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July 30, 2008

Longa-Burger

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Longa-burger

Longa as in longaniza, the Filipino sausage that's garlicky and sweetish. Yesterday I made 2 styles of Philippine longanizas after reading so much about them in several food blogs, Vigan from the north and from Lucban, just south of Manila. Both are very very garlicky and are not sweet. I've never had them before so I can't really tell if the recipes I found online are authentic. The Vigan style have very little vinegar and the Lucban style are closer in texture and flavor to the Spanish chorizo. They are both so delicious. I added a little sugar into half of the Vigan style and formed them into small patties which is the perfect size for the small hamburger buns I baked almost 2 months ago. These longa-burgers are very yummy with tomato slices and shaved mini cucumbers. For breakfast tomorrow I'll fry an egg to top the patty, my version of sausage McMuffin with egg. Yum yum.

Vigan Style Longaniza
2 pounds chilled pork shoulder, ground using medium die
½ chilled pound pork fat, coarsely chopped by hand
¼ cup finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced onions
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup soy sauce
2¼ tablespoon vinegar
sausage casings, soaked in warm water for 1 hour, then rinsed and flushed

  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except casings until well blended. Stuff the mixture into casings and tie every 2 inches long with a string. Prick all over with sausage pricker or sterilized needle. Hang to dry for about 4 hours.
  • To cook: Put ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Add longanizas, cover, turn heat to low and cook until all of the water evaporates.
  • Uncover and pan fry sausages until nicely browned. Serve hot with fried rice and tomatoes.
Lucban Style Longaniza
2 pounds chilled pork belly, medium ground
½ pound chilled pork fat, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon sea salt
2½ tablespoons paprika
1½ tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons dark cane sugar vinegar or cider vinegar
sausage casings, soaked in warm water for 1 hour, then rinsed and flushed
  • In a bowl mix salt and pork belly. Roast the paprika, garlic powder, and oregano in a hot pan until smoky. Add to the mixture together with the sugar and vinegar. Mix to combine. Add pork fat and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Stuff the casings with the meat mixture and form into 5-inch links. Place in refrigerator, covered for at least 8 hours. To cook, shallow fry in hot oil.
Philippine Longaniza
Lucban and Vigan longaniza

July 29, 2008

Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo

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Grilled Chicken Adobo
I love lots of adobo sauce on my rice

A reader emailed me last week asking for Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo recipe. I didn't know he has one and thought it might be the Mexican adobo version. I got curious and borrowed from the library his 1998 cookbook HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING and there it is on page 377: Filipino Chicken Adobo. He writes: "The Philippine classic has been called the best chicken dish in the world by a number of friends of mine." He uses the basic Filipino adobo ingredients and finishes the dish in the grill (or broiler) after boiling in the vinegar mixture for 30 minutes. The grilled flavor and the crispy skin and meat make the chicken adobo really special. I altered his recipe a little bit by using only half a cup of soy sauce and adding 1½ tsp of sea salt and half a cup more of water. I also used the dark (cane sugar) vinegar from the Philippine Ilocos province which gives the dish a hint of sweetness and a fruity flavor. I will definitely add this recipe to my growing Adobo recipe collection for my ADOBO COOKBOOK. The dish also gave me an idea to adobo-marinate other meats such as baby back ribs or thin sliced pork belly, then grill directly without boiling them first.

Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup white or rice vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (3 - 4 pounds) chicken, cut up, trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels, or use 2 pounds bone-in thighs
  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a covered pot large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice. (You may prepare the chicken in advance up to this point; refrigerate the chicken, in the liquid, for up to a day before proceeding.)
  2. Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler. The fire need not be too hot, but place the rack just 3 or 4 inches from the heat source.
  3. Remove the chicken and dry it gently with paper towels. (My note: Remove excess fat before boiling sauce.) Boil the sauce over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup; discard bay leaves and keep the sauce warm. Meanwhile, grill or broil the chicken until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with the sauce and white rice.
The aroma of very hot rice and chicken on the banana leaf I lined the serving platter and my plate with evoked memories of my elementary and high school days. The very few times I bought baon (packed lunch) were on school field trips. My mom used to put hot rice in the middle of several layers of large banana leaves then place the hot meat, usually chicken and pork adobo with plenty of sauce, on top of the rice soaking the rice with the sauce, then fold the corners together, tuck them in to make a neat leak-proof bundle. Believe me when you open the package and get a whiff of the fragrant banana leaves, rice, and adobo combination you'll want to dig right in even if you're not very hungry. Banana leaves as a food wrapper or container is way better than plastic boxes or aluminum foil, good for the environment too.:-)

July 27, 2008

Eggplants Cooked Two Ways

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The Family
"The Chin", small graffiti, Asian, and Mr. Eggplant Head

Last week I purchased too many eggplants. First, because two of them were shaped funny I just had to get them. One had a weird growth that looked like a nose (Mr. Eggplant Head?) and the other was bent and reminded me of Jay Leno's chin. Second, because I've always loved the sweet and smoky flavor of eggplants simply fried with beaten eggs (tortang talong) or charred over the stove then seasoned with salt and ginger juice served with chopped tomatoes as a cold appetizer or salad. Recently I have been cooking and loving Middle Eastern-style food and used half of the eggplants in a chickpeas stew, the other half I made into ratatouille. This is the first time I made both dishes which are similar to each other, and I equally love them. They're both healthy vegetarian dishes which can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Arabian Eggplant And Chickpea Stew

Chickpea And Eggplant Stew

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
sea salt
½ cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, sliced thin
10 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 cup seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cinnamon
fresh lemon juice, optional
fresh mint sprigs for garnish
  • Peel and halve the chickpeas; set aside.
  • Cut the whole unpeeled eggplant into 2½-inch chunks. Salt the pieces and leave to drain in a colander for at least 1 hour.
  • Rinse the eggplant, squeeze gently, and pat dry with paper towels. Working in batches, lightly fry the chunks in 5 tablespoons hot oil until golden brown; drain. Sprinkle the eggplant with pepper and set aside.
  • In a 3-quart casserole with a tight-fitting lid, warm the remaining olive oil and add the onions. Saute them over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until limp and golden. Add the chickpeas and fry 2 minutes. Stir in the drained eggplant, unpeeled garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and paprika.
  • Cover tightly and cook over low-medium heat without stirring 40 minutes. Carefully fold in the crushed garlic, parsley, vinegar, sugar, and allspice.
  • Cook 10 minutes longer, or until thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. Garnish with the mint.
For the ratatouille I followed the easier one-pot version of this recipe, it is really delicious. I simmered the dish for almost 2 hours on low heat and the vegetables surprisingly retained their shape.

Ratatouille
ratatouille - the French pinakbet (minus the salted fish and pork):-)

July 25, 2008

Yogurt Panna Cotta And Blueberries

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Yogurt Panna Cotta with Blueberries
yummy yogurt panna cotta and blueberries


The past month I have been eating and drinking yogurt. I am also getting addicted to kefir either mixed with fruits and soy milk or salty with mint and club soda. I also love yogurt cheese which is good with flat breads and eggplant stew for a healthy dinner. Looking for other recipes to enjoy yogurt I saw one that appealed to me right away, panna cotta. I have a large container of blueberries which I thought will be good with the creamy dessert. The yogurt panna cotta is very very yummy, lighter than the regular recipe using all-cream but just as creamy and has a slight tang from the yogurt, just perfect with the blueberries. I put them in plastic tumblers instead of dessert plates which is easier to serve. They are great to bring to picnics or for backyard barbecues.

Yogurt Panna Cotta And Blueberries
1 envelope unflavored gelatin softened in 2 T water
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped
5 to 6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups non-fat or low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt
blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
confectioner's sugar, optional
  • In a medium saucepan, heat cream, sugar, and vanilla seeds to a simmer. Turn the heat off and stir in softened gelatin until it has dissolved. In a bowl, whisk yogurt until smooth. Gradually stir in cream mixture into the yogurt. Divide among 5 clear 10-ounce glass or plastic tumblers. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.
  • In a small pan, heat 1 cup blueberries and the 3 tablespoons sugar until the berries are very soft and starting to burst. Transfer into a blender and blend until smooth. Cool slightly then pour on top of the cooled and already set yogurt mixture. Leave to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • To serve, top with chilled fresh blueberries and dust with confectioner's sugar if desired.
Blueberries
blueberries: berry good with yogurt panna cotta

July 23, 2008

21 And 4 Other Movies

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I've been watching (and reading) a lot of movies the past few days. I watched 21 today and almost had a coma. Here are my ratings and the review of 21.

21 F

My new worst flick ever! Based on a true story about a math genius who was persuaded by his teacher to join a group of blackjack card counters to cheat the casinos in Las Vegas. Yeah, I know, what is so exciting about card counting but with the right script and director it could be good, example: Rounders with Matt Damon and Edward Norton. Not 21 though, which I declare is nothing more than 2 hours of cliches, slo-mos, mnemonic gestures, and several wig changes by Kate Bosworth. If I had taken a shot of my homemade mango vodka each time those annoying scenes come on I would have gotten plastered after the first half hour. I waited and waited and waited for the movie to pick up its pace but after one hour nothing thrilling is happening. It's as riveting as watching paint dry. Watching bass fishing perhaps is more exciting than this movie. I got up to do something in the kitchen without pausing the player and listened to the dialog and did not miss a thing. At the ending scene when Kevin Spacey was being confronted by the security chief I uttered: come on Keyser Söze, walk out of there! This movie is definitely NOT chicken dinner worthy.:D

My rating for 3 Hong Kong and 1 French movies: All A, Highly Recommended

THE WARLORDS
Period movie, brotherhood, betrayal, ambition, lots of gore and martial arts. With Jet Li, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro

TOKYO RAIDERS
Asian James Bond with cool gadgets and sexy assistants, nonstop dizzying kung fu action, cheesy, comedy, romance, yakuza, the most ridiculous but entertaining chase scene with motorized skateboard and small bicycles in the chaotic streets of Tokyo. With Tony Leung and Kelly Chen

INFERNAL AFFAIRS 3
Sequel/Prequel to Infernal Affairs (remade by Hollywood as THE DEPARTED). With Tony Leung, Andy Lau, and Kelly Chen

MOLIÈRE
A fictionalized account of the "lost" 2 years of the French actor and playwright Molière's life after he got out of prison for unpaid debts. Hilarious, laugh out loud funny, beautiful cinematography and music, accurate costumes and sets for the period. Played by Romain Duris who is the lead actor in one of my favorite movies last year, THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED, a French remake of the American movie, FINGERS.

July 21, 2008

Country Ribs With Fresh Plums

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Country Ribs With Plums
fresh cherry plums add a hint of sharpness to this country ribs dish

The great thing about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and every year there are more varieties of fruits that previously were not widely available. The past years I tried all kinds of pluots and last year I had some mango nectarines which are very sweet, not a hint of tartness at all. This year very small round yellow and bright red plums started appearing at the farmer's market and a few groceries. I love that they are sweet, very juicy, and softer than the large black variety and therefore perfect for snacking. A container (almost 4 cups of fruits) at the farmer's market costs $5 which is cheaper than the grocery's. I'm not sure if these are European or Japanese variety, I was told they are called Myrobalan or cherry plums. I thought of using some of the plums with country ribs and searching for recipes online I found that most are Asian style using plum preserves and a lot of spices. The recipes did not appeal to me because I imagine the spices overpowering the delicate flavor of the plums so I created my own recipe using sweet plum wine and I seasoned the pork with very little garlic and ginger shoots. The dish is so delicious and the slight tartness of the fruits enhances the subtle garlic flavor of the country ribs. I will make this dish again maybe with pork chops or duck.

Plums
they are slightly larger than bing cherries

Country Ribs With Fresh Plums
3 pounds country-style ribs
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced ginger shoots or 1 tsp grated ginger
½ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry black peppercorns
½ cup plum wine
½ cup fresh plum puree
2 cups whole plums (yellow or red)
  • Combine sea salt, sugar, garlic, ginger, peppercorn, wine, and plum puree in a small bowl and mix until sugar and salt have dissolved. Put ribs in a gallon freezer bag, pour the marinade making sure ribs are evenly coated and leave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Transfer the ribs and marinade on a baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Flip the ribs and bake another 1 hour.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the cooking liquid into a skillet. Return the ribs to the oven and bake 30 minutes more or until ribs are golden brown. Add the plums to the sauce in the skillet and let cook uncovered over medium-low heat without stirring for 15 minutes. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning.
  • Transfer the ribs on a serving dish, spoon the sauce and fruits on top. Good with either rice or crusty bread.

July 18, 2008

Cherry Pie

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Cherry Pie
my cherry amour

Cherry Pie
cherry pies baked in 5-inch springform pans

I got so excited last Saturday when I saw sour cherries at the farmer's market. I have never seen them before in groceries except of course the ones in cans. I should kick myself for not getting more than one container because I already had half a basketful of fruits when I saw them. I found out they freeze very well for use during off season so I'm hoping the vendor will have more tomorrow. One container yields almost 4 cups which I halved, 2 cups I made into tiny pies and the other 2 cups are macerating in cherry brandy syrup to fill a layer cake I'm baking later. I agree they make the best pies (or pahs as some Virginians say it), they're sweet and tart and so delicious specially with butter rich crust.

Sour Cherry Pie
for pastry:
2½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup very cold butter, diced
¼ to ½ cup ice water

for filling:
4 cups pitted sour cherries with its juice
2½ tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup sugar
zest of half a lemon

to bake:

1 tablespoon cold butter, chopped
heavy cream
  • Prepare the pastry shells: combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingertips, work in chilled butter into the flour until the mixture resembles small peas. Add ice water 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring until it forms a ball. Gather the dough and divide into 2 pieces. Form into balls and flatten into disks. Wrap separately in plastic film and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Prepare the fruits: combine the filling ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
  • Remove one dough from refrigerator and roll into an 11-inch round. Ease onto the pie plate. Refrigerate while rolling the second dough round.
  • Fill the bottom pie crust with filling. Dot with chopped butter. Top with the second crust, pinch edges to seal. Brush top with heavy cream. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake for 40 more minutes or until golden brown.
Tart And Bing Cherries
sour and bing cherries


July 16, 2008

I'm Sweet On Sour Kamias

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For me, one of the downsides to living far from the Philippines is I never get to enjoy my favorite Philippine fruits such as the greenest Indian mangoes, unripe guavas, kamias, semi-ripe green tamarind, and santol. They all have one thing in common, they are all sour ranging from the extreme to moderate and sweetish. I was reminded of my love for these pucker-inducing fruits when I read Marvin's recent trip to the Philippines. Staring at the photos of green mangoes and the kamias with sea salt had me salivating and wanting to pluck them right from the computer screen. One of my favorite snacks was kamias freshly picked from the tree, dipped in rock sea salt. I used to stand in front of the tree and ate them until I had my fill. Kamias is used in the Philippines as a souring agent for soups and for stewed mackerel (tulingan). My mother also chops or slices them as condiment for noodles. Although I prefer eating these sour fruits as they are, I also love them candied.

kamias photo source TopTropicals.com

Dried Kamias
dried kamias

Spanish Mackerel
Spanish mackerel ready for stewing in dried kamias, sea salt, and fried pork fat

Stewed Spanish Mackerel

2 medium-size whole Spanish mackerel, cleaned and slashed lengthwise
hydrated dried kamias, reserve liquid
sea salt to taste
a very small piece of pork belly with fat, sliced and fried crisp
banana leaf, optional
  • Line a skillet with banana leaf, sprinkle with half a T of sea salt, half of the dried kamias and half of the fried pork fat. Place fish on skillet, sprinkle with another half T of sea salt, top with the remaining dried kamias and pork fat. Pour the reserved liquid in the skillet and add enough water to cover fish. Let boil, cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Serve with steamed rice.
I'm sending this post to this week's Lasang Pinoy Sundays

July 13, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes

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Green Tomatoes

When I first saw the movie with the same title many years ago, I thought it was an anomaly to eat tomatoes that are not bright red, let alone fry them dipped in corn meal batter. I didn't think this southern delicacy would taste good. I have never made nor eaten them before and I have yet to see them in restaurants around here.

Yesterday at the farmer's market I spotted some very green tomatoes in one of the produce tents and bought three pieces to try out this side dish. I have chicken wings marinating in the fridge, the idea and recipe for Chicken Wings Africana I got from [eatingclub] vancouver and thought of preparing lunch with a mix of different flavors from several regions of the world. The combination is not bad at all, in fact it's great and I love them together. The tomatoes are slightly tart but sweetish and I love the crunch of the corn meal. I think fried green tomatoes will pair very well with just about any type of cuisine, they are tomatoes after all. Red or green, the tomato is still one of my most favorite vegetables/fruits.

Fried Green Tomatoes
slightly tart but sweetish fried green tomatoes


Fried Green Tomatoes

3 large green tomatoes
1½ C flour
½ C corn meal
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
milk
olive oil for frying
  • Mix flour, corn meal, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add enough milk to make a thick batter. Cut tomatoes into ¼ inch thick slices. Heat 2 T oil in a nonstick skillet. Dip tomato slices, one at a time, in the batter and fry in oil until golden brown. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Serve immediately.
Chicken Wings Afrikana
super yummy Chicken Wings Africana

July 11, 2008

Tamalos

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Tamalo
tamalo: peanuts, sesame seeds, rice flour, and pork belly in a parcel

While searching in my cookbook Flavours of the Philippines for the Bam-i recipe, I came across the tamalos, a specialty from the same region in the Philippines. These annatto colored, meaty, nutty, and slightly spicy cousins of the Mexican tamales are made with rice flour and wrapped in banana leaves. I've never had this kind of tamale before although I once made another Filipino version that also has peanuts but flavored with coconut milk and shredded cooked chicken.

The preparation of tamalos is quite tedious as there are several steps, not to mention kitchen tools and pans, involved. But I couldn't ignore the yummy ingredients such as peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, and the adobo style pork belly and started imagining what they will taste like. I am not disappointed and although they came out a little bit softer than I would have liked, they are otherwise fantastic! I love the combination of the different flavors of peanuts, sesame seeds, and savory pork belly and the fragrance of banana leaves. Simply delicious.

Tamalos
adapted from Flavours of the Philippines by Glenda Rosales-Barretto
2 pounds pork belly, skin on
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
200 grams toasted peanuts
100 grams roasted sesame seeds
2 hot red chili peppers, chopped
4 tablespoons annatto oil (warm 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespons annatto seeds, then discard seeds)
200 grams rice flour mixed with 500 ml water
16 pieces banana leaves, cut into approximately 10-inch square
  • Place the pork in a casserole together with 1 tablespoon garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and 2½ cups water. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes, then remove pork from the broth and allow to rest. Slice into 16 portions, return to the broth, cover and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Remove pork and set aside. Discard the bay leaves and reserve broth.
  • In a food processor, grind peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili peppers. Add broth in a slow stream to produce a smooth paste.
  • In a saucepan, heat the annatto oil and saute briefly the remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, then add peanut sesame seed paste and cook, stirring continuously until thick. Add the rice mixture and stir well, then immediately remove from heat.
  • For each tamalo, place 2 pieces of banana leaves on a flat surface. Spoon or pour about 170 ml of the rice mixture in the center, add 2 pieces of sliced pork and top with another 100 ml more of the rice paste. Hold the 2 sides of the banana leaves and fold together to secure, then clasp both ends to form a compact parcel. Using kitchen twine or strips of banana leaf, tie a knot at both ends and another crosswise around the middle section. Steam for 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Tamalos
I didn't mind the time and effort to make tamalos, they're yummy!

July 10, 2008

Lobo: A New Addiction

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I blame Raissa for introducing me to this highly addictive (at least for me) TV series about werewolves (lobo) and a group of military-trained people and scientists determined to exterminate them. The series is shown in the Philippines and in the DirectTV Filipino channel as a daily 30-minute episode which began in January of this year. To date there are 116 episodes and the teleserye (TV series) will have its finale this month, and in my rough calculation there will be a total of 128 episodes on 16 DVDs, that's 8 episodes per DVD. I bought the first 16 episodes on DVD vols. 1 and 2, vols. 3 and 4 arrived yesterday, yay! another 16 hours of viewing. 96 hours more to go, oh boy.:D

When we were in the Philippines I barely watched local TV except for sitcoms and late night talk/variety shows, nothing during the day because I was at work. But I love werewolves movies no matter how cheesy they are, one is the awesomely cheesy 70s British movie THE BEAST MUST DIE. Another of my favorite werewolves movies is DOG SOLDIERS which is rather gory and of course a bit cheesy which is why I like it.

LOBO is part action, part comedy, part drama, part romance, well a little too much romance IMHO, but it's okay. My favorite scene: when the 2 main characters were still kids, they each have a necklace broken in half that when they connect together the girl utters "magic embrace!", I laugh my head off, my daughter and I have endless fun saying it to each other. So cheesy yet so lovable, my kind of TV show. Favorite expression: claro? (is that clear?). Just like Raissa I'm hopelessly addicted*sigh*.:D

For the synopsis and episodes click here.

July 9, 2008

The Good Loaf

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The Good Loaf
lots of good stuff in this loaf

I have been baking our daily bread for almost a year now to avoid high-fructose processed sugar and other hard-to-pronounce additives. It is also a good way to have additional servings of healthy stuff like flax seed meal, wheat germ, and wholegrain oats to our diet. I also use raw sugar and grapeseed oil whenever they are needed. Flax seeds contain the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and according to the package can replace shortening or eggs in most recipes, the only downside is it can't be used in white loaves because the dough will become dark or will have dark specks. Since I usually bake whole wheat bread anyway I welcome the darker color of the loaf. The addition of oats makes the toasted slices very very crunchy. I love it for breakfast with just fruit preserves like apricot jam or Turkish figs while sipping a ginormous mug of coffee or milky tea. I will add quinoa flakes and chopped walnuts into my next loaves but for now my favorite is old fashioned oats. I tried to calculate the approximate nutrition value to determine the total carbs, fats, glycemic index, protein, etc so that I can post the Nutrition Table but I still have to figure out how to do it.

Whole Wheat Loaf
makes two 8 x 4 loaves

2 cups fine-ground whole wheat flour
1½ cups stone-ground graham flour
2 cups bread flour
¼ cup flax seed meal
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 packet instant yeast
2 tablespoons fine raw sugar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ cup non-fat milk powder
2 cups water, at room temperature
1 whole egg, at room temperature
water and extra oats for topping
  • In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the whole wheat, graham flour, yeast, sugar, milk powder, and salt. Slowly add water while mixing at low speed, mix for 1 minute. Add egg, oats, wheat germ, and the bread flour ½ cup at a time. The dough will be a bit sticky. Mix at low speed for 2 minutes. Remove paddle attachment and replace with dough hook. Knead at low speed for 5 minutes. Transfer into a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with a plastic film. Leave to rise on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
  • Punch down to release gas and divide dough into two. Shape and place in the loaf pans. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush tops of loaves with water. Sprinkle oats on top of loaves, pressing them lightly. Bake for 40 minutes or until tops are golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Remove loaves immediately from pans and transfer on a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.
The Good Loaf
the buns look like potatoes:-)

I made the other half of the dough into a dozen buns. They are so good filled with cheese pimiento or kesong puti (farmer's white cheese).

The Good Loaf
it's very crunchy when toasted, good with homemade apricot preserves
and your favorite cup of tea or coffee


July 7, 2008

Sangria

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Sangria
fruity sangria, better than soda



Congrats to Spain's Rafael Nadal for winning this year's Wimbledon. It seems it's Spain's turn to shine in sports. Just a week ago they won the football (soccer) Euro Cup. Actually I do not keep track or watch any sports event nor care much for Spain either. I saw it on the front page of the newspaper this morning which prompted me to write about the Spanish drink Sangria I made Thursday last week after hearing from local newscasts that the Sangria ban has been lifted here in my State...er...Commonwealth of Virginia. Apparently there was a very old law making it illegal to sell in public, which means bars and restaurants, wine mixed with liquor or liqueur. Some Spanish restaurants started serving lots of fruity sangria to celebrate the event and the patrons seemed very happy. This makes it a triple win for Spain.:D

I prepared the traditional Spanish sangria with really cheap red wine, lemonade, orange juice, brandy, chopped apples, peaches, white nectarines, and grapes. This fruity drink is very refreshing specially during summer and pairs perfectly with a steak lunch or dinner. When all the drink is gone you can munch on the fruits, very nice. You can make a kid-friendly version by replacing the wine with fresh red grape juice and red ginger ale for the brandy which is an excellent way to make them eat fruits and drink fruit juices instead of soda.

Sangria
750 ml red wine
750 ml homemade lemonade
8 oz orange juice
8 oz brandy
¼ cup sugar, or to taste
1 each Fuji apple, nectarine, and peach, skin-on and chopped
To serve: grapes, thinly sliced oranges, ice cubes
  • Mix the wine, lemonade, orange juice, brandy, and sugar until sugar has completely dissolved. Mix in the chopped fruits. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Transfer the chilled wine mixture into a pitcher or punch bowl. Add 1 to 2 cups ice cubes. Put a few ice cubes in a glass, pour or ladle sangria with some of the fruits, add grapes, and a slice of orange.
This my entry to this week's La.Pi.S

And, some facts unrelated to sangria:
In addition to Virginia, there are 3 other states that call themselves a Commonwealth instead of State: Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
The Philippines which used to be a US territory was also a Commonwealth (in 1935) before it gained its independence in 1946.

July 6, 2008

Bam-i

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Bam-i

No I am not channeling Emeril Lagasse. Bam-i is a stir-fry of two noodles, a specialty of the Visayan island of Cebu in the Philippines. This Chinese-influenced noodle dish has mung bean vermicelli and fresh egg noodles sauteed with shrimps, boiled pork, vegetables, Chinese sausages, and wood ear mushrooms. The Chinese sausages impart a distinct Chinese-Filipino taste and a hint of sweetness to this very delicious noodle dish.

I didn't have the Filipino mung bean noodles nor wood ear mushrooms. I used the Korean glass vermicelli which are fatter but have the same consistency as the mung bean noodles. For the mushrooms I used dried wild mushrooms which is what I have at hand. I'm not sure if the mushrooms would have made a difference, crunch perhaps, I don't know. All I can say after downing a plateful is BAM(!)-I!

Bam-i
recipe adapted from Flavors of the Philippines by Glenda Rosales-Barretto

Bam-i

100 grams fresh shrimps in shells
1 tablespoon light olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons annatto oil (heat 1 T annatto seeds in 3 T olive oil)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 medium onion, sliced
100 grams sliced boiled pork
2 Chinese sausages, sliced diagonally
5 wood ear mushrooms, soaked and cut into strips
50 grams carrots, sliced
200 grams mung bean vermicelli (sotanghon)
100 grams cabbage, sliced
500 grams fresh egg noodles
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
for garnish: 2 hard-boiled eggs, csnipped scallions, crispy fried garlic slices
to serve: calamansi or lime or lemon juice
  • Shell and devein the shrimps and fry the heads in the oil in a saucepan. Add stock and boil for 5 minutes, then process in a blender and strain.
  • Heat the annatto oil in a lark wok and saute the garlic and onion, then add, one at a time, the shrimps, pork, sausages, mushrooms, carrots, mung bean noodles, and cabbage. Mix well, then add the strained broth and 1 tsp salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, then add the egg noodles, toss and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer into a serving platter and garnish with eggs, scallions, and crispy garlic.

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