The 2010 Road

I hope your year brought about a change in you... A road to self discovery... A hunt to find the treasures that hide within yourself... May you have a bountiful amd meaningful year ahead.

The Road of Life
by Joyce Rupp

Another year has come to an end.
I can feel her tug at my calendar;
I can sense her insistent movement.
I can hear her call to cross over.

Outside my window the trees are empty
and the air has ripeness of snowfall.
I cast an inward glance to the past
and feel a deep desire to catch its glow.

Something in me wants to hold on,
to gather all the good things close to me.
A part of me that yearns for security
keeps encouraging me to grasp it all.

Then a tiny thinble-full of light
moves its way through my insecurity;
it weaves a thread of courage,
sending sparks into the dark.
Up and up ut raises through my spirit
until it meets my controlling grip.

The firefly flickers of God's grace
are enough to embrace the unknown.
A surge of powerful surrender
takes over all my looking back,
and ever so gently and hopefully
I risk the road of another new year.


Potato Crab Salad

500g potatoes, boiled and diced
1 cup fresh asparagus, cut into 1" sticks and blanched
1 cup canned button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup canned young corn, cut into 1/2 pcs.
300g crab sticks, quartered

Honey Mustard Dressing:
1 pk all purpose cream
2 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. mustard
salt and pepper

Place vegetables and crab in a bowl. Toss in dressing and chill before servinng.

To make dressing: Mix all purpose cream, juice, honey and mustard in a bowl or blender until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.


Tuna Hot Pandesal

I was rummaging through old recipe index cards that I collected over the years from every possible source I got my hands on. I was thinking of an easy breakfast dish to prepare which ended up as a snack today. It was good in my opinion because the olives gave the usual tuna spread a twist on the taste :D. I told my brother to heat the whole thing in the toaster oven. He said, "No need, it will be good as is." I guess it was since he finished his snack.
Pandesal (small buns) was a substitute to the original recipe that required hot dog buns. First I didn't had any in the pantry. Second, I was preparing this as a snack.


1 can tuna flakes, drained
5-6 pcs. pitted olives, minced
1 onion, minced
2 - 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup quick melt cheese, sliced into cubes
salt to taste
10 hot dog buns or 15-20 pcs. pandesal

In a bowl, mix tuna, olives, onions, cheese and mayonnaise. Add eggs and salt to taste. Place about 1 1/2 tbsps. of the mixture in the hotdog buns or about 1 tbsp. for pandesal. Place on a cookie sheet and wrap with foil. Toaste for about 8 minutes to 10 minutes in 300F or until the bread is heated or cheese has slightly melted. Serve.

Notes: Depending on the preference, onions may be white or red. The white ones give a sweeter taste while the red ones are more stronger. I personally omitted the salt since I used tuna flakes in brine.


Chicken in Green Curry

Chicken curry is one of my favorite dish mom would make. When I came across a recipe from a magazine that required green curry paste, I thought of giving it a shot and try something different. This version didn't require potatoes or carrots. It used bell peppers and fresh basil leaves. I thought of throwing some eggplants along the way. I didn't want it to waste and it would go well with the coconut milk.


2 tbsps. cooking oil
2 eggplants, halved length-wise and sliced into 1" length
3 cups green beans, ends removed and halved cross-wise
1 medium onion, sliced
1 to 2 tbps. green curry paste, depending on how hot you want the dish to be
4 chicken breasts or 1 small chicken (about 800 grams), cut into pieces
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 to 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup torn basil leaves
2 tbsps. dayap or lime juice

Saute onion  in oil until soft. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring and scraping bottom to prevent from burning. Continue to stir paste for about 4 minutes until it darkens. Toss in the chicken and stir until the outer layer browns. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup coconut milk and let it simmer until the chicken is fork-tender and cooked. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and 1/2 of the remaining coconut milk if needed. Add in vegetables and let it simmer until the eggplant is cooked. Season with salt. Add basil leaves and dayap juice. Serve hot with rice. 


Korean Beef

My aunt, dad's elder sister, is one of the best cooks I have met. She practically taught most of my cousins, my siblings and me to cook specifically the art of baking. Every Christmas we would get one of her baked goodies which she passed down to us.

This recipe of Korean Beef was passed down to us when we couldn't get enough of it. She would prepare this dish on special occasions only. My family had to beg to get a copy of this recipe. Wonderful scents of sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, ginger and garlic stewing in a pot of soy sauce and chilli with cuts of beef brings my mouth watering (the whole family too) everytime I would cook this dish.

When I went to the States and cooked this recipe, my co-workers loved it that they claim the sauce is good enough to eat with rice. Thank you Tita for sharing this recipe.

1 kilo beef brisket

1st Step:

salt to taste
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried chilli
3 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 garlic head, minced

2 inches ginger, sliced

2nd Set

2 Tbsp. ground sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. sesame oil (opt)

1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp. toasted whole sesame seeds
sliced leeks


Stir fry beef in oil for 5 minutes.Add Step I ingredients and enough water to cover beef. Simmer for 1 hour.Add Step II. Continue to simmer until beef is tender. Add water when necessary.Adjust the taste by adding more sugar to sweeten, soy sauce for more taste.Turn off when sauce has been reduced to half. Serve with toasted whole sesame seeds and sliced leeks leaves.

Ginataang Langka

Who doesn't love jackfruit? But not everyone knows that the young fruit can be cooked and served as one of the main dishes. We prepared this with coconut milk and finger chillies. In the photo, paired this with pan-fried pork loin and hot rice.

300 grams young jackfruit, sliced, boiled until tender
coconut extract of 2 coconuts (separate the first and second extractions)
1 medium red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 finger chillies (siling haba)
salt or fish sauce to taste
2 tbsps. cooking oil

Saute garlic and onions in medium heat until lightly transparent. Add the young jackfruit and stir for about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the second extraction of the coconut milk and season with salt or fish sauce. Let it simmer until the liquid has reduced in half. Add the first extract and let simmer until the sauce thickens.


Sweet and Sour Pork

I am trying to think of what to cook this weekend and decided to try this recipe out. I know when we were growing up as kids, this was one of the dishes my mom and helpers prepare. My sister and I never liked it as a child because of the pineapple chunks. Of course, growing up made me over come this. But I don't think my sister ever did. (^-^)

1/2 lb. pork
1 egg yolk (or the whole egg beaten)
7 tbsp. and 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic, chopped
3 tbsps. sugar
4 tbsps. water
2 tbsps. pineapple juice
2 tbsps. white vinegar
2 tbsps. ketchup
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the 3 tbsps. sugar, 3 tbsps. water, 2 tbsps. pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Cut the meat into 2/3" cubes and slightly tenderize meat. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Mix meat with egg yolk, 1 tbsp. cornstarch and soy sauce. Dredge meat in 6 tbsps. cornstarch then deep fry the meat for 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and reheat the oil until very hot but not smoking. Refry the pork for 30 seconds. Remove and drain out excess oil and set aside.

Heat the wok with 1 tbsp. oil. Stir-fry the bell pepper and add 1 tbsp. water. Remove and drain. Add 3 tbsps. oil; stir-fry garlic until fragrant. Add the onions and pineapple; stir-fry briefly then add the sugar mixture. When the mixture begins to boil, add 1 tbsp. water mixed with 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch. Add the fried meat and toss lightly.

Notes: Pork may be substituted with beef or chicken or a combination of meats. The pineapple may be substituted with fresh tomato or bite-size pieces of carrot. If using fresh tomato, omit the 2 tbsps. pineapple juice and increase the white vinegar to 3 tbsps.


Ondoy's Mark

Hi folks,
It has been a while since I last posted. I am not sure if you were aware but we were struck by strong typhoons a few weeks back. Our home was submerged in flood water and we had to take care of Ondoy's and Pepeng's remembrance. Honestly, I am no stranger to floods. The previous residence we had is known to be submerged in flood water even the slightest rain. I am thankful though that despite this experience my family are safe and well.

So what about the others who were far more affected than me? Some have evacuated their homes and took shelter in local school ground and evacuation centers. Others have gone back to their homes the soonest the water has recided and began reconstruction. While others seeked shelter amongst relatives and near by friends. Auto service centers are now jam packed with job orders. Supply for food has increased since many crops have been damaged by the last typhoon. Many lives have been lost too. Politicians and local government officials are trying to help together with the private sectors and local communities in bringing back "normalcy" in their respective areas.

I hope and pray as the days progress, things would become better for all of us.

For those who are interested in helping, you may coordinate with the following organizations:

De La Salle University

Go to: 2401 De La Salle, Taft Avenue, Manila. Enter south gate near McDonald's, people at the registration center will entertain you.

Hotline: 524-4611 local 128; 523-6158; 526-5612

UP College of Arts and Letters

Go to: College of Arts and Letters (CAL)
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

Hotline: 09296454102 (Prof. Roselle Pineda)

Miriam Quiambao and World Vision Development Foundation

Go to: One Orchard Road Building in Eastwood or at the World Vision office at 389 Quezon Avenue, corner West 6th St., Quezon City

Hotline: 0917-8623209

Philippine Army

Go to: Philippine Army Gym inside Fort Bonifacio, Makati or General Head Quarter’s Gym in Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, EDSA, Quezon City

Hotline: 892-3417 (direct line), 845-9555 (trunkline) local. 6464 and 6466

Ateneo de Manila University Disaster Response Group

Go to: Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights , Quezon City, Manuel V. Pangilinan Building Center for Student Leadership Lobby, University Dorm Cervini Hall

Hotlines: 09089977166, 09178952792, 4266001 local 5050

Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC)

Go To: 72-A Times St., West Triangle Homes, Quezon City.

Hotlines: 9299820, 9299822


Chicken with Garlic Chives

Mom and I went to the grocery the other day and I saw a bunch of kutsai (or kuchay or garlic chives) that made me want to try a new dish. So I bought 2 bunches (more or less about 100 grams). When I got home, I thawed a couple for chicken breast fillets then pan fried them. Sliced a couple of aromatics, poured in liquid seasonings and threw in the chopped kuchay The dish definitely had a garlic-y taste to it. subtle and not strong as it would if I used more garlic cloves. Definitely a keeper.
1/3 kilo of chicken breast fillets, cut into 1x1x1/3" pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1-2 bunches of garlic chives, cut into 1" lengthwise
3-4 tbsps. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1-2 tbsps. soy sauce
2 tsps. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsps. water
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and let it marinate for about 15 minutes. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour and shake off the excess. Pan fry the chicken pieces until all sides are golden brown and the chicken is cooked. Do not over cook else the meat may become tough.. Set aside.
With about 1 tbsp. of oil, saute the garlic. Add the bell pepper and saute until the pepper is slightly tender. Add the seasonings and the cornstarch mixture. Stir well for about a minute. Add the cooked chicken and cover with the sauce. When the sauce is almost thickened, add the kuchay leaves. Turn off the heat. Stir well then transfer onto a serving platter. For additional texture, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Notes: Beef or pork may replace the chicken. The beef should be thinly sliced across the grain so it would not be tough and cook faster.


Seafood Gumbo

My friends and I went to one of the Saturday markets to have breakfast. I wanted to actually check what ingredient that I use for a new recipe or dish. When a friend of mine noted that there was abundance of okra, I thought of Gumbo. Honestly, a few people in my family does not like this vegetable because of the slimy juice. As I recall, lola (grandmom) mentioned that the juices are used to thicken the sauce of a dish. If you do not want this, place the sliced okra in a bowl of water to let the juices 'bleed' into it. I have tried this and true enough, dishes are not as sticky or thick.
So Sunday morning, I went to the market to get a few more ingredients, mainly the seafood, for the Seafood Gumbo. I wasn't sure what to expect with this dish since I have never had the chance to try this else where. So far it went well for me. I would make it again... For myself, that is; since not everyone was too excited with the main ingredient - okra.

2 tbsps. butter
2 tbsps. flour
1/2 cup bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large can whole tomatoes or 1/2 killo tomatoes, blanched and chopped
1 can tomato sauce
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 half kilo of fresh shrimps, shelled and deveined, reserve shells and head
1/4 kilo fish fillet, cubed
1/2 kilo squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 kilo okra, washed & sliced
1 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup crab meat

Pound the shrimp shells and heads with a mortar and pestle. Add the 1 cup of water and mix well. Strain the juices and set it aside. Discard the shells.
Heat butter in a large skillet with flour and make a roux. Stir until the roux turns light brown. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook all vegetables until onions and vegetables are tender. Add okra, tomatoes and tomato sauce, shrimp juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, thyme, chopped parsley and bay leaf. Let the sauce simmer until the okra is done. Taste sauce. Add the seafood and cook until the seafoods are cook. Try not to over cook the seafood else the squid and shrimp might become tough. Serve with hot rice.


Beef on the Run

I was running out of ideas on what to cook over the weekend. With only 2 hours and a limited supply, I had to come up with something that would satisfy our hunger. Since the beef brisket was placed out to thaw, and we had a large bottle of BBQ marinade, I would just throw in a few slices of garlic and onions to make a simple dish.
If I was not mistaken, I had about 3/4 kilo of beef brisket that was sliced into 2 x 1 1/2 x 1 inch cubes. In a hot casserole, I placed about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and seared the beef until all sides are brown. I then threw in about 4 cloves of garlic that was minced along with 1 medium minced red onion. The three ingredients were mixed together under medium heat until the onions were tender. I added about 1/2 cup of the BBQ marinade and 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp. of black pepper. Once it has reached to a boil, I lowered the flame, covered the casserole and let it simmer until the beef was tender for about 20 minutes. If the beef happens to be tough at this point, just add more water and continue to let it simmer until it is fork-tender. I removed the cover and let it simmer until only 1/2 cup of the liquid was left. Transferred this into a serving dish.

We ate this with hot rice and guinisang ampalaya (sauteed bitter gourd). If I were to make this again, I would serve this with mashed potatoes and fresh garden salad. Or apply the same procedure with chicken drumsticks (hmmmm sounds yummy).


Kulawo - Laguna's Best Kept Secret

During the summers when I was a teen, I would spend it with my aunt in the province. She learned to cook "Kulawo" which happens to be an known secret appetizer. I refer this as secret because it was the first time my aunt heard of it then and her family was raised and lived there like forever. When we tried it, it became a great hit with us and our friends. Now that my aunt has aged and has forgotten how to make this. Good thing she kept a recipe and I tried to make this with banana hearts (puso ng saging). In just two 1/2 days, it was consumed at home since it was served with almost everything.

1 kilo banana heart, shredded
2 cups grated coconut meat
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
live coal

Place the banana heart in a bowl and add salt (about 3-4 tbsps.). Let it stand for a few minutes. Squeeze out the liquid to remove the bitter taste of the banana heart. Wash the banana heart and squeeze excess water. Set aside.
In a metal pan (or any container that can withstand the live coal) place the grated coconut meat. Make a well then place the live coal in the center. Burn the coconut meat until it becomes brownish and smells slightly burnt. Remove the coal and let the burnt coconut meat cool down. Pour the vinegar into the coconut meat and squeeze the milk from the coconut milk. Strain the coconut milk to make sure that the charcoal ashes does not mix into the milk.
In a pot, place the milk, black pepper, onions and heat in medium heat without letting this boil. The milk will curdle into clumps if you allow the milk to boil. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes to cook the vinegar then add the banana heart and season with salt. Let it cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the banana heart is soft and cooked.
Note: The banana heart may be substituted with eggplants. To prepare the eggplants, grill it then peel off the skin. Slice into lengthwise and cook the same way with the banana hearts.


Garlic Oyster-ed Bok Choy

The first time we saw this in the market, both mom and I thought that this was a cute version of a "Mini-Me" petchay (also known as Pak Choi or Chinese Cabbage). But both of us had no clue how to prepare this that everyone in the household would love. We have tried to add this in nilaga (Boiled Beef or Pork Stew) and in noodle dishes. Mom's friend suggested to cook this with oyster sauce. True enough, everyone loves it, so I am sharing this with you to try our version.

3 bundles (about 1/2 kilo) baby bok choy, cleaned and washed
2-3 tbsps. garlic, minced
2 tbsps. oyster sauce
3-4 tbsps. of water or stock
1 to 1 1/2 tsps. sesame oil
1 to 1 1/2 tsps. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed in 2 tbsps. water or stock

Slice the bok choy clusters in half. Make sure that the sizes are almost uniform so that it would have the same cooking time.

Make sure that the baby bok choy are free from dirt and yellowish leaves are discarded or trimmed off. In a large deep bowl of water, immerse each cluster in the water and shake to loosen the dirt off. Once all clusters have been cleaned, run through the bok choy again in running water then set aside. This is to make sure that all the soil and dirt are washed off.

In a pot, boil about 2 cups of water with a tablespoon of salt. Blanch the bok choy for about a minute. Quickly remove the bok choy and place them in a cold iced bath to preserve the color and stop from over-cooking. Once it has cooled, drain the bok choy and arrange on the serving plate.

Mix the oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil and water in a small bowl until blended well and sugar has dissolved. set aside.

In a wok, saute minced garlic until slightly toasted but not burned. Add the sauce and make it simmer for about a minute or two. Pour in the cornstarch solution and mix well until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and pour over blanched bok choy. Serve immediately.

To store, place in a sealed plastic bag unwashed in the vegetable crisper. This will store for 3-4 days.


Crispy Fried Fresh Anchovies

My sister-in-law's mom serves this dish and it is a hit. My brother recommended that we add this to our regular meals. So the first chance I got to find fresh anchovies (or dilis in our local dialect) I bough half a kilo or almost a pound. To make sure that you get the freshest catch, make sure that the fish is whole and firm. The skin and eyes are shiny and glossy and not dull. As for size, it would be up to you. My mom recommended to get the large ones which were about an 1 1/2 inches long.

So when we got home, I tried my hand at it and so far it would definitely be added to our regular menu. So I am sharing this simple (and inexpensive) dish.

1/4 kilo or 1/2 pound fresh anchovies
1 slightly beaten egg with 3 tbsps. water
potato flour or potato starch
2 cups oil

Clean the fresh anchovies and salt it to remove the fishiness. Wash the fish again and let it drain well. Heat pan with oil. Dredge each anchovy in flour, then in egg wash, then dredge again in potato flour. Deep fry anchovies in several batches until crisp but not burnt. Remove from oil and drain excess oil in paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with vinegar and hot rice.


Chunky Guacamole

During the month of July to the early weeks of August, avocados are abundant in the markets and side streets. When we were kids, we would prepare this nutrient-booster with condensed milk and blend until smooth the freezer. My mom and us kids would devour this cold dessert the soonest it hardens. This was the only way we would prepare this lutien-riched fruit. Lutein, an important antioxidant, that helps maintain a healthy eyesight and skin as we age.
When we were visiting my brother in the States, mom was surprised to see that there were customers who would buy avocados even if they were not in their freshest state. The skins were wrinkled and dried.
My cousin brought me to a Mexican restaurant and told me to try the guacamole that came with my ordered fajitas. I was sort of skeptic but after taking the first bite, I got hooked. Now, I have two ways of preparing avocados.

4-5 avocados, pitted and diced (make sure that these are not over ripe)
1 medium onion, chopped
5 tomatoes, seeded, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
a handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
Tabasco sauce (optional)

Place diced avocados in a bowl. Add lemon juice to avoid discoloration and preserve the color. Add the onions, tomatoes and coriander leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well. Add Tabasco hot sauce to add a slight kick. Serve this with corn chips or fajitas.
For a more smoother texture, mince the onions and tomatoes and avocado. Mix well bended with the rest of the ingredients.


Prune Raisin Nut Bread Pudding

When I was staying in Florida, my landlady had too much bread that would be put to waste. I decided to make it into bread pudding. So aside from making use of the excess bread, I had the liberty to search the pantry for other ingredients that I can use. I saw an open can of prunes, a small box of raisins, a bag of chocolates, a couple of biscuits, and a tiny pack of peanuts. So I went to the grocery to get a few more items to start my mini project. And the outcome went pretty well. The top was crunchy while the center was moist and dense. I didn't add any caramel sauce since it was sweet enough as it is.

2 cups granulated sugar
5 large beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
1/3 cup prunes and raisins combined
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.
Pour bread mixture into prepared greased 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Add the prunes and raisins. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F, or until set. Remove from oven.

You may serve this with caramel rum sauce. To make the caramel sauce, mix 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 beaten egg and 1 tsp. vanilla extract in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted. Add 1/4 cup rhum and stir well until it reaches to the desired consistency. Pour over pudding or serve on the side.


First Aid # 2 What to do in case of poisoning

I would like to share with you a few tips, notes and preventive measures around the home, the kitchen (or anywhere you are for that matter). This is a continuation from my first post on first aid. I could say that the kitchen is a haven of food in every home. But it can also be a source of toxins and poisons from how we store and prepare our foods to the items we use around the home. I hope this first aid series would help each of us prepare ourselves from letting any accidents from happening and be aware of what to do if such emergencies arise.

What to do in case of food poisoning

First, how do we know if one is poisoned or signs of poisoning?
1. Odor of poison on the breath.
2. Discoloration of the lips and the mouth.
3. Pain or buning sensation in the throat.
4. Whenever bottles or packages of drugs or poisonous chemicals are found open in presence of children
5. Evidence in mouth of eating wild berries or leaves.
6. Unconsciousness, confusion, or sudden illness when access to poison is possible.

If you suspect someone you know is poisoned:

1. Speed is essential. Act before the body has time to absorb the poison. If possible, one person should begin treatmetn while another calls a physician.
2. Save and give to the physician or hospital the poison container with its intact albel and any remaining contents. If the poison is unknown, bring along the vomitus for examination.
The nature of the poison will determine the first aid measure to use.

Keep tuned. I will be posting additional tips and notes on First Aid in the upcoming days.


Chicken and Pork with Sweet Soy Sauce

With the challenge of what to cook next that I haven't tried, mom suggested that I try this recipe. I am not sure if she has even tried it though. And so, the verdict? I wasn't really a fan of it. There was something missing and I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe you can let me know where I went wrong (".")

1/2 half chicken (about 1/2 kilo), cut into pieces
1/4 kilo pork, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tbsps. garlic, chopped
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Saute chicken and pork over medium heat until the outer is brown. Add the garlic and onion and continue to stir until the onion is translucent and the garlic is tender. Pour sweet soy sauce and mix until the meats are coated. Add 1 cup water or broth and the potatoes. Let it simmer until the meats are tender and the potatoes are cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Add more liquid if necessary. Continue to simmer until the sauce has evaporated leaving about 1/4 cup. Remove from the fire and transfer in a serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Notes: Sweet soy sauce may be bought in Asian stores or on the international or Asian isles of the grocery.


Notes in buying and handling fresh tuna

In my previous post, I shared with you a recipe that called for tuna. I decided to share with you a collection of notes when purchasing fresh tuna to avoid from food poisoning. This is not complete and these are just some notes gathered as I learn the process of handling food properly.

Tips when buying fresh tuna:
1. Look for tuna steak with coloring similar to raw beef
2. Avoid with dry or brown spots. There should be no rainbow sheen on the fish.
3. The smell should be "ocean-fresh".
4. If the fish will not be immediately used, quickly store it in the coldest part of the freezer until it is ready to use. Ideal temperature would be -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C).

How to store fresh tuna:
There are several ways to store tuna until it is ready to be used.

a. Prepare a solution made of 1 tablespoon ascorbic acid crystals to 1 quart of water or 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water. Dip the fish in the solution to firm it up. Seal in plastic wrap and then in a zip-top bag.

b. To store it, pat dry, secure the meat in plastic wrap or foil. Seal in a zip-top bag.

c. Freeze the zip-top bag in a container filled with water. Squeeze out all the air and seal the bag. Freeze this up to three months.

To thaw frozen tuna:
Place the sealed package in a container with cold water. Do not use the microwave to thaw.

Mishandled tuna may lead to histamine poisoning, with symptoms such as tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing, a rash, facial flushing, headaches and a metallic or peppery taste in the mouth.

When you feel confident and comfortable, maybe you can try the Pan-seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi-Parsley Sauce in my previous post.


Spicy Spanish Fetuccini

Iberico mortadella is an Italian-style sausage made of very finely chopped, cured pork and beef with cubes of white fat. The mixture is delicately spiced with garlic and anise. It is smoked at high temperature then air dried.

"Mortadella" is thought to derive from the word "mortaio", which is Italian for "mortar". Before, it is said that the mixture was produced by pounding with a mortar and pestle. Monks in Bologna would grind their meat till it achieved a fine consistency. The grinded meat is then stuffed into a casing and cooked to make sausage.

20 slices Iberico mortadella, cut into julienne strips
10 slices of honey-cured bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
3 cups of bechamel sauce
2 tbsps. all-purpose cream
1 cup grated cheddar
1/8 tsp. basil leaves
salte and pepper
500 grams fetuccini noodles, cooked according to the package directions

Stir-fry the sausages, bacon and mushrooms in butter and bechamel sauce. Add the cream and half of the grated cheese. Season with bsil, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. Pour sauce on noodles. Top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.

Bechamel Sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp. of all-purpose flour
3 cups broth
1 eggyolk
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsps. white wine, optional
1 1/2 tbsps. all-purpose cream
a dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Melt roux out of butter and flour. Gradually add the broth, eggyolk, milk, white wine and cream. Continue stiring until thickened. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat at once and set it aside.

Notes: This recipe was made by Senor Anastacio de Alba for Iberico Exclusive meats.



I can't remember when but I know growing up, mom would cook this dish. I remember loved eating this with newly cooked rice and all the meats would be gone in a flash. The vegetables would be left and mom would try to convince us to eat it too. Of course when I grew up, I appreciate it more by eating the vegetables too. Though I have to admit that I am not a fan of sweet potatoes.

1 kilo chicken or pork cut into serving pieces
1 (250 grms.) chorizo, halved
1 (250 grms.) hotdogs/franks, sliced diagonally into 3
1 (390 grms.) pork and beans, drained
3 tbsps. butter
1 medium onion, quartered
1 tbsp. flour
3 cups beef broth
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2-3 banana (saba), cut into 3 portions diagonally, fried
2 sweet potatoes, quartered
2 bunch pechay tagalog, washed and cut
1 medium cabbage, quartered

Stir fry chorizo and beef franks. Set aside. Into the remaining fat, saute onion and add flour. Gradually pour in broth and pork and beans sauce, sugar and tomato paste. Season well. Add fried bananas, sweet potatoes, vegetables, chorizo, franks, pork and beans. Cover and simmer for 1 minute. Serve while hot.


Chicken Tinola - stew great for rainy days

Whenever I feel sick or the rainy days would set in, this soup helps calm the nerves and sooth the throat because of the presence of ginger in this dish. The young chilli pepper gives a light pepper taste to the dish too. The gizzard and liver may be omitted in this dish if desired. If young or green papaya is not available, this can be replaced with chayote.

1 kilo chicken, cut into serving pieces
chicken gizzard, cooked and cut into strips
chicken liver, whole
1 tsp. garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white onions, cut into 1/2" strips
1 small ginger, julienne
10 cups chicken stock
1 kilo green papaya, peeled and sliced
5 pcs. young chili pepper leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and saute garlic, onions and ginger. Add the chicken liver and stir until cooked. Set aside liver. In the same pan, stir the giblet and chicken pieces. Add the stock and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Put in to green papaya and boil until done. Add the chili pepper leaves and cooked liver. Remove from heat and serve with fish sauce and dayap juice.


Mapo Tofu

The first time I tried this, it wasn't one of my favorite dishes. But when we had the chance to eat in an authenitic (almost authentic) Chinese restaurant, I was hooked. I searched for the recipe and this is what I found and tried. It wasn't the same so my search is still on.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
150 grams chicken, ground
1 1/2 tbsps. soy sauce
1/3 cup water
200 grams tomato sauce
2 1/2 tbsp. dried mushrooms (tenga ng daga), soaked then sliced
1 3/4 tsp. hot chili sauce
1 3/4 tsp. sugar
150 grams firm tofu, sliced

Saute garlic, onions and chicken in oil. Add soy sauce, tomato sauce, water, mushrooms, chili sauce and sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add diced tofu and gently blend with the meat mixture. Simmmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.


Pan-Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi-Parsley Sauce

My aunt came to visit us and I decided to prepare a seafood dish for her. I saw a recipe in one of the cook books my sister bought but never used :D. I have been wanting to try this ever since I saw this and this was the best opportunity to test my skills. I have succeeded so far by not overcooking the fish and the sauce came out well with a few adjustments in the recipe. The original recipe called for dill for the sauce, but I couldn't find any after scouting numerous groceries. So I decided to replace it with the herbs I have and that would be parsley. (The second time I made this with dill, my brother wasn't a fan. He preferred the first batch.)

Let me know what you think is better?

750 grams yellowfin fresh tuna, sliced into 1/3" thick fillets
salt and pepper
1/2 lemon
olive oil or canola oil

For the sauce:
1 small container for the yoghurt
2 tbsps. full cream milk
2 tsps. wasabi paste
2 tbsps. chopped parsley
a pinch of pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce very well until all ingredients are well blended. Store the sauce in the refrigerator until we are ready to serve.

Season the tuna fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle with lemon juice and let it sit for about 3 - 4 minutes. Heat a flat pan and place about 2 tbsps. of oil. Once the oil is hot, pan sear on side of fillets until slightly brown but not cooked through, roughly a minute will do). Flip the fish and sear the other side for another minute. Try not to cook the fish through else it may be over cooked. The center should remain redish-pink. Quickly transfer the fish to a serving plate and serve the sauce on the side. (You may pour the sauce over the fish but with respect for others who are not fond with wasabi, I opt to serve the sauce on the side and let them get as much sauce they want.)


First Aid # 1 - cuts, wound

I know this is a blog that contains recipes that I have tried, tested and cherished to share with you. But I think as part of the theme of treasures that one can find in the kitchen, that would be the knowledge on how to take care of one's self when an accident happens. I will be sharing with you in some tips and knowledge on how to handle accidents that may happen at home (or anywhere for that matter).

It is important to know what to do when one accidentally gets cut to prevent from infection.

For Cuts and Abrasions:

1. Never put the part of the wounded area in the mouth. The mouth harbors germs that could infect the wound.
2. Do not breathe on the wound.
3. Do not allow fingers, used handerchiefs, or other soild materla to touch the wound.
4. Do not use an antiseptic on the wound.
5. Immediately clean the wound and surrounding skin with soap and water.
6. Hold a sterile pad firmly over the wound until the bleeding stops. Then change pad, and bandage loosely with a triangular or roller bandage.
7. Replace sterile pad and bandage as necessary to keep them clean and dry.


Ox Tongue in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

During the summers of my younger years, I would spend it in the province with my mom's sister. She loves to cook and bake. She would prepare kilawin, hardinera, baked chicken, humba, and many delicious main dishes. For dessert, I remember the logs of brazo de mercedes and custard rolls. One of the dishes we would request her prepare is Lengua or ox tongue. I would help her prepare the tongue, which I am grateful. I ask my mom and she said she didn't know how to cook the dish. So here is my version which my brother raved :D.

1 (850 - 950 grams) ox tongue
2 tsps. salt
1 head of garlic, 1/2 of the head is crushed and the other half is minced
2 tbsp. olive oil or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (284 ml) can cream of mushroom soup
1 - 1 1/2 cup beef stock
2- 3 potatoes sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup all-purpose cream
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the tongue well. Place enough water to cover meat in a pot and 2 tsps. salt. Boil the tongue for about 40 minutes. Let it cool then remove the tough skin. Boil the tongue in a fresh batch of water with 1/2 head of garlic, crushed. Continue to boil until it is fork tender. Slice the meat to 1/3" thick. Set aside. Reserve the stock for later use.
Saute the remaining garlic in olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender and caramelized. Pour in the cream of mushroom and beef stock. Add the potatoes. Let the sauce simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Add the sliced mushrooms and the all purpose cream. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes then add the meat. Season to taste. Simmer again until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. If the sauce is too thick, add more beef stock. If the sauce is too thin, allow it to simmer until the excess liquid has evaporated.


Much Creamier Corn Soup with a Twist

When we head home to the province, we would find stalls scattered by the road selling all sorts of vegetables and fruits. We would buy to bring back home because some of the items would be cheaper and definitely fresher from the ones sold in the grocery.
One of the things we would buy is Japanese corn which is harvested from Los Banos.
We would either boil it or mix it with our meals as soup, main dish, condiment or dessert.

I posted an entry before for corn soup. That is one of regular dishes we would prepare. My sister-in-law's family does their version differently. They mentioned that to make the soup more creamier, the corn is finely grated. The grated corn is then pounded or fed to a food processor to make it finer.

I did try their advice, and true enough the soup was thicker that just scraping the kernels from the cob with a knife. To have more texture to it, I added 1/4 cup whole kernels.

To experiment further, I saw a bunch of left over basil leaves that my brother used for his pasta dish. I didn't have any your pepper leaves or spinach, so I chopped a few leaves (about 2 tablespoons) and added to the soup. I didn't want to add the rest because of its strong herb taste and I thought that I would be best to just have only a hint of basil to it. And I have to admit that it was a good judgment call. Instead of overpowering, it complimented the corn.

I really suggest that you try using a few chopped leaves of basil for a different twist.


Beef Caldereta

Nanay Chit makes great caldereta. She asked me to bring home some to share it with my family. Everyone got hooked. Too bad that Nanay had to go to the US to visit her son and his family. So through trial and error, I stumbled to a recipe that is almost near to hers. I can't wait until she comes home this September.

half a head of garlic, minced
3-4 whole onions, minced
4-6 tomatoes, chopped
2-3 bell pepper, chopped
1 kilo beef, sliced into 1x1.5 inch cubes
200 grams tomato sauce*
tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1/4 - 1/3 cup liver spread
1/4 cup cheese

Quickly boil beef and remove the scum from the water. Remove the beef from the stock and reserve the liquid.
Saute garlic and onions until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are transparent. Add in tomatoes and saute until it is tender. Stir in the bell pepper. Add the beef and stir well. add enough water to cook the meat until it is fork tender. Drop in potatoes and carrots. Pour in tomato sauce and Tabasco sauce based on personal preference. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add liver spread when the vegetables are almost cooked. Stir to make it blend well. Reduce the liquid and add in cheese to thicken the sauce. Serve hot.

*Tomato Sauce - I accidentally saw that I didn't have enough tomato sauce. I only had the 90 gram pack. So I used yomato ketchup.


Broiled Pork Belly

Mom loves lechon kawali and we would prepare this on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, or days when she wants to just treat herself. Unfortunately, as the years go by, she can't indulge on too much pork pleasures for health reasons. As we would remind her, preventive measures are better than just letting our indulges get in the way :). So this made me want to try the broiling approach over deep frying. So far, with my first attempt the skin came out cripy, the meat tender and moist. Taste wise, everyone liked it except for mom. She really doesn't care for spices like five spice power, which I used for this recipe. They think the marinade would be good on chicken too. Maybe will try this and let you know.

1 kilo pork belly (with skin on, bones removed and with a thin layer of fat)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2-3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. light soy sauce
a pinch of black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. five spice powder
2 tbsp. spicy brown mustard

Dry the pork well and pierce the skin mulitple times until the whole skin is full of holes or score the skin to be able to make sure the pork dries faster and it would easily crisp. Puncture parts of the meat to allow the marinade to get through the meat. Rub 1 tsp. salt on the skin of the pork.
Mix the rest of the ingredients well and rub on the flesh side of the pork. Avoid rubbing on the sides of the pork to avoid from burning. Air dry the pork for 8 hours or until overnight.
Preset the broiler to 200C and set the pork with skin side up. Line the broiler with a pan with water to catch the drippings and for easy cleaning afterwards. The skin will start to brown and "bubble". Broil for 10 minutes. Adjust the temperature to 190C and continue to broil for 1 hour. Let the meat rest for 10 - 15 minutes and slice into 1x1 1/2 inch. Serve this with hot rice.

The next time I will try broiling pork belly, I will try to remove the marinade and season the pork with just salt and pepper. My mom would perfer this one in my opinion.


Pasta with Asparagus, Shitake and Sun Dried Tomatoes

I went to the market bought a kilo of fresh salmon fillet. Then I came across a stall selling fresh shitake mushrooms and asparagus. I called my brother if he wanted me to get some with the catch that he will be cooking it. So I got a pound of asparagus and 200 grams of shitake. So he prepared it with pasta and sun dried tomatoes. It is came out great :D

400-500 grams cooked long noodles such as Gemelli, Bucatini
1 lb asparagus, sliced into 2 inches
200 grams shitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomato, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (I reused some of the olive oil from the sundried tomatoes)
1 tsp. dried oregano or thyme or italian seasoning
salt and pepper
grated parmesan

Saute the garlic until tender in 1/2 cup oil. Avoid letting it brown to avoid a bitter taste. Add mushrooms and asaparagus. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper, and dried oregano. Add more olive oil to make sure the noodles get covered. Add tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes more. Toss in noodles and mix thoroughtly. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Baked Spareribs

On a special day, this would make everyone at home run to the table to get their fare share. I know there are alot of other baked spareribs on the net and in cookbooks that maybe better than mine and for sure you would have your own version with strings of followers. I just want to share ours and would appreciate if you have other opinions or suggestions to further improve this :D


1 kilo pork spareribs
1 cup honey or brown sugar
1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
2/3 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce or 1/2 cup chili powder*
1 cup tomato catsup
4 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed


Marinate spareribs for 2-3 hours or overnight. Boil ribs until tender in moderate fire. Be sure the sauce won't dry or be to little for basting. Transfer into a baking dish and bake for a few minutes. Serves 4-5 persons.



My cousin shared this to me when I visited her. I loved it for its taste and simplicity. A simple way to entertain in a quick way without too much hassle.

Mix together the following ingredients:

1/2 kilo plum red tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 bunch chopped green onions
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, shredded
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, shredded
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Top a tablespoon or 2 on toasted garlic bread.


Chicken Marbela

Mom isn't a fan of olives, bay leaves or oregano. So this didn't pass her standards. My brother on the other hand liked this. I guess mom isn't that much of an adveturer with her food.


4 chickens (2.5 lbs each), cut into quarters
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted olives (spanish, green)
1/2 cup capers with juice
6 whole bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley or cilantro

Put all ingredients except sugar and wine together. Marinate chicken. Sprinkle sugar and pour wine over chicken before cooking. Bake for 350 deg F for 50 - 60 minutes. Place foil or baste often until the chicken is cooked.


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