Thursday, June 26, 2008

Deep-Fried Seafood

I've always loved seafood. It's just a little pricey, though. But you can purchase small amounts of each of these ingredients and still get the yummy seafood taste.

1/4 kilo medium prepared squid
7-8 tiger prawns or jumbo shrimps
1/4 kilo fish fillet (of any kind)
vegetable oil for deep frying
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper
garlic-flavored mayonnaise
lemon wedges

1. Carefully rinse the squid, prawns or shrimps, and fish under cold runnign water, removing any dirt or grit.
2. Using a sharp knife, slice the squid into rings, leaving the tentacles whole.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 350 to 370 degrees fahrenheit.
4. Place the flour in abowl, add the basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste; mix together well.
5. Roll the squid, prawns or shrimp, and fish in the seasoned flour until coated all over. Carefully shake off any excess flour.
6. Cook the seafood in the heated oil, in batches, for 2-3 minutes, or until crispy and golden all over. Remove all the seafood with a draining spoon and leave to drain thoroughly on paper towels.
7. Transfer to serving plates and serve with garlic-flavored mayonnaise and a few lemon wedges.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Busy Me

I didn't have time to play in the kitchen recently, been hooked up watching the final episodes of Gossip Girl. Sorry, but I have to admit it that I'm so excited and just can't wait to finish the 2nd season. But not to worry, it'll only be until tomorrow when I finally will see the finale. Can't wait. :-)
Oh, and I also have to finish 'Like Water for Chocolate', the book I borrowed from a friend. Nice read, with 12 recipes featured for each month. You can go check it out...
And the pending 'Petra & Pilar' meet, it's postponed maybe until this weekend. Because of the storm 'Frank', that is. So I'll just keep you guys posted.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Eggplant w/ Minced Pork

My hubby never really likes vegetables. Except for a few I can name...
Mixing meat and veggies on some of your menus is a good way to still the get the benefits of 'gulay'. You can always include ground meat (pork, beef or chicken) in your grocery list. You can just use a portion of it and mix it with some greens for a hearty meal.
Here's a simple eggplant recipe, easy as well...

1/4 kilo ground pork, lean
4 pcs. medium eggplant, sliced 2" long
3 pcs. garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 pc. red/green chili, sliced (optional)
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. corn starch, dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1. In a pan, heat oil and sautee onion and garlic until tender.
2. Add in meat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, covered until cooked.
3. First add soy sauce, mixing meat well, then add in oyster sauce and eggplant. Finally add dissolved corn starch and chili if using, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Carinderia - Who is Petra & who is Pilar?

Oh gosh, I would wanna share this hilarious experience we had just to find Petra & Pilar. Read on...It was shared to us by a couple of our Titas when they purchased their famous 'corned beef' at the Saturday market, Salcedo Park. We had it for merienda paired with ciabata bread. Saying they got the address from a newspaper, off we went last rainy Sunday afternoon, planning to get a sumptuos dinner at the said 'carinderia'. You know what?!? They got the address 2311, instead of 2111. As you would expect it, we were searching for the place around the Mantrade area. Yeah, I know we're way off the right location. We had to do a few u-turns and breaks just to ask if they ever heard about Petra & Pilar. Hmmm... people we've asked definitely didn't hear the names yet. Until it took us about an hour, so exhausted, we ended up eating at a Japanese resto within the vicinity we were in. Sad and frustrating...And then one sunny day, I found my way walking the sidestreet near Makati Med to get a document certified, and guess what?!? I found the 'carinderia'. The least expected time. So it was just there all along. It was funny, thinking that we were on the other end of Pasong Tamo looking for the spot.haha!So we're planning to eat out this weekend, where else..... to finally meet Petra & Pilar. :-)

Pic Pac!

Gosh! I really need to get a new camera, now that I have to post pictures of the recipes I will be featuring. :-) Oh yeah, I'm left with only my camera phone after we sold our Casio Exilim digicam about 3 weeks ago. Twas just 3 years old but had to get rid of it since it's already showing signs of old age. :-) The problem that I have with my camera phone is the picture being so blurry, considering it's only 2 megapix. And since I have no USB with the phone, I have to send it first to my email and save it. Too much work and the photo quality is not that good.
Anyway, I'll try to check if budget permits me so, before purchasing a brand new one. I'm so excited!:-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cloth, Dish Towels and Sponges

Just before lunch earlier, I was doing the last-minute cleaning in the kitchen when I realized something. One thing we can't live without... that definitely needs to be clean, I mean, germ-free clean. So when I got online, I immediately searched for a solution. Read...

"Cloths, dish towels, and sponges are a breeding ground for germs. In one study of kitchen bacterial contamination, 20 percent of the dishcloths and 12 percent of the sponges contained salmonella, a leading cause of food-borne illness. Since food-borne bacteria can double in number every 20 minutes in some conditions, it's important to wash towels and sponges often in hot water and liquid bleach. A convenient way to disinfect dish cloths and sponges in-between washings is to soak for 5 minutes in a solution of 3/4 cup household liquid bleach and 1 gallon warm water. Ideally, kitchen surfaces should be disinfected daily."

So as you see, it's not just enough to wash it with soap and water. Hmmm... Easy step to get those germs away!

Refrigerator Tips

Our reliable buddy in the kitchen, our REF. I was browsing through the net and I happen to remember one dilemma I have. Since we still have the old 'manual' refrigerator, doing the defrost was really an inconvenience. Gosh, just imagine having to defrost the unit once a week since it accumulates too much ice in the freezer. Oh well, I guess I will just have to live with it, until we get a new one... which would probrably be months from now. Sigh! Anyway, here are some tips I collated for getting the best performance out of your refrigerator:

* Defrost freeze compartment whenever frost builds up to 1/4-inch thickness.
* Open and close doors quickly. Remove or return several items at once.
* Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator. It's safer. Thawing items also absorb heat from other foods to reduce refrigerator running time.
* Keep condenser coils clean by regular vacuuming. Dust acts as an insulator that can cut down cooling efficiency.
* Replace worn door gaskets. Keep a good, tight door seal for best operating efficiency.
* Install your refrigerator away from the range, direct sunlight, registers, radiators, or any other heat source.
* Fill refrigerator to capacity for best operating efficiency, but do not overcrowd or block air circulation.

Patience is a virtue, I know. Wait till I get the new 'no-frost' one. :-)

Storing Ice Cream

Kids love ice cream! Adults as well... My 3-year old loves it sooo much, that we often store a few small cups in the ref to satisfy her craving, whenever she is on her 'ice mood'.

A few ice cream storage tips for you:
• Make sure your freezer is set between -5°F and 0°F.
• Store ice cream in the main part of the freezer, not on the door.
• Do not let ice cream to soften and re-freeze. This causes the ice crystals to melt and re-freeze, and can affect taste.
• Make sure the lid to the ice cream container is on tightly.
• Be sure to cover other foods in the freezer; the odor of uncovered foods can affect the ice cream.

I was once told that it's not good to eat a re-frozen ice cream, saying it attracts some kind of bacteria or something. Hmmm... that's pretty scary since we usually put it back in the freezer if not consumed. I will have to find that out, will get back to you on that.

Boiling Water in a Microwave

I know it's too convenient, but if you boil water in a microwave, be careful! Better yet, don't! Read on, a very helpful info for everybody, especially for those who are always on the go...

"Water from the cup, when boiled in a microwave, can blow up in your face. This is not an urban legend. It is caused by a phenomenon known as super heating. This can occur anytime water is heated, and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new, or when heating a small amount of water (less than half a cup). What happens is that the water heats faster than vapor bubbles can form. If the cup is very new, it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form. Since the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil, and the liquid continues to heat up well past its boiling point. What then usually happens is that the liquid is bumped or jarred, which is just enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. (The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken.")
If you even decide to heat water in a microwave, place something, such as a wooden stir stick, tea bag, etc., in the cup to diffuse the energy A much safer choice is to boil the water in a tea kettle."

And now we know...

Boiling Vegetables

We, Filipinos, use vegetables on most of our daily recipes. Especially in my household where my Mama can't eat all meat in a week, or you'll hear her complain. And admittedly, I personally love vegetables! Sauteed, buttered, steamed, with soup, it doesn't matter how it's cooked, as long as it's not overcooked.
And here is a tip for you: Use only a small amount of water or broth if you plan to boil vegetables -- many nutrients, such as potassium, are water soluble and will tend to leach out in the cooking water. Whether boiling, steaming or microwaving, cook until just crisp-tender to retain the optimum amount of nutrients.

Adding Water to Soups with Meat

We love almost everything with 'sabaw', right? One of the few favorites of mine - bulalo, sinigang, tinola. What else?!? As long as it's 'sinabawan'. :-)
Here's one tip in adding water to your soup menu, when you think it's not enough.
When making soup with meat in the stock pot and you need to add more water, add COLD water, not hot water. Hot water can toughen the meat.
So if you don't want to wait forever, use cold. :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sinabawang Gulay

Eat healthy! Having been born in the Visayas, I got use to eat plenty of fish and vegetables. I mean, more frequent than meat, that is. Being so near the sea and the farm, seafood and agricultural products are just easily available.
I so like almost everything with 'sabaw', so I'm gonna feature the healthiest recipe I consider so. Just before the famous song hit the airwaves, we have already prepared it in our dining table. With this recipe, you can remove okra(if you don't like), and if you can't get malunggay leaves, you can use kangkong(water spinach) instead. So here it is, my version of the 'sinabawang gulay'.

250 gm. squash, cubed
5 pcs. okra, sliced diagonally in 2 (optional)

5 pcs. string beans, cut 2" long
2 pcs. medium eggplants, sliced horizontally, 2" long
2 pcs. small gabi, cubed (optional)
3/4 cup malunggay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
3 pcs. medium tomato, sliced
1-2 pcs. green chili (pang-sigang)
1-inch ginger, sliced thinly
1-2 pcs. medium fried/grilled fish, shredded(optional)
1 tbsp. fish sauce (patis)
3 cups water (more if desired)
salt to taste

1. In a deep pan, add in all vegetables except for malunggay leaves, together with onions and tomatoes, place it on low fire and let it simmer for 3-5 minutes .
2. Add water as soup base and add in fish sauce, let it boil for 5 minutes.
3. Add more water if desired, add salt and simmer for another minute or two and lastly add in malunggay leaves just before serving.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chinese Adobo

Salty-Sweet Adobo.... on a plate with warm rice... yum!

1/2 kilo pork meat (pata slices)
1 pc. onion bulb, cubed
4 pcs. garlic, cubed
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. lime/lemon juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. peppercorns (black pepper,whole)
1 tbsp. (salted black beans)
3-4 bay leaves (laurel)

* place meat in a casserole. mix all ingredients except for the sugar, and place on low flame until boiling for 15-20mins.
* add in sugar. Keep meat boiling, making sure there is enough liquid, adding a little amount of water is an option. adjust taste, should be sweet and salty.
* simmer for another 15-20mins until tender.
* sprinkle black beans before serving.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beef Strips in Thick Cream

Try this ala-beefsteak menu, with a twist!

1/2 kilo tenderloin strips
250 ml thick cream
1 pc. big white onion, sliced, circle
5 pcs. garlic, chopped
2 tsp. butter
3 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 cup beef broth

* heat butter in a skillet on a medium flame (make sure not to burn butter)
* add garlic and half of the onions until tender. then add beef strips and pan fry ingredients
* add broth, simmer for 15-20 minutes, making sure there is enough liquid to cook the meat
* add soy sauce and vinegar and while stirring, add in cream and simmer for another 5-10mins
* serve in a plate and garnish with the remaining onions