LP5 - Pinoy Christmas Around the World

Posted by JMom | Friday, December 30, 2005 | 14 comments »

It seems the only time I get to post lately is when a deadline prompts me to do so. This round of Lasang Pinoy is hosted by Mike of Lafang, and it is to highlight the different ways that we Pinoys celebrate the holidays all over the world. For us, in the American South, we have embraced the local customs in our celebrations, especially concerning the foods we celebrate with. In the past we have prepared the usual ham, turkey and all the trimmings. This year however, our second year celebrating with just our immediate family instead of our usual company of extended cousins and friends, we decided to also try something new. For some reason it also took us longer than usual to recover from the turkey dosage of Thanksgiving and couldn't bear the thought of facing another turkey on Christmas day.

So, we went with our guts literally and decided to have an Asian feast instead. Unfortunately, with the recent upgrade of our PCs to XP, we found out the software for our ancient digicam is not compatible with Windows XP and so we couldn't photograph our feast :-(

Our menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner borrowed heavily on these cookbooks:
Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko For Christmas Eve Dinner we had a Japanese menu:

Miso Soup
Shrimp & Vegetables Tempura
Pork & Chicken Potstickers
Steamed Rice
Chocolate Cake for dessert and for Santa

Sunset Chinese Cook Book For our Christmas Day Dinner, we had a Chinese menu:

Simplified Peking Duck (Inspired by the Baby Rambutan)
with Home-made Mandarin Pancakes and Steamed Buns
Lettuce Wrapped Chicken
Gai-lan (chinese greens) with shitake mushrooms
Chicken Pan-fried Noodles
Steamed Rice
Fresh Fruit: papaya, fuji apples, pears

Christmas always seems to be a great time to experiment with new recipes, and this year, experiment we did. I was rather pleased with how the mandarin pancakes came out, and judging by the steamed buns, I think I will be making sio pao soon. The pancakes were thin, and delicious around the peking duck, hoisin sauce, scallions and cilantro. The buns were a pleasant surprise though. I made them as I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to pull off making the mandarin pancakes without drying them out. The dough for the buns is the same as for making siopao, except in this case, I didn't fill them but rather made fat "tacos" with them and filled them with the duck and scallions also. Hopefully, we can get our camera problems fixed soon and I will post recipes.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

The Borrowers - LP4.5 Beyond Yemagate

Posted by JMom | Monday, November 28, 2005 | 6 comments »

This Special Edition of Lasang Pinoy is hosted by our very own Stefoodie. Visit the LP4.5 link (click on image on the left) to learn more about this topic which was prompted by yemagate and has gotten many of us food bloggers thinking how to better spread the word on the proper way to "borrow".

The internet has been a great tool for me. When the www was first bandied about, I couldn’t think of any purpose that I would use it for. Did they say you can find information online? Well, when the www was still sparsely populated, I was still able to find all the information I needed by letting my fingers do the walking. So it really was no big deal. I wasn’t a techno geek, so beyond my personal curiosity, the internet was not really offering anything new to me. Little did I know! Yeah, I know sometimes ignorance is bliss….but not all the time.

Blogging came by me unexpectedly. I was searching for Filipino dishes to try aside from the meager offerings from my collection of Filipino cookbooks; all two of them. While searching, I came across the Pinoy Cook, formerly known as the Radical Chef, and the rest as they say is history. Before you know it, I had started my own blog.

I started a blog to not only chronicle the new things I learn to cook but also to document our old recipes so that my daughters will have something to refer to someday. So from the start, this blog has never claimed to be the originator of recipes. Actually, we copied many of our recipes. Borrowing is definitely allowed in food blogging; and we’ve borrowed from various sources BUT always acknowledged that the recipes were someone elses or were based on other cooks’ recipes.

Take family recipes that we’ve posted:
There’s Momma Dot’s famous sweet potato pie. I could have claimed this as my own; I have after all modified it every time I’ve made it. Besides, if she were still alive, there would be very little chance that she would come upon her recipe on the internet unless I directed her here.

There is my lola’s (grand-mother) Dinengdeng and my mom’s Guinataan. I could have easily claimed their recipes to be mine too, but what would have been the point in that? The goal of this blog is to document for my children the recipes and ways of cooking that we pass on from one generation to the next.

Blogging and the internet allowed me to meet other people who have the same interests as me. Food bloggers inspired me to be more adventurous in my cooking, who made me want to try something new. Many of the recipes on this site are “borrowed” from their blogs. Sometimes I asked before borrowing, sometimes it was after the fact. Sometimes, I totally forgot to ask at all. But ALWAYS, in my posts, I mention where I got the recipe or idea from.

Here is an example of “borrowed” recipes. Even though the original cooks posted the recipe and photos on their sites, I duplicated them here. Again, so that my children will have a repository of the recipes we dabbled with in our kitchen.
Here's a history of the recipes posted here:
Filipino Bistek

It all started with me seeing the Pinoy Cook's version, then not too long after Stel cooked her version, so I had to borrow their ideas and create my own version.

Korean Barbeque, Kalbi started when I spied PurpleGirl's korean barbeque

It looked so good, I just had to try it too, but out of necessity, I put my own twist to it, now making it my own creation.

Sassy Chicken w/ Mushrooms & Sourcream - Another way to give credit to your borrowed recipe is to name yours after the originator.

Sassy's version and mine.

Drunk Shrimp ala Ting - Here's another named recipe.
TingAlings Nilasing na Hipon My Drunk version

Yard Long Beans with Peanut Butter Sauce There's also this yummy looking photo from Kimchijon's blog that inspired me to try something new to me:
Yard Long Beans Pecel by Kimchijon My version of the Peanut Butter Sauce

See how easy it is? Giving credit is actually going back to blogging basics which is proving links to your sources of information. It takes some work and some knowledge, sure. But if you're going to get into this thing called blogging anyway, why not take some time to learn a few tricks like creating links and trackbacks? There are many sources on the internet where you can learn how to do all the technical stuff. Look, if a techno dummy like me can do it, I'm sure a great many people who are inclined to borrow material on other people's blog can surely learn to put links back to the originator? BTW, did you notice the links on the images above? Heck, it took me forever to do those and have them working right. This post has been on draft mode for two weeks now, but I had to figure out how to make thumbnails then make them into links, so THERE!

Seriously though, the one thing I learned since I started blogging is how nice and generous food bloggers are. Just give them/us due credit and don’t assume that just because we post our recipes online that it is a free for all. Well, it is in a way, you are always welcome to try the recipes. We are flattered when you take the time to read and comment on what we have written. If you have a blog and decide to post your version of our recipe, we are glad to have helped. We only ask that you mention where you “borrowed” your material. We're all borrowers! (just don't let the cat catch you, you may have to emigrate ;-))


LP4 - Pansit Bihon

Posted by JMom | Friday, November 25, 2005 | 14 comments »

Belated Happy Thanksgiving, to all! I've been under the weather lately so I haven't been posting much. I have to admit that after the cooking marathon that is Thanksgiving, I didn't have time to actually cook pancit for the Lasang Pinoy 4 event. I had intentions to though. We had it on this year's Thanksgiving menu, but since I wasn't feeling quite 100% we decided to omit it this time and may cook it sometime this weekend instead when we are reaching turkey overload.

The photo below is one that I took sometime ago of our quick and easy pansit bihon. The theme for this month's Lasang Pinoy is soul food. Comfort food that you turn to when you are in need of a hug or just want to be reminded of good times past. Pancit Bihon does this for me. This noodle dish can be made as simply or as fancy as you want to be.

Pancit Bihon

"Soul food" is defined by Wikipediaas being ethnic cuisine traditionally eaten by African-Americans in the Southern United States. Having lived in the south for a while, I can tell you that it is an overly simplistic statement. It is so much more than just the food, it is almost indefinable. It represents so much more than cuisine, it is a lifestyle, a way of relating to family, friends and people in general, it is a way of looking at and dealing with life. Every culture, I think, have their own "soul food".

Holidays are sometimes hard for me because it is during these times that I miss my family the most. We live close to my husband's family, but mine is a good couple of thousand miles and several states away. During these times when I am missing them, I tend to turn to the foods of my soul, Filipino food. Pancit bihon is a favorite because it is one of the simplest and easiest to prepare. It is one of those dishes that you can spruce up by adding more embellishments or you can enjoy it just as well in its most basic form.

I always have a pack of pancit bihon (rice noodles) in my cupboard much the same way that rice is a staple. The most basic version I make is:

1 8-oz. pk Bihon (rice noodles)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lb. pork (sliced in small strips)
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup carrots, julliened
1/2 cup celery, sliced thin
2 cups cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Soy sauce, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste

Soak the noodles in a pan of warm water to soften. Heat the oil and stir fry pork slices until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and onions and saute until fragrant. Add the carrots and celery and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cabbage and black pepper. When the broth comes to a boil, add the noodles and mix well, adjust seasonings as needed. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the noodles are cooked through.

You can also add other ingredients to the basic recipe above such as: shrimps, Chinese sausage, green beans, snow peas, mushrooms, etc.

Traditionally, you can also use the following toppings before serving: sliced green onions, fried garlic, lemon, boiled eggs, etc.

Big thanks to Minnette for hosting this round of Lasang Pinoy.

Spareribs in Sour Soup (Sinigang)

Posted by JMom | Thursday, November 17, 2005 | 5 comments »


The weather turned cold today, after a week of mid 70's to low 80's temperature, this morning it dipped down a full 30 degrees and was in the 40's when we walked out of the house. I have also been bugged by a nasty cold for a almost two weeks now and I can't help but want some soup. The first thing to mind is some sour soup. I've posted a sinigang recipe here before, using pork hocks. I couldn't find any pork hocks, and besides, I have been told to lose a few pounds before the end of December so I couldn't very well go on eating all the fatty foods I've been indulging in lately. So this is a compromise but a very good one. I used spare ribs instead of the fattier hocks and it hit just the right spot!

I have been a bit slow (well ok, VERY slow)posting recipes lately due to several reasons. One, I've been lazy. Two, I've been busy with kids and work, and three, we upgraded our operating system to XP and we havent' figured out yet how to transfer everything to the new system including applications and documents. I just assumed that it would have picked up everything we had before, but I guess not :-( So until we get the home PC straightened out, I guess I will post all these saved photos on photobucket that either were not too interesting to blog about or just haven't had time to.

Now I'm really wanting some soup....

LP3 Pinoy Street Food

Posted by JMom | Friday, October 21, 2005 | 21 comments »

Summer has just about gone, and the grill has been put away. I'm hoping we will have a couple of nice weekends in the coming months to fire it up just one more time, but the way the sky looks today, grey and dreary as it is, it is already looking to be a thing of the past. We did take great advantage of the summer months, grilling as much as we can. So I'll try to post some of the things we threw on the barbie before their memories become too clouded in this old brain of mine.
BBQ on a Stick One of the things the girls like is anything barbequed on a stick; as did I. Growing up in the Philippines, barbeque on a stick was a common street fare food. I used to look forward to trips to the movies or the park as undoubtedly we would pass by the bbq vendors along the way. The theme for the next Lasang Pinoy event is Pinoy Street Food.

Lasang Pinoy is a collective effort of Filipino Bloggers to promote or reminisce about the food that we grew up with.

Living and growing up in the U.S., my children have little or no exposure to street food compared to their cousins in the Philippines and Asia. The society we live in now has gotten so germ phobic and sue crazy that street food is an imposibility. People will not buy from a common hawker because they fear it's cleanliness and people will not dare sell food off their porches for fear of being sued or fined for not having a permit. Kids can't even sell lemonade anymore without being subjected to legalities. Sure there is a lot to be said about the cleanliness of food casually sold by unregulated vendors, but I don't remember ever getting sick from street food either.

I grew up before McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Jollibee and the likes littered our mountain city of Baguio. Fast foods can only be had from street vendors. On our Sunday outings to Burnham Park, I can guarantee at least one treat of either peeled and sliced green mango with bagoong, kamote que (fried sweet potato on a stick covered with carameled sugar), corniks, garlic roasted peanuts, or barbeque on a stick. If we are have been good girls and extra lucky, we may even have a scoop of ice cream!

One of my more adventurous quests for food though, was to eat at the ultimate of street food, the portable restaurants. Their proper name escapes me (so if any pinoy readers can refresh my memory, please let me know), but they are mini restaurants/cafeteria, usually set up in tents or shanties either on the outskirts of the park or the wet market. They serve home made dishes at very inexpensive prices. One of the things I used to do surrepticiously, since this was absolutely forbidden (I was only 8 or 9 yrs old), is to sneak off solo into the market place and find one of these stalls that serve arroz caldo or chicken soup with rice.
Arroz Caldo
For a mere 15 cents, you can get a hot delicious bowl of rice soup, but for an additional 10 cents, you can get a piece of chicken with your soup. Either way, with or without that piece of chicken, this was the best soup ever. A lot of the enjoyment, I'm sure, came from the "grown up" feeling I always got from sitting in a restaurant (if you can call it that), ordering on your own and paying for it yourself. After eating, I would always walk back guiltily to our house, but with that fullness in my belly that only street food can provide.

Bread Pudding with Dried Fruits

Posted by JMom | Sunday, October 16, 2005 | 7 comments »

We had a bag of dried fruits from Costco which was so large that we ended up having a bit of it left after the girls have gotten tired of munching on them or bringing them form their snacks. So I though I would try to use up some of the dried fruits for our bread pudding quest.
Bread Pudding with Dried Fruits
This turned out to be not so bad, and it did use up the fruits in other ways, and the girls welcomed the change.

1 cup chopped dried fruits (apples, apricots, pears, peaches)
4 eggs
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
6 cups cubed bread

Mix all the ingredients together, pour into a buttered 9x13 inch glass pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Fish & Tofu w/ Zucchini

Posted by JMom | Sunday, October 09, 2005 | 4 comments »

Jade and I have been on a tofu kick lately; which is probably a good thing as the benefits of tofu have been extolled in varying places in the blogdom lately. So far, we've had stir fries with tofu, taho, which is a sweet dessert, and this fish stuffed tofu experiment. In this photo, the tofu is the rectangular item paired with the parmesan fried tilapia and grilled zucchini dressed with chopped tomatoes and green onions with balsamic vinegar.
Fish Tofu w/ Zucchini
We had a block of firm tofu that we weren't sure what to do with, so we decided to stuff and fry it, similar to the dimsum fare stuffed with shrimps. I didn't have any shrimps, so these were stuffed with more tilapia. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slices and slice again halfway through to create a pocket. Fill the pocket with slivers of fish or shrimp if you have it, which have been seasoned with salt, pepper and slices of green onion. Dip the slices in beaten egg, then dredge in flour, and fry until browned. Drizzle with a mixture of soy, balsamic vinegar and chopped green onions.

LP2 - Ligo Sardines Sauteed with Bok Choy

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | 12 comments »

When we were growing up in the Philippines, specifically Baguio, what I remember the most with every impending storm was the sirens. My friend TingAling provides a colorful description of the signaling system and other Baguio experiences in her entry. When the sirens go off, we knew that school will be cancelled and we'll be house bound for a couple of days at least. That's the good thing. The bad thing is, Baguio is a mountain town, and gets a lot of it's meats, fish, and other staples from the lowlands. Usually trucked up the winding roads that are prone to mud slides whenever a big storm comes, leaving the city without the basic necessities for days.

Ligo Sardines When the refrigerator has been emptied and all fresh produce have been consumed, it's time to break into the canned goods. This is my favorite, and to this day, I keep at least a couple of cans in the cupboard at all times. Ligo sardines, of course!
Our househelp, trained by no other than my lola, believe it or not, can transform this measly 5.5 oz. of sardines to feed 4 to 5 people, especially if three of them are kids like we were. She used to put so much sabaw (soup) that we just called it sardine soup.

This is my version, which I have on occation, last night was one of them just so I could post it today ;-) Since I would be the only one eating it, kids and hubby had pizza, I made it spicier than usual.
Ginisang Sardinas na may Pechay

1 tablespoon Oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 can of Ligo Sardines
4 cups of sliced BokChoy or pechay (or anything green and leafy)
1 teaspoon of fresh Habanero pepper, chopped
Patis to taste

Heat oil and sautee garlic and onions until fragrant. Add tomatoes and peppers and cook for another minute or two, then add the can of sardines. Add a can full of water and let it come to a boil. Adjust the seasoning with the patis, then add the vegetables. Cook just until the bok choy is warmed through but not overcooked. Serve over rice.

LP2 - Meat Ball Soup

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | 4 comments »

I have been blessed with good karma when it comes to storms (said with fingers crossed and knocking on wood at the same time). Typhoons, as you will soon learn from reading all the other Lasang Pinoy entries are quite common in the Philippines. For a while I had missed the torrential rains and winds these bring as I lived in southern California where it is indeed sunny 350 days a year. Ok, so maybe I exaggerate a bit, but I'm sure it's pretty close. Then we moved to North Carolina, where once again I could feel the bracing winds of hurricanes. You get what you wish for, right? So the first year after we moved here, hurricane Fran paid us a visit, toppling trees and downing power lines. We were without power for five days. Luckily, aside from a fallen tree in our backyard, we didn't suffer any damage to property.

That set us up to enjoy, well maybe mostly me only, a few days without distractions from television, radio, telephone, lights, etc. We spent daylight hours reading or playing board games. We ate mostly sandwiches, cheese, crackers, fruits, anything that didn't require cooking. After a couple of days though, we were all wishing for something warm and comforting in our bellies.

The next power outage event happened during the ice storm of 2003 when ice downed the powerlines and we were out of power for another week. We did manage to cook some food (adobo) on top of the kerosene heater, and by this time, we had wised up and had a portable gas stove handy so cooking was not as much an issue.

During both times, soup was always a mainstay. Soup just has that way of comforting anything that ails you; whether it's a virus infecting your body, mother nature's calamities, or life's many crises, soup is like a warm blanket and a mother's love all rolled up into one.

This one, we'll call the eye of the hurricane:
Eye of the Hurricane
We had made some meat balls last week and I had put some aside for later use as we had too many. So rather than the pork meat balls traditionally used for almondigas, these are beef.

Meat Balls:
1 lb. Ground beef
2 eggs
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients and form into balls.

For the soup:
Meat balls, browned either in a skillet or oven
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
4 oz. Misua Noodles
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
6-8 cups chicken stock (I didn't have beef stock)
1 teaspoon patis
Black pepper, to taste

Heat about a tablespoon of oil and saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the meat balls and soup stock and bring to a boil. Add the misua noodles and cook for about ten minutes. Season with patis and black pepper. Add the green onions, stir, and serve.

Lasang Pinoy 2 - Cooking up a Storm

Posted by JMom | Sunday, September 25, 2005 | 0 comments »

Image hosted by Photobucket.com The second round of Lasang Pinoy, cooked up by Karen and Stef is coming up, this time hosted by CeliaK of English Patis. Join us is our communal reminiscing, during this time of calamitous hurricane season in the U.S., to remember the typhoons we grew up with in the Philippines and the foods we associate with it. Visit CeliaK's guidelines and submit your recipes and/or memories on or before September 29. I hope you can join us!

Lasang Pinoy button was designed by the Ilocana Chef. Visit her site to get buttons.

Sassy Chicken w/ Mushroom & Sour Cream

Posted by JMom | Monday, September 19, 2005 | , | 8 comments »

This recipe is derived from the Pinoy Cook with very little changes. It has become a regular at our house because it is quick and easy to prepare and because the flavor suites everyone's palate.

Sassy Chicken with Mushroom Cream

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large onion, sliced
1 can of Straw Mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup of butter
3 tablespoons of sour cream
Salt & Pepper, to taste
garnish with Flat leaf parsley, chopped

In a hot pan, melt the butter and lightly brown the chicken pieces. When done, remove chicken from the pan and saute' the garlic and onions until fragrant. Add the chicken back in, add the mushrooms and sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsey leaves and stir quickly before serving.
Another 30-minute meal, including prep time!

Drunk Shrimp ala Ting

Posted by JMom | Sunday, September 18, 2005 | 3 comments »

This recipe is derived from TingAlings Nilasing na Hipon (Drunk Shrimp), which is a variation of halabos na hipon which is shrimp basically steamed in it's own juice.
Drunk Shrimp

2 pounds of Fresh Shrimps
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and saute' the ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add the shrimp, toss, add the wine, cover and steam until cooked. Season with salt & Pepper and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with steamed rice.

Crab Cakes

Posted by JMom | Saturday, September 17, 2005 | 1 comments »

Crab Cakes

Time again to clean out the photo archive. I haven't been posting as much as I cook and the back log has started to build. Here is one that was buried in the archives, which is a favorite of my husband's. He loves crab cakes, probably because he doesn't have to bother picking through the crab, and just enjoy the meatiest parts. Myself, I like to play with my food, so any opportunity to get my hands slurpy lickin' good, is a good meal. My version is culled from several crab cake recipes, where I picked ingredients I like and to proportions I think will work.

To make these crab cakes you will need:

1 pound lump crab meat (I used Philips)
1 egg beaten
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 stalk of celery, minced
1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
Bread Crumbs

I don't like having the onions & celery too crunchy, so I first sauteed the onion, garlic, and celery in a tablespoon of oil until they are tender. Let the mixture cool. In a large bowl, mix the sauteed mixture with the crabs, beaten egg, mayonnaise, tabasco sauce, worscestershire sauce, and sour cream. Season with salt & pepper and mix thoroughly but gently so the crab lumps do not break up. Form into cakes and dredge in the bread crumbs. If you have time, it helps to freeze the cakes slightly before frying. This will help them to stay intact. When you are ready to fry, heat some oil (enough to cover the bottom of your skillet - you're not deep frying) and brown the cakes on both sides.
Serve with your sauce of choice.

The New Diet Fad

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, September 07, 2005 | 2 comments »

Have you ever thought of Filipino cuisine as diet food? Food seems to be all over the bloggerdom this month of September as it is also the topic at Blogkadahan.com.

Come visit my theory on a new way to lose weight. EAT!!!

Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp in Sour Soup)

Posted by JMom | Saturday, September 03, 2005 | , , | 11 comments »

Sinigang na HiponFor our Friday night fish dinner, I decided on soup for these "head-on" shrimps that are so hard to come by around here. These again are fresh Carolina shrimps I chanced upon at the grocery store. My girls and I love soupy dishes, and this was a welcome one, despite the heat. The Clone had her vegetarian meal since I still can't get her to eat any kind of seafood. I am proud to say, that all the vegetables for this dish came from our garden.

Click here for the recipe for Sinigang na Hipon.


Posted by JMom | Monday, August 22, 2005 | , , | 28 comments »

Guinataan Halo-HaloIn the wake of the very successful Lasang Pinoy event, I now have a long list of must try recipes. One of the posts that tickled my tastebuds, is a post from WatsOn about foods cooked with coconut milk. It reminded my of my mom's guinataan. She cooked some while I was in California last month, and it was really delicious. Unfortunately, the next night, on the second go round of it, she forgot about it being on the stove heating, and burned the bottom, ruining our second helpings. WatsOn's post about coconut milk just made me crave it again, so I thought I've make us a batch this past weekend. So pareng WatsOn, this one's for you ;-)

Continue for the recipe...

Pinapaitan ~ Lasang Pinoy!

Posted by JMom | Thursday, August 18, 2005 | , , , | 20 comments »

Pinapaitan The first Lasang Pinoy event is here, and it is to commemorate Ninoy Aquino Day. I am ignorant to political details so I wouldn't be able to tell you much about the background of Philippine politics that catapulted Benigno Aquino Jr. to legendary status.

This dish is an acquired taste and some would say it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Read more about why I chose Pinapaitan for this first round of Lasang Pinoy.

Lasang Pinoy

Posted by JMom | Monday, August 15, 2005 | 3 comments »

In the wake of a Filipino being named head chef at the White House, let me invite you to another event celebrating Filipino cuisine and the Pinoy Cooks who manage to infuse the taste of the islands in everything they do, Lasang Pinoy!

Pinoy cooks and food bloggers will post recipes monthly, depending on a common theme. To kick off this venture, we will be posting recipes commemorating Ninoy Aquino Day which is this month. What were you doing between 1983-1986? Check out Karen's description of the event and I hope you will be able to join us. You don't have to have a food blog, or even a blog for that matter. Just let Karen know and she or one of us can host your entry.

Lasang Pinoy
Thanks to Dexie for the buttons for this event

White House Kitchen Names Pinay Head Chef

Posted by JMom | Monday, August 15, 2005 | 0 comments »

The news article says she is the first female to head the White House Kitchen. What's even greater for us as Filipinos is that she is one! Cristeta Comerford, who graduated from the University of the Philippines was the assistant chef prior to this promotion. Hubby and I saw her in a previous news story and we had been wondering what her nationality is. He'll be glad to know his guess has been confirmed ;-)

Congratulations, Ms. Comerford!

Titos Tacos

Posted by JMom | Monday, August 15, 2005 | 3 comments »

Titos Tacos is not only a dive, but is also an institution. If you grew up in West Los Angeles, you would know what I'm talking about. They have been at this location for over twenty years. The line never ends, no matter what time of day you go. If you talk to the people in line, you would inevitably run into people like me who have moved out of the area but still come back for a dose whenever they are back in town. A couple of ladies I was talking to while waiting for my order now live outside of L.A., but happened to be in the neighborhood, so they were stocking up on burritos and tamales.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The menu is simple and straight forward, the prices have not changed much either.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The food is nothing special by most standards, just chile con carne, made into tacos, burritos, tamales or enchiladas. Served alone or with beans and/or rice, and the always present homemade chips and salsa. Actually everything is homemade, even the guacamole. Titos Tacos is comfort food. Something you remember from your childhood that somehow has infused into your veins.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Though the lines usually stretch all the way to the sidewalk, the wait is never as long as you would expect, thanks to the well oiled operation that Titos Tacos is. They have a large staff of ladies and men who turn out your orders in a jiffy. It really is a marvel to watch.

The food is just as comforting as I remember, when we used to drive down from our high school, which was just down the street on Venice, for lunch or for an after school snack before heading home. One of my high school friends who went home to the Philippines for college would always make a point of getting her Titos Tacos fix whenever she came to visit and she always ordered extra to freeze and take back with her. I do the same, I make this yearly pilgrimage now that I live out of state, just to get a dose of nostalgia.

Cookbook Meme

Posted by JMom | Sunday, August 14, 2005 | 2 comments »

Before my summer vacation, I was tagged by the Baby Rambutan, Stel, for this meme. So here it is finally, a bit late.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

1. Total number of cookbooks I own: 40-50 Not including magazines

2. Last cookbook I bought: The latest cookbook I own, I did not buy but a birthday gift from Jade, who truly knows what pleases me the most.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

3. Last food/cookbook read: Still reading...Monet's Cookery Notebooks by Claire Joyes. Blending Monet's biography, artwork, and cooking; what could be a better combination?

4. 5 cookbooks that mean a lot to me:
Fanny Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham - the first cookbook I ever purchased for me, and has been my bible ever since.
Let's Cook with Nora by Nora Daza - a gift from a very good friend who is great at Filipino cooking.
Lutuing Pilipino (katutubo at Makabago) ni Aling Charing - Another gift from another friend who also knew I needed a lot of help in Filipino cooking :-)
Old North State Cooking - a gift from my Mother-in-Law, to help me cook the North Carolina way.
Great Dishes of the World by Robert Carrier - probably the oldest book I own, found at a rummage sale.

5. 5 other people whom you'd like to see fill in this tag...
I think this tag has found the end of the line. I think most of the food bloggers on my links have been tagged already. If there are any readers out there who haven't been tagged, please feel free to continue on.

Southern vs. Filipino Breakfast

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | , , , | 8 comments »

My husband loves breakfast, and since the girls went on summer vacation, we have been indulging too much. We've even had breakfast food for late dinner! We got us some true blue country ham, which reminds me of tuyo (salted, dried sardines), strangely enough, because of it's saltiness, and it's strong smell. It smells a bit like funky feet, but if you can get past that, which really, it dissipates as it cooks, is really quite delicious.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
On this day, since we had plenty of green tomatoes, we decided to have some fried green tomatoes along with liver pudding (another southern specialty) and country ham, of course accompanied with buttery grits. Yummy cholesterol heaven!

The ham is so salty that I parboiled it first and threw out the first water, added a bit more and boiled it down until all the liquid has evaporated and the ham started to sizzle and take on some color. After the ham has browned, my mother in law used to deglaze the pan with coffee, producing what they call red-eye gravy which is then drizzled over the grits. I like frying rice in the same pan and getting that good country ham flavor all over the fried rice.

I have also taken a liking to fried green tomatoes which is simply dredged in flour and fried. We couldn't wait for the tomatoes in the garden to ripen, so this was a great way to have a sampling.

In contrast, this is my hubby's favorite Filipino breakfast meat, tocino.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
This was my first attempt at making tocino at home, and it wasn't too bad, if I do say so myself. I simply marinated thin slices of a boston butt pork roast in apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and black pepper. No coloring, so this doesn't have the usual reddish color, but the flavor was good. I cooked the tocino over low heat until all the liquid evaporated and the marinade started to caramelize and take on that golden color. Tip from my dad: cook it slow, don't over cook it, and you will have a tender tocino. It worked!

Chinatown Street Food

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | | 2 comments »

One of my favorite things to do in L.A. is visit Chinatown. Not only do you find great bargains, but also great food, and yes, even street food. Too bad that we forgot to take a photo of it, but we even saw them squeezing fresh sugar cane for a natural sugar high.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Yard Long Beans with Peanut Butter Sauce
The yard long beans from our garden have been bountiful, and I wanted to try a new recipe using them. Sometime ago I saw a recipe for long beans pecel and I had been wanting to try it. This was my chance. Pecel is an Indonesian peanut butter based sauce usually served over boiled vegetables. One of the cookbooks I bought called New Asian Cooking (published by Bay Books) has an Indonesian recipe called Gado Gado, and it has a peanut sauce recipe on it too, but I found another version here that I thought might be a tad better, and has the ingredients that I have on hand. I changed the proportions some, and made a couple of additions. I think my version was not so bad. My husband loved it, and we almost ate the whole thing!

Start by preparing all the ingredients:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
About a pound of Yard Long Beans - I decided to leave the beans long, as I thought it looked prettier this way than cut up. If the kids had been home, I may have cut it up to more manageable size.
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Ginger, minced
1 fresh, red cayenne pepper, chopped (about 1 tsp)
2 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
1/4 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime or about 1 tablespoon.
1 teapoon chopped basil leaves

Blanch the beans for about 5 minutes or until tender, and drain. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and saute garlic, ginger and onions until fragrant and tender. Add the cayenne pepper, oyster sauce, fish sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar and heat through. Add the basil leaves and remove from the heat. Pour the sauce over the beans and enjoy!

Cooking Meme

Posted by JMom | Sunday, July 17, 2005 | | 4 comments »

Being tagged for a cooking meme by CeliaK brought back a flood of memories for me, so I decided on a slightly different take on the meme. I have combined the first three questions, so I can reminisce a little about my lola, who was an early influence on my cooking, and growing up in the province.

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
Who had the most influence on your cooking?
Do you have an old photo as "evidence" of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?

Cooking, it seems, has always been a part of my life starting with the first tea set and kitchen set I received for Christmas presents. But my first “real cooking” experience happened during one of our many visits to my lola’s (grandmother) house in the province. As young as 7 or 8, we were allowed to play with fire. Actually, I remember her teaching me how to build a fire on her wood stove at this age. During harvest time, we are allowed to throw sweet potatoes or corn to roast in the fire. My favorite game growing up is playing house, because then I get to cook.

I had a miniature set similar to my grandmother’s own clay stove and pots. My set is long gone, but I found this set during our last vacation to the Philippines. I am glad I still have it to share with my girls.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The set I played with wasn’t this fancy, it was just as plain as my grandmother’s real stuff, and by the time I had used it a few times, it was as blackened are hers were.

Now that I have my own children, I fuss at them for all kinds of stuff including warnings about burning the house down. Then, I think back to this time in my childhood when it wasn’t unusual for us to build a fire to cook on. I had a clay pot just like this, and I would use the small kindling sticks that my grandmother would cut to build a fire and cook rice. She never hesitated to give us a small cupful of rice to cook as we please. We gathered vegetables and fruits from the farm to experiment on. Most of the time though, our recipes consisted of boiling them with a bit of salt. We would eat what we cooked too.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
I’m willing to try cooking almost anything, but the things I fear I tend to procrastinate on. Soufle’s are one of them, or anything that has the possibility of “falling”. That’s why I am still hesitant at baking cakes. I guess soufle’s and airy cakes are next in my repertoir.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
My most valued kitchen gadget would be my 16 year old Oster Kitchen Center. I bought it to mix cakes and breads but I grew to appreciate the other features that came with it like the blender and food processor. It is probably one of the oldest gadgets I have and it’s probably nearing its end. I would surely miss it when it finally gives up on me.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like and probably no one else.
This is a really hard one for me to answer as I don’t think any of my food combinations are weird. If it tastes good, I’m all for it. One of the the food combinations that most of my American friends find strange is Avocado as dessert/sweet. I grew up eating avocado as dessert, so I don’t find it unusual at all.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
Fruits, vegetables, and rice.

3 quickies:
favorite ice cream … Haagen Dazs Coffee
you will probably never eat … anything that smells foul or unsanitary
signature dish … any Filipino dish becomes my signature dish, since most of the time, I am the only Filipino where I live now.

I pass this meme on to any who haven't been tagged yet, and I hope Jade will answer some of the questions too.

Fruits of the Garden

Posted by JMom | Saturday, July 16, 2005 | , | 5 comments »

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The veggies from the garden have started coming in, and we can't get rid of them fast enough! The zucchini and cucumbers have been putting out like crazy, the tomatoes are finally ripening, and the "sitaw" or yard long beans have gone nuts. We have so much of the long beans, we don't know what to do with them. I think I'll try blanching and freezing some, just to see how well they do. I prefer fresh vegetable to frozen ones. There aren't very many people here that know what to do with them. There is one Chinese girl at work who does though, and was she ever glad to have them! I gave her a whole bag. The long beans are now in some of the grocery stores here, but they are still very expensive, about $2.99 a pound, so I haven't been buying much. Plus, they just don't have that fresh sweet taste that they get when they are fresh off the vines. The corn has started coming in too, so by the time the girls get back in a couple of weeks, they should be ready to eat. The sunflowers have started blooming, and in a couple of weeks they should be in full bloom, just in time for the girls' homecoming.

Snails Ilokano Style (Leddeg)

Posted by JMom | Saturday, July 16, 2005 | , , , | 5 comments »

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Karen's comment in the Manila Bulletin article below about rice paddy snails reminded me of this delicacy. My mom visited last month to pick up the girls, and while she was here we made a trip to the Chinese grocery store in Raleigh. I have seen these snails there before, but I never bought any because one, I wasn't sure if they were the right kind and two, I wasn't sure how I would fix it. She was excited to see these, because she says she hadn't even seen them in LA. She says they are called "leddeg" in Ilokano. I think they are river snails.

When we got them home, we gave them a good washing and soaked them in water for a while. Mom was glad to see they had prepped them already. Apparently, you have to break or crush the bottom part of each snail, to release the pressure and make the flesh easier to get to once they're cooked.

These were cooked simply, in boiling water with onions and ginger with a bit of tamarind powder thrown in. My mom liked the soup a lot. I hate that I didn't think about it, but I probably could have thrown in some pepper leaves for added flavor, and I sure have lots of pepper leaves in the garden. Ah, well, maybe next time.

Manila Bulletin Roundtable

Posted by JMom | Sunday, July 03, 2005 | , | 11 comments »

Miss Annalyn S. Jusay, of the Manila Bulletin has graciously included us in her recent roundtable of food bloggers. She sent a few of us Filipino food bloggers questions about our blogs, and our take on food. We got a bit carried away answering her questions that she has to break up her article into two parts :-). Other food bloggers in the roundtable are: Karen of the Pilgrims Pots & Pans, TingAling of the World Class Cuisine, CeliaK of the English Patis, and Stef of Stefoodie.net.
Go check out the roundtable, part I.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Photo compliments of Karen at Pilgrims Pots & Pans.