January 30, 2008

Pata Tim

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 pata tim and steamed baby bokchoy

Pata (pork hocks) Tim and Pato (duck) Tim are Filipino dishes that are similar in taste but cooked in different ways. Pata Tim is stewed in a pot and Pato Tim is steamed. I have never eaten both outside of the Philippines, not in Hong Kong and not here in the US. Filipinos know these are Chinese in origin but from which region is not clear. Some say it's from Guangzhou (Canton), others from Fujian (Fukien). I consulted my cookbook CHINESE REGIONAL COOKING by Deh-Ta Hsiung and the closest and the only entry is from Sichuan, a duck dish called SOY BRAISED DUCK which is first deep fried then steamed for over 2 hours. The ingredients and cooking method are very very similar to Pato Tim. The cooked duck is then served on a bed of blanched seasonal greens much like the Tims I remember eating back in Manila. The following recipe which is my entry to Lasang Pinoy 23: Crock Pot Cooking has all the seasonings from this cookbook. I stewed the pork hocks until the meat is coming off from the bones. Dining on a plateful of the fatty meaty gelatinous pork, baby bokchoy, and steamed rice was like being transported back home. Delicious!

Pata Tim
2 ½ pounds pork hocks
2 T chopped scallions
1 T chopped ginger
¼ C hoi sin sauce
¼ C soy sauce
¼ C dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C rice wine or sherry
1 C water plus more if needed
baby bokchoy, well cleaned and dried
  1. Place all ingredients except bokchoy in a pot and bring to a boil, skim off top.
  2. Turn heat to very low, cover and simmer for 3 - 4 hours or until meat is very tender. Once in a while check and add water or sherry if needed. There should be about a cup and half of sauce.
  3. Steam bokchoy for 3 minutes, set aside, keep warm.
  4. Turn heat off and transfer cooked meat into a serving platter.
  5. Remove bones and discard. Arrange cooked bokchoy around the meat. Pour the sauce all over the meat.
  6. Serve with steamed rice.

January 28, 2008

7 Things Weird About Me

This is a 'weird' meme that I got from Dhanggit. I was not sure if there are enough weird things about me because I view myself as rather blah and dorkish. I have an obsessive personality, yes, but that's about it. Examining myself closely I found out I am kinda weird after all, or maybe not.
  1. I have a medicine phobia, particularly for aches and pains and for the last 21 years have not taken any. I seldom get headaches but when I do I refuse to take them and just wait for bedtime to sleep it off. The mild headache usually disappears by the next morning.
  2. I like quirky, foreign language, and slasher movies specially the Japanese ones; the bloodier, the better. I can't stand sappy love stories and girlie flicks.
  3. I love doing assorted crossword puzzles, play Nintendo DS (favorites: Animal Crossing, Phoenix Wright Series) and Wii games. This may be an indication that I'm approaching my second childhood, not actually weird, but because of my age it may be weird.:)
  4. I am addicted to two things: reading and watching movies. I don't know if this is considered weird but I read an average of 3 books and watch 3 movies on DVD per week. The books I read are mostly fantasies, fantastical, mysteries with real life people in it, already dead or still alive, British mysteries, paranormal. I particularly dislike self-help books and romance novels.
  5. I have an obsessive compulsive personality with regard to washing hands most specially when cooking. A Filipino couple who came for dinner observed that I constantly wash my hands in between chopping/preparing the ingredients, they actually counted the times I washed my hands. I thought this is the norm but they told me it is not.
  6. My clothes have the same color/shade (brown skirt/pants and off white, blue, light pink, or purplish tops for winter) and linen material with similar color combination during summer. When I was still working at the Asian Development Bank (25 years ago) a co-worker commented and asked why I wear linen everyday.
  7. I have an aversion to diamonds. The reason is a long story and I will not bore you with the details. Let's just say I don't want to look like a Christmas tree, heheh. The few tiny ones I own have been buried in a drawer for the past 18 years. Occasionally I would wear my mikimoto choker at weddings and anniversaries but for everyday I use the jewelry (natural stones, leather, crystals, rice pearls, etc.) that I make myself.
I'm also not tagging anyone but feel free to examine yourself and do this weird meme. You might surprise yourself.

January 24, 2008


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crêpe with sweetened cream, sliced bananas, and chocolate sauce

2 weeks ago I watched the Japanese movie Linda Linda Linda about a High School all-girls rock or J-pop band. The movie is about a tradition in Japanese schools' fall or holly festival where they have a number of food and souvenir booths and the highlight is the performance of several rock bands towards the end of the festival. The drummer of the group is working in a booth that sells crêpes, the most popular are the banana with chocolate sauce on a bed of sweetened whipped cream. It made me crave for the banana chocolate combo which I used to have in Hong Kong in one of the Japanese coffee shops where the coffee machines look like they belong in a laboratory, see photo below. Those machines make really good coffee, btw. That was nearly 20 years ago when I developed a taste for anything Japanese. Our apartment was a few minutes from the Causeway Bay area where there were (I'm not sure if they are still there) 4 Japanese department stores: Sogo, Matsuzakaya, Mitsukoshi, and Daimaru, and several coffee shops. Daimaru was the one I went to regularly because of their bake shop which is located at the entryway on the ground floor. When I was done with the grocery and household shopping (my first santuko knife which I still use, a pair of leather gloves which I still use, and a 3-fold umbrella that, you guessed it, I still use after almost 20 years!), I stopped by the bakeshop watching and waiting for the still warm milk loaves being sliced by a machine and for the buns (kashi-pan) filled with chocolate or vanilla cream and sweet azuki bean paste. In my honest opinion the Japanese bakeries make the creamiest, softest, most delicious breads and buns. I miss those breads, but at least I had my fill of choco-banana crêpes today. Mmmmm.

Photo: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times


7/8 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons cognac
2 tablespoons melted butter
1½ cups milk
  • Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Add eggs, one at a time and mix until free of lumps. Mix in lemon zest, cognac, and melted butter. Slowly add milk and mix until batter is consistency of thin cream. Let it stand an hour or two before making crêpes. Heat a crêpe pan or a 10-inch non-stick skillet and rub with a little butter. Pour some batter on the pan and tilting about to let it run over the bottom in a fairly thin layer. When lightly browned at the bottom, turn carefully and brown on the other side. As each crêpe is cooked, remove to a hot platter and keep warm. Re-butter pan as needed.
Filling suggestions:
- sweetened whipped heavy cream, sliced bananas, chocolate sauce
- sweetened cream (or pastry cream), sliced strawberries and Nutella

Crêpe on Foodista

January 17, 2008

Bulalo (Beef Shank In Onion Broth)

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bulalo in onion broth with cabbage, corn, and baby bokchoy

I went out late this morning to buy a few staples from the store, I was there for less than half an hour and when I came out it was snowing heavily. I knew it was going to snow later in the day but did not expect it to fall before 12 noon and THIS heavy. The meteorologists or weather people are sometimes, if not always off the mark in their forecast. I hurried home but can't really drive fast because the roads are already very very slippery and the falling thick snow is diminishing my visibility. I love snow, it's beautiful to look at and it's fun playing with it but not when you are driving, and when it's been plowed to the curb they become muddy and yucky.

Anyway, as I was driving (very slowly like a little old lady that I am) I was already dreaming of the bulalo soup I was going to have for lunch. I had this dish just once in a restaurant, about 20 years ago or so, have never cooked, seen, or ate it since, can't explain why. My mother also never cooked it because I can't remember eating it at home growing up. Maybe my father didn't like it, I should ask her one of these days.

Making this dish was brought on by a Filipino instant noodle soup with bulalo flavoring that I had recently. The instant soup is flavorful and has the bulalo taste but the chewy fake meat thingies, which I think are vegemeat bits, floating on the soup are quite disgusting. So I bought beef shanks and made my very first Bulalo In Onion Broth, the recipe adapted from my cookbook FLAVORS OF THE PHILIPPINES by Glenda Rosales-Barretto of Via Mare restaurants. I love this dish which is almost a complete meal in itself with meat, vegetables, and carbs. But of course I ate it with steamed rice and patis with calamansi dipping sauce. I am so full I think I'll take a nap.:D

3 pounds beef shank, bone in, pre-cut with marrow
½ pound onions, quartered
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoon sea salt, or to taste
4 pieces corn on the cob, cut into 4 - 5 pieces
½ pound baby bokchoy, well cleaned
½ head cabbage, cut into chunks
  • Place the beef shank, onions, peppercorns, and salt in a large pot. Add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, skim off top, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 hours. Add the corn and cook for 10 minutes, then add the cabbage and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the bokchoy and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a large dish and serve with a mixture of fish extract and calamansi juice.
A rather blurry photo I took this morning from inside the car

January 14, 2008

Mulligatawny Soup


mulligatawny soup with buttered pumpernickel toast, yum yum

Our area had an unseasonably warm temperature which went as high as 65 degrees. Winter is back after a 2-week vacation and I'm glad I can finally make soups. Winter in my house means oceans of soup for dinner. First in my soup repertoire is mulligatawny. I haven't made this soup with a funny name in a while. It is supposed to be Indian in origin, it has curry powder as flavoring so I believe it is. The recipe I always use is from Betty Crocker cookbook because it is the simplest and I like simple. Other recipes I found online have lentils, rice, heavy cream, or coconut milk which in my opinion will make the soup heavy. Some puree the soup which makes it look like baby food and unappetizing. I don't really care if my soup is not authentic, I love it and with a slice or two of buttered pumpernickel toast it makes a delicious satisfying dinner.

Mulligatawny Soup
2 pounds skinless chicken breasts with bones, cut up
4 cups water
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon lemon or tamarind juice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground mace
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon light olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 large apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • Heat chicken, water, salt, curry powder, lemon juice, cloves, and mace to boiling in a Dutch oven, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove chicken from broth, leave until cool enough to handle.
  • Remove chicken from bones and cut into bite-size pieces, set aside. Skim fat from broth and add water, if necessary to measure 4 cups.
  • In a skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat and cook onions until soft, remove from heat. Stir in flour, gradually stir in some broth. Add the flour mixture into the Dutch oven and mix well. Add the chicken pieces, tomatoes, apple, carrot, and green pepper. Heat to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and simmer until carrot is tender, about 10 minutes.

January 12, 2008

Ghosts, Ghouls, Zombies, And A Succubus

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What a way to start the new year: a book and a movie with ghosts, ghouls, zombies and a she-demon.

Mike Carey is the creator of the character Constantine in his graphic novel Hellblazer which was made into a movie with Keanu Reeves as Constantine. The Devil You Know is his first novel published in 2006. The hero, Felix Cantor, a semi-retired freelance exorcist, after a botched job exorcising a demon from his best buddy, is working as a magician in birthday parties to pay his bills. That was until the day he was asked to banish a female ghost in the Bonnington Archive. He could not resist accepting it because he needs the money and gets curious when the ghost would not show herself to him. He wants to know who the ghost was and why she is haunting the archive. The story becomes a murder mystery with Eastern European mafia in the middle of it. Our hero employs a Hawaiian-shirt clad computer expert zombie, gets help from his Catholic Wiccan landlady, falls in love (lust, actually) with a succubus named Juliet (who in the movie version should be played by Angelina Jolie), and almost gets killed by the mafia. Very entertaining, excellent story and writing style. Highly recommended. I can't wait to read the sequel VICIOUS CIRCLE.

Milla with machetes in both hands fighting superzombies! Not an intellectual film, just entertaining. I liked it!

January 9, 2008

3 Pizzas

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duck confit and roasted cherry tomatoes

I don't own and have never read any of Donna Hay's books but have been enjoying reading the HHDD events in several food blogs. It's the perfect time to check out her books and join because I love making and eating pizzas, both savory and sweet, and because Joey of 80 breakfasts is hosting this HHDD #17 edition.

Pizza dough from Modern Classics I by Donna Hay
1 teaspoon yeast
pinch sugar
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Place the yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl. Set aside until bubbles form. Add the flour, salt and oil and mix to form a smooth dough. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and allow to stand in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 20 minutes (mine took 40). Makes one pizza dough.
This dough is very small and should be done by hand. I can't remember the last time I kneaded by hand, I normally use either the food processor or stand mixer and it was nice to handle, knead and slap the dough on the counter for a change, good stress reliever.:)

I halved the dough and halved the other half, 3 doughs in all. The half dough I formed into a 12-inch round and topped with duck confit and roasted cherry tomatoes which is my entry to the HHDD #17, and the quarter doughs I made into two 7-inch dessert pizzas, one I topped with PB & J which I really really love, and the other with cream cheese and sliced apricots.

Duck Confit and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Pizza
half a pizza dough
2 duck legs confit, sliced thin and cut into 1 inch pieces (duck confit recipe below)
fresh mozzarella balls marinated in olive oil, Italian parsley, and spices
cherry tomatoes, halved and roasted in olive oil, garlic and salt
1 tablespoon crumbled goat cheese, optional
Place pan or stone on the lowest rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Form the dough into a 12 inch round. Transfer to a piece of parchment. Arrange mozzarella balls with some olive oil, herb, and spices evenly on the dough. Add the roasted tomatoes, duck pieces, and goat cheese if using. Slide the pizza onto the stone or pan and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are medium brown.

PB & J Dessert Pizza

1 quarter pizza dough
about ¼ cup grape jelly mixed with 1 tsp cornstarch
2 tablespoons reduced sugar creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped peanut brittle
  • Form the dough into a 7-inch round. Prick all over with a fork. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with the grape jelly leaving ½ inch off the edges. Place the peanut butter in a small freezer bag and snip off one corner. Starting from the center, pipe a thin spiral strip of peanut butter on top of the jelly up to near the edges. Return the pizza in the oven and continue baking for 10 -12 more minutes. Let cool until set. Sprinkle the chopped peanut brittle all over.
Apricot And Cream Cheese Dessert Pizza

1 quarter pizza dough
half a can apricots in syrup, well drained and sliced
3 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature and mixed with 1 T sugar
1 tablespoon raw coarse sugar
Form the dough into a 7-inch round. Prick all over with a fork and bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven. Remove from oven. Spread the cream cheese on the baked dough, leaving ½ inch off the edges. Arrange the sliced apricots on top of the cream cheese. Return the pizza in the oven and continue baking for 10 - 12 more minutes.
Sprinkle raw sugar all over.

Duck Confit

¼ cup kosher salt
½ tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 bay leaves
6 whole duck legs (leg and thigh)
8 garlic cloves, peeled
21 ounces rendered duck fat (may substitute half with olive oil)
½ cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Finely grind first 4 ingredients. Rub salt mixture all over duck legs. Layer legs and garlic in a large freezer bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Thoroughly rinse legs and discard garlic, pat dry. Place duck legs in a deep roasting pan.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the duck fat and pour into the roasting pan, the duck should be covered completely with fat. Roast for 4 - 5 hours. Let cool slightly. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Before using duck confit, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove duck from fat and scrape some fat into a skillet, add the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat and fry duck, skin side down, for 1 minute. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until skin is crisp, about 15 minutes.

January 4, 2008

Kumquats And Star Anise Rum

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Kumquats, one of my favorite citrus fruits, are now in season. I candied some last year and paired them with gingerbread cake. This time I used them to make flavored rum which can be enjoyed right after preparing. I like the combination of the slight citrus, anise, and vanilla flavors.

Kumquats And Star Anise Rum
1 cup water
2¼ cups sugar
1 pint kumquats, well scrubbed and well pricked with a fork
½ vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
4 star anise pods
750 ml white rum
375 ml dark rum
  • In a medium saucepan, boil the water, sugar, vanilla bean, and kumquats. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add anise and leave to cool to room temperature. When completely cool, transfer to a clean glass gallon measuring cup and mix in the rum. Divide the kumquats and spices and put in two 750 ml bottles. Fill the bottles with the rum mixture. Enjoy! I really love the star anise which is used to flavor Pernod and anisette wine. I am making star anise liqueur as my next alcohol project.:)

BTW, kumquats and calamansi taste almost identical with a slight difference, the kumquat rind is sweet. I eat cold kumquats like candies. Rub them between your palms to soften and to release the oil, then pop them in your mouth. It's sweet and tart and absolutely wonderful.

January 2, 2008

New Year's Eve 2008 Recipes

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A few recipes from our New Year's Eve 2008 dinner menu.
Deep Fried Adobado Cornish Hens

2 Cornish hens, about 1 pound each
½ cup white or coconut vinegar
½ cup dry sherry
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns, cracked
1½ tablespoons sea salt
2 bay leaves, crumbled
¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
peanut or light olive oil for deep frying
  1. Rinse and pat dry the hens, set aside.
  2. In a gallon freezer bag, combine all the ingredients except hens and oil for frying. Mix until salt is completely dissolved.
  3. Put the hens in the bag making sure they are equally coated with the marinade, refrigerate for 24 hours, turning once.
  4. The next day, remove hens from marinade, pat dry. Tie legs with kitchen twine.
  5. In a deep pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the hens, cover the pot, and fry for 30 minutes, turning once. Increase the heat to medium-high and fry until hens are golden brown.

2 lbs lean ground pork, or combination pork and chicken
1 Spanish chorizo, finely minced
1 cup Vienna sausage, finely minced
2 slices white bread, finely cubed and mixed with 1 C milk
½ cup sweet pickle relish
½ C finely minced raisins or sultanas
1 cup grated aged edam or aged cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients gently in a large bowl. Fry a small portion, taste, and adjust salt seasoning.
  2. Divide meat mixture into 3 portions.
  3. Spoon each portion on a piece of non-stick aluminum foil and form into a 2½-inch thick log. Close the foil tightly making sure there is enough foil all around. Twist ends.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven or steam for 1 hour.
  5. Let cool completely, cut into ½ inch thick slices, fry in lightly oiled non-stick skillet until brown.
Pão De Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Puffs)
These rolls are so delicious and quite addicting. I can't stop eating them!

500 gms tapioca flour (manioc)
250 ml skim milk
125 ml vegetable oil
12 gms sea or kosher salt
2 large eggs
50 ml skim milk
350 grams cheese, finely grated
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Put the flour in a stand mixer with paddle attachment.
  3. In a small pan, boil the 250 ml milk, oil, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, drizzle the milk mixture slowly into the flour and stir until all the flour is moistened.
  4. Add the eggs and mix well. Mix in the 50 ml milk, beat well. Stir in the cheese, making sure it is well distributed.
  5. With oiled hands, form into walnut-size balls and place on a cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until light brown.
Note: This is half a recipe I got online and I did not bother to convert from grams to U.S. cups. I used my kitchen scale to be able to make the recipe as accurate as possible. Conversion table is here.

Ube Kalamay With Latik

8 oz frozen grated ube, thawed
8 oz glutinous rice flour
1 large can coconut milk
2 cups sugar
banana leaves
1 can coconut milk for latik
  1. Line a 9-inch cake pan with wilted banana leaves, set aside.
  2. In a medium non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat, mix ube, glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar.Bring to a boil , lower heat to medium, cook, stirring constantly to prevent the bottom from burning until the mixture becomes sticky, about 15 minutes.
  3. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve with latik.
  4. To make latik, cook 1 can coconut milk over low heat in a non-stick skillet.
  5. Let the milk simmer for around 30 minutes until very thick. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking, turning the coconut as it gets brown. Cook until slightly dark brown and crumbly.

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