Author Archives: caren yrastorza

About caren yrastorza

Might take forever and a day to describe who I am and what I do. In condensed words, I am a transient traveller of life.Sure, you may never freeze moments in time, but hey, you may write about them! So, please, join me as I walk you through the hallways of my mind, heart and soul. Come, join me in my journey back Into My World...

Something We all Agree To Like — Mango Icebox!

Standard

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Cerealicious

Standard

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!

Tuscan Canapes

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard
abs-cbn 086

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.

calandracas 023

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

Standard

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.