Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Dining in the Next Normal: Curated Comfort Meals by Nicole's Kitchen Delivered to Your Doorstep

The new normal will continue to transform the way we live, and dining at home will be a regular routine for many months to come. Despite the seeming isolation from the quarantine, we have unprecedented access to a variety of tasty options including regional delicacies. You don't have to drive far or even leave home in these uncertain times, a few clicks or taps on your mobile device are all that's needed for a tasty delivery of local regional flavors from Nicole's Kitchen...

Nicole's Kitchen brings fresh and vibrant regional flavors to your table with its Curated Comfort Meals, a selection of local delicacies from Pampanga for a nostalgic dining experience at home. The quarantine experience continues to transform and alter the way we go about our usual routine, changing previous habits with a new set of protocols. The year 2020 will be a challenging one for the food service industry, with the surge in food deliveries and home-based food businesses reflecting the trend and tone of these trying times. Dining at home is the new normal, and Nicole's Kitchen brings all your regional favorites to your doorstep with just an easy and quick call or a few clicks.

Think of Nicole's Kitchen as a local deli offering regional flavors, and they have it all packed and chilled or bottled in jars. And the product offerings are quite extensive, making any fan of regional cuisine a happy camper. Now you don't have to drive all the way up north...

...for specialty Capampangan delicacies like the Classic Embutido (P 290), a traditional roulade with ground chicken and pork mixed with finely minced carrots, other vegetables, pickle relish and sweet raisins. Almost like a meatloaf in texture which is actually the origin and inspiration for the dish, the traditional embutido is packed tight and wrapped in aluminum foil. Though Spanish in name, the origin of the dish can be traced to our American colonial past. The embutido is usually steamed or baked, but I enjoy mine simply pan-fried for that crisp texture on the edges. It's a delicacy often served during the holidays or special occasions, but you can have it everyday with Nicole's Kitchen. The Classic Embutido is just one of many local delicacies offered by Nicole's Kitchen. I previously sampled their Pampanga Tagilo and was pleased with how close the flavors were to the one I grew up with less the funky fragrance (for more on Nicole's Kitchen, see my earlier post, Dining in the Next Normal: Nostalgic Capampangan Flavors Come Your Way with Ima's Burong Hipon from Nicole's Kitchen on their specialty Pampanga Tagilo).

Nicole's Kitchen recreates the familiar flavors of the Capampangan embutido with its mildly sweet and tart notes complementing the delicate and subtle flavors of the savory stuffing. It's a tedious dish to make, and it's no surprise that it's usually served on seasonal holidays and special occasions. It's dishes like this that add a festive vibe to your dining table at home during the quarantine.

Before frying in the pan, slice up the roulade when it's still chilled or lightly frozen to ensure a clean slice. Add some butter to the pan for even more flavor, and let it sizzle to a light sear. The pan-seared slices of embutido offer delicately nuanced notes from the chicken followed by flavorful bursts and textures from the sweet and sour pickle relish, fresh carrots and raisins. It's a fiesta on a plate, all you need now are sides of fresh vegetables, local condiments and maybe some banana ketchup. And extra rice.   

Familiar and comforting flavors never tasted so much better in the new normal, reminding us what it was like before Covid 19. Now more than ever, it's these nostalgic flavors that lifts our spirits and brightens our dining tables at home in these trying times. You may also want to try Nicole's Kitchen's lavish upgraded version of the Classic Embutido with their Embutido with Pistachios and Cranberries (P 360) with more complex layers of flavors from the nutty and mildly sweet pistachios and refreshingly tart cranberries.

The Classic Embutido pairs well with the bottled condiments of Nicole's Kitchen, like the traditional atsara. The Pickled Papaya or Atsara (P 160) is made from fresh but unripe green papaya along with strips of red pepper, carrots and raisins in a sweet and sour vinegar solution. The condiment is also traditionally paired with fried dishes, offering contrasting notes to cleanse the palate.

The Pickled Green Mangoes (P 180) is another specialty condiment using unripened mangoes in a pickling solution of water, salt and sugar. Over time, the deep fruity notes of the sour green mangoes adds its own flavor to the sweet and tart brine for more intense flavors. It's this balance of sweet and sour and the fresh snap of the green mangoes that makes this condiment one of my personal favorites pairing well with a variety of local dishes...

...including the Classic Embutido of Nicole's Kitchen. The tartness of the atsara perfectly complements the delicate notes of the embutido for a perfect pairing.

Add some Pickled Green Mangoes by Nicole's Kitchen to the mix and you've got a real meal on the table. Rich and savory paired with sweet, sour and vibrant flavors, you can enjoy the full range of regional flavors on your table with Nicole's Kitchen.

Nicole's Kitchen also offers another popular Capampangan specialty, the Chicken Galantine (P 380), a savory roulade with chicken, turkey ham, Parmesan cheese, pistachios and cranberries. The addition of turkey ham, Parmesan, pistachios and cranberries gives this Chicken Galantine an indulgent depth of contrasting flavors with distinct notes coming together seamlessly just the way any traditional home-style galantina should.

The local version takes inspiration from the intricate French galantine with delicately poached de-boned stuffed meat. Variations of the dish include whole roasted stuffed chicken or the more common cylindrical form wrapped in foil. Just like the embutido, you can steam or bake the galantina before serving. Fresh from the oven, the Chicken Galantine is ready to serve...

Nicole's Kitchen combines both chicken and turkey for a rich yet delicate blend of savory notes kicked up by the nutty pistachios adding its own layer of distinct flavor. The sharpness of the Parmesan and the refreshing bright and tart notes of the cranberries complete the flavors. It's really no surprise why this is a much-awaited treat during the holidays of special celebrations with its colorful array of bright flavors.

A feast at home is transformed with these local specialties by Nicole's Kitchen, and it's just what you need when you've had enough of the quarantine blues. These local dishes also reconnects us with our past as well as strengthen family bonds on the dinner table.

Gather the entire family at the dinner table, and celebrate another positive note in a prolonged quarantine with the fresh and authentic regional flavors of Nicole's Kitchen. But there's more...

Nicole's Kitchen also offers those rare and hard-to-find delicacies to add to your pantry. The Pure Aligue or Pampanga Taba ng Talangka (P 320) is yet another delicacy that just takes you back with its indulgent richness. Made from the crab roe and fat of small fresh river crabs, salted and fermented in jars and preserved in oil, it's just pure goodness in a jar.

There are different ways to enjoy this delicacy, including seafood pasta dishes or fried rice. But I've always enjoyed it in a less complicated way, simply sauteed with lots of garlic and a drizzle of calamansi and topped over steamed white rice just the way I remember it from countless childhood summers.

Lightly sauteed with garlic on a pan, top your Pure Aligue by Nicole's Kitchen with more crispy garlic bits and it's game on. A bowl of steamed white rice at your side, add a heaping spoonful of the Pure Aligue with a fresh squeeze of calamansi and dive right in. Simple, uncomplicated yet rich and hearty flavors with every spoonful.

Previously, I sampled Ima's Burong Hipon or Pampanga Tagilo (P 260) from Nicole's Kitchen and it tasted very much like the tagilo I remember but without the overpowering funky fragrance. The fresh and clean notes with a bold and pronounced layer of vibrant sourness along with a briny finish from the shrimps makes this another nostalgic favorite.

Best enjoyed with grilled or fried catfish or crunchy pititchan, the Burong Hipon drapes the palate with a soothing tartness that will have you going back for more. Serve it with grilled eggplant, bitter gourd and fresh mustasa, and your nostalgic dining experience at home with local flavors is complete (for more on the Pampanga Tagilo by Nicole's Kitchen, see my post Dining in the Next Normal: Nostalgic Capampangan Flavors Come Your Way with Ima's Burong Hipon from Nicole's Kitchen).

Cloudy afternoons at home in the quarantine calls for a freshly brewed cup of coffee. And some warm pandesal. And the indulgently sweet Coconut Jam (P 160) by Nicole's Kitchen. Once you open the jar, you'll notice a topping of latik or toasted coconut milk curd commonly used as a topping for local rice cakes that adds even more richness to the coconut jam. 

Dip a spoon and slowly lift it up. Time to get your pandesal from the toaster...

A jar of Coconut Jam just warms up the home with its rustic warmth and indulgent sweetness, brightening up even the cloudiest days in the quarantine. The version of Nicole's Kitchen isn't just sweet, it has both depth and a comforting complexity making each bite with warm pandesal some of the best and sorely missed simple pleasures we took for granted before the viral pandemic.

One more spoonful should do it, and this isn't the time to hold back. Everyone deserves a little indulgence at home in the quarantine. Other sweet treat from Nicole's Kitchen include their Cereal Polvoron in a Jar (P 140), fresh baked Soft Pandesal with Coconut Jam (P 280) and Soft Pandesal with Truffle Honey Butter (P 290). If you're looking for even more local savory flavors, Nicole's Kitchen also offers specialty cured meats like tapa and longganisa by Rosa (see menu below). 

Many say the quarantine and the new normal will run indefinitely as experts struggle with containing the lingering pandemic. It's a smart move to stock up your home pantry with essentials, and few local delicacies from Nicole's Kitchen to help you get through another day in quarantine.

The wide array of local and regional offerings from Nicole's Kitchen adds a comforting warmth to dining at home. We've seen exciting culinary trends and the rise of food deliveries during the quarantine, but it's familiar flavors that continue to endure in the new normal. Make dining at home special, with Nicole's Kitchen...
For more on Nicole's Kitchen and their wide array of regional and local delicacies, call 0917 867 2307. You can also find them on Instagram at @nicoleskitchenmnl and Facebook at

Dude for Food is now on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, check out these social media accounts for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and "Follow" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB and IG widgets on the right sidebar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? I'd love to hear from you...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...