February 27, 2011

The Oscars

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let's toast the Oscar winners with chocolate martini (creme de cacao, vanilla vodka, and Bailey's Irish cream)
It's that time of year again, folks. Yes, my own annual Academy Awards rant night and my choice for best picture is Toy Story 3 because in my humble opinion IT IS THE BEST PICTURE of 2010. I've seen some of the nominated films and 2 of them are my worst films of 2010, the highly overrated Inception and the odious and misogynistic The Social Network. And what's up with the Academy's obsession with awarding actors playing people with disability. This year it's Colin Firth's turn in The King's Speech. Didn't the Oscars already honor lead actors for My Left Foot, Rain Man, I Am Sam, Shine, A Beautiful Mind, and the gawd awful Forrest Gump? Give me a break! Woody, Barbie, or Mr. Potato Head should win. Oh, they're not nominated. Well, they should have been.

MY best pictures of 2010

Toy Story 3
Ken and Barbie meeting for the first time is priceless. Ken: "I like your leg warmers", Barbie: "Nice ascot".

The Book of Eli
What's not to like? A machete wielding Zatoichi-like character chopping off body parts of unsavory characters trying to steal The Book he has been carrying and reading from for over 30 years. Not even the prune-faced boss (Gary Oldman) and his thugs will be able to stop Eli from fulfilling his mission.

Based on a comic book. A high school boy wants to be a superhero and becomes Kick-Ass. Without any training, he is bound to get beaten up and he is, twice. He is rescued by a team of masked father and daughter superheroes, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. They don't have superpowers like Superman but they train in weapons and martial arts. On her 11th birthday she gets a balisong (Philippine fan knife) from her Dad who trains and home-schools her (one of her assignments is reading comic books). This movie is not for everyone and specially offensive to the politically correct crowd as the little girl swears like a sailor although her father doesn't. The best comedy action movie of 2010.

Let Me In
A sort of love story between a young girl vampire and her new friend who is being bullied at school. This film is a brilliant remake of Let The Right One In, a movie from Sweden. I saw both films and I like the American version better. Incidentally the heroine, Hit-Girl, on Kick Ass and the vampire on this movie are played by the same child actress, Chloë Moretz. She's very good.

Tron Legacy
A feast for the eyes and ears. Daft Punk's music is perfect with the visuals. I can't believe that 2 of my top favorites are Walt Disney productions.

Since this is a food blog, I recommend these 2 documentaries that are worth watching

Kings of Pastry
I was craving for small cakes after watching the judges in the tasting room.

Blood Into Wine
THE rock star, Maynard James Keenan, becomes a winemaker. He is the lead singer of the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer. This is not purely documentary on wine-making. It has a little bit of his story, his cult followers, and wine tasting, with some comedic scenes too. My favorite line from Maynard: "I'm in my 40s, I can't scream forever."

A sample of Tool's music, The Pot, from the album 10,000 Days. The pot he refers to here is the pot calling the kettle black, you know, hypocrites. This video which is just the song and lyrics is dedicated to all the hypocrites out there. Enjoy!:D

The Daring Bakers: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

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Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies
vanilla panna cotta and Florentine cookies

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

All the recipes are here.

Thanks MissMallory for coming up with this delightful challenge. I love having the panna cotta and Florentine cookies together, the contrasting textures of smooth, creamy, and crunchy are just perfect. I made the vanilla panna cotta and topped it with slightly bitter orange gelée, orange slices, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. For the Florentine cookies, I made some into milk chocolate filled sandwiches, drizzled some with chocolate, and rolled a few into cigar shape which is not an easy thing to do because they set pretty quickly. I bake 2 at a time in the toaster oven and use a small offset spatula to lift and guide the still warm and very fragile cookies onto the handle of a wooden spoon resting across the cookie sheet over the 2 cookies.

Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Gelee
vanilla panna cotta with a layer of blood orange gelée

Florentine Cookie Sandwich
milk chocolate filled Florentine cookie sandwixhes

Florentine Cookies
drizzled with milk chocolate

Florentine Cookies
I use a one-tablespoon cookie/ice cream scoop for even-sized cookies

And I couldn't resist making a panna cotta with my favorite Nutella. I crushed the cookies that broke and scattered them on the plate. The crumbs add a crunch to the creamy panna cotta.

Nutella Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookie
Nutella Panna Cotta, rolled Florentine cookie and crumbs, a sliver of hazelnut brittle

Nutella Panna Cotta
1½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
1 ounce finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup Nutella
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
  • In a medium bowl, whisk gelatin with 4 tablespoons cold water.
  • Place chopped chocolate in another medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl, combine Nutella and salt.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil. Pour half the cream over gelatin mixture and whisk gently to combine; stir in vanilla. Pour remaining cream over chopped chocolate; whisk until smooth. Combine the two mixtures and whisk well.
  • Pour a third of the gelatin-chocolate mixture over Nutella; beat using an electric mixer on low speed until a smooth paste forms. Pour in remaining mixture and milk; beat until fully combined.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into six lightly oiled ramekins. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until set, about six hours or overnight.

February 24, 2011

Food Friday: S'more Pizza

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S'more Pizza
S'mores Pizza

food friday chiclet

After watching s'mores pizza being prepared here I just have to make it. It's a salty, sweet, doubly crunchy, gooey, chocolaty, chewilicious dessert pizza. Try it, you'll love it!

S'more Pizza
pizza dough, homemade or store bought
extra virgin olive oil
coarse golden raw sugar
milk or dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
crushed graham crackers
  • Place a pizza stone or quarry tiles on oven rack. Preheat oven to the highest setting.
  • Shape pizza dough. Brush edges with olive oil and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place chocolate pieces evenly on the dough. Slide onto the baking stone and bake until edges are puffy, about 4 minutes. Pull out rack halfway and put marshmallows evenly on the pizza. Bake until marshmallows are puffy and golden brown all over.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle top with crushed graham crackers. Cut with a sharp knife into wedges.

February 23, 2011

Steamed Buns: Siopao and Cuapao

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Cuapao Sandwich
cuapao sandwich filled with a layer each of fermented mustard greens and flaked Chinese roast pork, and topped with ground roasted peanuts

This is my third post on siopao and cuapao and the longest one yet. I hope I won't bore you to death. I didn't include the recipe on the first post and the link to the recipe for the cuapao sandwich post no longer works. The reasons it took this long for me to share my recipes for the fillings are: first, I don't follow any recipe for the pork bola-bola (ground pork) and second, the pork or chicken asado I make is not the typical recipe for these Filipino-Chinese steamed buns. I thought my readers might not like or be interested in them but I got a few inquiries and decided to share my recipes for cuapao and siopao fillings after all.

Cuapao and siopao use the same dough recipe but they differ in shape, cuapao oblong and siopao round, and fillings. Cuapao has fermented mustard greens [burong mustasa in Tagalog], Chinese roast pork, chopped peanuts, and hot sauce which is optional. I started making cuapao at home because they are unknown in my neck of the woods and after reading the article in the Yummy magazine I always steam the buns without the filling. I find it easier to shape and as a sandwich I can put as much filling as I possibly can, which is always a good thing.

Fermenting mustard green takes about 2 weeks, but if you prefer the greens fresh or can't wait, blanch them in boiling water, dry them in a salad spinner, add sea salt to taste, then roughly chop. It will still be tasty and spicy but will lack the familiar sourness of the fermented greens. The greens are delicious as a side to fried fish and also in sour soups (sinigang).

Siopao and Cuapao Dough

Cuapao Bun
steamed cuapao buns without filling

1½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons lard or white Crisco
parchment paper
  • In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ cup of the warm water, stir and add yeast, mix well, let stand for 10 minutes.
  • In a stand mixer bowl with paddle attached, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and lard/Crisco. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the warm water. Mix for 1 minute. Replace the paddle attachment with dough hook and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, turn the dough so that greased side is up, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 1½ hours.
  • Remove bubbles by lightly kneading; into 16 to 18 pieces. Cut rectangular shaped parchment papers, set aside. Shape dough pieces into oblong (or round if making into siopao) placing each on the parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Steam in rapidly boiling water for12 minutes (15 minutes if filled).
Burong Mustasa (Fermented Mustard Greens)

Burong Mustasa

1 bunch mustard greens
1 cup uncooked rice
6 cups water
2½ tablespoons sea salt
sterilized pint jar
  • Wash the leaves very well and spin dry. Cut into 2 inch pieces and place on sheet pans. Leave them out under the sun for about 2 hours to wilt and dry them a little bit. Or put them in a 180°F oven for 1 hour. Pack the leaves in the jar, pressing slightly to accommodate all the leaves.
  • While the leaves are drying, wash the rice and drain. Place in a large pan, add the water and let come to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until grains have swelled, about 30 minutes. Strain the rice broth into a measuring cup. You should have 4 cups. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
  • When the salted rice broth has cooled, pour into the jar. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put its lid on. Leave on the kitchen counter for 7 days or until the mixture tastes acidic and the leaves have turned a teensy bit yellowish but still crispy. If your kitchen is cold like mine, it may take more than 2 weeks to ferment. Store in refrigerator for 2 more weeks for best flavor and until ready to use.
Char Siu/Cha Shao/Chinese Roast Pork

Char Siu

2 pounds pork shoulder
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
3 tablespoons clear honey
  • Cut the pork into thin strips lengthwise. Mix together the brandy, sherry, soy sauce, and hoi sin sauce. Marinate the pork slices for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay the strips on a rack and set on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 3 minutes. Brush tops with honey, return to oven, and roast for 4 minutes. Remove from oven, flip over the slices, brush with honey, and return to oven. Roast for 2 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, or flake the meat to fill cuapao.
Pork Bola-Bola Siopao

Bola Bola Siopao

1 pound lean ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 pieces Chinese sausage, sliced into quarter-inch thick pieces
2 hard-boiled eggs or salted duck eggs, cut each lengthwise into 4 pieces
  • Mix first 5 ingredients. Divide into 8 portions and form into balls. Place one ball in the middle of a round flattened 3-ounce siopao dough piece, add 2 slices of sausage and a slice of egg. Gather edges of dough and pinch to seal. Place on cut parchment paper seam side down. Let rest for 45 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. Steam in bamboo steamer over rapidly boiling water for 20 minutes. Enjoy hot with your favorite hot sauce.

February 20, 2011

KCC Turns Up the Heat

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Bittersweet Spicy Chocolate Candies
bittersweet and hot "curly tops"



Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney (Kath, Trisha, and Trissa), who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.


Our host Pia chose food considered as aphrodisiac to showcase for this month of February. One of several lists on the web has our own balut as the number one aphrodisiac. Of course chocolate and hot peppers are also among the lists.

Chocolate Chips and Siling Labuyo

Extreme Bittersweet and Siling Labuyo Curly Tops
6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 to 3 pieces chopped siling labuyo
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cocoa powder
  • Bring heavy cream and labuyo to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
  • Place the chocolate chips and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Reheat the cream and strain over the chocolate mixture. Gently stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool to room temperature.
  • Refrigerate until firm enough to shape into balls, about 2 hours. Using a melon baller, scoop out and form into balls. Roll balls in cocoa powder.
  • Or fill lightly greased chocolate molds to make your very own Curly Tops.
Bittersweet Spicy Chocolates

Check out more posts from KCC members here.

February 17, 2011

Steamed Mushrooms

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steamed King oyster, enoki, and button mushrooms

This simple but delicious side dish called Pinais is from the Laguna/Batangas/Quezon area of the Philippines. Pinais [I'm guessing] means a bundle of fish or vegetables wrapped in banana leaves and cooked by steaming. The recipe here is adapted from my guidebook KULINARYA.

Steamed Mushrooms

assorted fresh mushrooms
sea salt
ground black pepper
pieces of banana leaves
calamansi or lemon juice
kitchen twine
  • Clean mushrooms well. Place 3 tablespoons of assorted mushrooms in the middle of a piece of banana leaf. Sprinkle with salt and a pinch of pepper. Fold the leaf from all sides towards the middle to form a packet. Secure with twine. Repeat with all the mushrooms.
  • Pour a cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place the packets in the pot, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with calamansi or lemon juice and sea salt.

February 16, 2011

Candied Kabocha

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Candied Kabocha
Candied Kabocha
candied kabocha and crème fraîche

I've been in love with kabocha squash for a few years now specially as a dessert or simply steamed and sprinkled with sea salt. And because it has a flavor that's similar to chestnuts, I thought, why not candy them. Oh yeah, the candied squash pieces are simply delightful!

Candied Kabocha
half of a kabocha
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
crème fraîche or unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • Peel kabocha, or leave unpeeled. Cut into 1-inch cubes or 2 inch slices.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly for 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and kabocha and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the squash into a container and set aside. Continue boiling the syrup on low heat until slightly thick. Pour the syrup on top of the cooked squash. Let cool; cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight on kitchen counter.
  • Drain the syrup into a saucepan and let boil until thick and syrupy.
  • Serving suggestion: Place a few pieces of candied squash on a dessert cup or plate. Top with yogurt or crème fraîche. Drizzle all over with syrup.
I cooked the other half in sautéed garlic, onion, and vegetable bouillon, then added a cup of thick coconut milk and simmered until tender but not mushy. It's a delicious vegan side or main dish.

Kabocha in Coconut Milk
ginataang kabocha

February 10, 2011

Mackerel in Coconut Vinaigrette

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Kinilaw na Tanguingue

food friday chiclet

Kinilaw na Tanguingue (Mackerel in Coconut Vinaigrette)

1 pound cubed Spanish mackerel fillet
1 cup white coconut vinegar
½ cup thick coconut milk
6 shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 hot red or green pepper, sliced
dash of ground white peppercorns
shallot rings or sliced hot red pepper for garnish
  • Marinate the fish cubes in half cup of the vinegar for 15 minutes. Drain well and discard vinegar.
  • In a glass bowl, combine the remaining half cup of vinegar, coconut milk, fish, shallots, ginger, sliced hot peppers, salt, and ground white peppercorns. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Transfer into a serving plate and garnish with shallot and hot pepper.

February 8, 2011

XO Sauce

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XO Sauce
XO Sauce

We lived in Hong Kong for a little over 3 years from 1988 to 1992 but never heard of XO sauce. I don't know when this sauce started becoming popular and it certainly is very popular now not just in Hong Kong but also here in the USA. I wasn't able to find it at our Asian stores but they are available online. I was a bit surprised at the price, a jar of less than half a pound of this sauce costs about $17.00. It must be really good.

Well, it's very very good. I love it! At least the one I made at home. It's spicy and delicious in fried rice or simply with steamed vegetables.

XO Sauce
makes about 2½ cups

warm water
6 pieces large dried hot red pepper
1 cup dried scallops
5 ounces tiny dried shrimp with shells on
2 ounces Virginia ham, chopped
2 ounces salted fish
¼ cup shelled large dried shrimp, chopped
¼ tablespoon coarsely ground sichuan pepper
1½ cups light olive oil
1 cup minced garlic
1 cup minced onions
  • In separate containers, soak the peppers, salted fish, and tiny shrimps.
  • Place the dried scallops in a small saucepan, add water to cover by half an inch and simmer until scallops are soft; do not let mixture get dry. Let cool then shred by hand; set aside.
  • Drain the soaked ingredients. Remove the seeds from the hot peppers and coarsely chop; set aside. Coarsely chop the tiny shrimp and fish; set aside.
  • Heat 1 cup of oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic, onion, and chopped tiny shrimps and let fry on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the peppers, fish, and ham and continue to cook until peppers become translucent. Add more oil if needed. Turn the heat to low, add scallops, large shrimps, and sichuan pepper and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and transfer sauce in jars, let cool. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

XO Sauce

February 5, 2011

Brats or Primanti®?

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Bratwurst Sandwich
sauerkraut, fresh sausages, spicy brown mustard, cheese on a chewy crusty sandwich bun

Primanti Copycat Sandwich
Primanti-style sandwich: layers of chipped (shaved) ham, provolone, fries, coleslaw, and sliced tomato on Italian bread

Take your Super Bowl XLV pick. Brats (Green Bay Packers) or Primanti®-style (Pittsburgh Steelers) sandwich. Both are really delicious. I'm not too sure about the teams though and I won't be watching the game anyway.

Vote for your favorite. May the best sandwich win!

The recipe for fresh Jalapeño and Cheese Sausage is here.

February 3, 2011

Food Friday: Sinigang Mix Crusted Salmon

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Sinigang Crusted Salmon

food friday chiclet

Who knew that a packet of sinigang mix powder would be perfect as seasoning for baked salmon fillet? Well, Yummy magazine did.

Now you must be wondering why I'm not slurping hot sinigang soup, what with the terrible cold weather we have been having lately but I was really intrigued by the idea of using sinigang soup powder as a rub. I wasn't disappointed; the baked salmon fillet is tart, salty, and delicious. I steamed some camote (sweet potato) tops to complete the "sinigang" theme.

Sinigang Crusted Salmon

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