Monday, February 13, 2012

The Salad Experience---inspired by Chef Dolly

It's been more than a month since I last posted (I Turned my Kitchen into a Laboratory this New Year) about my kitchen spree. After more than a week of being contented with fast food meals due to overtime and late nights from work, I was finally able to spend more time in the kitchen this weekend.

For this post, I'd like to feature the salad showcases by Chef Dolly for lunch on February 3, 2012  during the Closing Meeting of the FERCAP-PHREB Advanced Training for Surveyors/Accreditors. Chef Dolly is the Head of 1475 Cafeteria of the Philippine Heart Center, the hospital where I work.  She impressed not only the local and foreign surveyors but all the participants with her Talinum-Apple  Salad with Bagna Cauda SauceMelon-Bitter Melon Salad with French Onion Sauce and Alugbati-spinach-camote tops-sigarillas-papaya salad with bagoong-vinegar sauce .

Here, take a glimpse at each of the three---  First, the TALINUM-APPLE SALAD WITH BAGNA CAUDA SAUCE.

In case you are not familiar with Talinum (Talilong in Tagalog), it is a green leafy vegetable rich in vitamins, including A and C, minerals (iron and calcium), oxalic acid (hence, consumption should be  limited by those suffering from kidney disorders, gout and rheumatoid arthritis). 

Here is what Talinum looks like:

Surprisingly, in his blog post, Dr. Gemiliano Aligui (Vice-Chair of the Ethics Committee of The Medical City) who was also among the participants of the Surveyors' Training) mentioned that the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) has included talinum as an ethnic food with high nutritional value and is actually promoting its consumption. 

Bagna Caudaon the other hand, is a gourmet sauce made of anchovies, garlic and olive oil, cooked until the components become creamy.

Look at how Chef Dolly gives her Talinum salad a final stir before serving the local and foreign surveyors...
Now, introducing Chef Dolly's second menu, the Melon-Bitter Melon Salad.  I'd say it's a one-of-a-kind dish that I have tasted so far! I would love to have this salad again!
  The third one is the alugbati-spinach-camote tops-sigarillas-papaya salad, another special dish which has captivated everybody's taste buds. 
Alugbati (Basella rubra Linn/Malabar Night Shade), a popular leafy and stew vegetable, is a good substitute for spinach. Sigarillas, also known as Sigadillas or Sigarilyas or Winged Beans (Psophocarpus tetrogonolobus) has a flavor suggesting a hint of asparagus to some people.

These are all the salads on the buffet table. I took a combination of all three for my second serving. See the one in the middle?
This was what I had for lunch---a taste of every salad and chicken curry as the main dish. 

 I remember there was something special about the chicken curry. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember anymore as I placed more effort in remembering the bagna cauda sauce. I used to forget the term "bagna cauda" for several days until I deliberately encrypted it in my mind using "barracuda" as a sound-alike strategy.
The alugbati-spinach-camote tops-sigarilyas-papaya salad inspired me to concoct my own version minus the alugbati and papaya and using a different dressing. So here,  I'm featuring a very common native menu consisting of daing na boneless bangus (fried marinated milk fish) paired with spinach-camote tops salad with French Garlic Dressing and Sesame oil.

I wasn't able to find a nice bunch of alugbati leaves from the market to complete the original version. Instead, I just used the following ingredients:

1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of camote tops
1 piece tomato sliced
1/2 red onion sliced
Iodized salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
2 tbsps. French Garlic Dressing
1 tbsp. Sesame Oil
Blanch the green leafy vegetables, drain and top with sliced tomato and red onion. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper. Add the French Garlic Dressing and Sesame Oil. Use as garnish to the fried boneless bangus.

See the finished product ---

 Till next time! Have a productive week ahead! :)

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