Something We all Agree To Like — Mango Icebox!

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Quite a staple in Pinoy parties, this delicious mango icebox cake never fails to get you hankering for second servings. Why, the mega triumvirate of mangoes, grahams and sweetened cream are enough to make you beg for 2nd, 3rd or even a fourth serving!

Nevermind those extra love handles that might cling onto your waist after wolfing this down! Hello! We live only once! Cheers!

Okay, so how did I make it. Truth to be told, by just looking at the exposed portion of this cake, you will definitely have give-away clues on how it was put together. Just the same, let me spell out to you the ingredients.

For this Mango Icebox, you will need:
3 large ripe mangoes, seeded and sliced thinly in horizontal direction
3 cups whipping cream (plus another cup for frosting)
1 small can of condensed milk
1/4 cup Peotraco sugar
12 pcs graham crackers
1/4 cup crushed graham crackers

Whip cream until it reaches soft peaks. Fold condensed milk onto the cream. Set aside.
Meantime, whip another cup of cream and gradually add sugar to the mixture.

Now you are ready to layer your cake.

Layer Mango icebox cake such that:
1. 1st layer becomes the graham crackers.
2. Second layer is the cream mixture and sliced mangoes (optional at this point).

Repeat layering until you achieve your desired height. Top the icebox cake with the remaining whipped cream, crushed graham crackers and decorate with sliced mangoes.
Chill for 3 hours before serving.

 

 

Tuscan Canapes

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At night, when our little one had dozed off and there’s still little time for a catch-up chat between Jake and myself, I make sure there’s some few yummy bites in between our stories. And, bite would mean finger foods to go with our chatter. After all, food is the perfect third wheeler for couples engaged in some light banter after a long day.

Okay, canapes are my small bites of heaven. They’re pretty, easy to make and very engaging to eat. Its a play of ingredients you top on your favorite melba toast or baby baguette rounds. Ahh, I just love doing them as much as I passionately look forward to eating them!

My ingredients are usually encased in small containers and placed in a mother  container and mentally labeled as the “cocktail kit”. What goes inside my cocktail kit are our usual faves:

grilled eggplant

alfalfa sprouts

feta cubes

pesto

grilled bell peppers

jalapenos

cheddar cheese

These toppings are topped on grilled bread or a store-bought cracker. This should make its way to your tummy soon. Best eaten with a partner and two glasses of white wine. Cheers!

Korean Beef Stew

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Trooping over to Korean groceries have been quite a usual habit for me. At the area where we stay, Asian groceries abound and thrive quite lucratively. Back in the day when Asian ingredients and condiments were exclusively accessed only from hard to find Asian specialty stores, I barely knew about, say, mirin or Kasugai! Okay, now is a totally different generation of convenience stores. It has come to embrace spices and other food stuff of countries outside this republic.

Okay, today’s menu had Korean beef stew in it. What I like about this dish is that it infuses flavors that make you savor it, bite after bite. Flavors that make you dump more rice onto your plate and totally enjoy the food! The sweet-salty sauce combo that smothers the fall-off-the-bones kind of short ribs just makes for a perfect meal.

KOREAN BEEF STEW

1/2  kilo beef short ribs

1/2 kilo beef brisket

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 chopped onion

2 laurel leaves

2 tbsps sliced ginger

1  cup soy sauce

1 cup brown sugar (adjust according to your preferred sweetness if necessary)

spring onions, chopped

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup sesame oil

chili flakes to taste

water

Procedure:

Season ribs with salt and pepper. Saute ginger, garlic and onion using sesame oil. Add short ribs and continue tossing the meat until well coated with the gisa mixture.  Add water (just enough to cover the ribs).

Halfway through the cooking add soy sauce and sugar plus the laurel and chili flakes. Simmer until meat of the ribs start to fall off and the sauce has been reduced to half of the original amount.

Note: Adding water may be necessary until meat is very tender.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions. Serve hot.

Cream Of Pumpkin Soup

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Cream Of Pumpkin Soup

Now, I am so tempted to lick my computer screen to have my cream of pumpkin soup!

This photo has been in my files since a long time ago and being anything but swamped with Mommy duties now, I will be able to share the recipe for this delightfully sumptious soup right now.

Okay let’s do this:

You will need about a quarter portion of a medium-sized pumpkin or from a big squash.

1 carton of all-purpose cream

1 chicken cube

1 onion, minced

1/4 cup butter

1/8 tsp cumin powder

1/2 cup croutons

salt and pepper to taste

Peel pumpkin and chop coarsely, about 1 inch thick and wide (although honestly, it doesn’t matter! It’ll get mashed later!). Put in boiling water. Cook until tender. Drain off from excess water.

In a soup pan, saute tenderized pumpkin in butter and onion. Add chicken cube. Add about 2 cups of water. Bring to a quick boil.

In a food processor, puree the pumpkin mixture. Blend very well.

Bring back the processed pumpkin mixture back to the soup pan and simmer in medium heat. Slowly stir in cream and cumin powder. Continue simmering until soup is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Top with croutons

*Note: You may add fresh milk to adjust texture or soup consistency. Be sure to just quickly heat the soup when there’s milk. Overheating or rapid boiling will cause the milk to curdle.

Final note:

Purists, please don’t crucify me for loosely interchanging pumpkin and squash every now and then. They belong to the same specie but are two varieties that differ in size and color. Whatever you use, it will taste almost perfectly the same!

My Mama, Her Food and Me

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Tinumis. A native dish from Nueva Ecija, where my late Lolo hailed from. Definitely a must try.

Once, I was asked, “What’s your earliest memory of yourself?”.

The immediate image that got to me was my Mom cooking something one rainy morning.  What she cooked, quite understandably, escapes me now.

This leads me to believe that, just maybe, my love for cooking started right about that time. Yeah, even before I got a grip on my cooking ladle, I knew I already liked cooking!

Sopas for the soul!

What is vivid in my mind now were those episodes in my childhood when I would give a third hand to my mom in the kitchen in between commercial breaks of Sesame Street. I might have resented it in the beginning, but the long ‘haul’ turned into passion, overtime.  Needless to say, I started growing into the idea of learning, loving and experiencing serious cooking.

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Calandracas. Soup with beef, chorizos and macaroni. Two thumbs up!

Serious cooking it was for Mom.

Our kitchen was always  abuzz with all the activities she did. Back then, my Mom spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. And despite her tedious load in the office, she never failed to nourish her family with only the BEST meals.

And BEST would mean exceptionally great tasting and  well plated dishes. Yes, kinda like those that you’d be proud to serve to the Royal Family when they visit you at home.

My Dad would hover around the stove hoping to get his share of “tikim” of the food my Mom was cooking. Oh, how we always hankered for her great and well thought out meals. It perfectly went well with all the ‘growing up conversations’ my family and I shared during meal time.

Sinigang sa miso. Fish, sinigang broth and mustasa leaves-- this triumvirate just spells yumminess to the core.

Today, she is still the main moving force in the kitchen. She continues to dish out excellent meals that are loaded with love and passion.

Nueva Ecijano Afritada-- Pork made into adobo 1st before they were made into afritada. Total winner!

Buttered spareribs stew. Mom will never eat meat that's tough. This stew is something else!

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma! Please do know that everything I know in the kitchen is just a by-product of what you have taught me in the many years that you have trained me.

You are the BEST Mom!

Love you!

Garlic tapa. You can't have enough of garlic!

Recipes of Mom:

Tinumis

Calandracas

Chicken Adobo Flakes

Buttered Spareribs Stew

Garlic Tapa

Afritada Nueva Ecija Style

 

Fish Fingers

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The thing I like about fish fingers is that it is very easy to make. No hard to find ingredients, salmonella free, rich in flavor and a universal favorite. Best served with garlic mayo (see recipe below) or plain ketchup, it is definitely a certified crowd pleaser.

This is actually my daughter Sam’s flagship food. Like most kids, she thrives in dishes that are big in crunchy texture and juicy-moist- soft filling. This dish has to make its way to your kitchen menu soon!

Fish Fingers

1/2 kilo whole dory fillets

3 cups Japanese breadcrumbs

1 pc lemon, wedged

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 tbsps dried basil

3/4 cup flour

1 beaten egg

Dried thyme for garnishing

salt and pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, basil leaves and parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Meantime, cut fish fillet in finger sizes. Season with salt and pepper.

Dredge  in flour lightly then dip in egg mixture.  Coat with the crumbs. The secret to a perfect coating is pressing it lightly as you coat and letting it stand for three minutes before frying it.

Deep fry until golden brown. Lay on a bed of napkins to blot excess oil.

Serve with garlic mayo dip (half cup mayo, 3 tbsps lemon juice, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt n pepper to taste—then mix everything together).

To have a thicker and crunchier coating, you might want to double coat by dipping in egg twice then breading the  chicken twice alternately before frying.

Creamed Beef With Mushrooms

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Creamed beef with mushrooms

The tedious spinning class I had today just had me hankering for a satiating plate of good food. And ‘good’ meant embracing all the requirements to make tonight’s dinner  gastronomic:

1. Relatively healthy  (So I’d be guiltless after the gobble up).

2. ‘Beef related’ (Hey, I spinned hard! I deserved a good serving of protein!)

3. Labor unintensive (Tamad eh! Lol)

4. Nice to plate! (Yeah, for the blog, hee).

Okay, so the cooking began. I defrosted a pack of beef brisket that I would make into creamed beef with mushrooms. From the pantry cabinet, I dislodged a can of mushrooms and a pack of all purpose cream.

Zero transfat and  50% reduced cholesterol — reading the nutrition facts on the newly relaunched Magnolia all purpose cream got me sold in using it for tonight’s dinner of creamed beef with mushrooms.

For this dish you will need:

1/2 kilo beef brisket, thinly sliced

1 carton all purpose cream

1/2 cup butter

1 cup button mushrooms, drained and sliced

4 cloves of garlic

4 tbsps flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1 onion

salt and pepper to taste

oil

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Season meat with salt and pepper.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add beef. Pour water and bring to a boil. Cook until beef becomes tender and water is reduced to half the original amount.

Add butter and flour mixture. Add mushrooms and cream. Stir until desired thickness is achieved. Serve hot.

Paella

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paella

Fresh greens lavishly laid on the makeshift shelves, fishes all wriggly from the recent catch (btw, they sell seabass at Suki like it was the most ordinary fish on Earth!), pinkish-bright red meats, quality seafood finds, ready made dishes packed away and very beautiful, ohhh– what a sight to behold! I can live in this wet market twice a week! Lol.

Anyway, I scoured the market for prawns and squid for the paella. All three went straight to my basket. After I’ve accomplished the marketing, I slipped into my apron and started work:)

Well, not really ‘work’. FUN should be it.

Paella for 30 people. Let’s party!

Happy 1st birthday, Athena! And, Yani, please do know that Ninang loves you:)

Paella

8 cups arborio rice

10 pcs chicken thighs, chopped

7 pcs prawns

1/2 kilo pacific white clams or halaan

4 sticks chorizo, sliced

19 cups chicken stock

1/4 kilo squid rings, ink and sword removed.

3 red bell pepper, julienned

1 and 1/2 cups green peas

1 head  of garlic, minced

2 onions, minced

10 spears of asparagus, blanched

olive oil

5 tbsps turmeric powder

salt and pepper to taste

10 threads saffron

8 pcs lemon wedges

1 tsp chopped parsley

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In  a paellera, brown chicken until half cooked. Remove chicken and set aside. Using the same oil, fry prawns until they turn pink. Set aside as well.

In the same pan, saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, green peas, squid, clams and chorizos. Add chicken and rice. Throw in turmeric and saffron.

Mix well until rice is well coated. Add stock. Cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil. Simmer until rice is cooked. Remove foil.

Garnish with lemon wedges, prawns, blanched asparagus and parsley.

Chicken, Garlic And Tomato Roasts

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The wet market I recently swung by down east had me shamelessly hoarding a coupla kilos of some red, juicy and plump tomatoes. Why, they sold for a measly P20 per kilo! Especially now that the Yrastorza household is slowly taking the ‘healthy-food-only’  route, I thought these tomatoes would be excellent for oven baking, stewing and the like.

Over at my kitchen, I slid my baking casserole onto the counter to toss over the tomatoes for some oven-dried tomatoes for bottling. Lately, I’ve developed a penchant for any food/ingredient that is  homemade, organic and artificial processing- free. And yeah, nothing beats having your homemade tomato sauce which you can conveniently pull out from your ref when your recipe calls for it.

But the oven was too big for the few pieces of tomatoes I was to bake. So in the pan, I threw in 2 whole heads of garlic for roasting (top slightly chopped off, leaving the flesh exposed!). What do you do with it? I spread it on toasts, I put in on my mashed potatoes or I just make it as siding for a fave dish like a pasta fare or sweet and spicy tapa! Okay, there goes my 2nd dish.

3rd dish was the two chicken quarters that I turned into baked chicken in sinigang rub. All three dishes had some about two rounds of drizzles of olive oil. Time, energy and space saving for my oven, I was totally starving right after everything got cooked.

Okay, kumbaga sa bus, naunang bumaba ang mga bawang, tapos ang mga kamatis at sumunod ang mga manok galing sa oven. (Please see links for exact directions for recipes of each of the fares).

Oh, btw, the chicken was the perfect topping for the Japchae I made the day before. Can I just say, the noodles got yummier as the sauce completely got absorbed by the noodles. Yum!

Japchae

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I took a trip to a public market somewhere down east to find this stall that sold Batangas beef. Foodies literally run the extra mile just to bring home what’s deemed the best, you know. Ha! So, there I was, finding myself all prepped up for the palengke tour.

Scouring the market, I was gawking at the produce lavishly displayed at every stall, corner and bilaos. My, they were totally inexpensive, very fresh and looked picturesque. My eyes were panning from left to right, up and down!

Okay, back to my mission, I looked for a store that had a signage that read “Senya’s Batangas beef”. Upon trekking the aisles and alleys  of this market, lo and behold, I found it and what goldmine I saw. Yeah baby, two kilos of sirloin went straight to my basket.

Yesterday had me do two dishes:  Garlic Tapa and Japchae.

So, what’s the big fuss about Batangas beef? Well for one, this southwestern province of Batangas is well known for its cattle industry. It is home of the best species of cattle. Grass fed, robust in size, they are so special that meat dealers  have made it a ‘claim to fame’ label that the meat is from Batangas. A big smile was plastered on my face as I left with my beef on one hand.

The second dish was japchae. I have been bugging my good friend, Marielle, to take me back to Ye Dang for my Korean food fix but being swamped with household chores would not allow us. So, I decided to just make my own.

So here goes the recipe:

JAPCHAE

500 grams  glass noodles (soak in water for 20 minutes before cooking)

1/2 cup chopped spinach leaves

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

3 tbsps brown sugar

1/4 kilo sirloin, cut in thin strips

1 medium-sized carrot, cut into strips

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 white onion, minced

2 tsps chili flakes

salt and pepper to taste

sesame oil

water

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Season beef with salt and pepper. In a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add beef, spinach and carrots. Stir in hoisin sauce ang sugar. Pour about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Add glass noodles and reduce heat  to a medium simmer.

Cook until noodles are tender and soupiness is gone. Add chili flakes. Serve hot.

Baked Scallops

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Baked Scallops

The maddening rush last Valentine’s day discouraged Jake, Sam and I to wriggle our way to the busy streets that lead to the uber packed date places.

So, we decided to just spend the evening at home, in the comforts of our humble dining room where I served some mean minted lamb chops with a siding of french beans and baby carrots and partnered with some rich, creamy and luscious plate of baked scallops.

Baked scallops is one dish that’s a breeze to make and makes for a rockstar viand. This particular recipe is strikingly similar with the baked tahong I always make whenever I want a delish fare pronto.

Looking at my finished product of baked scallops, I suddenly scratch my head in slight dismay. It was one of those moments when I wished I lived in faraway Capiz. Why? I got my frozen scallops from Cold Storage, P180 per dozen. In Capiz, scallops sell for P50 PER SACK!!!

Now, that ‘SACKS’! Lol.

Happy Vday!

Baked Scallops

1 dozen fresh scallops (with shell)

2 heads of garlic, chopped

1/4 cup melted butter

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

3 tbsps parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat oven to 300 deg c.

In a baking tray, assemble the scallops and brush each with butter and season with salt and pepper. Top each with a pinch of garlic and smother scallops with the cheeses.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheeses turn slightly brown and melted. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Squid Ink Pasta, Chorizos And Tuna

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I was marveling at the dried pasta selection over at Terry Selection at The Podium when I chanced upon a pack of squid ink pasta. Almost instantaneously, I visualized the pasta to be infused with red sauce, chorizos and tuna. Perfect for Jake’s dinner, excellent for my quest for a pasta eye candy that was to be quite unique and tasty.

Incidentally, my Sister, Tina, and Brother in law, Oliver, stopped by our place that night I made it. Timely and definitely a welcome surprise, I was so ganado tossing the whole pasta ensemble knowing that I had guests to sample the dish.

The black colored-pasta had a stellar taste that I momentarily forgot that I had burned a thousand calories that afternoon from a spinning class and would just gain it back(?) with the bande-bandehadong pasta that I devoured that night. Yikes!

Okay, the recipe:

1/2 kilo squid ink pasta

1 can chorizos, halved vertically and sliced

1 can Del Monte tomato sauce petite cut

2 cans tuna lite, drained

1 cup Del Monte tomato sauce (Original flavor)

1 head of garlic, minced

1 onion, minced

1/2 cup capers

1 cup black pitted olives, sliced

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add chorizos, tuna, capers and olives. Continue stirring for two minutes. Throw in basil and oregano.

Toss in pasta. Top with tuna and cheese. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot.

Minced Pork In Lettuce Wrap

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My good friend and neighbor, Myze, invited my family for dinner last Chinese New Year at Spring Deer restaurant in Quezon City. It was to be their celebration for their New Year. Myze, a full-blooded Chinese, talked her way to educating me about Filipino Chinese food vs the “canteen” Chinese food she grew up embracing.

I have featured a coupla posts in this blog about her Chinese “canteen” food and how enthralled I get trying it out. The Makut Theng she once sent me while I was nursing a cold was unforgettable. Likewise, the Chinese style steamed fish dish she taught me was momentous.

One of the viands served that evening was the minced pork in lettuce wrap. I thought it looked pretty and tasted great. They served the meat mixture side by side with the plate of crunchy lettuce greens and hoisin sauce. So, the style was to get a lettuce wrapper, scoop a  tbsp of meat mixture and smother with hoisin sauce on top.

Today, I did just that. However, I decided to incorporate the hoisin sauce already in the meat mixture. Twas quite easy to make. Thanks for great neighbors, thanks, Myze!

Minced  Pork In lettuce Leaves

1/2 kilo ground pork

1 large carrot, cut in small cubes

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 onion, minced

2 tbsps ginger, chopped

3 tbsps cilantro, chopped

2 tbsps hoisin sauce

2 tbsps oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

oil

Lettuce leaves

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Season pork with salt and pepper.

Saute pork in ginger, onion and garlic. Add carrots. Continue stir frying until meat is cooked.

Add cilantro, hoisin, oyster and soy sauces. Continue cooking for about five minutes.

Scoop a tsp of the mixture in lettuce leaves and wrap closing on all sides. Serve immediately.



One Glorious Morning On One Plate

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So, my daughter’s class for today got called off. That means extra three  hours for me to just stay home and take a respite from the horrendous traffic going to her school and the 3 hours waiting time I have before I pick her up. Yay, this calls for a celebration. Bring it on!

Okay, this morning saw me hitting the ref for my grilled eggplant spread and grilled some  few slices of crusty Raf whole wheat bread with   parsley pesto  sauce that I made and bottled up a few days ago.

The combination of the spread and the bread spelled HEALTHY and YUMMY, both in font 99! Yeah, one glorious morning on one big plate!

Parsley Pesto

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My school co-parent/good friend, Annette Alberto,  had us dine at their place sometime last year for a playdate with the kids and some good evening of chat with us, parents. Her spread of salpicao, pasta and salad left me bewitched big time as we left their crib. I specifically took fancy on the pasta (of red sauced spaghetti) siding that perfectly blended with her spaghetti. She said it was to add a new dimension to the taste of the spaghetti. And what dimension it was!

I held back my peace and never asked EXACTLY what went into the sauce but the most I gathered from her was that she put parsley, olive oil and garlic.  Okay, the parsley was to be the sauce’s lead star.

Fast forward to today, I readied the chopping board for some tedious chopping of parsley, garlic and to be swigged into a good kind of olive oil. Yes, I made pesto, alright, although I had second thoughts calling it “pesto” in the strictest sense of what it means.

Pesto is a traditional  Italian sauce, made up of basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese and a handful of pine nuts. It is usually incorporated into pasta noodles, brushed onto crusty breads or used in flavoring grains, meats and other dish staples.

The sauce I made defied a coupla things–  First, the basil was replaced by pasrley, it used LOTS of chopped garlic, did  away with pine nuts (or any nuts for that matter) and used parsley leaves instead of basil leaves. Hand made and not blender-produced, ha! But lemme tell you– THIS WAS  SO GOOD!

The unique characteristic of parsley is in its subtle “fresh” taste. It was  a welcome departure from the usual strong and sometimes overpowering taste of say, basil or rosemary.

Bottle it up, use it the way you use basil pesto– you’re good!

Thanks Annette for the inspiration. Parsley is my new basil! Mabuhay ka!

3 cups parsley leaves (curly or flat), finely chopped

1 1/2 cups olive oil

2 heads of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

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Combine all ingredients. Do not use food processor. You may store for future use.

Roasted Eggplant In Apple Cider Vinegar

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I woke up this morning with a definite meal in mind for breakfast. Crispy dilis, scrambled eggs, red rice and my precious siding of roasted eggplant smothered with all the healthy goodness of apple cider vinegar and heaps and heaps of crushed garlic.

The original version of this eggplant ensemble comes from the siding that I make for my pochero. That’s eggplant and squash combined, plus spices to boot. Pochero is not pochero to me without this killer siding that loads the pochero with all the sumptiousness it should have. Okay, it was not pochero that I had for breakfast today, alright.

Just the same, I made a version of that siding to go with my crispy dilis, hence:

I roasted 6 medium-sized eggplants. Scraped and mashed the flesh, seasoned it with salt and pepper and about 3 tbsps of apple cider vinegar. Loaded it with about 1 head of coarsely chopped garlic and meeehn, can I just say, it went perfect with the dilis ‘barkada’.

Short and sweet. I love mornings:)

Lentejas Castellana Soup

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I had 30 minutes to kill before I hit Sam’s school to pick her up. Top of mind last minute stop would be whizzing down to Terry Selection at The Podium for some quick check on what interesting stuff I might find there.

Fast, alert  and wide-eyed, I managed to score a pack of black pasta, a nice claypot, lentils and chorizos in all of 20 minutes. Ah, I was like a 5 year old taking home a brand-new Barbie scooter! Cheap thrill ba?

At home, as I dashed in my kitchen after a long day, I decided to ‘sentence’ the Salamanca chorizos and Castellana lentils that same night. I made a thick soup and peppered it with all the goodness of the chorizos. Ahh, I could almost imagine my husband, Jake, gobbling up the soup with his Chillean wine to match and my day’s stories on the side.

Harvested from Castilla and Andalucia, Castellana lentils are the most used lentils in Spain. It’s greenish-brown in color, larger and a bit more easy to make tender as opposed to the other varieties.

Meantime, Salamanca chorizos are made from pork loin and is spiced up by thick chunks of parika. I was eating and eating them while I readied them for the soup. Ahhh, sarap!

1 cup lentils

3 cups water

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1 cup chorizos, sliced

5 cloves of garlic

1 onion, finely minced

2-3 cups chicken stock

1 cup spinach leaves

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Cook lentils until tender. Drain and set aside.

Meantime in a skillet, saute garlic, onion and chorizos. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and lentils. Bring to a boil and add spinach leaves. Serve hot.

Smoked Fish With Feta On Whole Wheat Pasta

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My intense liking for smoked bangus started about six years ago when a friend had me taste what was to be my ultimate bottle of happiness that was made up of smoked bangus flakes in olive oil and powered by a number of spices that rocked my world since. The brand of that smoked bangus: Santwaryo. I believe they sell it in their resto branch somewhere in Metro Walk.

Am such a ‘groupie’ of smoked bangus. In whatever form or dish it’s mixed in, whether in pasta, pate or simply when you eat it fried (oh, yeah with a mean dish of scrambled eggs! ), the flavor just gets me going for seconds.

Last weekend saw me doing pasta using smoked bangus (packed, not the bottled). Still on the diet trail, I, of course, made sure that all ingredients I used never added up to my caloric intake (Yee, feeling! Lol). Of course! I’ve been sweating it out spinning at the gym for months now and do I just gobble up ‘cardiac delights’ at the mere presence of it? NO WAY. Well, forgive me for the cheeses though. Hee.

Okay, so what went with the pasta? Read on:

300 grams whole wheat pasta (spaghetti)

1 medium sized smoked bangus, skin, head and tail removed

2 heads of garlic, finely minced

1/2 cup chopped flat parsley

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed

salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Loosely crumble/flake smoked bangus meat. Set aside.

In a skillet, pour two rounds of olive oil. Saute garlic, smoked bangus and 1/4 cup  parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil.

Toss in pasta. Top with feta and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley. Serve with your favorite toast.

Inadobong Puso Ng Saging

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A big smile was plastered on my face as I stepped down from the weighing scale. Why, I just shed off a whopping 19 pounds in a span of 3 months. Silly me, I should have done what I had to do a long time ago to drop the weight.

Okay, can I just say, eating vegetables majorly contributed to the weight loss. Gone were the days when we were kids and how we warded off the hand that served us, what looked like, a boring plate of gulay.

Veggies need not look boring and taste awful. We can actually savor a good serving of veggies while saying, “Ay grabe ang sarap naman nito!” fifty times! I mean, really now, it’s all in the taste and presentation.

Tonight, I did inadobong puso ng saging. US certified- nutrition and diet expert, Nadine Tengco, remarked in one of her seminars, puso ng saging is an excellent source of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium and protein and would be a  perfect “rice extender” to make up for the rice “limit”. According to her, women are only supposed to consume 1/3 cup of rice per meal only. So, what she does, she eats lots of this dish to satiate her appetite.

And, I’ve been doing just that. Yeah, for three months now. This dish for the weight loss– and it’s working for me! Puso ng saging is the way to go!

Inadobong Puso Ng Saging:

1 medium sized puso ng saging (banana heart), thinly sliced

1/2 cup rock salt (for cleansing and rubbing off bitterness from the banana heart)

1 head of garlic, minced

1 onion, sliced

1/4 cup of cane vinegar

3/4 cup water

6 pcs suaje (shrimps)

salt and pepper to taste

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In a bowl, mix  sliced puso ng saging with salt. Rub mixture firmly with your two hands until the bitter taste goes off. Rinse thoroughly with running water.

In a skillet, cook shrimps until they turn pink. Set aside.

In the same skillet, saute onions and garlic. Add sliced puso ng saging, vinegar salt and pepper. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Add water. Simmer for ten more minutes or until liquid has evaporated into half. Top with shrimps. Serve hot.

Baked Bangus Belly

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Wrapped in our backyard banana leaves, stuffed with onions and tomatoes, slightly charred from the flame grilling, inihaw na bangus has got to be one of the flagship dishes of my childhood. It usually went with Dad’s ginisang munggo with a few pieces of suaje shrimps and a coupla bunches of dahon ng ampalaya for the final add on.

Fast forward to today, I usually do a spin off of my childhood’s inihaw na bangus except that I bake it, makes use of the belly part only and fired up by some few additional spices. Oh, and the price for living in a building? No banana leaves around!!!! So I usually settle for the next best thing– aluminum foil!

Healthy, totally scrumptious and easy to make, Jake and I can gobble this up (even without rice) in all of 3 minutes!

Baked Bangus Belly

2 pcs bangus belly

1 red onion, sliced

1 tomato, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsps fresh basil, chopped (optional)

1 tsp, fresh spring onions (dahon ng sibuyas)

1 stalk of lemon grass, pounded (optional)

1/4 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

aluminum foil

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Preheat oven to 300 degrees c.

Season bangus belly with salt and pepper

On a piece of bangus belly (skin down), place all ingredients. Top with the remaining slice of bangus belly. Wrap in foil.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Dressing:

4 tbps cane vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsps  chopped onion

1 red sili

1 clove chopped garlic

Mix everything together and pour in a small bowl. Serve with the baked bangus.

 

Oriental Chicken With Sliced Eggplants

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I almost ended up eating at Little Asia yesterday except that the majority of my friends opted to train our sights on this tea place called Bubble Tea. And since my palate still was looking for the kung pao chicken this morning, I decided to cook the next best thing, oriental chicken with sliced eggplants.

It was to be my hubby, Jake’s, baon and breakfast for me. Okay, how did I do it?

I made 5 strips of chicken crispers , cut it 1 inch long and set it aside. Sliced native eggplants the size of the chicken crispers, too.

In a skillet, I poured 1/4 cup of canola oil and 2 tbsps sesame oil (optional). Sauted 4 round slices of ginger and mixed in 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce. With the sauce heated up and ready, I just tossed in the chicken crispers and eggplants into the skillet  until they were well coated and eggplants half cooked and tender.

Classic Baked Macaroni

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It was my daughter Sam’s Christmas party and parents were asked to dish out something for the buffet spread. Swamped with yuletide chores, I flexed some muscles, mustered energy to whip up a great dish of pasta. Classic baked mac was to be. Scrumptious, relatively easy to make and a universal favorite, I knew I cooked the right thing.

Baked Macaroni

Cheesy Baked Mac

1 pack elbow macaroni  noodles

1 box quickmelt cheese, grated

3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup mozzarela cheese, grated (optional)

Meat Sauce:

1/2 kilo ground beef

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium-sized onion, minced

1 tomato, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

750 grams tomato sauce, Italian blend

1 can chorizos, cut lengthwise and sliced horizontally (optional)

Bechamel Sauce:

2 boxes  all purpose cream

1 cup milk

1 box cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup  butter

1/4 cup curly parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup  flour

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1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a separate pan, saute garlic, onion and tomato. Add beef. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until cooked. Add tomato sauce and chorizos. Continue stirring for the next ten minutes. Remove from fire then add cooked pasta in the beef mixture. Set aside.

3. In a skillet, heat  butter then add all-purpose  cream and milk. Mix well. Add cheddar cheese. Slowly add flour to thicken the sauce (the thicker the better!). Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. In a baking dish, assemble the pasta. Scoop up some beef mixture that would be the first layer. Smother with a generous amount of bechamel sauce on top of the beef mixture. repeat the layering twice.

5. Top the dish with the remaining cheeses.

6. Preheat the oven to 350c and bake for 15 minutes or  until cheeses are turned into golden brown. Once cooked, let stand for 15 minutes. Sprinkled with chopped parsley. Serve with you favorite toast.

Chicken Adobo Flakes (Ilonggo Version)

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My favorite version of chicken adobo, I stack up on this when I do it in big batches. I use it making a crusty pannini, fried rice, canape topping or simply to papak like chippy! Lol. The crunch, savory appeal of this adobo just breaks my diet(?) everytime.

One of the many heirloom recipes from my Ilongga grandmother who had the most intense affair with the pots and pans, this Ilonggo adobo version uses ONLY vinegar as the the prime acid minus the soy sauce. Of course, slathered with LOTS of garlic and LOTS of LOVE! Lol.

Chicken adobo

1 and 1/2 kilo chicken breasts

3/4 cup cane vinegar

2 heads of garlic, minced

2 laurel leaves

1 tsp pamintang buo

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup canola oil

water

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Season chicken with salt and pepper.

In a frying pan, combine chicken, garlic, pamintang buo, laurel leaves, vinegar and cover with water.

Cook until chicken is cooked, crumbled and flaked. Once totally flaked, add about 3/4 to a cup of oil and fry some more until chicken becomes golden brown and crunchy.

Buttered Spareribs Stew

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Slow cooking makes sure you get the maximum taste of your meat. Flavors become richer, concentrated and harmoniously blended. This stew is a favorite in my Mom’s crib.  She usually uses babyback ribs but I kinda thought spareribs would be as good and was I right!

Best eaten with steamed rice, I guarantee you 50 burps after you eat this!

Buttered Spareribs Stew

1  kilo pork spareribs, chopped into cubes

5 medium-sized tomatoes

2 heads of garlic

1 oinion, sliced

1 cup green peas

3/4 cup butter (reserve half for final flavoring)

1 tsp soy sauce

canola oil

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

water

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Season pork with salt and pepper.

Saute onion, garlic, tomatoes, soy sauce and half the butter. Add Pork and cover with water. Set in low-medium heat and bring to a boil until meat is done or you may add water until desired tenderness is achieved (about 1 cup only everytime needed).

When sauce has been reduced to half:

Add green peas, cayenne pepper, 1/2 cup canola oil and the remaining half of the butter about 15 minutes before turning off the heat. Serve hot.

Turkey Breast Fillet With Blueberry Preserves And Herbed Cheese Sandwich

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It was in 1863 when Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in the United States. The Americans then started to use turkey as their dish centerpiece for Thanksgiving. The focal dish that it has become, its popularity in America and Europe has been immeasurable since.

The rich, juicy and taste -loaded leftover turkey breasts were sitting on the ref when I decided to make it into a sandwich. I thought a see-saw of flavors, salty and sweet would be perfect to go with the turkey.

So, here was how I did it.

To make it you will need:

500 grams tukey breast fillet leftover

4 slices of herbed or smokey dutch cheese (or any cheese you want)

3/4 cup bluberry chunky preserves

4 slices of bread

parsley for garnishing

Assemble the ingredients on top of a slice of bread. The blueberry preserves then about 250 gms of turkey breasts for each sandwich and cheese. Cover with another slice. You may heat sandwich if you wish.

Top with a sprig of parsley for garnishing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Classic Puttanesca

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Twirling the puttanesca onto my fork, I was reminded of my date nights with hubby, Jake, when we  used to troop over to our favorite Italian resto, Cosa Nostra in Malate when it was still abuzz with the gimmick peeps.

We would order  plates of light-coated pasta that were peppered with sauces that tasted fresh, light and very Italian. The ingredients they used were nothing but top quality, authentic and flavor loaded. Am totally clueless now, though, how they are today, 10:29 PM of November 16, 2010!

Fast forward to today, I decided to dish out some puttanesca to go with the chardonnay that begged to team up with the pasta. Awesome, I knew we were in for a great dining chitchat with the yummy food at the backdrop.

Just a sidebar– puttanesca is always best with mashed anchovies. It binds the flavors together and defines its flagship taste. Easy to make and delightful to eat!

Puttanesca

1/4 kilo spaghetti noodles

1 can Del Monte tomato sauce (petite cut)

3/4 cup olive oil

1 head of garlic, minced

3 pcs anchovy fillets, mashed

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

1/2 cup capers

1/2 tsps chilli flakes

1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnishing

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Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, saute garlic, anchovies, capers, chilli flakes and olives. Add tomato sauce. Simmer for about ten minutes.

Toss in cooked spaghetti and  sprinkle with cheese. Top with chopped parsley for garnishing.

Korean Noodles With Pork And Mushrooms

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Lately, I have been drawn to Korean grocery stores for their cooking must haves. My penchant for anything Korean was ignited once again after my friend and I trooped over to Ye Dang very recently to sample the most talked about Korean restaurant in the metro.

Cruising the aisles of my newly found favorite Korean grocery somewhere in QC, I saw a huge pack of glass noodles that I would make into some spicy noodle dish. A toss up of noodles, shiitake mushrooms, diced pork and coated with hoisin, pork broth and sesame oil, this dish was the welcome nightcap I looked forward to after a long day.

The dish may appear to have a close semblance with another favorite Korean dish, the chap chae. However, this one  didn’t include spinach, beef and soy sauce in its list of ingredients.

Spicy Noodles With Pork And Mushrooms

1/2 kilo glass noodles

5 pcs fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

3 tbsps brown sugar

3 slices of pork spare ribs

1 cup cabbage, finely chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 white onion, minced

2 tsps chili flakes

salt and pepper to taste

sesame oil

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Season pork with salt and pepper. Boil until pork becomes tender (keep the broth!). Slice and discard the bones. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic. Add mushrooms, cabbage and pork. Stir in hoisin sauce ang sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour about 4 cups of the pork broth and bring to a boil.

Add glass noodles and reduce heat  to a medium simmer.

Cook until noodles are tender and soupiness is gone. Add chili flakes. Serve hot.

Scrambled Egg With Burong Mustasa

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The first time I caught a glimpse of  burong mustasa (pickled mustard greens)was during a trip to Gapan, Nueva Ecija many years back. My folks just loved driving away weekends visiting towns that sold scrumptious, exclusively native and inexpensive chow goodies. We would get these burong mustasa  sold in the markets for us to bring home to Manila. This fare is quite famous in the northern part of Luzon, spanning Bulacan to Tarlac. Ahh, super sarap!

Apart from the great taste, it is nutritional in that these mustard greens are proven to be loaded with health benefits saving us from certain diseases like respiratory disorders, gout, etc.

My Tita who shuttles from Pamapanga to Manila at least twice a week just sent me two big packs of these pickled mustards.

Pickled mustard or locally known as burong mustasa, is made by immersing these mustard leaves in rice water and coarse salt for a couple of days.

Anyway, I did not have the patience to wait it out for days. Thanks to tita for just handing me over these packs.

So what did I do? I just chopped about 3 buro leaves and mixed it with two slightly beaten eggs and added about 2 pinches of coarse salt. My mom does it by sauteing garlic and onion first before throwing in chopped burong mustasa and mixing in the egg before it hits the pan for scarambling. Definitely, a good option, too.

However, I like the mustard greens a bit raw and exclusive to egg only– yeah, date silang dalawa lang!

Cooked it on low heat stirring the egg mixture continously. Ahh, it went well with my tapa for breakfast. Happiness!

Garlic Tapa

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It was half past ten in the morning. The fantastic aroma from the skillet was beginning to fill up the kitchen while the baunan was atop the counter, ready to catch the day’s baon. The baon was garlic tapa with sliced tomatoes, ahh, a major comfort food in the Yrastorza batcave– now and always.

So, who was the lucky member of the household to tuck in a savory tapa into the lunchbox? Not hubby Jake and certainly, not little Sam. Whoelse but Janine, our trusted kitchen help. Yup, I cooked for her. She’s been a very efficient all-around house aid and whipping up some garlic tapa was a little price to pay. She brought it to my daughter’s school while she waited it out until Sam’s dismissal time.

Our tapa isn’t the sweet style or anything close to that. It is the garlic-pepper ridden kind. Frankly, I am not a fan of marinades that mask beef’s wonderful flavor. I don’t like coating it with sugar nor pineaple juice that deprives me from tasting the almost nude taste of beef.

I like garlic. Lots of garlic. Lightly toasted but never overly done as it yields a quite offensive bitter taste. And, cane vinegar should be a good acid to bring out beef’s great flavor. Beef, vinegar  and garlic together should be the bomb.

The choice cut, thickness and overall qulality of beef meat is as crucial as what seasoning goes into the tapa. I like the sukiyaki or the breakfast cut that allows me to pare down cooking time into half because of its thinness. Cooks fast, engaging to eat and usually reasonably priced.

Oh well. Time to wear that apron and do this garlic tapa!

1/4 kilo beef, breakfast or sukiyaki cut

1/4 cup cane vinegar

1 whole head of garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

oil

1 large tomato, sliced

3 tbsps cup green onions, chopped

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Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes.

Fry beef with the garlic and vinegar marinade on medium heat until desired doneness id achieved.

Serve with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped green onions.

Asian Chicken with Shiitake and Green Beans

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One of the most popular species in the mushroom family, the shiitake mushroom has remained to be a favorite ingredient in a lot of Asian cookery. Its wonderful texture, excellent flavor and health benefits are just but few reasons why it is a preferred choice by foodies all over the world.

Originating from the Japanese word shii mushroom which describes the Japanese tree Castanopsis cuspidata that gives the dead logs on which shiitake mushrooms come from, these dark-colored mushrooms have been proven to contain medicinal properties. Studies show that steady use of these mushrooms may reduce the risk of cardiac disorders, certain types of cancer, allergies and promotes good blood circulation.

Given these nutritional facts about shiitake mushroom, it has become a favorite ingredient in a lot of food stores that advocate health and wellness. It’s even become a substitute for meat! Why, the taste of shiitake is said to be four to ten times more flavorful than the other type of mushrooms like button, Portobello or pearl mushrooms.

The flexible characteristic of the shiitake transcends from being just a second-fiddle ingredient to being the main ingredient in certain dishes. There was even a restaurant that once served adobo made out of shiitake mushrooms!  No wonder, it’s been around for centuries now.

2 whole breast fillets, skinned and sliced into bite-size pieces

5 pcs shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 whole head of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, minced

2 pcs thumb-sized ginger, sliced

4 pcs green beans, cut 1 inch-long

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

3 tbsps sesame oil

1/2 cup canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp chili sauce (optional)

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Season Chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute ginger, garlic and onion. Add chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked (about 5 minutes).

Add hoisin and chili sauce. Stir until chicken pieces are well coated with hoisin sauce. Toss in mushrooms and green beans. Cook until green beans are medium-well in doneness. Serve hot.

Sardines And Portobello Mushrooms On Whole Wheat Pasta

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It was already 30 minutes past the hour of eleven in the morning today and I was still undecided what magic to do in the kitchen. Scouring the pantry, I saw a pack of whole wheat pasta and some few pieces of portobello mushrooms in the ref.

I thought it would be lovely to pair them off and seal the flavors with a hefty serving of mackerel sardines. Ahh, Sunday special– sardines and portobello mushrooms on whole wheat pasta.

Lately, I have been fancying on light coated pasta noodles. Something in the mold of aglio olio, at the most, a good plate of arabiatta. Today’s pasta was a cross between alio oglio and herbed pasta with two major add-ons– sardines and my latest mushroom craze, portobello. The symphony of flavors courtesy of the garlic, sardines, mushrooms and the nuttiness of the whole wheat pasta just melted in my mouth like anything.

Agaricus bosporus or commonly known as portobello mushrooms are one of the most consumed mushrooms in the world. The woodsy, fresh taste it yields loads the dishes its extra oomph.

Oddly though, my kitchen help insisted that these mushrooms were something they considered “pest” in the provincial  barrios along with basil leaves (which, according to her, were their pigs’ favorite food!), tarragon leaves, scalops (which they sold for a measly fifty pesos per SACK!) and baby potatoes and corn. All certified quasi-gourmet ingredients in the metro na inapak apakan lang nila! (that they just stepped on!).

Healthy, scrumptious and extremely easy to make– I guarantee you– there will be no leftovers. Now, is that good or bad?

Sardines and portobello mushrooms on whole wheat pasta

1/2 kilo whole wheat spaghetti

5 pcs sardines in olive oil

5 pcs medium-sized portobello mushrooms, sliced

2 whole heads of garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped

Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup olive oil

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Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and sprinkle with oil to avoid sticking of the noodles. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute garlic, mushrooms and sardines. Add salt, pepper and parsley. Toss in pasta. Season some more if necessary.

Top with parmesan cheese. Serve with your favorite toast.

Ye Dang!

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It was my first time to try Ye Dang Korean restaurant today and was I enthused to try EVERYTHING that was laid on our dining table. Thanks to my NFF (newly-found friend), Mariel Lee, for taking me there and advancing her delish birthday treat for me!

Not only did I feast on great Korean food but also had a wonderful time with all the chit chats that went with it.

Okay, what did we pluck out from the menu? For starters we had the Korean appetizers. Kimchi was on top of my list.

Strangely, the first few years that I have been trying this dish, I wasn’t sure if I really liked it. I mean, fermented pickled cabbage with all the Korean spices just did not tickle my fancy. I thought the strong taste plus the out of this world flavor just turned me off! But the Koreans are crazy about this! They even have a kimchi-flavored pizza!

Fast forward to today, the tart, mildly-sour and spicy flavor of  kimchi finally made me a convert. I’ve developed a strong liking for it— no, a LOVING for it!

The other appetizers included the spiced raddish slices–

The fishcake that I so liked–

Not to forget my fave Korean dilis in sweet and spicy blend–

And, the bean sprouts that I gobbled up like I do with lapid’s chicharon! Hahaha! So addicting!

Yes! And, we’ve only just begun!

The appetizers came with a bunch of iceberg lettuce and sesame  leaves. The leaves were supposed to be wrappers for the starters and the main dishes. The concept just got me excited. I made several of these wraps one of which was this:

I raved about the rawness of the leaves that made perfect combination with the filling. The sesame leaves rendered a nutty-crunchy taste and texture that left me going for seconds.

The novelty in the dining experience here was in the fact that we were given the choice of having our food cooked before us, yes, on our table (similar to shabu-shabu) or in the kitchen.

The cooking on the spot began with a flaming-hot bunch of charcoal–

I couldn’t look away from the charcoal because of two things: curiosity and hunger. Arg, bring it on!

Finally, the dak-kui (grilled chicken) and the kalbi (sweet beef ribs) were on board!

My eyes were as big as my plate when our serving  of  kalbi jim (beef shortribs stew)  was laid before me. I was actually settled with KIMCHI restaurant’s beef stew already until this came along.

Fall off the bones and totally scrumptious– this was today’s dining superstar, hands down.

The chapchae tasted okay but my top pick in this category remains to be the version of Sorabol which we used to frequent in Greenbelt.

On the whole, I was more than delighted swinging by this Korean restaurant. The ambience, food and feel totally felt Korean!  I swore to return with a bigger appetite and more friends to bring.

Meralco Ave., Ortigas
Mandaluyong City
(02) 636-1461
 

Everyday Kainan Weekend!

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Inspired by my Lola's menudo

If a menudo contest would be held today, I would definitely be in it. Why, this has got to be  a flagship dish of my childhood filled with memories of good food, good food and the best menudo.

Inspired by my lola’s famous menudo, this version, and I am confident to say, is the BEST version for me. It is unique in that the taba have been cut off from the lean meat and are made into chicharon then later on combined with the rest of the menudo ensemble. The meat is marinated in soy sauce and calamansi before it is cooked. In that way, meat is flavored long before you start infusing flavor as you heat it. Also, it barely uses commercial tomato sauce that usually tastes fakely thick  and artificial.

In this recipe, the small amount of commecial tomato sauce is only to spike some color to the dish.

In fact, my lola’s version totally did away with the use of commercial tomato sauce. She used REAL tomatoes.

During my childhood, we ate it best with a glass of ice-cold Coke. It made the whole pleasant dining experience intensified and more satisfying. To date, Coke has remained to be our menudo’s best partner.

With this perfect tandem, expect the dining table to burst with energy in the conversations, chitchat and bonding brought to you by the happy hormones triggered by a fabulous loveteam named– Menudo and Coke.

Menudo

1 kilo pork casim, diced with fat and lean meat separated

6 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced

1 medium-sized onions

5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 small boxes raisins

1 big can garbanzos

1 small pack tomato sauce

1 red bell pepper, minced

3 large potatoes, diced

4 pcs calamansi

3/4 cup soy sauce

Canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

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Season lean pork meat  with salt and pepper. Marinate with calamansi and soy sauce for 30 minutes.

Season taba (fat) with salt and pepper. Cover with water in a small frying pan. Cook until water has evaporated, taba has turned into golden brown  and crispy. Set aside.

Meantime, in a frying pan, fry potatoes until they turn golden brown in color. Drain from excess oil and set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion, bell pepper, garlic and tomatoes. Add lean pork meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with water. Bring to a boil until water is reduced into half and meat already very tender. Add tomato sauce, garbanzos and raisins.

Continue simmering for another five minutes. Add fried potatoes and chicharon (taba from the casim). Serve hot.

Chicken Liver Adobo

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Copy and paste the picture of chicken liver adobo I did last week to this blog—CHECK. Holding back this writer’s saliva as this picture appears before her while doing this post’s draft– XXXXXXXX!!!!!!!! Arg, I am so tempted to delete this photo on my screen! It’s 9:32 pm and I got no  plans to defrost a pack of chicken livers to silence my nagging craving at this hour.

It is, hands down, one of my fave comfort dishes. I am totally ignited like wildfire when a plate of this adobo is served before me as in LAMON! The slightly sour-garlicky-malinamnam components do make for a perfect triumvirate. Of course, this dish is best partnered with sinangag (garlic fried rice).

High in cholesterol but low in fat and a perfect source of protein, my desire to eat it just looks away from the downside. My bad– Oh well, sarap eh!

Chicken Liver Adobo

1/2 kilo chicken liver (hearts removed)

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 whole head of garlic, minced

3 tbsps spring onion, finely chopped

3 tbsps soy sauce

2 cups of water

2 laurel leaves salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup canola oil

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In a bowl, season liver with salt and pepper. Combine with garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and water.

Bring to a simmer until liquid is reduced to half. Add oil and continue to simmer until ninety percent of the marinade has evapotated and the oil slightly beginning to fry the liver.

At this point, you want the oil to dominate the sauce while retaining some liquid from the marinade. Add laurel leaves and cook for 3 minutes more.

Top with spring onions and serve hot with rice.

Sole Fillet In Quick Tomato-Mushroom Medley Sauce

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In one of our trips to our favorite Belinni’s Italian Restaurant at Cubao X, we decided to look away from our staple-usual faves of pasta and risotto to try another Italian dish that we haven’t tried. SOLE FISH— the menu emphasized how bestseller their sole fillet was via the marking that meant it was a must-try.

With great expectations, we looked forward to having the first bite of the dish. When the plate of sole arrived, what greeted us was a payatot (thin) piece of fish, bone in and all. The sauce didn’t even help at all. Ugh, what a letdown.

So this explains why I made my own. My style, my way and you can’t say otherwise because this is MY blog! Hahaha! In Filipino, walang kokontra!!! (Nobody can’t oppose!)

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Sole Fillet In Tomato-Mushroom Medley Sauce

5 whole sole fillets, seasoned with salt and pepper

5 large tomatoes, diced

2 medium-sized red onions, sliced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup flour

1 can button mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 tsps dried basil

1/2 cup white wine

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

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Lightly dredge sole fillets on flour. Pan- fry until slightly brown on both sides. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion, garlic and tomatoes. Continue stirring until tomatoes have been completelycrushed and mashed turning into a chunky tomato sauce. Add basil, mushrooms and white wine. Let it simmer for another 3 minutes.

Top on sole fillets while hot. Serve immediately.

Molo Soup

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Hot, hot, hot!

Literally and figuratively, molo soup is HOT!

The warm, comforting and soothing effect of this soup are enough reasons to make this a staple in your kitchen menu. The solid combination of chicken, pork dumplings and the garlicky flavor of the broth just make a perfect soup.

Especially lately that it has been raining, molo soup should be the excellent comfort food with a wet weather at the backdrop.

Molo soup

For the pork dumpling:

1/2 kilo ground pork

1 onion, minced

1 egg

4 tbsps flour

salt and pepper to taste

molo wrappers

For the chicken broth:

1 pc chicken thigh/legs

salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, quartered

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1/4 cup deveined shrimps, chopped

1 medium onion, sliced

1 head of garlic, minced

2 tbsps patis (fish sauce)

1/2 cup dahon ng sibuyas (green spring onions)

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To make the broth, season chicken with salt and pepper. In a pot, cover with water and add onion. Cook until chicken is tender and cooked. Shred chicken and set aside. Meantime, keep stock for later use.

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The pork dumplings are made by seasoning the ground pork with salt and pepper and adding onion, egg and flour. Mix well and wrap in molo wrappers. Set aside.

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In another pot, saute onion, garlic, chicken and shrimps. Season with patis. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop dumplings and cook for ten to fifteen minutes. Top with dahon ng sibuyas (green spring onions). Serve hot.

Chicken Arrozcaldo

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I’ve been told many times over that chicken arrozcaldo isn’t as popular in a lot of provinces as it is in Manila. Outside the metro, it is usually served when somebody is sick or not feeling well. It’s not something you may order outside their homes. Quite the opposite here in Manila where you find it from the posh five-star hotels down to the most modest eatery at any given place. Chicken arrozcaldo is a favorite– anywhere, anytime.

The classic way of preparing chicken arrozcaldo would be using chicken choice cuts, bone-in and all. In my version, I already pre-boil and shred chicken that would be mixed in with the rice. I guess am too lazy to trim off meat from the bones while it’s immersed in the arrozcaldo–too messy.

Over at the Yrastorza household, chicken arrozcaldo is quite a staple viand on the dining table– sick or not, we all eat this like crazy. One of the many heirloom recipes from Mom, we never eat this without the ‘budbod’ of dahon ng sibuyas and roasted garlic. Eating this without the two would be like having your kare-kare without the bagoong or something like that. The concept of having condiments to go with it is enough excitement for me. Super love!

Chicken Arrozcaldo

1 whole breast of chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper, boiled and shredded

2 cups uncooked malagkit rice

two thumb-sized ginger, sliced

1/2 cup dahon ng sibuyas, chopped

2 heads of garlic, finely minced

2 tbsps fish sauce (patis)

1/4 tsp kasubha

6 pcs calamansi, halved

salt and pepper to taste

oil

1 liter chicken stock (from the boiled chicken)

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Saute garlic in oil until golden brown. Drain excess oil. Set aside in a small container.

Meantime, in a casserole, saute ginger and onion. Add chicken and malagkit rice. Stir for about a minute until rice grains are well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock.

Cook until rice is tender. Make sure you constantly stir the arrozcaldo while it cooks. You may add chicken stock or water to adjust consistency.

Finally, add kasubha. Continue stirring for the next 3 minutes.

Serve hot with the condiments (dahon ng sibuyas, roasted garlic, calamansi and pamintang durog) on the side.

Bam-i

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I once made my bully love me after I fed her with my Mom’s bam-i. Almost abruptly, she started being nice to me after her first plate of my bam-i. This dish is so good, I eat it like there’s no tomorrow.

One of mom’s many signature dishes, I love this one for many reasons. For one it is a symphony of flavors that get me going for seconds ALWAYS when it is served. The linamnam factor of the canton and sotanghon combined, the juicy chicken that dictates the general taste of the pansit, the asim (sour component) of the calamansi that goes well in contrast with the garlicky taste and aroma the garlic gives  just blows me away. Ahh, give me that plate of bam-i now!

BAM-I

500  grams canton

300 grams sotanghon

2 whole chicken breasts, boiled and shredded

2 medium-sized carrots, cut into strips

1/2 cup dahon ng sibuyas, chopped

3/4 cups celery, chopped

5 pcs calamansi, halved

1 onion, sliced

2 heads of garlic, minced

1 liter chicken stock

3 tbsps fish sauce (patis)

oil

salt and pepper to taste

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In a casserole, saute garlic until golden brown. Drain excess oil. Set aside.

In the same pan, saute onion until translucent in color. Add chicken and celery. Season with salt and pepper and fish sauce. Throw in carrots and stir for about two minutes.

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Mix in pancit canton and sotanghon.

Cook until liquid is gone and pancit tender and moist.

Prepare roasted garlic, calamansi and chopped dahon ng sibuyas in mini containers and use as ‘budbod’ once pancit has been served.

Serve with your favorite toast.

Lisa’s Bread Pudding

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Lisa’s Bread Pudding

“I wanna learn how to cook!”

Six big words from a serious culinary newbie then got me drawing up a menu for a cooking session. Having been raised knowing, tasting and devouring good food, it wasn’t hard coaching my high school buddy, Lisa Marie Virginia Monique Roa Africa-Carandang (Whew, Lisa, I’m insane having remembered your full name since the late 80′s!).

She was to leave for Tokyo, Japan with hubby, Eric, and kids when she got us to cook together. So, here was how Lisa looked like when we did the lessons:

And she made this:

Stewed beef in marinara sauce

I thought she was excellent during the session. Now the tougher challenge, doing dishes on her own in faraway Japan. Ha!

Only recently, I was so thrilled getting a recipe from Lisa (which I requested for) plus a photo to match. I could not believe what she just made– bread pudding. Not that I did not believe she could whip upsomething like that but more like– I was green with envy because I cannot, for the life of me, bake!!!! Haha!

Lisa, you are awesome!

Here goes her note and recipe for us:

Hey Caren!  Would you believe it’s been exactly a year since we moved to Tokyo…and since our cooking lesson?!  The move to Tokyo has been both fulfilling and a challenge for all of us.  It truly is a wonderful and dynamic city;  a melting pot of cultures.  We have been really blessed to have been given the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a society that is so unique, diverse and as rich as Japan‘s.

Living in Tokyo has been life-changing.  The biggest one, as you very well know, is cooking!  Having been married for over 11 years, not once did I feel the need to familiarize myself with the kitchen, (except for the refrigerator)!  I mean, I can’t even cook rice!  So, you can imagine the terror when I found out I had to cook!

The first night was a nightmare!  We decided to just have spam and eggs for dinner.  Albeit simple in theory, it was not easy in reality.  Mare, Spam na nga lang…nasunog ko pa!  I failed to notice that the knob of the range started with “high” temperature (I.e. to ignite the fire).  To save dinner, Eric just decided to cook the eggs himself…lest I burn that too!  (Maybe I was subconsciously testing my family’s love for me as my daughter said, “It’s okay Mom, we can just take out the brown parts.“) 

There are a lot more “funny” stories along the way, (one of Eric’s favorite is my mistaking vinegar for oil when I was making scrambled eggs and suspecting that the eggs were rotten), but thankfully there are more successful stories to share .

Since then I am proud to say that I have served a variety of dishes including Meatloaf, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sukiyaki, Kare-Kare, et al.  I’ve even ventured into baking simple desserts like Brown Sugar Bars and Bread Pudding!  Of course, all of which were products of a lot of trial and error.  Even if the ulam is as basic as Adobo or Sinigang, it still took some time before I could perfect the taste and consistency. 

The greatest fulfillment of course, is seeing the satisfied faces of Eric and the kids!  My kids even talk about my “delicious snacks” to their classmates!  They are the best customers I could ever wish for…supportive, not mapili and the most forgiving of critics.  Although at times the food does not turn out as expected, they never fail to show their appreciation for the “work” that I put into it. 

You were right.  Just do it!  Stop obsessing with recipes but trust in your “panlasa”…  

So yes!  I can cook na…finally!  Thanks for helping me take out the trauma of cooking.  Naturally, I still have a lot of things to learn but at least now I have that peace of mind knowing that…hindi na mamatay sa gutom ang pamilya ko!  Hahaha! 

Here is the recipe for Bread Pudding.  It’s a very simple dish which my kids love to do with me.  I found the recipe on the Internet but I made some changes according to my family‘s taste…

BREAD PUDDING RECIPE

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

¼ cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups bread, tore into pieces (any bread, although French bread or raisin bread is the best)

raisins (I use about ¼ cup only)

Bread Pudding Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoon butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon flour
dash of salt

Directions

Bread Pudding

1.  In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk.  Add butter.  Stir constantly until butter is melted.  Set aside.

2.  In a separate container, combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla.  Slowly add milk mixture.  Set aside. 

3.  Place torn pieces of bread on a casserole.

4.  Pour batter on top of bread.  Sprinkle raisins.

5.  Bake at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. 

Bread Pudding Sauce

1.  Mix everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Set aside for a few minutes and then pour on warm bread pudding. 

2.  ENJOY! 

 

Chicken Hainanese

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My first taste of Hainanese chicken happened during the late 90′s when my sister, Tina, and I trooped over to my fave Chocolate Kiss Cafe. Ahh, how I devoured every morsel of their hainanese! The play of flavors from the broth, the mega triumvirate of hoisin, chili and ginger sauces and the succulent chicken just brought home the bacon (or the chicken?).

Today, I literally dished out what was to be my hotshot for the day– my hommade hainanese, yeah, with all the eye-candy trimmings that went with it. Couldn’t be chipper as I relished my own hainanese creation. Bliss– Try this soon:)

Crazy About Callos

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With either pandesal or rice– I am callos’ most avid fanatic. Inspired by my Mom’s immortal version of callos, I decided to whip up my own creation tonight.

Mom had a bit of tweaking of the conventional callos in that she incorporates potatoes into her version and seasons with our native patis (fish sauce). Why not? I must say, these are welcome ingredients that are loaded up with taste enhancing abilities.

According to my Mom, this dish was a favorite of my Lolo Iking (her late  dad). She said he would usually eat a bowl of callos with pandesal to match. Ah, now that’s good taste, eh? And, so, overtime, my Mom had made this dish as part of her potluck repertoire during special ocassions.

A few years ago, I had the chance to taste callos from its place of origin in Spain. Funny, I thought I like callos better in Pinas, specifically in my own Mother’s kitchen.

Mom, this is for you:)

1/2 kilo ox tripe

4 slices of meat from pata ng baka

1 pc chorizo de bilbao, sliced

tomato paste (optional)

tomato sauce

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 green bell pepper, julienned

4 medium-sized potatoes

1 cup garbanzos

salt and pepper to taste

oil

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Season meats with salt and pepper. Pressure cook ox tripe and pata  for 45 minutes. Drain and cut for about an inch long and 1/3 inch wide. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion, garlic and tomato. Add ox tripe and pata slices season with patis. Stir for the next two minutes. Add tomato paste (dilute with water if you want to adjust consistency). Mom does not use tomato paste because she is partial to its sweet-ish taste.

Add bell peppers, chorizos and garbanzos. Simmer for another 3 minutes then add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add tomato sauce. Serve hot.

Jen’s Fave Roast!

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In a trip to Chicago four years ago, I met Jen. Quite surprisingly, we hit it off in the first two minutes that we met. Why, if there was a category in the Guiness Book of World Records for a ‘fastest getting to know you’ moment, we would’ve bagged the top prize! Haha. Ours is a long distance friendship, though, with us touching base with each other only through Facebook and YM. And our most glaring common denominator? FOOD!

Sam with Tita Jen. Chicago USA, 2007.

Jen just amuses me with her very  insightful nature everytime we talk about food. She’s one foodie who’s one with her food– all the time. Heart and soul in the kitchen, heart and soul in whatever she lays her hands on. I totally admire her. And yeah,  was giddy getting a recipe from her today with a very sweet note to match. This note comes all the way from Mexico where she and hubby, Sieg, are now based after having stayed in Tokyo, Japan for quite awhile.

Finally, Jen, here goes your dish:

Hey Caren!

It took me 6 months to finally write and cook something for you.  Let me warn you first that am not much of a writer so when you asked me to write something for you, I scratched my head and thought, “can I just cook for her instead?!?!”  What to write? What to cook? You are probably expecting a Mexican inspired dish from me especially since we are living in the heart of Mexico. I have not yet immersed myself into Mexican cooking so I thought my all time favorite could do the trick (hopefully!).  So, I bought myself a good-sized whole chicken, a bunch of rosemary, two handfuls of mushrooms, and a couple pieces of lemon, onion and garlic and said, “I would cook my favorite Roast Chicken recipe for a dear friend”.

This recipe was sourced from Tyler Florence of Food Network. Am not so good at whipping up my own recipe but am used to searching for the best recipe and adding my own touch to it.  I love cooking Roast Chicken! While it takes a lot of time to cook (approximately 1.5 hour), I find it very easy to make and while it’s cooking, I can then do other things than just stay in the kitchen.

For the Roast Chicken, you will need:

1 whole chicken

Red onion, cut in quarters (enough to stuff the chicken)

1 Lemon, cut in half

Fresh rosemary

6 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon olive oil and more to drizzle on the chicken

Few slices of bacon (not necessary)

Salted butter

Sliced mushrooms, washed and dried

Salt and pepper

Granulated garlic or garlic powder

Wash the chicken thoroughly and dry with a paper towel.  I buy my chicken here clean already (no insides and with the neck part cut) but still I wash it again, specially the inside.

In a bowl, mix the onions, lemon, garlic and rosemary. Add salt, pepper and granulated garlic.  There’s garlic in the mixture already but because I love garlic so I put a pinch of granulated garlic still.  Add the olive oil and toss.

Take the butter, add a bit more salt and place little pieces underneath the skin.  The recipe did not call for this but I find that it adds more taste to the meat.  I could just imagine using Dairy Cream butter but I don’t have that here L.  Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper then stuff the chicken with the mixture. To keep the mixture inside, I pull either the skin of the chicken to close the bottom part and use a toothpick to close it.  Then I tie the chicken legs and wings.  I honestly don’t know how to tie a chicken but I do whatever to keep the legs and wings from spreading while cooking (ha!ha!ha!).

Season the whole chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place on the roasting pan, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle whatever rosemary you have left.  The recipe called for just roasting the chicken as is but I normally add some onions, garlic and lemon pieces on the roasting pan.  Roast the chicken (breast side up) in 400F for 1.5 hours. 

You might ask what do you need the bacon for as I mentioned needing it on the recipe list.  After 45 minutes of roasting the chicken, lay the strips of bacon on the chicken and add the sliced mushrooms on the pan (before adding the mushrooms, I season it first with salt and pepper). 

Baste the chicken with its own liquid (from the pan) to keep it moist.  Once done, take out the stuffing and leave it to rest for 15 minutes.  This I did not know before, apparently you need to let it rest to keep the moisture inside the chicken.  With the juices of the lemon, I find that the chicken is a bit wet, not crispy enough for my liking. So after cutting it, I would put it back in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes.

I love French fries so I always eat my roast chicken with fried potatoes.  But this version is a bit healthier.  Cut the potatoes, season generously with salt and pepper, add rosemary leaves and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Toss the potatoes so each piece has some olive oil.  Place in a Pyrex pan and put it the oven for 30 minutes. To save time, just put it in the oven when the chicken has been roasting for an hour.

Voila! There I have my Sunday Chicken Dinner.

Corned Beef Paella

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It was one rainy, gloomy and chilly late afternoon when I had the adrenalin rush  to work around my kitchen and whip up what was to be served for dinner the other night. Jake scored a bottle of white wine and it was to be the missing link to this fantastic dinner dish. Wine, paella with good music at the backdrop equalled two hours of catch up chat with Jake who got busy at work the whole day.

Okay, quite unconventionally, I used corned beef instead of the usual combo of meats and seafoods associated with paella. I thought I’d explore a bit and scour the grocery cabinet for potential ingredients to complete ‘team paella’ for that night. So, shiitake joined, asparagus was in and all the other ingredients just blended well with the rest of my paella ensemble. Ending– the dish was a winner.

Corned beef paella

2 cups arborio uncooked rice

5 cups of water

1 can corned beef

1 can shiitake mushroom, sliced

6 asparagus spheres, stemmed

2 pcs of lemon, wedged

3 tbsps turmeric powder

4 threads, saffron

1 onion, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

olive oil

In a paellera, saute onion and garlic. Add corned beef and shiitake mushrooms. Mix in arborio grains and turmeric. Coat well with the corned beef mixture. Add water and simmer until rice is cooked.

Meantime, season asparagus spheres with salt and pepper. Lightly fry in oil until cooked.

Top asparagus and lemon wedges on paella. Serve warm.

Roasted Eggplant And Feta Spread

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Next to manchego cheese, feta is my ultimate comfort cheese. A brined curd cheese, I use it best as topping on melba toasts, pesto or sundried sauces or as the final touch to my moussaka. Let’s put it this way, I can simply gobble up feta with NOTHING. Yes, eat it like I do with Chippy. I LOVE feta— enough said.

This weekend had me making some spread made of some roasted eggplant and red bell peppers smothered generously with crumbled feta cheese. It was to be the ‘crowning glory’ of my grilled whole wheat pandesal round. I was amused at the combo of this cheese and the medley of eggplant and peppers that I threw into it. The creamy-soury nature of the feta just did some kick to the almost neutral-tasting but smokey qualities of my veggie roasts. Ahhh, how I devoured this spread on my open-faced pandesal rounds! It’s a must-try, absolutely.

Roasted eggplant with feta spread

2 medium-sized eggplants. cut vertically

2 medium-sized red bell pepper, seeded and cut vertically

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsps balsamic vinegar

Season eggplant and bell peppers with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle with some olive oil. Grill until they’re cooked or bellpeppers’ skin can peel easily.

On a plate, scrape the flesh of the eggplant discarding the skin. Do the same with the bell pepper. Cube the bell peppers, cut the flesh of the eggplant into bite size pieces and mix them together. Toss in feta cheese.

Use as topping for your favorite toast.

Cream Of Chicken Soup

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Nothing beats sipping a warm bowl of soup that was made from the heart. No offense meant to canned soup lovers, but soups made from scraps and scratch are the ones that genuinely rock. Why,  the homemade soup’s edge lies in the fact that it’s healthier, none of the ‘can’ taste and you know a hundred percent what went with the soup when it was cooked.

Okay, this soup (again) was a proud product of a makeover from a leftover (nice rhyme!). The previous evening saw me baking some lemon pepper chicken and had some leftover. Not that it wasn’t good enough to be devoured in one sitting (Ha, defensive me!) but that, Jake and I had quite a big bingeing spree shortly before dinner that left us full til the next day!

Anyway, frankly, I don’t like the idea of reheating  leftover baked chicken for my meals. The overnight period usually leaves the skin stiff, rubbery, greasy and all. The flesh too firm and totally juiceless. But the good news is– I love doing a makeover of baked chicken. First step is to chunk the meat and sometimes the skin, then stir-fry coating  it with a favorite sauce– either bbq or charsiu sauce. Either way would land in between two slices of bread! Sarap!

Today was different, my leftover surprise was made up of these chicken chunks, celery stalks and cream. Cream of chicken soup— now, are you hungry?

Cream of chicken soup

3/4 cup left over chicken (baked, boiled or even fried!), cubed

1 box all purpose cream

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 medium-sized onion, finely minced

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup quickmelting cheese (optional)

4 cups of water or whole milk

1 chicken cube

2 tbsps flour diluted in 1/2 cup water

Saute chicken, onion and celery in butter.

Add cream and cheese. Bring to mild simmer until mixture becomes thick. Add water or milk .  Add flour mixture. Let it simmer and continue stirring until desired consistency is achieved. You may actually adjust consistency (to thin the soup) by adding whole milk or water until you reach your desired consistency. Serve hot.

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Filling

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Sam pleaded to do carrot cake with me yesterday. Our bonding over this cake goes a long way. We’ve had carrot cake baking sessions quite a number of times already. Sam obsesses with all the whipping, mixing, pouring and tasting involved in baking. She’d trade baking for two episodes of Handy Manny or Angelina Bellerina at any given time.

And, because this cake is  kinda tedious to make (yeah, baking isn’t my thing. So…) , a third hand is always a welcome thing. My little hand, hands down, is the best third hand.

Inspired by a recipe I plucked out from epicurean.com. We started rolling up ur sleeves to get this cake done.

The bright orange colored carrots didn’t escape my sight as I cruised the vegetable aisles of my fave grocery. I thought they looked perfect for my carrot cake. Ahh, how I looked forward seeing Sam glow from 10 watts to 80!

And so the project began..

Carrot cake with cream cheese filling

4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/4 cup carrots, grated
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup oil
2 1/2 Tbsp
hot water
1/2 tsp baking soda

FILLING
1 box cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar

FROSTING
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Mix together egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar. Stir until yolk becomes light in color.
Throw  in carrots, nuts, flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and oil.

Combine and mix  together hot water and soda and stir into flour mixture.

Beat egg whites until foamy and slowly add remaining sugar. Beat until stiff and glossy.

Fold egg white mixture into carrot mixture.

Turn mixture into a greased 13×9-inch pan lined with greased wax paper and bake for 45 minutes or until done. Cool.

Slice in half horizontally, to form two layers.

Meantime, to do the cream cheese filling, soften the cream cheese and mix in sugar. Using an electric mixer, mix until mixture is creamy and a bit fluffy.

To make the frosting, beat the whipping cream until slightly stiff, then add the sugar and continue beating until mixture creates soft peaks. Frost the entire cake with whipped cream.

Chicken And Peas

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I’m tempted to call this dish picadillo but it didn’t use beef, it had raisins in it and I just wanted to highlight the ground chicken as the main ingredient.

Truth to tell, this dish can pass up for an arroz ala cubana meat ensemble, only saucier and uses ground chicken. I usually cook this up on days when I have to squeeze in cooking in between errands and other pressing chores. Why, it takes little time and preparation to do it.

Simple, yum-loaded and quick to make, I give this dish two thumbs-up!

Chicken with peas

1/2 kilo ground chicken

1 onion, sliced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tomato, diced

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 cup raisins

3 cups tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

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In a skillet, saute onion, garlic and tomato. Add ground chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until meat is tender.

Add raisins and green peas. Continue simmering until peas are cooked. Pour tomato sauce. You may add water to thin the sauce if you wish. Let it simmer and continue stirring for five more minutes. Serve hot.

Lumpiang Gulay Na Hubad

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No, I did not forget to buy the lumpia wrapper for this dish. What I forget now is the number of times we’ve had this in our meals without going for seconds.

Jake’s favorite, this dish is so delish that we can gobble it up even minus the rice. Yes, appetizer style. Strikingly similar  with how Koreans serve their togue (bean sprouts) before the main course in a Korean meal.

I enjoy biting on the togue, baguio beans and tokwa (tofu) and savoring its symphony of flavors. And well, yeah, enclosing this dish in a lumpia wrapper should be a good option, too.

Lumpiang Gulay Na Hubad

4 squares tokwa (tofu)

2 cups of togue (bean sprouts)

10 pcs baguio beans, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red onion, sliced

1 chicken cube

salt and pepper to taste

oil

Fry tokwa until golden brown. Once cooked, pat dry with paper towel to remove excess oil. Cut each square into 9 small cubes. Set aside.

In a skillet, saute onion, garlic, baguio beans, togue and red bell pepper. Add chicken cube and season with salt and pepper. Continue mixing until all ingredients are cooked. Throw in tokwa. Serve hot.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Crispers

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There’s no dish easier to make than this. Almost effortlessly, my four-year old Sam pulled this recipe off quite easily as we did this a few days ago. Easy, pretty and scrumptious, it is a bestselling dish when we throw parties at home. Cheers!

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Crispers

1/2 kilo chicken breast fillet

3 cups Japanese breadcrumbs

1 pc lemon, wedged

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 tbsps dried basil

3/4 cup flour

1 beaten egg

salt and pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, basil leaves and parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Meantime, cut chicken breast fillet in finger sizes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Dredge  in flour lightly then dip in egg mixture.  Coat with the crumbs. The secret to a perfect coating is pressing it lightly as you coat and letting it stand for three minutes before frying it.

Deep fry until golden brown. Lay on a bed of napkins to blot excess oil.

Serve with garlic mayo dip (half cup mayo, 3 tbsps lemon juice, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt n pepper to taste—then mix everything together).

To have a thicker and crunchier coating, you might want to double coat by dipping in egg twice then breading the  chicken twice alternately before frying.

Cerealicious

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Strolling by my lone self in Robinson’s Galleria one lunch time not too long ago, I happened to pass by a Crealicious store and decided to try it for the first time. I figured, since I was on a diet, a cup of oatmeal would stuff and satiate my appetite for the day. Low cal, rich in fiber and good for the heart, I was sold that it was to be the perfect meal for me.

Scouring their menu, the list of cereal choices got me totally giddy. Fruit loops, honey gold flakes, honey stars, coco flakes, etc., it seemed like a wonderland of cereals waiting to be consumed. And since I was dieting, I thought that Cerealicious was excellent for my diet.

The lady behind the counter was gracious enough to offer, what appeared to be, a  list of products with the corresponding calorie equivalent per item. I could not begin to say how amused I was being able to actually count the calories I was taking in! Since that time on, I have been trooping over to Cerealicious very often.

Very recently, I discovered that their outlet in Megamall served savory dishes and ‘unusual’ desserts worth trying. While I examined the menu, I was so tempted to try not one or two dishes but FIVE! Hahaha!

Sigh, I heeded the call of the deep fried dishes!  My curiosity got the better of me and gave in to the chicken, shrimp, bread and potatoes all coated in the goodness of pounded cornflakes!

Hep! Before you judge my crazy appetite, lemme emphasize that these dishes down below were shared with a friend of mine, Trina.

I saw other choices in the menu for the hardcore figure conscious, though. The pasta in pomodoro sauce or pesto would not bloat you out. Of course, all the rest of the Cerealicious choices ARE predominantly low fat and gorgeous tasting!

Well, in the end, I was glad I trusted my instincts and had a fantastic feast!

Sorry but the “SLURP” button of this website is unavailable. Instead, you might want to check out the nearest Crealicious branch near your place (Mine is Megamall, Ground Floor, Bldg A).

Here goes my feast!

Bacon Cheese Munchers

 

Cerealicious Chicken Pesto Pasta

 

 

Bubba Shrimp

Cerealicious Cordon Bleu

Peanut Butter And Banana French Toast

BUrrrrrp. Love it!