April 30, 2008

Buco (Young Coconut) Custard Pie

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There are three baked treats in the Filipino magazine called FOOD that have been in my to-bake list: Buco Custard Pie, Ube Roll Cake, and 7-Layer Toffee Crunch Cake. Up first is Buco Custard Pie, a rather rich version of the buco pie with the addition of a layer of custard. The pie is yummy, the crust is flaky, the filling is very creamy and not overly sweet. I don't know why I added the custard layer because I am not a fan of egg pie, I guess I was just curious. It came out very yummy, we finished the pie in 2 days! For the buco filling I used the meat and water of 2 fresh young coconuts. I was lucky both have thick but still soft meat. Hacking the bucos open was a real chore. This is the first time in my life I ever opened a coconut. I had to use a hammer after draining the water into a bowl, I was so scared of shards flying...I tell you, it is hard work. In the Philippines when we bought them in the markets or by the roadsides going to the provinces the sellers opened them after draining the water into a separate plastic bag. In restaurants they are served very cold with a straw in it and a spoon to scrape the meat. At home, the housemaids did all the hacking, I never bothered watching how it's done. I'm thinking of buying a machete which is the right tool to open a coconut but where will I cut it?*sigh*. Or I'll use frozen young coconut next time.

Buco Custard Pie

2½ cups pastry flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoonp salt
¾ cup very cold diced butter
½ cup ice water
2 egg whites
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter, I prefer using my fingertips, until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle water slowly, toss with a fork until the dough comes together. Divide dough into 2 equal parts, shape into balls, flatten and wrap individually in plastic film, and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out one dough into an 11-inch circle. Ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Smooth the dough into the bottom and sides of pan. Trim off excess to about 1 inch wider than pan. Prick bottom and sides all over with a fork. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Let cool. Brush with egg whites, set aside.
buco layer
4 cups young coconut meat cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups young coconut water, divided
1 cup evaporated milk
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup cornstarch
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut meat, 1 cup coconut water, evaporated milk, sugar, and condensed milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often for 8 minutes. Stir cornstarch into the remaining coconut water. When the coconut meat mixture begins to boil, add cornstarch mixture, stirring quickly until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
custard layer
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten in a small bowl
1 teaspoon vanilla
  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar, flour, salt, and milk. Cook over low heat, stirring often until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Slowly stir in half of the mixture into the egg yolks. Beat until smooth and return to the saucepan with the remaining mixture. Cook until thick, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool slightly.
to assemble the pie:
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • Pour the buco meat filling into the crust, smooth top. Add custard on top of buco, smooth top. Roll out the second dough round into an 11-inch circle. Ease on top of the custard. Pinch edges of crust together and crimp or press with a fork. Brush top of pie with egg wash. Bake in the preheated 400°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

April 24, 2008

Dale's Ribs

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The winner of last week's Top Chef elimination challenge was Dale Talde, a Filipino sous chef in a New York City restaurant. The challenge was to prepare barbecue for the Chicago Bears tailgaters. Dale's winning recipe is a tandoori style pork ribs. He originally wanted chicken wings but another cheftestant bought all the chicken wings so he chose pork ribs but kept his original idea of tandoori. Many party goers including former players and all the judges loved the ribs. I was almost drooling while watching them eat.

I adapted his recipe for 12 racks of pork ribs which is for a huge crowd. I did some calculations for the amount of ribs I have and I was so happy the seasonings came out perfect. I also marinated the ribs overnight and broiled them in the oven because I was too lazy to light the charcoal, which didn't matter because the ribs are yummy to the max. Dale deserves the win. His ribs are superb, we all love it. I like that he poached the ribs in seasoned water before marinating, resulting in very tender and flavorful ribs.

April 22, 2008

Peanut Panocha (Penuche)

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Peanut Panocha
Peanut Panocha

Over the past two weeks I have been acting like a mad scientist trying to make peanut panocha, those peanut studded raw sugar flat discs you can buy anywhere in the Philippines. They are sort of grainy, not chewy, and soft enough not to break your teeth. I searched and searched and searched online for a store that sells them, no such luck. And the more I searched for the candies or the recipe the more I got the munchies like a crazed pregnant woman. I guess the candies won't pass the FDA's approval probably due to germs, packaging, etc . Or maybe there isn't any demand for these treats and nobody but me and my family love them.

April 20, 2008

Ostrich Meatloaf

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I have read a few years ago in newpaper articles that raising ostrich is becoming popular in several farms in my area. Ostrich meat is believed to be much healthier than beef or chicken because it contains more protein and has less fat and cholesterol. I went to our local farmer's market yesterday morning and got a pound of ground ostrich. The vendor also sells ostrich byproducts such as feather dusters, soaps, lip balms, and skin lotion. The farmer's market is open year round but only a few vendors are doing business selling locally roasted Honduran arabica coffee, dairy products, cheeses, artisan breads, assorted meats, and sausages. The produce vendors will sell their stuff starting in May. I'll write about our farmer's market another day.

The look and taste of ostrich meatloaf closely resemble beef meatloaf. I altered my usual recipe using TVP (soy textured vegetable protein) as added protein, filler, and binder in place of bread crumbs, milk, and egg. I honestly can't tell any difference flavorwise and the meatloaf is moist. I love ostrich meatloaf and don't mind that it is slightly pricier than beef. We had the meatloaf with Parsleyed Potatoes With Saffron and Sauteed Green Beans With Shallots And Garlic.

Ostrich Meatloaf
1 pound ground ostrich
1 C hydrated TVP
¼ C red wine
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ C chili sauce or ketchup
1 C finely chopped green bell pepper
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 T ketchup for topping
  • Mix all the ingredients except the ketchup for topping. Transfer into a 9 x 4-inch loaf pan or form into loaf on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, spread ketchup on top of meatloaf and bake for another 15 minutes.
Parsleyed Potatoes With Saffron

1½ pounds small red potatoes, peeled
2 T extra virgin olive oil
small pinch of saffron, crumbled
1 T finely chopped parsley
¼ tsp salt
  • Steam potatoes for 20 minutes. In a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add cooked potatoes, saffron, salt, and parsley. Stir for 1 minute to coat potaoes well.
Sauteed Green Beans

½ pound green beans
2 T water
½ tsp salt
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fried shallots
1 T crumbled fried sliced garlic
  • In a skillet heat water over medium heat and add beans and salt. Cover and cook until half of the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Uncover, add the shallots, garlic, and the remaining olive oil and stir fry for 2 minutes or until beans are tender but still crisp.

April 16, 2008

Puto (Steamed Rice Muffins): White, Purple Yam, And Pandan

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Puto Puto

Several of my readers emailed me or left comments requesting for puto recipes. The last time I made white puto was either a year ago (or maybe 4 months ago?). I made pandan flavored puto just once two years ago. Nobody including me liked the pandan and never made them again.

April 13, 2008


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purple kohlrabi, daikon, and carrot slaw

Every year I eagerly await spring not just for the burst of colors everywhere but also for the fresh vegetables that I sorely miss during winter. I recently purchased some purple kohlrabi and orange beets. I have cooked white kohlrabi once before, I added it to boiled corned beef in place of cabbage and I liked its mild slightly sweet flavor. This time I made it into an Asian-style slaw with wasabi dressing. The combination of kohlrabi, daikon, carrots, and wasabi makes this kohlslaw the perfect side to the Korean steak cubes I cooked for lunch today. And with steamed Japanese rice and preserved sliced ginger we had a very satisfying meal.

Kohlrabi Slaw
1 large kohlrabi, unpeeled and cut into matchsticks
half a medium daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 scallion, thinly sliced
¼ C rice vinegar
3 tsp wasabi powder
2 tsp sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T good sesame seed oil
1 tsp sea salt
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, wasabi powder, sugar, salt, soy sauce, and sesame seed oil. Add the vegetables and mix to coat well with the dressing. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
Note: The vegetables may be shredded as in cabbage slaw, if preferred.

Kohlrabi tastes mild and very similar to daikon and the purple ones have a slightly stronger flavor than the whites, although I love them both. I like it even better uncooked for its crunch and sweetish jicama-like texture.

April 11, 2008

A Personality Test

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I got tagged by gizelle for a personality test and here is the result:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

ENTP - The "Originator"

ENTPs are logical, innovative, curious and downright inventive. They see possibilities for improvement everywhere and possess the ability to understand complex concepts. ENTPs are introspective and carefree nonconformists. They often neglect the more common areas of life while pursuing new solutions. ENTPs can be good conversationalists and exciting company.

ENTPs are idea people. Their perceptive abilities cause them to see possibilities everywhere. They get excited and enthusiatic about their ideas, and are able to spread their enthusiasm to others. In this way, they get the support they need to fulfill their visions.

The full description: Portrait of an ENTP

I don't know if I agree with the result completely and not sure if it is accurate although I am quite thrilled to be in the company of Nikola Tesla, Julia Child, and Alfred Hitchcock. I answered the questions as close to my preferrences as possible. In a few of the questions I was somewhat conflicted and took a little bit longer to pick my choice because I sort of felt strongly for both answers. I can't describe it clearly but if you get to answer the questions you'll know what I mean.

I'm tagging the following for this test (if they feel like doing it): Raissa, Ruy, Marvin, Christine, and Dhanggit.

Click here to take the test.

Update: April 14, 2008

I took the Multiple Intelligences test after reading Christine's and here is the result:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I'm an average writer and speaker but I love reading (I consider my books my most cherished possessions) and I enjoy doing crossword puzzles which might explain the high verbal/linguistic category, and of course I love listening to my music. I also used to dabble in painting (not very good at it) and while I'm not great in photography it is one of my favorite hobbies which includes gardening.

April 10, 2008

Longaniza And Sardines Sandwich

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pandesal filled with longaniza, brisling sardines, shallot, red chile, and oregano

My lunch today was inspired by the movie and novel by Laura Esquivel, Like Water For Chocolate. It is a quirky strange dramedy that was released in 1992 but I never was interested to watch it until Raissa recommended it a few weeks ago. I watch a ton of foreign language movies but I usually ignore Spanish and Italian movies because I find them too melodramatic. I finally watched the movie and I enjoyed it a lot. I also borrowed the book from the library and will read it this weekend. The first chapter has the recipe for the Christmas buns which has the most unusual combination of chorizo and canned sardines mixed with oregano, canned serrano chiles, and chopped onion. I made my own sandwich version using Filipino Vigan-style longaniza, brisling sardines in olive oil, shallots, and fresh red chiles. I had the sandwiches, yes I ate two, with pickled green mangoes and tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt. The sandwiches are very good, strange but good. BTW, the book also has a recipe for making matches just in case anybody wants to make and eat them.:-)

Longaniza And Sardines Sandwich
½ pound longaniza, Vigan-style
1 can brisling sardines or Spanish sardines, drained, deboned and cut into chunks
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 hot red pepper, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
10 pieces pandesal
  • In a medium pan over medium heat, boil longaniza and 3 T water, covered, until all the water has evaporated. Remove casings, lower heat and let sausages fry in its own fat. Do not let longaniza get brown.
  • While longaniza is frying combine sardines, chopped chiles, onion, and oregano. Coarsely chop the cooked longaniza and add to the sardine mixture, mixing gently. Leave for 30 minutes.
  • Slice pandesal and fill with longaniza and sardine mixture. Heat in a 300 degree oven for 12 minutes or until top of pandesal is golden brown. Serve with pickled green mangoes and tomatoes, or salad greens.
Next food inspired by a movie: Adam's Apple Pie from the Danish film Adam's Apples.

April 7, 2008

Coconut Cupcakes

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I'm into coconut these days. Last week I made buco pie layered with custard, it is so rich and yummy it was gone in a matter of days. I have also been curious as to why coconut cake and cupcakes are becoming very popular. I decided to bake some to see what the fuss is about.

I didn't like the recipe in my cupcake cookbook and found Martha Stewart's recipe which really appealed to me. I adapted the recipe using less sugar and very little butter because the recipe also has shredded coconut as well as coconut milk and I thought using all butter would make the cupcakes too rich. I also toasted dried coconut chips instead of fresh. The cupcakes are very very good, they're soft and the taste of coconut is perfect, not too strong nor too weak, and I love the toasted coconut garnish which adds crunch and more flavor to the yummy cupcakes. It's almost like baked puto, IMHO, I really like them. The following recipe for the cupcake is Martha's in its entirety but the White Mountain Frosting which in my opinion is easier to make is from another cookbook. Click on Martha's name for her frosting recipe.

Coconut Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks butter, room temperature
2¼ cups sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk
8 large egg whites
1¼ cups shredded fresh coconut
roasted coconut chips, for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin pans wit paper liners; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
  • In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar, beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg white mixture; stir in shredded coconut. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping ¼ cup batter.
  • Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto a rack, flip and let cool completely, top sides up. Frost cupcakes, swirling to cover. Cupcakes may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Garnish with toasted coconut just before serving.
White Mountain Frosting
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Mix sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and heat to rolling boil over medium heat. Uncover and boil rapidly to 242° on candy thermometer. As the mixture boils, beat egg whites in a large bowl just until stiff peaks form. Pour hot syrup very slowly in thin stream into egg whites, beating constantly on medium speed. Add vanilla, beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

dried coconut chips

love those toasted coconuts

April 2, 2008

Pancit Palabok

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Pancit palabok is my favorite pancit (noodle dish). Palabok is the Filipino word for garnish or embellishment. But the garnishings in palabok are more than decorations, they make the noodle dish very special and incredibly delicious. I have eaten palabok on a regular basis (almost once a week) in Manila in restaurants and during get-togethers. The pancit can be purchased from stores that sell them made to order, plated on different sizes of banana leaf-lined woven bamboo platters called bilao. Most Filipinos I know including my mother never cook palabok at home because it is tedious to prepare and because there are so many choices of stores in Manila that specialize in the yummiest pancit palabok. Unfortunately for us Filipinos living outside the Philippines and most specially if you are in an area like mine where there are very few Filipinos there is no chance of finding a place that sells or serves very good pancit palabok. We have no choice but to prepare it at home when the craving hits us. I prepared the garnish and shrimp sauce yesterday and assembled the pancit palabok today. It was worth all the time making it, the pancit is utterly delicious!

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