Arabic Ice Cream!

Posted in All About Dubai, All About Food! with tags , , , , on March 30, 2009 by ketchupplease

Hi! Sorry, I know I disappeared from cyberspace for a while… I guess I was a bit heartbroken with all the restrictions on WordPress that I just felt lazy to post anything… :-O

Anyway, just wanted to share with you a video I took in Global Village last month.. I like learning about others’ culture and tradition, so I enjoyed watching them prepare their local Arabic Ice Cream. They pounded the ice cream with a big wooden paddle, and banged on the tin with the music.. They kept on doing this, so the end result is a very, very compact ice cream covered in chopped pistachios, kinda gooey and not very creamy… and it takes forever to melt! It’s good, and has an arabian taste that I couldn’t figure out. I googled it and found out that it has arabic gum (hence the gooey/gummy texture), rosewater, and “sahlab” (an extract from orchids) — ohh so that explains the fragrant/flowery taste..
🙂

That night, I indulged in cotton candy, arabic sweets (deep-fried dough balls with caramel syrup), and lastly, the arabic ice cream. Understandably, my tongue was already sore from eating too much sweets, that I couldn’t finish the ice cream anymore. I went around the souks (stalls/markets) and waited for it to melt (so I wouldn’t feel too guilty throwing it).. but this ice cream just would not melt!
Enjoy the show! Welcome to my world in UAE… 🙂

Oh Please, Chopsuey.. Please… Just Disappear… ?

Posted in All About Food!, Personal with tags , , , on March 17, 2009 by ketchupplease

wandpng2

 

“Oh, Please, Chopsuey.. Please… Just Disappear…”  

That’s been sort of our nightly incantation for the past week, as hubby and I both cringe at the sight of  more uneaten chopsuey in the ref. We love chopsuey.. but honestly, everyday for the past 8 days??

Oh I didn’t tell you…  When our ref broke down and after I cooked the impromptu Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken with Cheese and Basil, and Shrimp Parmigiana, I still had loads of veggies wilting… ok so I panicked, I cooked them all into Chopsuey. Thanks to our new ref, we were able to save it from spoiling. But up to now, 8 days after, we still haven’t finished it!

After 3 or 4 days of chopsuey, I converted some of it into Chicken Mami, and it was tolerable for a while. But since I added noodles and chicken broth, it took us 3 days to finish it… believe me, it took us a lot of effort to finish it.

Still, I had some chopsuey in the ref… must have cooked it right coz the veggies were still a bit crunchy… It was perfectly fine, so no reason for it to go to waste. So last night, I converted it into Macaroni Soup… I removed the sauce, added macaroni, milk, chicken broth, turkey ham and a bit more of carrots and leftover cabbage (that were also wilting). Resourceful, but now, I have  Chicken Macaroni Soup in the ref to worry about.  We just can’t wait till all traces of that “chopsuey” is finally gone… 

One thing’s for sure. It won’t be in our menu for a very loooooong time! 😉

My Impromptu Chicken Cordon Bleu, et al… (Products of our Broken Refrigerator)

Posted in RECIPES EXCHANGE :), Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2009 by ketchupplease

cordon-bleu25

Well, well, well.. I’m proud of my   impromptu dish! A product of my   Domestic UN-Goddessness — yes ,”un-goddess”…

My fault, our refrigerator broke down last night. It’s been quite a while since the freezer was last defrosted.. and I insisted that we chip the ice so it would defrost quicker. So, we chipped the ice in the freezer with a knife and a meat tenderizer (talk about impatience!) hehe.. and there you go.. refrigerator gas leak!

So, I had to cook our food stocks so it won’t all go to waste.. and voila… my very own version of Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken with Cheese and Basil, and Shrimp Parmigiana!

I only used what I had on hand:

VERSION 1:

Skinless Chicken Breasts

Cheddar Cheese

Turkey Bacon

Fresh Asparagus

Ground White Pepper

Thaw chicken breasts. Cook the fresh asparagus in a pan with water and salt to soften it.  Slice the uncooked breast on one side to make a “pocket”. Stuff the breast with sliced cheese, fried bacon, and asparagus.  Sprinkle white pepper inside the pocket. Seal the sides with barbecue stick/s.  Dredge with cornstarch, then dip in egg. Then lastly, cover with Parmesan Breading mixture (below). Fry in medium heat for about 5 mins. 

VERSION 2:

Chicken Breasts

Cheddar Cheese

Fresh Basil Leaves

Same as above. I ran out of bacon so I just stuffed the chicken with cheddar cheese and chopped basil leaves which I just picked from my small Basil plant. Sprinkled with some ground white pepper. Same, same… Dredge in cornstarch, then dip in egg, then roll in Parmesan Breading mixture. Fry in medium heat for about 5 mins. 

BREADING:

1. Cornstarch

2. Egg

3. Hot ‘n Spicy Dry Breadcrumbs

   Grated Parmesan Cheese

   Mixed Herbs

   Dried Basil

Dredge the meat in cornstarch first, then dip in egg. Then roll in Parmesan Breading mixture. As for the Parmesan Breading, adjust ingredients according to taste..  I must have used about 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese…

MUSHROOM SAUCE

Mushroom Soup Powder Mix (though I think condensed soup might taste better)

Water

Milk (in my case, Anchor fullcream powder milk was the only milk available, haha!)

Ground white pepper

Mix a small portion of mushroom soup mix with water, add milk, and white pepper. Make sure the mixture isn’t very salty coz the cheese in the chicken is already salty. Separate a few tablespoons of the mixture and mix with a little cornstarch. 

Stir over low heat. When already simmering, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Stir until sauce is thick. 

 

SHRIMP PARMIGIANA

Shrimps

Parmesan Breading

I had some shrimps available too, so I just salted the shrimps a bit, then dredged with cornstarch, dipped in egg, then rolled in the Parmesan Breading too. 🙂 

 

Not bad!

🙂

Now, how are we going to eat all of these? Hahaha!

To Grill or Not To Grill? Or Not To Eat At All? That is the Cancer Question…

Posted in All About Food!, Health, Personal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 5, 2009 by ketchupplease

optima21I was so excited when Fed Ex delivered this (along with my Philips Satinelle Ice epilator – which I’m still mustering up courage to use). We got this from HSBC’s airmile rewards program.

We figured an indoor grill would be safer to cook with since it doesn’t use charcoal (carcinogenic). Boy, we were so wrong!

The moment we got it, I quickly googled about grilled foods. And much to my surprise (and dismay), I read information about cancer-causing HCAs, or heterocyclic amines, which are created when meat, poultry, and fish are cooked at high temperatures. 

I’ve been trying my best to cook the healthier way since cancer is in my genes, and I really don’t wanna get it…

Here are essential info that I found on the web, which are enlightening, but at the same time, very confusing! It basically leaves us with nothing much to eat except for vegetables and fruits! 

I wanted to avoid oil as much as possible, so I’ve resorted to cooking without oil (something like grilling) with our Teflon pan.. but I found out that cooking that way only increases the HCA’s because of meat’s exposure to high heat and longer cooking time. Then maybe it’s safest to boil.. but, no..?

  • Cooking with liquid—boiling, steaming, poaching, or stewing, for example—generates no HCAs because the temperature never tops the boiling point of water. Ditto for microwaving, so long as the food is not overcooked or dried out. 
  • Heterocyclic amines appear to form once the meat reaches a certain temperature regardless of whether it’s fried, sautéed, grilled, or boiled. (Hey I thought it was safe to boil? Ano ba talaga?)
  • The other potential cancer causing agent found in cooked red meat is also a product of temperature. These are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are formed primarily when meat is grilled. If you’ve observed those black, charred pieces on steaks after they come off of the grill, you’ve seen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Whenever fat drips on a flame, heating element, or hot coals, chemicals called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) form. The PAHs waft up in the smoke and can land on the food. They can also form directly on food when it’s cooked to a crisp.

So, that leaves us with baking or roasting, which produces less HCA’s (depending again on temperature and cooking time)

  • Grilling, barbecuing, broiling, and pan-frying are more likely to produce HCAs than baking or roasting, because they generate more heat.
  • Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard (ohh the yummy parts!). Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil.

I read that marinating meat would lessen the production of HCA’s, and sausage and hotdog casings offered some sort of protection from HCA.. so I thought, maybe not-so-browned fried chicken’s a bit safer after all… once again, no…  why, even the breading (carbohydrates) is carcinogenic!

  • Add the carcinogenic potential from heated and overcooked oils (usually trans containing) delivered in doughnuts and fries with the powerful cancer inducing properties of carbohydrates cooked at high heat (acrylamide formation) and you have a great cancer potion.

Oh.. so hotodgs and sausage casings do offer some sort of protection from HCA’s?… Allelluia!!! …..NOT!!!

While HCAs do not form in grilled hotdogs, these highly processed meat products contain other carcinogens. Nitrates and N-nitroso compounds, preservatives found in processed foods such as hotdogs and sausages, have long been recognized as potent carcinogens.16

And… does this mean that McDonald’s burgers are the safer way to go? I am so confused now…

Fewer HCAs are found in fast-food burgers because they’re cooked so quickly. “They’re not exposed to the high heat over a long time that causes large amounts of HCAs,” says Knize. “There are some, but not what you get off the backyard barbecue.”

Ok, ok.. so processed meats are carcinogenic (spam, hotdogs, sausages, bacon, etc)… so what sandwiches can I prepare for my hubby’s breakfast at work? Ahhh, yes… my home-made cheese pimiento spread! It’s just made of cheese, butter, milk, and pimiento… what harm could it do? It must be the healthiest choice!  What, NO??? 

Worst Seven Foods for Health and Longevity

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Salt
  • Sausage, hot dogs
  • Pickled, smoked or barbequed meat

Foods high in saturated fat and trans fat are consistently associated with high cancer rates. Cheese and butter typically contain over ten times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat chicken and turkey.

Sniff! I’m running out of options here… happy to see some helpful tips:

Tips for safer and healthier grilling:

  • Cook smaller pieces: They cook more quickly and at lower temperatures.
  • Choose leaner meat: Less fat should reduce flames and therefore smoke.
  • Precook in the microwave: Doing so for two minutes may decrease heterocyclic amines by 90%, according to some research.
  • Flip frequently: That way, neither side has time to absorb or lose too much heat.
  • Before grilling or broiling, pre-cook meat or poultry in the microwave for two to five minutes and throw away the juice. “By discarding this juice, you can reduce HCAs by 90 percent,” says Lawrence Livermore’s Mark Knize.

 

Ohh… finally, a solution to avoid HCA’s! Just precook the meat in the microwave for 2 mins prior to grilling, or frying too maybe… Microwave is the answer! What… NO again???

  • Microwaving prepared meats sufficiently to insure sanitary ingestion caused formation of d-Nitrosodienthanolamines, a well-known carcinogen.
  • Ingestion of microwaved foods caused a higher percentage of cancerous cells within the blood serum [cytomas – cell tumors such as sarcoma]
  • In a statistically high percentage of persons, microwaved foods caused stomach and intestinal cancerous growths, as well as a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues, with a gradual breakdown of the function of the digestive and excretive systems. If you must use a grill to prepare meat, choose low fat meat as they form fewer polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Trim off any black, charred areas before eating.

That’s it.. it’s bad to grill, to fry, to broil, why, it’s bad to cook anything nowadays! Ok, maybe, I can settle for good ol’, boring chicken breast and fish.. the leanest, safest food there is… or maybe not?

  • Many people switch to chicken and fish, believing these to be healthier alternatives to beef. But that is not the case. On the grill, chicken produced more than 10 times the amount of the carcinogenic heterocyclic amines found in grilled beef. Furthermore, nearly all the HCAs detected were in the form of PhIP, which has specifically been implicated in breast cancer risk.12 This increased PhIP formation is likely due to the fact that chicken contains a large amount of phenylalanine, tyrosine, and isoeucine, amino acids that contribute to HCA formation. Fish also contains significant amounts of creatine, one of the other main ingredients for the formation of the carcinogens; not surprisingly, fish showed significant HCA formation as well.

The Five Worst Foods to Grill

Food HCAs ng/100g*
Chicken breast, skinless, boneless, grilled, well done 14,300 ng/100g2
Steak, grilled, well done 810 ng/100g3
Pork, barbecued 470 ng/100g4
Salmon, grilled with skin 166 ng/100g5
Hamburger, grilled, well done 130 ng/100g3
   

*100g portion equals about 3.5 ounces grilled

Ok I get it! Red meat, poultry and fish still have carcinogenics in them.. I guess this means switching to fruits and veggies, and vegemeats… *sob*

  • Consumers who want to reduce their cancer risk need not give up grilling. Reducing exposure to carcinogens is as simple as grilling veggie burgers instead of hamburger, or a thick portabello mushroom instead of a steak. 

I’ve actually tried vegetarian sausages and vegemeat, but it’s not even half as good as the real thing.. Googling about all these have made me more confused… and I wonder now when I’d ever feel good using our new electric griller… If all the foods mentioned really do cause cancer, then how come earlier generations lived so long? I mean, they didn’t have studies like this yet.. and they lived up to 100 yrs old…

It’s past lunchtime now, and I’m hungry.. but I kinda feel bad frying the Chicken Parmigiana I prepared last night.. It’s chicken breast, it has breadcrumbs (carb) and parmesan cheese (saturated fat)… Tsk.Tsk. Tsk. 

😦

I don’t guarantee all these as facts coz I just got them on Google at the following sites:

http://www.cancerproject.org/media/news/fiveworstfoodsreport.php

http://www.curezone.com/foods/microwave_oven_risk.asp

https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/cancer-risk-from-bbq-meat

http://www.cspinet.org/nah/6_98heat.htm

http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/diet-myths-meat-grill-fry-or-broil-it.html

Dusty Side of Dubai – Update :-)

Posted in All About Dubai with tags , , on March 5, 2009 by ketchupplease

Hi! Weather’s improving the past couple of days… It’s actually cool at 21-23°C (69.8-73.4°F). According to news, temperature will go down tonight to 18°C or 64.4°F. Not bad! So no more dust storm lately.. I don’t wake up anymore to the smell of dust.. Yipee!
🙂

Can’t wait for this! :-)

Posted in Movies, Personal with tags , , on March 4, 2009 by ketchupplease

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 2009)



The Dusty Side of Dubai…

Posted in All About Dubai, Personal, Travel with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2009 by ketchupplease

broom

*Yawn* It’s been over a week since I last posted.. I’ve been too lazy to post here, plus the fact that I’ve been kinda busy dusting and mopping… (very domestic “UN-goddessyou know..) The dust here is driving me crazy… Lately I’ve been driven up the wall by some sort of dust storm… (hello, desert!)

It was cold when I went back here early Feb, but for some reason, summer’s creeping earlier than usual…  Last week, hubby looked out the window and was actually happy to see the fog outside.. and typically, I replied in jest, “What fog? That’s all dust, hello?” and I was surprised when a friend told us that there was a sandstorm and it wasn’t fog indeed, but DUST. And since that day, dust has bothered my life.. 

So, how’s it like living in a dusty city? Let me just make it clear that Dubai is a beautiful and extremely wealthy place.. but just for now, let me focus on the “dust” part, which I’m sure, other desert cities experience too…

  • When you park your car outside, it will be covered in dust as if you left it for months (or some cases, years)… so I wonder how people can still drive around the city in their expensive top-down sportscars.. In worst cases, I heard you even have to use the wiper…
  • Before sleeping last night (arnd 1am), I placed my book on the table, and when I woke up at 8:30am it’s already dusty!
  • I can feel the dust on my rubber slippers
  • My computer mouse is dusty, and I just used it yesterday
  • Our clotheslines get dusty too, so I have to check it before hanging our clothes to dry, coz otherwise, it will stain our clothes
  • We can’t leave our clothes out to dry for more than a day coz it’s gonna get dusty
  • Lately, morning greets me with the smell of dust that I have to breathe under the cover. ugh… (what I cannot understand is, hubby couldn’t smell it!)
  • Lately, I worry if living here would somehow affect our lungs… knock on wood..

I wonder when it will go back to normal… normal, meaning still dusty but not the type that I’d wake up smelling dust in the air.. hmm..

 

*image from http://boinc.berkeley.edu/wiki/Image:Broom_icon.svg