If this is your first time to visit marketmanila.com, WELCOME. There are over 2,700 posts on produce, food items, recipes, markets, etc. on the blog so feel free to browse “backwards” in time when you have a chance. For the benefit of those who watched the segment on food bloggers on “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” on Saturday, January 15, 2011, I am posting the recipes for dishes we prepared while visiting the Kitchen Herbs Farm in Silang, Cavite. Most of these recipes feature the lettuces, herbs and other vegetables that we harvested just minutes before we cooked them. All of the dishes were prepared on site, with no kitchen facilities, gas stoves, running water, etc. — so take this as some encouragement for you to try something more fresh and adventurous the next time you go out on a picnic… Enjoy! :)
The “main course” of the farm meal was a platter of “bejeweled coucous” and herbed chicken breasts, recipes here:
GRILLED HERBED CHICKEN BREASTS A LA MARKETMAN
Brine 6-8 chicken breasts in cool salted water for 2-3 hours before cooking. Next, drain the chicken breasts and dry with a paper towel. Place them in a clean bowl. Chop up generous amounts of fresh rosemary, thyme and Italian parsley and add them to the chicken. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes (we used dried siling labuyo). Add 6-8 tablespoons of olive oil and mix until the breasts are coated with oil and herbs. Marinate for about 1 hour before cooking. Fire up a grill and cook the chicken until browned on the outside but still moist inside, cooking time depends on heat source and thickness of the meat. Remove and keep warm until served.
“BEJEWELED” COUSCOUS A LA MARKETMAN
To a covered pot with 2 and 1/4 cups of hot chicken broth or water, add 2 cups of couscous and cover and allow this to steam for 3-4 minutes off the heat source. Next take of the lid of the pot and use a fork to stir and loosen the couscous. To the couscous, add several tablespoons each of various colored dried fruit such as figs, dates, apricots, dried mangoes, cranberries, sultanas or raisins, etc, that are chopped to about 1/4 inch squares or smaller. Add 3-4 tablespoons of very good extra virgin olive oil, some chopped italian parsley or mint or both and place on your serving platter. So quick and easy and this provides a slightly sweet note to the savory herbed chicken and the salads with more acidic dressings.
They had these amazing small beets on the farm that are so delicious when simply roasted and dressed with vinegar. To make roasted beets, place several cleaned (with skins still on) small beets into a package of aluminum foil and roast them in a hot oven or over a charcoal flame for say 15-20 minutes until soft. Let them cool for a few minutes until easier to handle, then peel off the skins. Dress the beets with several tablespoons of sherry vinegar (white or red wine vinegar would work nicely as well), a teaspoon or two of sugar if they aren’t the sweetest variety of beets, and a pinch of salt and toss until well coated. Let these marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
Also on the farm, they had several varieties of arugula, like this amazing wild arugula that has smallish leaves, a slightly peppery bite, but packed with wonderful flavor. They also had the more common larger leafed arugula, micro arugula and arugula flowers!
The bounty of salad produce inspired the first of three salads we made in Silang during the shoot:
ROASTED BEET, ARUGULA and GOAT CHEESE SALAD A LA MARKETMAN
Wash some freshly picked wild arugula and dry in a spinner or on clean kitchen towels. Place a large handful of arugula on individual serving plates. Add several pickled or vinegared beets to each plate. Add a generous piece of soft goat cheese and drizzle everything wtih some good extra virgin olive oil and a spoonful of the vinegar/beet dressing. Season with some salt and pepper and serve. For some reason the goat’s cheese and beets pair beautifully, and the slightly bitter arugula complements the other two ingredients. Had I remembered it at the time, and cameras weren’t rolling and making me sweat, I could have garnished this salad with some arugula flowers…
There were several rows on the farm planted with carrots, and we were allowed to pick them at their tiniest and youngest stage of development. I ate several carrots just after picking them and they were the best carrots I have ever eaten! We simply washed the carrots and scraped off the peel with the side of a small spoon (you can leave the peel on if you prefer) and they were ready for use in salads or to be roasted with butter and honey…
We made a second salad, a photo of the final product not taken…
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH BABY CARROTS AND TOMATOES A LA MARKETMAN
Wash and dry several varieties of farm fresh lettuce and place them in a salad bowl. Add two handfuls of baby carrots, sliced in two if you prefer along with several ripe tomatoes, sliced. Then make a simple vinaigrette with some mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss the greens with the dressing. Simple and refreshing and a no-cook use of fresh farm produce!
The farm also had several rows of vibrant green romaine or cos lettuce, with leaves a little more spread out than the tight heads of romaine some of you might be used to seeing. We used some romaine in the mixed salad, above, but when Gejo Jimenez (the man behind Kitchen Herbs Farm) suggested that we try grilling some, we decided, “why not?”!
Gejo walked a few meters away to pick two heads of romaine and briefly rinse them in some water, shook them off, and we placed them directly on the cast iron pan over a wood fire with some olive oil. There was some flavor left from the chicken grilled earlier and let me tell you, this was a HUGE SURPRISE and made for an unexpectedly delicious semi-wilted salad!
The romaine was good on its own, but it was also substantial enough to host other stronger flavors. Since we had the remnants of our Christmas jamon serrano on hand, I mixed some thin slices of jamon with the grilled romaine and it was a terrific match. Salty and crunchy and wilted all in one mouthful. Yum!
GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH JAMON SERRANO A LA GEJO/MARKETMAN
Heat a cast iron pan (or use the grill on your barbecue) over hot coals. Add some olive oil to the pan. Take either a large head of romaine and cut it in half lengthwise, keeping the root end solid so the half of lettuce stays together, or smaller whole heads of arugula and wash them and dry as much as possible. Place the cut side down on the hot oiled grill and allow this to just briefly sizzle and wilt. Turn the lettuce over for a minute or so and remove the lettuce to a serving platter. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and add several slices of jamon serrano before serving.
While the KMJS team repeatedly “shot” the cooked dishes, Gejo and I were getting a bit hungry and the cast iron pan was still on the waning flames, so we scraped off any remaining bits from the chicken and salad and added a bit of water to clean off the pan and tried another experiment. I took a ripe lakatan banana and peeled it and sliced it in half. To the hot pan, I added roughly a tablespoon or two of butter and placed the bananas, cut side down, onto the hot pan. After 30 seconds or so, I flipped them over and sprinkled liberally with cinnamon sugar (yes, I had brought some just in case) and as soon as the sugar melted/caramelized and the bananas looked done I removed them onto a serving dish. Added a large dollop of mascarpone cheese (an Italian cream cheese) and a sprinkle of more cinnamon sugar and we dug into dessert BEFORE the main course… The bananas were tasty, but the mascapone was too thick and cold from a stint in the cooler. I think some flavoring or liqueur would have helped the mascarpone… at any rate, this wasn’t a hit just yet.
And you wouldn’t have seen this on the KMJS program because we ate it before they had a chance to film it! :)
The GMA7 film crew of three were SERIOUS about getting good shots of the food, despite the dismal shooting conditions that include strong winds, overcast skies and sometimes strong showers blowing though the farm… I hope they edit out shot of me drizzling olive oil where the wind was so srong the oil flew a foot to the left of the mixing bowl! :)
A huge thank you to Gejo Jimenez of Kitchen Herbs Farm and his crew for letting us film on his farm, allowing us to pick the wonderful totally organic produce and cook several dishes in an impromptu set-up under his balete tree… Maraming salamat! If you would like to try Gejo’s produce and herbs, he has a table at the Mercato Centrale on Sundays (6am – 2pm) located near “High Street” in Fort Bonifacio until the end of March. Or if you wish to contact him for a restaurant or wholesale arrangements, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org