you really need is some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of Italian seasoning if  you have it, and some salt.  If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can use dried oregano, parsley, or basil or you can just use black pepper.

Caprese Salad is great for a light lunch or as a fresh addition to any meal.  It’s tasty and refreshing, the perfect summer salad!

Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

5-6 slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (slices should be about 1/2″ thick)

1 Firm Ripe Tomato – sliced in about 1/2″ thick rounds

3-6 Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp. Italian Dressing

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/2″ rounds and arrange on a plate.  Alternate tomato and cheese to make it look nice.

You can also add a basil leaf between the cheese and tomato or you can place the leaves in the center.  Place the three ingredients on the plate any way you find pleasing.

Mix together oil and vinegar.

Add 1/2 Tsp. of Italian seasoning to the oil mixture and stir well.

Drizzle over the fresh ingredients just before serving.

Sprinkle remaining Italian Seasoning over all and season with salt and pepper if desired.

 

 

Caprese Salad
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Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

I love roast chicken but many times we can’t finish a whole one and end up with chicken that won’t quite be enough for another meal but a shame to waste.  That’s when I make Chicken Salad.

I use the left over chicken meat from my Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken to make this delicious Chicken Salad. It’s very tasty because the left over chicken is very tasty, and it’s a great way to avoid waste and make use of leftovers.  You can make Chicken salad with any type of roast chicken including the rotisserie chicken you buy at Costco and Sam’s Club.

Chicken Salad is a great idea for lunch or tea.  You can serve it with greens for a light lunch, use it to fill your favorite bread or tortilla to make a sandwich or wrap, or use it to make those cute tea sandwiches for a tea party.  I adore tea parties!

Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

Left over roast chicken – diced

1/2 to 1 Cup Mayonaise depending on how much chicken you have – remember the more mayo you use the creamier your salad will be.

1/4 Cup Fresh Dill chopped

1 Tbs. Dried Dill

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix very well.

Make sure the herbs and spices are evenly distributed and the chicken and mayo are mixed together well.

Use a scoop over salad greens for a light lunch salad; or as a sandwich or wrap filling.

Store in airtight container in the fridge.  It will store for about 2-3 days.

Chicken Salad
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Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef StewLast Christmas one of my daughters gifted me an Instant Pot Lux80.  (There it is in the box.) I have to admit it looked intimidating; took me almost a month before I took it out of the box, and only after watching videos and reading lots of internet articles.  Now what exactly is an Instant Pot you may ask.  The best answer would be that it’s a crockpot on steroids.  It can do just about everything a crockpot does but it does it faster.  That’s why it takes only 35 minutes to make Instant Pot Beef Stew!

35 minutes to make tender falling apart beef stew!  Yes I kid you not the actual cooking time for Instant Pot Beef Stew is 35 minutes!  And yes the meat, you can use even the least expensive cuts, are literally falling apart!  Ok, the actual time I spent making Instant Pot Beef Stew was closer to an hour, that included chopping, browning, AND cooking and venting.  So really dinner was ready in about an hour.  Sure beats cooking stew in your crockpot all day!

Can you tell yet what I first made in my handy dandy new gadget?  Yup, you got it I made Instant Pot Beef Stew!  And the best part is it doesn’t take a lot of planning.

When I made beef stew in my old crockpot I had to thaw out the beef the night before then get up early to chop veggies and brown the beef on the stove top.  I had to do all that before I could toss it all in the crockpot and press cook.  Now it wasn’t that big a deal, that is until I realized what my new Instant Pot could do!  I didn’t have to thaw meat the night before, I could actually toss semi-frozen meat in the pot if I wanted to!

instant pot beef stew

Did I mention that my Instant Pot Beef Stew turned out amazing?  My family raved about it!  In fact I had made a big pot – the model I have is 8 quarts – and we had the left overs for dinner the next day!  So without further ado here’s my recipe!  Hope you love it as much as we do!

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Ingredients:

3 Lbs. Beef Cut into 1″ cubes – you can use any cut of beef you want, I usually use a chuck roast

2 Tbs.  Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Large Onion Cut in large pieces

2 Cups Baby Carrots

2 Cups Baby Potato Medley

2 Cups Celery Cut in large pieces

3 Cups Beef Broth

1 Cup Tomato Sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 Cup Corn Starch

1/4 Cup water

Directions:

instant pot beef stewPrep ingredients – Cut all the meat & veggies to size

Separate Beef from the veggies as you will be using it first and you don’t want the veggies sitting in raw beef juices

Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set on Sauté

When pot is hot enough place cubed beef into pot

 

Instant pot beef stewBrown all the sides of the beef

Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and mix well

Switch pot off and add veggies, beef broth, and tomato sauce

Stir well making sure to scrape off any meat or seasoning at the bottom of the pot

Set Instant Pot on Manual and adjust time to 35 minutes

Secure lid making sure the valve is on the sealing position

When pot beeps wait 10 minutes then set the valve to venting to release remaining pressure

Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in water

When pressure has been completely released remove pot lid

Stir in cornstarch water to get desired thickness.  If you want thicker sauce add more dissolved cornstarch slowly until you get the thickness you want.

Serve with steamed rice or some nice crusty bread to sop up all that meaty goodness!

Left overs can be stored in the fridge for a day or so, stew always tastes better the next day!  Or for longer storage place stew in freezer safe containers, label with date, and freeze until needed.  It will keep in the freezer for about 2-3 months.  Reheat in the microwave or stove top.

 

 

 

 

instant pot beef stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew
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instant pot beef stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Prep ingredients - Cut all the meat & veggies to size Separate Beef from the veggies as you will be using it first and you don't want the veggies sitting in raw beef juices
    instant pot beef stew
  2. Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set on Sauté When pot is hot enough place cubed beef into pot Brown all the sides of the beef  Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and mix well
    Instant pot beef stew
  3. Switch pot off and add veggies, beef broth, and tomato sauce Stir well making sure to scrape off any meat or seasoning at the bottom of the pot Set Instant Pot on Manual and adjust time to 35 minutes Secure lid making sure the valve is on the sealing position
  4. When pot beeps wait 10 minutes then set the valve to venting to release remaining pressure Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in water When pressure has been completely released remove pot lid Stir in cornstarch water to get desired thickness.  If you want thicker sauce add more dissolved cornstarch slowly until you get the thickness you want.   Serve with steamed rice or some nice crusty bread to sop up all that meaty goodness!
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Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

One of our family traditions are Sunday night barbecues when family and friends drop by for dinner and a visit.  Everyone looks forward to this weekly event.

Sometimes coming up with a different menu for the barbecues can be a challenge.  Last week we decided it would be Greek night so my daughter-in-law and I  made Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Dip.

We love Greece and Greek food.  We’ve been trying different recipes to  replicate the souvlaki and tzatziki we enjoy whenever we’re in Greece.

This weekend we made Tzatziki exactly how the owner of The Music Cafe in Myknos, one of our favorite cafes in Greece, taught us.  It was delicious.

I decided to try my hand at creating a new recipe for the souvlaki.  I marinated the chicken overnight in yogurt and spices, it turned out tender, juicy, and delicious!  The yogurt keeps the chicken tender and juicy and fresh dill gives them the extra yum!

Tzatziki is a yogurt dip or sauce.  It can be served with fresh crusty baguettes for dipping, and used as a sauce over the chicken.  Either way it’s delicious.

Both the Tzatziki and Souvlaki are easy to make.  The chicken should be marinated over night or for at least 3 hours, the longer it marinates in the fridge the tastier and tender it will be when grilled.  The Tzatziki can be make ahead of time and chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Both dishes will now be permanent additions to our Sunday night barbecues.  Here are the recipes, perhaps you can try them out this coming Memorial Day.  Both recipes can be doubled or tripled for larger gatherings.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Chicken Souvlaki

Makes 9-10 kebobs

Ingredients:

2 lbs. thawed chicken tenderloins – if the pieces are too large you may have to cut them in half lengthwise to make strips no larger than 2″ wide.

1 cup WHOLE milk plain Greek yogurt.  Be sure it’s whole milk, the fat free or 2% won’t work.

1 tbls. minced garlic

2 tbls. olive oil

1 tsp. dried or fresh oregano – crushed or minced

1/2 tsp dried or fresh rosemary – crushed or minced

1 tbls. fresh dill – finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Add chicken strips; mix well making sure the chicken is well coated in the yogurt mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge.  It’s a good idea to stir the chicken several time while it’s marinating to ensure all pieces are coated with the yogurt mixture.

Place the marinated chicken on skewers – two pieces fit nicely on 12″ skewers.

Grill on medium heat until chicken is well cooked.  About 5-6 minutes on each side.  Don’t over cook the chicken, it will become dry and hard.

Serve immediately with Tzatziki, and whatever side dishes you prefer.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Tzatziki

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

2 medium cucumbers

2 cups WHOLE milk yogurt

1 tbls. olive oil

1 tbls. minced garlic

2 tbls. fresh minced dill

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt to taste

Directions:

1.  Peal cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the middle part including the seeds.

2.  Finely grate cucumber in to a mixing bowl.

3.  Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated cucumber, discard liquid and keep the grated cucumber.

4.  Add yogurt to cucumber and mix well.

5.  Add olive oil, garlic, and dill to the mixture and mix well.

6.  Remove lemon seeds and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture and mix well.

7.  Add salt to taste.

Chill until ready to serve.  Can be served as sauce for the Chicken Tzatziki or as a dip with crusty fresh bread or pita chips.  If serving as a dip portion into small bowls and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
Souvlaki
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add chicken strips; mix well making sure the chicken is well coated in the yogurt mixture.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge. It's a good idea to stir the chicken several time while it's marinating to ensure all pieces are coated with the yogurt mixture.
  4. Place the marinated chicken on skewers - two pieces fit nicely on 12" skewers.
  5. Grill on medium heat until chicken is well cooked. About 5-6 minutes on each side. Don't over cook the chicken, it will become dry and hard.
  6. Serve immediately with Tzatziki, and whatever side dishes you prefer.
Tzatziki
  1. Peal cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the middle part including the seeds.
  2. Finely grate cucumber in to a mixing bowl.
  3. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated cucumber, discard liquid and keep the grated cucumber.
  4. Add yogurt to cucumber and mix well.
  5. Add olive oil, garlic, and dill to the mixture and mix well.
  6. Remove lemon seeds and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture and mix well.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

Tzatziki can be served as sauce for the Chicken Souvlaki or as a dip with crusty fresh bread or pita chips. If serving as a dip portion into small bowls and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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