Monthly Archives: April 2009

Stir-Fried Honey Mustard BBQ Chicken



Scrumptious food made from scratch. It’s got to be the benchmark of GREAT food. Given this, I am one to make some of  my own cooking ingredients such as homemade tomato sauce, cream-based soups, pizza crust, dressings, marinades, etc.

However, there are instances when I just need to fast track my cooking. And, rush it is— I usually just pluck out great sauces from the pantry to make wonders on my meat given the VERY limited time that I have. Ah, now, can you relate?

One of my favorites would be HUNTS honey-mustard BBQ sauce. The flavor is very  intense yet smooth on the palate. Coats well with your favorite meat, too. It’s become my bestfriend when I need to dish out food that will cook under ten minutes.

For the marinade, I just put in 3/4 cup of the hunts honey-mustard BBQ sauce, 5 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 cup extra lemon juice , salt and pepper to taste and 5 slices of ginger (optional). Overnight marinating is best.

When it’s time to cook it, I cut the chicken into bite sizes.  Stir-fry them while adding slices of leek stalks for added flavor. Midway into the cooking, I add around 4 more tbsps of the marinade for flavor reinforcement . There. Shockingly fast and easy.

Food purely made from scratch can wait until I’m load free again. Soon, I hope.


Mediterranean Kebabs


We oftentimes run across the word “Mediterranean” in restaurant menus and  cookbooks. But do we actually know what qualifies for Mediterranean food?

Mediterranean cuisine, as we know it,  is the food of the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea.

These nations include Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, etc. Overtime, their cuisines have influenced one another, giving birth to what food writers touted as, Mediterranean cuisine.

This type of cuisine is flexible and characterized by its great number of ingredients and its many regional variations. Key ingredients may include: Fish, garlic, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Grilling and smoking being the two most used methods of cooking.

Today, I made some kebabs. Chicken kebabs. Along with it on my skewer were red bell peppers, red onion and some cucumber slices. Ahhh, my chicken was in great company!

I seasoned about 2 whole breasts of chicken with salt and pepper plus  3 tbsps light soy (optional). Gave them a quick swig of about half a cup of lemon juice. Threw in a pinch of ground cummin powder for each breast and marinated for thirty minutes. I opted to use the lightest marinade to make the flavors and juices jump out of the chicken meat.

Meantime, I quartered 3 red onions, sliced 1 whole cucumber and cubed 2 red bell peppers. Seasoned all vegetables with salt and pepper to extract their precious juices and for flavors to burst away.

On my other chopping board, I cut the marinated chicken, nugget size. Then assembled  the ingredients into the skewer such that the order went like: Cucumber, chicken, red onion, bellpepper and chicken again. Drizzled the ensemble with olive oil. Then, I was  ready to grill!

Grilled until all ingredients were smoky and had the pretty grill marks. Serve with yogurt dressing:

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped, fresh mint leaves (optional)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

I just mixed everything together. Yes, that easy.

Please note that you may arrange  the skwered ingredients interchangeably. Or you may even drop an ingredient that you don’t like and replace them with what you want.

My other suggestions to go with the chicken include: Zucchini, cherry tomatoes, half a cob of a corn, leek stalks, etc. Go have fun choosing what you want to put in there! Have a feast!

NOTE: Other kebab recipes will tell you to marinate meat in the yogurt dressing/marinade instead of my concoction. Feel free to try it, too. LikeI said, I just wanted to savor the flavor and juices of the meat almost in its naked glory.

Tomato and Garlic Pork (Chinese Style)



So, who says you can’t make magic out of leftover food?

I had this leftover lechon kawali in my ref a few days ago from a party at home. Sadly, it ceased to bask in its crunchiest glory after a day. I just had to give it some tweaking to make it appetizing again. And again.

This dish was a three-step recycling wonder. Easy but flavorful, gastronomic and mouthwatering! Cooking purists will curse me for taking the short route in preparing this but harried moms will definitely come to my rescue!

To do this:

Heat the pan with about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil.

Mix in a medium-sized sachet of Lee Kum Kee (hep, not sponsored!) tomato and garlic prawn sauce onto the oil. Obviously, we are substituting the prawns with the pork here. You may opt to use leftover fried chicken, too.

Then throw  in about half a kilo of your leftover lechon kawali (or fried chicken or ,yes, prawns). Mix well. DONE!

 (for lechon kawali recipe, please click

Our sweet ending was made of this:





It’s silvanas from Carreon’s Sweets And Pastries, you may visit this site for more info,



The Oven-Dried Tomato Experience

So, this is the real thing. Plump, juicy and verrry ripe, these tomatoes just got me grabbing my apron for some soiree with my fresh batch of  these fresh and dewy tomatoes. Yes, I’m a kitchen mad scientist again and will train the spotlight, this time, on these picture-perfect cancer-fighting ingredient.
fresh ripe tomatoes for the caldereta base
It was once believed that this fruit was dangerous to be eaten as it was called “lycopersicon” in Latin that meant “wolf peach”. Obviously, people have already gunned down that belief. Why, it’s been the rockstar of most major cuisines all over the globe for many, many years now!

pre-baking of the tomatoes

I use this as base for a great number of my pasta dishes. The flavors just well embrace the pasta when it’s mixed together. Like lovers of fifty years, they just jive in perfect harmony. Yep, it’s the perfect marriage, hands down.

They can go well with other ingredients like pesto, tuna, cheese, chicken or in soups and stews. Given this flexibility, it is wise to jar them up in an air-tight container and put in ref. Life span can reach up to a week in the ref depending on how perfectly sealed your container is. Freezing is a method you may use, too, as it can preserve these oven-dried tomatoes for up to three months.

Now, what to do:

Pick about a dozen plump and ripe tomatoes. Boil them in water until their skin burst. Drain from water and set aside. Remove skin. Let it cool.

Meantime, preheat oven at 120C. In a baking pan, lay down your tomatoes for the prep phase. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped herbs of your choice (my faves include rosemary, sweet basil, tarragon and oregano thyme). One or two varieties of herbs will do, no biggy. Throw in 6 cloves of chopped garlic. Drizzle generously with olive oil and a quick swig of balsamic vinegar (optional). Bake until the tomatoes begin to shrivel, about an hour. Remove from the oven and drizzle some more with olive oil. Seal well.

 Ahh, this can’t be real!

oven-dried tomatoes

Dishes that go well with this coming soon. Promise!

Steamed Chicken With Black Mushrooms



Have you had days when you got home tired and starving with no intention to cook but would obsess in biting on great food? Ha! Guilty eh? This dish is a one-pot-wonder and very fuss free save for some minimal cutting. A little movement won’t hurt, baby. Let’s do this.

It’s steamed chicken with black mushrooms. Most Chinese restaurants serve this. It’s usually served rice topping style with the rice flavored and ‘powered’ by the big time flavor of the chicken dripping and the Asian flavor of the ginger.

For this dish, you will need:

1/2 kilo chicken thighs, chopped into bite sizes

5 cups cooked white rice

1/4 cup sesame oil (optional)

1 can shitake mushrooms, sliced (You may use dried shitake mushrooms. Just soak them in water for 15 minutes before use)

3 thumb-sized ginger, grated

salt and pepper to taste

chopped chives or sibuyas tagalog for garnishing

To assemble:

In a round pyrex, put in cooked rice and top with seasoned chicken, mushrooms, ginger and oil. Cover and steam for 45 minutes. Garnish with chives. DONE!

Now, was that shocking? Fuss free it was, yeah. I just love the juices of the red chicken meat dripping onto the rice as it cooked. Plus the flavor back up of the ginger, it truly makes every second of waiting for it to cook all worth it.


Baked Garlic N’ Cheese Tahong


Tahong can’t be more mouthwatering than this.

The sight of melted cheese just blows me away. The mega tandem of garlic and cheese topped on most dishes where it is suitable always gets me going for seconds each and every time they are served. Ahh, don’t we all?

Tahong is more popularly known in Mindanao as ‘green shell’, it’s actually the species that’s more commercial. It has the green shell, of course, with deep brown streaks on it. The other species of tahong is the brown mussel. As the name suggests, the shell is brown, but the meat is the same as the meat of green shell. In certain areas in the Visayas, like in the town of my lola in Negros Occidental, these brown mussels are called ‘tabahong’.

Today, we had this lovely dish of tahong. It’s baked garlic and cheese tahong. I just put 1 kilo of tahong in a casserole with no water, no salt and pepper, nada! Set the heat on medium and let it cook for about twenty minutes or until the shells broke open. The tahong excreted its own liquid after it cooked. Once cooked, I removed the top cover to expose the meat of the shell for baking.  

I arranged them on my baking pan topping each shell meat with butter, a pinch of minced garlic and quickmelt cheese. In the end I gave it a quick dash of salt and pepper. Cheese and butter were already quite salty that’s why the additional salt wasn’t too much. The pre-baked tahong looked something like this:

Once cooked, you have the option to take your tahong  to another level and top some more with chopped tomatoes and chives. Something like:

baked tahong with cheese, garlic, chopped tomatoes and chives

Not bad, eh?

Or, you may settle with the default recipe which is…

baked garlic and cheese tahong

Mom’s Lechon Kawali, atbp…

mom's super lechon kawali

mom's super lechon kawali

Last weekend saw me invading mommy’s kitchen. I grew up eating, savoring and devouring her kitchen goodies. I just LOVE her food. Yep, mommy was my 1st cooking  coach who unceasingly fed me with all the food education I needed to be able to efficiently work around in my own kitchen, now that I am married and managing my own kitchen.

She cooked her lechon kawali that had the crunchiest balat and the super tender laman. It was also  ‘lesser evil’ compared to the other lechon kawali around. Why? Because she had the turbo broiler to cook it. Didn’t need oil at all, in fact, the pork was the one that rendered the oil.

Conventionally, as the name suggests, lechon kawali is cooked using a kawali or a deep frying pan, but this time, mom avoided the unhealthy use of too much oil and would use a turbo broiler.

Okay, okay, that was putting the carriage ahead of the horse. Let’s take mommy’s recipe step by step. Basically, all you need would be three ingredients: 1 kilo pork (liyempo), salt and pepper to taste.

 ( Important: Please do not cut or chop you pork at this time. The chopping part happens AFTER you have cooked the pork. You don’t want the pork to run dry and let all those precious juices to escape in the process of broiling IF you cut it prematurely)

She just seasoned the pork with salt and pepper. Put it in a pressure cooker (that got filled up with water enough to cover the pork) and cooked for 30 minutes. Please remember that the timing begins when the whistle has already began whistling. The main secret in any meat dish is TENDERNESS. Believe me, no meat dish is good if the meat isn’t tender enough.

After making it tender, she was ready to put it in a turbo broiler preheated and set at 220C, cooked it for about 45 minutes or until the skin turned crunchy. Then she set it aside and let stand for another 15 mins to let the juices settle back onto the meat. Ahhh, sarap, Lord!

You may freeze the pork before or after broiling it for upto three months. Also, you may consider giving it a coupla ‘facelifts’ for variety and turn it into binagoongan, paksiw na lechon or pangsahog to your veggie dishes.

Anyway, to go with the lechon kawali, she served:

halaan sa dahon ng sili

halaan sa dahon ng sili

 My favorite halaan sa dahon ng sili. I liked the broth that had the ginger flavor intensified by a great saute of garlic and sibuyas tagalog.

Other great possible side dishes to go with your lechon kawali could be kamote tops salad in bagoong balayan sauce, munggo with dahon ng ampalaya or papaya atchara.

What a feast! I was simply pleasantly stuffed, yes, with my eyes closed again. Mom just knew how to ignite the foodie in me when I’m there. Oh, and yes, indeed, masarap makikain sa kapitbahay!