Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Daddy Day! Hurray!

It was Father's day last Sunday and
we hosted a luncheon to celebrate it.

Same drill, different event - there is always
menu brainstorming with Rica.

So what happened? We came up with a couple of dishes that are manageable to cook
and will not add to our current stress levels! HAHAHA!

As a start, we had Nido Soup.

I admit I was quite lazy to sport a chowder or a boullabaise soup.
I am so glad to have my Knorr collection of instant soups, got the Knorr Nido Soup (cooked per instructions in the pack)
and just added
quail eggs, peas,
corn and carrots to add more life and color to it!

I requested Rica to cook one of my favorite dishes of hers. I call it Talong and Lasting Love.

in reality, we have no idea about its official recipe name.
So I guess we can call it: Ground Pork
with Mushrooms & Eggplant in Bean Paste - Chinese style. Yum!

Then I cooked Cream Dory in Lemon Butter Sauce,
a new family favorite

This was my second time to cook this, so the mastery of the subject was kind of already there... and all I can say is I can never get enough of it! How I wish I can breed this fish in our pond! *sigh*
A gazillion thanks to Mr. Marketman for sharing this recipe! Thank you!

We also had Chicken Barbeque...

The dream grill is still in the store waiting for hubby's return. So in the meantime, I used my ever reliable churbo (turbo) broiler. Is it still called Chicken Barbeque then?
Ok, it's Churbo Chicken Barbeque with
Papaya Atchara on the side! ;-)
For this, I used the
delicious Barbeque Marinade of Mama Sita's
and added lots of fresh pepper in the marinade.

OK, so my dad loves pancit canton. In lieu of the occassion,
I know he will be very delighted to see
this waiting for him on the table.

Since his (my dad's) ancient times, he orders pancit canton in any resto, as long as he sees it on the menu. Hindi siya nag sasawa. As in. Just like me with KFC, Jollibee Chicken Joy or Adobo.
May pinagmanahan ang lola niyo!

For a little change, I tried the Crispy-Fried Pancit Canton. Thank you TaGa_Luto for sharing your recipe! I just made a few changes using what I had available that day ;-)

Note: Put the snow peas as the grand finale to keep its crunchyness and its green lively color.
That, I failed to do! Look, o, the snow peas lost some of its happy greeness :(

Daddy Dino (hubby's dad) brought some Lechon cuts from Lydia's.
It just disappeared.
I think it lasted for only 5 minutes or less on the table.
I was not able to lay a finger on it.
So therefore, no photo op for the piggy = No lechon for me. Waaah!

Dessert was definitely effortless. Rica brought delicious cookies made by her cousin Aika and the famous Rocha's Delicious Puto-Kutsinta - Marikina's pride! My dad brought cake rolls and macapuno candies from Red Ribbon. Can you just imagine my blood sugar rising???
'nuff said. ;-)

This luncheon is another JUBIS episode in my life.


You Know I'm Just Kidding!


At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what food you have on the table. What matters most is how you shared it happily and lovingly with one another. What matters most is that your family sticks together
through thick and thin (in all aspects!).

And I am proud to have a family like that!

To my Papa Pepe and Daddy Eddie, to my daddy in law Daddy Dino and my dearest hubby,
thank you for being the great dads that you are!

There's this quote that says: a Mom is God's love in action...

And I say, so is a Dad!

Happy Father's Day! :-)

Football Photo of Little J with Dad courtesy of Kitty Buñag Photography


Lunch time: Boneless Bangus Steak

Though I love daing na bangus (pickled/marinated milkfish), sometimes, I just get bored with it. and that sometimes is now.

It is really a challenge for me to spend time taking out all the fishbones, especially the little ones! Hay! Katamad! If only I can have someone do it for me! Haha!

Thank goodness for the person who thought of filleting/deboning fishes. You are a master!

I was staring at my deboned milk fish, and asking myself if I should start marinating. Then
I thought maybe I should do something else with it. Then came a flashback of my childhood:

When I was a kid, our household serves a nice and simple bangus steak: just fried bangus and we eat it with sauteed onions in a mix of soy sauce and water. Oh, how we loved it! Especially the belly, bursting with oil! :D

So I decided to make bangus steak for lunch, with a few enhancements. Making the sauce really thick, that of a bistek tagalog sauce (beef steak). I think this pretty much makes the meal more delicious, as opposed to having your sauce malabnaw (sauce that is not thick, like it has more water than any of its other ingredients!) Ah, ehem, can some genius please tell me what malabnaw is in English? Thank you in advance! :)

The bangus parts were rubbed with some salt and pepper and were fried until golden brown and were set aside. For this dish, I fried a medium sized boneles bangus courtesy.

For the topping and thick sauce:

2 medium sized white onions, cut into rings
about 2 to 3 tbsp STAR MARGARINE garlic flavor
about half a cup of soy sauce
calamansi juice (about 6 to 8 calamansis, I think!)
4 tbsp brown sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
Pepper to taste
about 1 tsp of conrstarch diluted in about 1/4 cup of water

The Way:

sauté the onions using the margarine as your oil, until the onions become a little soft, but not translucent and wilted. Otherwise the ring effect will disappear! I like using STAR MARGARINE garlic flavor. Set aside.

In the same pan, put the soy sauce, calamansi juice, sugar, pepper, let it simmer then add the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce. simmer again until you see that the sauce becomes thick enough but not becoming pasty like.

The What Ifs:
Do the taste test.

If too thick, add a bit of water. If too salty, add a bit of water and/or calamansi. If it's too sweet or too sour, or if it needs more salt, just add a few pinches of salt or a little soy sauce. If the sauce is still not thick enough, add a little more of the conrstarch and water mixture.

I guess it's up to you, your taste buds and your cooking instincts ;)

Pour over the sauce onto the fried boneless bangus, and top it with the onion rings.

Serve with warm white rice and COKE. (O, diet!)

Let's save time and effort! Let's go boneless!

PS: I also cook my sinigang na bangus sa miso using
boneless bangus! Hubby also does not like taking off fishbones and he loves sinigang na bangus! It's worth a try! ;)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread and Custard Top

Banana is a staple fruit in our household. Hubby loves it, little Javier loves it, I love it and my Angels love it! Yeah, as in everybody in the house!

When I do my weekly Friday market with Dad in Law, I always make it a point to buy ripe lacatan bananas and well, as said, since everydody loves B-A-N-A-N-A-S, it would take only 3 days and they are gone, gone, gone. As a homemaker, I want to have a stock of it since we always run out of it. So last week, I decided to buy the green ones (aside form the ripe ones), those that are about to reach their riping glory in a couple of days. Me - wishing that it will be enough of a wait until the ripe ones disappear.

For some reason, the green lacatan bananas ripened so fast (is it the weather?) that we were already
na u-umay to eat them. We are avoiding it to reach the rotting stage and be thrown into the garbage with a sad face.

Thank goodness I have Yummy Magazine for this month (for May too!) and I have found the perfect way to use them and justify their presence and usefulness! Thanks to Aileen Anastacio's recipe! It's soooooooooooooo d-lish!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread by Chef Aileen Anastacio (Yummy Magazine, June 2009, p30-31)

1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup corn oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan

2 Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. (the first four!)

3 In another bowl, combine brown sugar and corn oil. Add eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mashed bananas.

4 Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Stir until combined. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Pour mixture into the loaf pan.

5 Bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Remove bread from the oven then allow to cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool for another 15 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

Just a thought:
I think you can add one or two more bananas to give more banana-full-a-flavor!

So after the success of the banana chocolate chip bread (Thank you Lord!), my next plan was to create a collaboration of the bread and a custard recipe (well, i guess, even food/recipes can collaborate! Hindi lang si Justin Timberlake at Madonna! Oh, I love JT!)

Where will the custard go? On top of the bread just before serving. Parang icing effect!

I found this nice custard recipe in Good Housekeeping's Easy Everyday Meals vol 6. It's not too sweet, that's why I like! And my party people liked it too!

For the custard (got this from the Banana Cream Pie recipe, p134) :

2 cups of fresh milk
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of fresh milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

mix 2 cups of fresh milk, white sugar and salt over low heat. In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of fresh milk, then whisk in egg yolks. Combine the two mixtures and cook, whisking constantly, over low heat until it thickens and bubbles, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the custard from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Then transfer to a bowl and cool. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

I am glad to have at least a cheap icing bag with a few pins to go with it for only a hundred something pesos!
Heheehee! Ang arte ko!

Hmm.. why not add a few sprinkles of Cinnamon Powder?

Wow! That was fun!!!

Just thinking, maybe next time, I will add a little cream cheese in the custard! What yu tink?

And this was another unexpected morning baking session! I like impromptus!

I know, i know, this is another pampa-jubis (keyword: majubis) food but what the heck, it's yummy! And it happened in God's and nature's perfect timing. Me and my bingeing time! :P So ladies, let's eat sweet!

Happy weekend! :-)

Pasta Moment: Spaghetti All'Alfonso

My cousin Marian and Katrina introduced me to this pasta dish when we pigged out in Cibo circa 2007. I was still pregnant then with little J that time. I loved it so much but I couldn't think of how to do it!

If it weren't for my good friend Sheila's skills and cooking talent, who would have thought that this pasta dish can be made at your own home, in your own kitchen, anytime you like -- for less? Thank you, Marce!!!

However, since I do not have
Rigatoni pasta available, I used spaghetti noodles instead, so what d heck!

Rigatoni All'Alfonso (Shrimps, chives, stewed tomato, cream, chili peppers) is one of the best pasta dishes I have ever tasted. I usually order their Spaghetti Alla Pescatora (Sauteed seafood, stewed tomato) but when I had a taste the Alfonso, I already changed favorites right after my first mouthful of it. :-)

I am indeed greatful to CIBO that they are so generous to put the ingredients
in their Menu. Yahoo! And it's up to you how to put them all together!

What did I use?

Cooked spaghetti pasta

For the sauce:

Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic

medium sized onion, chopped

Canned Peeled Tomatoes (don't forget to out the seeds first!)

about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce (extra, but optional!)

1 pack of Nestle All Purpose Cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 kilo of shrimps, peeled and deveined
Chili Pepper Flakes (some for the sauce, and some for garnishing)
Spring Onions chopped, for garnishing

Parmesan Cheese, for garnishing

Note: Finding out that you can actually use Canned Peeled Tomatoes is the easiest way to sport this dish, instead of going through the process of stewing tomatoes!
So the how to --- saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent, then add the tomatoes and the sauce from the can and crush them. You can actually add a little more tomato sauce of you like. Then add the cream, salt and pepper, chili pepper flakes and let it simmer. Taste a teaspoonful and if it's all good, throw in the shrimps and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the shrimp is cooked. Let's not overcook!

Ready your pasta on a plate, pour over a ladle full of the sauce on it, sprinkle some more chili peppah flakes if you want, chopped chives and your parmesan cheese!

Delizioso! :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Molten Cheese Risotto Patties

I like cutting out recipes from magazines or newspapers. Especially if the photo looks really enticing and mouthwatering! I have a lenten special recipe cut out from The Inquirer last year and I said to myself that I am really gonna make it very soon.

How soon was soon? Let's say, after 365 days or so! And just in time for the Holy Week, on a Maundy Thursday here in my cooking kingdom.

This is a "project" that I proposed to Rica a couple of days before the Holy Week.
Shyempre, game si sister! So let's go!

I learned from the OB boys, especially from Chef Richmond (hubby's friend) that cooking Risotto is no joke at all.

So there we were stirring like crazy for about 3 hours... It took us about 5 hours for the preparation and cooking time. Whew!!! But hey, it was really worth it! Thank you to AG and my house angels for helping us! As sung by The Wonderpets on Nick Jr., "What's gonna work? Teamwork!"

The original recipe is called Molten Cheese Risotto Balls. So why oh why did we make it into patties?

Let me tell you a story: We really did make balls at first. Please see photos below:

Yup! My hands!

See!?? BALLS!!!

But the ending was:

Not so-BALL looking balls aren't they? :(

Why did we not achieve perfect deep fried balls?

Maybe the balls would have to sit for a couple of hours or overnight in the freezer to make the balls firm enough so they won't melt during deep frying! Wekwekwekwek!

But we enjoyed it that night, anyway! ;-)

So the following day, after some moments in the thinking chair, with a little enhancement on this "full of effort" meal - I decided to transform the balls to patties and coat them with more bread crumbs - a mix of the ordinary ones and the Japanese. After doing so, I kept them all in the freezer overnight and fried a few patties the next day and have seen great results!

Since the risotto patties were already full of cheese, I intended to make a non-cheesy dip as opposed to the original recipe. So what could be best with this cheesy meal? Ting!! Another light bulb moment: why not a marinara sauce a la TGI Friday's fried mozarella!

For the home made marinara sauce, here's what I used:

a can of peeled tomatoes (I used Molinera)
** if this is not available, you can definitely use fresh tomatoes (about 4)! Just peel them and take out the seeds and chop

olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
about 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped, you can add some more if you want it more garlicky!
dried herbs: basil, oregano, marjoram and parsley
salt and pepper

The way:
in a pan, saute the onions and the garlic in olive oil, then add the peeled tomatoes with some of sauce from the can. Crush the tomatoes and then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes!

Presto! Ready to serve!

I feel blessed that my pantry has a few cans of peeled tomatoes waiting for their own spotlight! How convenient was that? :) Thank you Lord! :)

When you try this, just remember to start early! Better yet, as learned from Rica (on her 2nd attempt!), the risotto rice can be well done faster when you use a shallow sauce pan! The long wait is over! Thanks, sis! :)

Hot, crispy, cheesy and golden brown! This is great with wine! Cheers!

P.S. All the photos were taken during night time! Waaah! Ok lang busog naman ako! Hehe!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Focaccia Fantasia!

Isa na yata akong panadera.. A feeling gourmet panadera HAHA!

I have been fantasizing on making homemade bread for quite sometime and have been dreaming to dare to bring it to reality! So my friends, this-is-really-is-it!!!

I was doing the Ini mini miny
moe between baking focaccia bread or baking pan de sal. Well..the pan de sal recipe requires a lot of flour...AND EFFORT.

But it was such a blessing in disguise that I have an excuse not to make the latter as I only have a couple of cups of flour left in the pantry.

So the pan de sal will be done next next time. (ah.. eh.. next time = sa susunod na sweldo! and if the effort is already there!HA!)

As mentioned before, I am really not a "measure" person, learned from my family to go by my instincts when cooking - by the taste, by the smell, by the look. But for baking - sabi nga ni Lolo Wolfgang Puck sa Lifestyle Network: "Baking is like architecture, you have to measure every singel thing...(lah-lah-lah)..or the building will crumble and it will all fall down!" - something to that effect. I really cannot remember all. Hmph.

So be it.

Since I really really wanna make home made bread, I have no choice but to measure. :)

I got the Focaccia Bread Recipe here. And the kneading how-to here. Thanks thanks!

Tic-tac-tic-tac...looking at the kitchen clock. Dug-dug, dug-dug, tigidig, tigidig - My heart was beating faster. I was just so nervous. Wondering what will happen to my first ever homemade bread!

So with a deep breath, I opened the oven and made a not so loud sigh and placed the pan on the cutting board.

Ready with my bread knife, I said to myself, it's the moment of truth!

Hmmm... smells goooood! Eh, may chance naman pala! :-) I guess, I can say, this an OK result for a first time bread maker, huh? Wat u tink guysh?

Just serve it warm and dip it in a mix of Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, a little of salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese and assorted herbs. Maybe next time I will have sundried tomatoes to go with it or any other dip I fancy.

SupeRoss, what's the dip called? Sorry Marce, I can't remember it anymore! Please refresh my memory! Thanks!

For our dip at home, I used the dried herbs from McCormick Basil leaves, Rosemary, Marjoram and Oregano for the herbs. If you have the "Italian Seasoning" from McCormick, then it's good to use it too!

Yeah, who ain't dreaming of an herb garden someday! I know!
If you have fresh herbs right under your nose, go go go ahead and use 'em! ;-)

Baking bread is a fun and fulfilling experience. I am looking forward to making some more soon! Kahit anong tinapay!

I can say it is an achievement when you see the smile on your husband's face and hear him say "Wow, fresh bread!
Ang galing mo mommy!" hehe, *kinilig naman ako!*

My little Javier just can't get enough of it and he keeps on saying "Bhed! Bhed!" (Bulol pa siya --- but yes he meant,
bread! bread!)

And my house angels loved it too! Excited narin sila mag bake bake-an! Why not dabah!??

So there you go! No more need for Italiannis or any Italian resto when you crave for this kind of bread!

Yeah baby, home is where it's at!

Note: Hi Rain! Suuuuper thanks for teaching me the "linking process"! Oh my goodness I'm such a neophyte blogger! ;-)
Baka ma-addict ako sa pag link link! Hehe! Thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The SquaCarrot Soup (Squash and Carrot Soup)

Heto akooooooooo basang basa sa ulaaaaaaaaaan! Walang masisilungaaaaaaan, walang makakapitaaaaaan!

Ay.. sorry!!! Naku.. ehem. ehem.. I just got carried away. It's raining cats and dogs here and the wind is blowing so damn hard... and the soundtrack in my head is this famous jukebox song of one of my favorite jukebox groups. Haha!

I know it should have been "Raindrops keep falling on my head..." or "APO Hiking Society's "Pumapatak nanaman ang (j)ulan sa bubong ng bahay..." Hehe.. Maybe next time!

We all know that nothing beats a warm soup on a rainy day. May it be chicken soup, Nilaga, Sinigang, your Lucky Me Instant Noodles or your D-I-Y a.k.a. "Maski Paps" soup. :)

I am a BIG fan of the famous CIBO squash soup ~
Crema Di Zucca (summer squash, cream and bacon slab... Hello Tita Gaita! Etchos feeling close!) but when hubby took me to Felix (naks, nag date kami!), I fell in love with their Fuyubare - a mix of Pumpkin, Carrots and Chestnuts. So the recipe copycat in me wanted to try it at home, and just made a few changes to make it slightly original ;)

I like the
Fuyubare because there's that sweet kick in the soup from the carrots that I wouldn't normally taste from a squash soup. Also, here in my world, I can only grab the native kalabasa from my suking palengke. Therefore, I have no access to any pumpkin , nor the summer, winter and autumn squash. Unless someone will be so kind to give me some. hihi. OR if hubby will take me to the Salcedo or Legaspi weekend market sometime soon. (OO, nagpaparinig ako!)

I am not a chestnut girl so this is X'd out but the major ones of course stays on stage - mr. squash and ms. carrots.

I call this The SquaCarrot Soup (say it using your call center accent, c'mon!

On the photo I used:

Squash/Kalabasa about 1/4 K, cut in cubes
3 medium sized carrots, cut in cuubes
1 tbsp of butter
1 medium sized white onion, minced
Roasted Green and Red Bell Peppers, chopped
Squash and Carrot broth
1 Knorr Beef Cube
Nestlé All Purpose Cream (1 small carton)
Fresh Milk, about half a cup
a few dashes of Nutmeg to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parley Flakes for garnishing

The Way:
Boil the squash and carrots until tender then set aside the veggies and the broth.

On medium heat, in your pot, melt the butter and saute the onions and the roasted bell peppers.
Add the boiled squash and carrots and a bit of the broth, then simmer for about 5 minutes.

After simmering, put the mixture into your electric blender and purée it. Otherwise, you can also use your fork or potato masher (less kitchen tools to wash! saves electricity too!)

Then put the mixture again in the pot, then add some more broth until it looks "soupy" enough, then add the rest of the ingredients: Knorr Beef Cube, All Purpose Cream, Fresh Milk, about half, a few dashes of Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper to taste then bring to a boil. CAREFUL and don't come too close to the pot, the soup pops when it's really boiling hot! I know,
natalsikan na kasi ako!

Note: If you don't want the soup to be very creamy, just lessen the amount of the all purpose cream and add more of the veggie broth.

Put the parsley flakes on top and some more pepper if you want when you are about to serve.

Best with croutons, or toasted garlic bread, or pair it with rice and fried fish or rice and roasted chicken! Yum! (bakit laging may kanin? hehe!)

Hope you can try this at home!

Now back to singing... :)