September 27, 2007

Salmon Tocino


I never had or heard of dried fish tocino when I was still in the Philippines and learned about it recently in Christine's blog. While looking for Filipino recipes in Gene Gonzalez's The little ulam book, I got so excited when I saw the Bangus Tocino recipe which does not require drying time. The marinated fish is fried in a little oil just like pork or chicken tocino. I have a piece of wild salmon in the fridge and used it in place of the boneless bangus. It is very very good but should have added a little bit more salt to the marinade.

Bangus or Salmon Tocino
2 pieces boneless bangus or salmon
2 tablespoon calamansi or lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon anisado wine (I used Pernod)
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon prague powder (pink salt), optional
  • Combine seasoning ingredients. Marinate fish in the mixture for at least one day. Fry and serve with steamed rice and hot pepper-vinegar dipping sauce.
I have a jar of pickled santol which goes very well with the salmon tocino. I will make tocino again with another kind of fish and will dry them in my food dehydrator.

September 25, 2007

I Heart Chuck!

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CHUCK, that's the new NBC show that debuted last night and it was love at first watch. The show is Mission Impossible meets Beauty And the Geek, the difference is the Tom Cruise-like character died, which is good, and the beauty who is actually smart, works as a CIA agent and is adept in using knives to defeat her adversaries of the moment. The whole show is funny, not slapstick, but intelligent funny and action-packed. Read more here. Chuck, the lovable geek and social nerd, works at a BestBuy-like store and drives a tiny geekmobile. He shares a house with his sister and her boyfriend, also his co-worker and best friend is even geekier than he is. The dead guy sent him an email containing government secrets that got embedded in his brains when he opened it which will eventually lead him in coming episodes to work with the agents. My favorite scene: When Chuck and the girl were preparing for their date, in their respective houses of course, she was strapping on her ankle a thin belt full of small knives and wore 2 deadly metal chopsticks as hair accessory which she later used against a group of NSA agents while they were dancing in a club. Chuck did not notice the approaching men in black and that they were falling one by one except for one. But he wised up to the government agents' agenda, prevented an assassination, disabled a bomb, then went back to his job the next day. All in a day's work. Excellent show. I now have something to look forward to every Monday evening.

For the past 2 or 3 years I have been watching only a handful of the regular network's TV shows, Heroes, Medium, and Law & Order SVU are my favorites. There were no sitcoms or dramas worth my time. I occasionally watched Dancing with the (has been)Stars and regularly some of Bravo's reality series like Project Runway and Top Chef and the very funny Showdog Moms & Dads a few years ago. I think I'm the only person on this planet who hasn't seen a single episode much less a single minute of Grey's Anatomy, I got tired of Desperate Housewives pretty quickly, and lost interest in the second season of Lost.

The new TV season looks promising. The Journeyman is okay but has the potential to improve. I'm not sure about Bionic Woman but Ill watch it, Pushing Daisies from ABC is also interesting. Sitcoms are hopeless, though, nothing new that will make me watch. I miss Seinfeld. I'll continue watching America's Next Top Model and Beauty and the Geek, at least they're entertaining.

September 24, 2007

Apple Butter


I bought a lot of ginger gold apples last week and discovered a few days later that they were no longer crunchy, in fact they were already getting mealy. I don't like eating mealy apples, who does, but did not want to throw them away so I made them into apple butter. This is the first time I made apple butter and I am glad with the result. The best recipe in my opinion is this one.
It took a long time to cook but this apple butter is very good and sooo perfect with these savory cheddar biscuits. I used aged cheddar which gives a salty savory wonderful flavor to the otherwise bland biscuits. I'm now starting to like biscuits specially with sweet and spicy apple butter.;=)

apple butter on hot cheddar biscuits - sweet, tangy, & spicy + salty & cheesy

September 21, 2007

Pork Belly Cooked In Pineapple

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Via Mare's Pork Jamonado

1 kilo skinned and trimmed whole pork belly
1 cup dark brown sugar
1½ tablespoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon instacure (saltpeter or salitre), optional
1 32-oz can pineapple chunks
2 cups pineapple juice
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
  • Combine sugar, salt and saltpeter. Rub the mixture all over the pork belly. Roll tightly from long side, tie with twine, marinate overnight.
  • Put pork, marinade, and the rest of the ingredients in a large pot. Let boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours.
  • Transfer meat to a platter, let rest before slicing.
  • Boil the remaining sauce for another 5 - 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Pour on top of sliced pork.
This is a very good dish. It's salty and sweet and tastes like ham with the addition of the cloves. I love it!

  1. It is difficult to find whole pork belly in groceries but finally found it in the Korean supermarket. The butcher will not cut the slab so I got the whole 10 pounds! I divided the slab into 3 pieces, made 1 into jamonado. The rest are in the freezer and will make bagnet (lechon kawali) later.
  2. I don't think the saltpeter is necessary because there is no curing involved. I think this is added for the pink color. You can eliminate this ingredient altogether.

September 17, 2007

Via Mare Recipes On DVD

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I just viewed a Filipino cooking for entertaining dvd, the food prepared by a pretty Filipino actress (Carmina Villaroel). All the recipes come from the restaurant Via Mare owned by Glenda Barretto who appeared at the end of the show for a brief period.The DVD is called Celebrate Special Occasions with the Best Recipes of Via Mare which I borrowed from Netflix.

The recipes that made me drool:
  • Stuffed Queso de Bola
  • Pork Pineapple Hamonado - I will make this first and will post it soon.
  • Pastel de Lengua
  • Stuffed Roast Turkey - The meaty stuffing looks so goood, I kid you not.;D
  • Cassava Bibingka - I am not sure if I will find the same Filipino style cassava flour here in the US but will try to substitute frozen.
Other recipes:
Cuchinillo with Paella Stuffing
Lapu-lapu With Mayonnaise
Pears Poached in Red Wine
Strawberry Fizz
Kiwi Fizz
Tsokolate Eh
Salabat Tea

Although the whole cooking show is in Taglish, the recipes and procedures are shown in separate boxes in English. I highly recommend this dvd to meat loving Filipinos.

September 12, 2007

Peruvian Canary Beans Stew

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There is a large variety of dried beans in the Latino section of most groceries in my area. One that I'm not familiar with is canary beans. They're as big as pinto with yellowish, slightly greenish tint. Any bean dish like baked with onions and bacon or fabada is always welcome in my house. The Goya package has a recipe for Peruvian stew that sounds interesting, with familiar ingredients like bacon and beef/pork/chicken, except for the cilantro and annatto seeds seasoning. The only Peruvian dish I know and have eaten is the pollo Inca, spit-roasted chicken much like our lechong manok, which is not really that unique. The other Peruvian dish, actually a drink, I have read about in the excellent, very funny and with lots of strange characters travelogue book TRAIL OF FEATHERS -IN SEARCH OF THE BIRDMEN OF PERU by Tahir Shah, is the saliva fermented manioc (cassava) drink served at dinner. Tahir Shah did not dare refuse the drink so as not to insult his host and he was also perhaps scared of being beheaded and having his skull shrunk.;p

Anyway, this stew does not require any saliva fermentation. Sauteing and boiling are the only steps to do and the result is a delicious hearty bean stew that's so good with steamed white rice.

Peruvian Canary Beans Stew
8 ounces canary beans
2 rashers bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound beef, chicken or pork, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 packet Sazón Goya with Culantro y Achiote
1 teaspoon salt
  • Soak the beans overnight in water. The next day, drain and add 4 cups water and the bacon. Cover and bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer. In a skillet, heat the oil and saute the rest of the ingredients until beef is browned. Stir the meat mixture into the beans. Cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Adjust seasoning. Serve with rice.

September 11, 2007

Jimi Hendrix Videos


Jimi Hendix - yeah!


Isn't Jimi awesome? The hair, the clothes, the jewelry!;D

September 9, 2007

Chicken Pie

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This morning I was reading an article in the Travel Section of the Sunday Washington Post about the annual pie suppers in Vermont held in September and October. The picture of the chicken pie topped with biscuits instead of pie crust made me get up and prepared one for lunch. That's some power of suggestion, heheh. Mine is actually more of a chicken hash pie because I used leftover Dutch oven baked chicken (AKA pinaupong manok) which has other stuff like bacon, tomatoes and onions and then I added carrots and peas. I topped the pie with biscuits just like the Vermont chicken pie and made some gravy to pour on top of the pie. It's so autumn-y and yummy!!

Chicken Pie
3 - 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups chicken gravy (recipe below)
salt & pepper to taste
store bought or home made biscuits
1 tablespoon melted butter
  • In a square baking pan, mix the chicken and gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange biscuits on top. Brush with melted butter. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven until biscuits are golden brown, 15 - 20 minutes. Serve with gravy on the side.
Chicken gravy (makes 4½ cups)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 tseaspoons chicken bouillon powder
¾ cup bisquick
salt & pepper to taste
  • Mix all ingredients in a blender. Transfer into a saucepan and cook until thick. Adjust seasoning. Reserve 2 cups for the pie. Serve hot with the chicken pie or fried chicken.
Flaky Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons very cold diced salted butter
¾ cup very cold milk
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. With fingertips, mix in the cold butter. Slowly mix the cold milk using a fork. Transfer onto a flat work surface and roll into a 6 x 10 inch rectangle. Fold both short ends to meet at the middle. Fold in half again to form 4 layers. Roll into an 8 inch square. With a sharp knife cut into 9 squares or rounds with a biscuit cutter.

September 7, 2007

White Nectarines With Honey

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white nectarines fried in butter and sweetened with honey

If you love summer fruits I recommend white nectarines. I was never into nectarines but I'm liking the white variety because they are sweeter than the yellow ones. I already canned some and cooked a few pieces by frying in butter with a couple of fresh bay leaves. I heated ¼ cup of honey until it's a little bit brown then added 2 T of water (you can add port or marsala). I drizzled the honey syrup on top of the cooked nectarines. There is a hint of bay leaf flavor and the honey is perfect with the mild sweet flavor of the fruit. This fruit recipe pairs very well with vanilla flavored yoghurt or ice cream, simply delicious! A sprinkling of in-season berries is optional. Also good with nectarine is ginger syrup and topped with chopped candied ginger. Yum.

September 4, 2007

Kesong Puti (Filipino White Cheese)

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While I was churning butter my daughter asked me suspiciously and with one raised eyebrow, "You're not going to make cheese next, are you?". I said, "No, of course not, it won't be as easy as butter". But then one of my blog visitors lamented that it's not that easy to find mascarpone cheese in Manila. In my reply I linked a website that teaches how to make mascarpone with heavy cream and tartaric acid. That gave me the bright idea of looking for the recipe for making kesong puti online. The ones I remember being peddled by ambulant hawkers were milky white, soft, slightly salty, and wrapped in banana leaves. I haven't had them since we left the Philippines in 1988 and I was craving for it so badly all of a sudden. I found this which is rather vague and of little help with the amount of ingredients. I borrowed a cheese making book from the library and tried the paneer and farmer's cheese which require no special ingredients, you only need milk (not ultra pasteurized), lemon juice or vinegar, a heat-proof spatula, and a large pot. I combined both recipes using whole milk then soaked the sliced cheese in the salt, water & vinegar bath from the Filipino recipe and voila - kesong puti that is so soft and tasty and almost like the real thing. If I had used carabao (water buffalo) milk, the cheese would have been authentic Filipino kesong puti. Buffalo milk is actually available in Vermont, I think, but the milk is being sold exclusively to mozzarella cheese manufacturers here in the US. BTW, in Italy mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk.

Kesong Puti (Fresh White Cheese)
1 gallon whole milk or a combination of whole and reconstituted instant non-fat dry milk
¼ C white or apple cider vinegar
2 C hot water (optional)

Salt bath
4 cups water
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup salt (add more for saltier cheese)
  1. In a large pot, heat milk to a rolling (gentle) boil, stirring often to avoid burning the bottom.
  2. Drizzle the vinegar, cook for 15 seconds while stirring.
  3. Turn off heat and continue stirring until curds form (whey should be clear and not milky). For softer cheese, stir in hot water now.
  4. Once you obtain clear separation of curds and whey, let set for 10 minutes.
  5. When the curds have settled below the whey, ladle the curds onto the muslin lined colander. Tie corners into a knot and hold the bag under running lukewarm water to wash off the vinegar. Gently twist the top of the muslin to squeeze out more whey.
  6. Shape the cheese in the muslin into a 2½-inch thick log, return to the colander and place a bowl of water or a 5-lb weight on top for 20 minutes.
  7. Unwrap cheese, cut into ½-inch slices and let soak in the salt bath for 15 minutes.
  8. Store in refrigerator with a little of the salt bath. Will keep for 2 weeks.

the bad plus prog review

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I've been listening to this cd prog by my favorite jazz band the bad plus for the past four months now. It's time to write what I think of the songs. I rate this cd A++.

the bad plus is:
  • ethan iverson, piano
  • reid anderson, bass
  • david king, drums
  1. everybody rules the world (tears for fears) - a wonderful and sweet cover of one of tff's best songs. hushed but beautiful.
  2. physical cities (reid anderson original) - very original and exciting music, a jazz purist perhaps will not like it but I LOVE IT! the pounding of all instruments in perfect sync is just magnificent.
  3. life on mars (david bowie) - my favorite of the four covers. the bad plus playing a david bowie song = perfection.
  4. mint (ethan iverson original) - playful and fun, I wish it's longer than 5:20.
  5. giant (reid anderson original) - what can I say, this song makes me hum along with it, which is extremely difficult to do when there are no lyrics and the tune varies. I just love love love this song.
  6. thriftstore jewelry (david king original) - easy on the ears with a slight latin beat, I thoroughly enjoy the drum solo, brilliant as well as entertaining.
  7. tom sawyer (rush) - always a crowd pleaser at live performances. I didn't know this song but when I first heard it live I instantly liked it (I listened to the original song several times after the concert). excellent deconstruction without losing the original tune.
  8. this guy's in love with you (burt bacharach) - my least favorite but does not mean it's bad. I just don't like the tune itself.
  9. the world is the same (reid anderson original) - oh my god! my current favorite song. this starts very very slow, building up as it goes, quickening the pace, becoming more urgent towards the end of this most beautiful song, and the conclusion is almost orgasmic, further emphasized by the fade out of drums and bass, then the coda.
  10. 1980 world champion (david king original) - what an ending to david's trilogy of medalists (this one is for ski jumping) and anchoring this cd. the song is so lively and fast paced, I can't help but tap my foot or hands each and everytime I listen to it. it has a good mood feel and the champion's speech near the end of the song is a nice touch. I imagine myself right there when the champion made his jump and won. this song makes me happy, want to dance or ski jump.
I am in a dilemma right now because the bad plus is coming to Washington, DC in late October but my daughter and I also want to see La Boheme this month. La Boheme is a bit expensive, the cheapest is $100 for a not-so-ideal-seat and I'm sure the tickets for tbp will also be higher than the normal they charge because of the venue. And there is a tribute concert to Jimi Hendrix also in October. Sigh, can't decide.

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