Category Archives: vegetables

Chicken, Garlic And Tomato Roasts


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!


Squid Ink Pasta, Chorizos And Tuna


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


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.

Parsley Pesto


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


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

Roasted Eggplant In Apple Cider Vinegar


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


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


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


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.

Inadobong Puso Ng Saging


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


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.

Scrambled Egg With Burong Mustasa


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!