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Jennifer Aranas

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pork Crackling Salad  


Sweet potatoes are often neglected during the year except around the holidays when they make their obligatory appearance in a pie or marshmallowed side dish. But sweet potatoes are common fare in the Philippines used to add nutritious bulk to soups, stews, and desserts. Because the sweet potato is naturally laden with soulful flavor, it needs very little to dress it up. Filipinos rarely make vegetarian vegetable dishes; there is usually meat or fish added for protein and flavor. Here pork crackling dresses the sweet potatoes with incomparable crunch and flavor. I often make this dish using cubes of leftover lechon kawali or, when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll substitute store-bought chicharon from the Latino market where they sell it in impressive sheets. The sweet-tart vinaigrette is one of my favorites to add big flavor without oil. It also makes a delicious, guilt-free dressing for green salads and grilled or roasted vegetables.

Serves 4

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound pork crackling, cut into ½-inch cubes, substitute chicharon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Pineapple-Shallot Vinaigrette:
¼ cup crushed pineapple
¼ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup coconut or palm vinegar
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar

Roast sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 375°F (177°C). Spread sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Roast for 45-55 minutes, occasionally turning potatoes, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Scoop potatoes into a bowl. Add pork crackling and parsley to the bowl and set aside to cool.

Make the vinaigrette: Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until vinaigrette reduces and slightly thickens. Cool mixture to room temperature and pour over sweet potatoes and pork crackling. Toss to combine and serve.

Beer/ Wine
Brasserie d’Achouffe McChouffe Brown Ale (Belgium)
Spinefex Espirit (Australia)


Marinated Scallops with Pineapple & Coconut Cream Scallop Kilaw


Kilaw or kinilaw is what Edilberto Alegre and Doreen Fernandez described in their book Kinilaw as cooking with liquid fire. It is the culinary term for a technique that requires using only the freshest fish, meats, or vegetables and briefly applying a condiment of native vinegar or acid just until the food is barely past raw. Although similar to Mexican ceviche in principle, kilaw is an ancient cooking method in the Philippines that predates the Spaniards who brought many Mexican elements to the Islands. This kilaw is different in that the coconut cream tames much of the acidic edge. Serve this kilaw plain, accompanied by a salad, or on toast as an appetizer. The Hoisin-Tamarind sauce and a little of the spicy sambal are perfect sauces to garnish the kilaw with added layer of zing.

1 pound (450 g) bay scallops (substitute chopped sea scallops)
1 ½ cups (375 ml) five-spice vinegar
1 lime, zest and juice
1 small red pepper, finely diced
1 cup (175 g) fresh pineapple, finely diced
1 green onion (scallion), finely chopped
¼ cup (50 ml) Coconut Cream
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch ground black pepper

Combine scallops, five-spice vinegar, lime juice and zest together in a non-reactive container. Marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Drain and discard all liquid from the scallops. Toss the scallops in a bowl with red bell pepper, pineapple, scallion, coconut cream, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Miguel Torres “Esmeralda” (Spain)
Franz Hirtzberger Rotes Tor Federspeil Gruner Veltliner (Austria)


From Food & Wine Magazine:  

Eggplant Curry,  Beef Tapa with Garlic Rice


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