Apr 26, 2006

Pork Steak

Last Sunday was one of those times when my husband and I craved for dissimilar food. For lunch, he wanted fish while I craved for meat. Para walang away, we had both. I made Pork Steak (the Pinoy Bistek using pork) while he grilled a Betilla (a relative of lapu-lapu, maya-maya and bisugo). I also made him some cucumber-pineapple salad to go with the fish.

It was also fantastically warm inside the house, and so we were one in saying it was time na kumain kami sa labas (eat out)-- literally. We had lunch in our breakfast nook, a table straight out of a fastfood court, near our pocket garden. :)


What's In It?

1 k pork kasim or pigue, sliced into 1" strips
juice of 4 to 5 calamansi*
3/4 c soy sauce
5 T brown sugar
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 small onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, cut into rings for garnish
5 T cooking oil

Kitchen Conjugations:

Marinate pork in calamansi, soy sauce, pepper and brown sugar for at least 20 minutes. Heat oil and saute garlic and sliced onions until onions are soft and translucent.

Add in pork slices (without the marinade) and stir fry for one minute. Cover and simmer until pork is half-cooked (or after about 10 minutes). Add in marinade and simmer for another 10 minutes or till meat becomes fork-tender.

Stir-in onion rings and let simmer for 30 seconds or so. Check seasonings, correct any over-saltiness by adding a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar and simmering for another minute.

I've already set my mind on Pork Steak when I realized that I've ran out of calamansi. So instead I used half a teaspoon of Knorr Sinigang sa Calamansi mix for the marinade.

This is a large-batch recipe; this dish serves 16 people (half a kilo of meat is good for 8). The leftovers will keep for half a month in the ref, or for at least two days in room temp. For food safety be sure to reheat before serving.

Apr 23, 2006

Tuna Egg Ramekins

Something that's fancy enough but quick and easy to do, to serve with coffee for when you have unannounced company, or if you, like me, have kids who clamor for something to do in the kitchen. :)

The recipe has two parts: making the Tuna-Egg Salad, and assembling the "crust." The tuna-egg salad doubles as spread for other sandwiches, or as in this recipe, can be served ramekin way.


What's In It?

  • 3 medium eggs, boiled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, washed and diced (optional, but a quick way to sneak in some veggies!)
  • 2 cans tuna flakes in vegetable oil, drained (I use Hot and Spicy for a little kick)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1.5 cups sandwich spread
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • half a loaf of bread (day old is better)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Combine all ingredients (except bread) in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Trim sides of bread slices. Reserve the sides for later.

Flatten bread slices with your fingers or using a rolling pin. Press into ramekins/muffin cups. (One slice goes nicely into one ramekin.)

You may opt to toast the bread at this point, or leave the bread un-toasted then spoon-in the tuna-egg salad.

Top with the bread sides in a criss-cross fashion, then bake in an oven toaster for 5 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Apr 20, 2006


I'm now banned from frying anything for the rest of my life. So has my husband ordered.

Not because I burned anything I was frying... I am banned because I am now a certified putok ng mantika magnet. Each time I fry (or even saute) hot oil flies and explodes... at me. I come a few inches by a fry in progress and the oil starts sputtering like crazy. Weird.

The injuries from this freak magnetism have escalated in both frequency and magnitude in the past three months. I have just recovered from a burn on my right index finger from a month ago and then last night, managed to attract enough boiling oil to the area below my right collarbone. Hiss! The crazy oil bomb left a little crater,* now covered with Betamethasone Clioquinol cream and Band-Aid, which I hope would heal nicely enough not to leave a scar.

[Do you really want a visual? Email me.]

For now, Mike takes over close encounters with the frying kind.

*On hindsight that wouldn't have happened had last night been one of those nights I was wearing an apron.

Apr 19, 2006

Food for a Pinoy Luau

Ewan ko ba, but I really like cooking and I love feeding people. Given the chance, I would probably be having a party everyday. :)

So I volunteered to be chef for my friend Jeng's birthday party. We decided on an island theme and planned a luau.

A luau, in the strict sense, would normally feature poi (fermented taro root paste), kalua pig (pork prepared in an imu, or earth oven), poke (a recipe I found describes something like a Japanese kinilaw), and lomi salmon, among others.

But we didn't dare go into strange territory just yet, afterall, we were all Pinoys at the party and we wanted people to eat (and not be turned-off by the alien-sounding food)! So here's the menu I cooked up for Jeng:

'Arte ng names, 'no? Kasing-arte ng chef. :)

Fanciness aside, all the dishes were very simple and easy to prepare. The Flame-Baked Cheese-Garlic Mussels are just tahong I baked in a baking pan over charcoal; Red Snapper Tropicale is just maya-maya with sweet-sour sauce with pineapple bits, and breaded tanigue cubes paired with tartar sauce is what became known at the party as Golden Nuggets with Sauce Tartare. :) The Chicken Kebabs were the first to be wiped-out. (Jeng and I stopped the threading at about 50 sticks, but after she sampled a stick of the first batch she resumed threading, saying "Masarap eh, baka maubos agad.") The Beef Bulgogi found popularity among the kids, no one looked for Chickenjoy. :) Of course, Papa's Spaghetti Mafia was again topic of conversation, setting first-tasters asking for the recipe.

To keep the island party theme, I made crepe paper lanterns with white hibiscus cut-outs, and hung paper flower garlands. We used Jeng's tie-dyed sarongs as table cloth, then put the dessert Summer Fruit Medley (which are just slices of summer fruits -- bananas, watermelons and mangoes) on a banana leaf on the middle of the buffet table as centerpiece. (I put in some silk orchids I got for a song at ValuePoint as garnish.) The other desserts sat with the drink of the day, Jamaican Island Cooler (orange juice with fresh fruit slices) on the side table.

We were counting on some helpers Jeng hired to do the peeling, chopping, etc. but they were a non-appearance so Jeng and I became mega-multi-taskers. :) Luckily, we wrapped-up photo finish, and I made a quick dash home to shower and change. When I got back there was only time for a few shots using Jeng's cam-phone (in my hurry I forgot to snag my camera), so no pictures of the feast table here just yet.

The party was a great success though (if I may say so myself) and we had a great time eating, singing, talking and drinking (Bailey's for them, Island Cooler for me...tee hee hee) to the late hours of the night.

Party tayo ulit, Jeng? :)


Of course I wouldn't have been able to indulge in this passion without the help of my labidabs, Mike, who was also my handyman, driver, taga-sabit ng garlands, videoke controller, etc. etc. on the day.

The tahong was sinadya in Silang, Cavite by Jeng's husband, Rel, who bought ALL the tahong from the stand-- an astonishing 8 large cans! (I ordered only 2.)

Apr 18, 2006

Spaghetti Mafia

This recipe is courtesy of my friend Jeng's dad, Papa Mario Anlap, who first had it at Bravo! Ristorante, liked it and decided to replicate it in his kitchen. (Thanks, Jeng, Papa!)

The recipe originally calls for a can of anchovy fillets, but since I didn't have any in my pantry I decided to use what's on hand, a bunch of dried dilis. The result? Same taste, albeit a little more work (as I had to break the dilis into pieces then soak them in olive oil for a few minutes), but nonetheless a simple, quick, flavorful, semi-vegetarian dish for a fraction of what you'd shell out at Bravo. :) Great for a quick meal for when you have surprise guests, or as a refreshing change from tomato-sauce spaghetti.


  • 1/2 kg. Spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced into rings
  • 1 small red bell pepper, julienned
  • 3 shallots or onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 can anchovy fillets,* diced or flaked, oil reserved
  • 1/4 kilo ripe tomatoes, sliced and seeded
  • 1 can button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 whole head garlic, peeled and sliced into strips
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil*
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 to 5 pieces siling labuyo, sliced lengthwise and seeded, or 1 to 1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute garlic, scallions, tomatoes, anchovies, bell peppers, olives and mushrooms. Add in cooked spaghetti and toss for one minute. Season with salt and pepper and toss for another 30 seconds or so.

Serve warm with garlic bread and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 4 to 6.


* You can also use 50 grams dried dilis, cut into smaller pieces crosswise and soaked in 1/4 cup olive oil. If you opt to do this, use the olive oil where you soaked the dilis for sauteing.

A can of Taby anchovy fillets costs P86.50 at Shopwise; if you use dried dilis, P20.00 worth is good for two cook-ups.

Instead of spaghetti, you can opt for other pasta sciutta like linguine, fettucine or even papardelle. You might want to pound the dried anchovies to granules, and mince the garlic, if you have picky eaters.

Papa serves this dish the hot and spicy way, which I actually prefer because it kicks, but I chose to forego the chilis in deference to Mike's acid reflux.

If you're wondering why there is a toy train engine in the picture above, it's because Gambel was playing on the table where I was taking the shots, and he insisted on putting his toy in, to good measure. :)

Apr 16, 2006

Banana Cake

I haven't baked for a long while. Apart from the prohibitive costs of electricity (I use a Turbo Broiler for baking), my MBA orientation nags me to take advantage of economies of scale and just buy instead of baking my own.

Last Thursday, though, with time on our hands and a bunch of bananas rapidly ripening due to the summer heat, with the boys becoming pasaway out of having nothing better to do, I decided it was time to take out the baking arm. We had a messy time in the kitchen, with my boys elbowing each other for a turn at the mixing. Even my husband volunteered to mash the bananas. :)

This is the same recipe I've been using since I was 9, when I was initiated into baking (by good ol' mom). This too is the same recipe I've baked countless times back in highschool, the cake I've sliced and sold many mornings in junior year. :)

This cake is great with a cup of coffee, or a tall glass of icy orange juice.


What's In It?

  • 1/2 c butter, room temp.*
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 ripe bananas**, mashed to a pulp
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Kitchen Conjugations:

Pre-heat oven to 175 deg C. Meanwhile, stir in baking soda into buttermilk. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Beat for about 1 minute, then add flour and mashed bananas alternatingly. Beat with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, then stir in buttermilk-baking soda mixture.

Pour into baking pan and top with ground nuts (cashew, peanuts or almond) if desired, and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until cake starts to leave side of pan. Cake is ready if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


*Simply take out the butter from the ref at least 30 minutes before you start the batter to melt it to room temperature.

**I use lakatan, but when I first made this cake the practice at home was the use of senyorita (round and stubby, even smaller than latundan) and when available, bungulan (the variety that's green-peeled even when ripe). Using Senyorita made for more aromatic cakes, while the bunguran made the cake more flavorful and showy (more banana 'fibers' showing). Sadly, both varieties are not easily available now (to me, at least).

PS: The coffee mug above is at least 16 years old, something I inherited from my mom who used it every morning back when she was still in the country . It's an Arcoroc she bought during a trip to France.

Apr 12, 2006

Packed Lunch

See how the Daing na Bangus is packed? I used the top of a Dexter's Pizza box. Kept the fish crisp, and absorbed excess oil. :) That veggie dish up there is Soy Sauce Pakbet.

I was supposed to bring this stash to the office for Mike and I to share, but since he got stalled by bank-related errands I had to eat at home, by myself. :( Hmp. Nagpaka-pagod pa daw ako.

I bought the bangus from our suki for P100.00 per kilo, and paid extra P20.00 to have them deboned. Then I marinated them in a mixture of vinegar, crushed garlic, a little salt and crushed peppercorns for 1 day in the refrigerator. (Some cooks opt to add soy sauce in the marinade, but that will prevent the bangus from getting crispy during frying.)

Soy Sauce pinakbet is an attempt to find a substitute for bagoong, because I need to reduce our sodium intake for health (and vanity) reasons. :) In about 2 teaspoons of olive oil I sauteed garlic, onions and tomatoes, added sliced squash, okra, sting beans, eggplant and ampalaya, and stir fried for 3 minutes. I added two tablespoons of soy sauce when the vegetables were crisp-tender.

I would have topped it with crushed chicharon like I used to, but bawal na eh. :)

Apr 4, 2006

Chicken Inasal

OK, so you got me. I'm a huge fan of barbecues.

So much so that, for a time, I've decreed Friday as our family Inihaw Nite, and on those nights we take out the grill, get things smoking, and have dinner kain sa labas style. Literally, as in out in the garage. Part of the fun having Inihaw Nites, apart from the smoky flavor I really love, is the cowboy-no-frills-dinner we share: we use newspaper as placemats (to absorb any spills, and for easy clean up), eat with our hands, and enjoy the curious glances we get from passers-by. :P

We haven't had an Inihaw Nite for a while; hectic schedules got in the way. But I do try to have barbecue when I can. The most recent was last Sunday, when I made Chicken Inasal for dinner.

Offhand I'd like to apologize to Bacolodnons, as this dish might not be true to the real recipe. Pasensya na po, my recipe's always oido, and I just approximated based on what I recall to be the taste of Bacolod Chicken Inasal we had in Festival Mall. :)


What's in it?

1 kg chicken, cut-up

1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt

1 teaspoon black pepper powder

3-4 stalks tanglad (lemon grass), cut into 2" pieces

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c cooking oil

1 teaspoon atchuete (annato seeds)

Kitchen Conjugations:

Wash chicken pieces, then rub with salt, pepper and lemon grass slices. Set aside and allow to marinate for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Add in minced garlic and atchuete. Stir fry for a minute or until the oil turns deep orange.

Start the grill. Skewer chicken pieces in barbecue sticks, then grill, brushing with the oil-garlic-atchuete mixture from time to time.

Serve with atchara and garlic rice. :)


Tip : to prevent sticks from getting burned, soak in a basin of water (level of water should be just enough to cover the sticks) while the chicken marinates.

Apr 3, 2006


Happy to share another discovery.... Pastelera Mallorca's Argellanas... Spanish pastry that's flaky like otap, but not as hard.

And it's glazed! The perfect cure for my brown-sugar cravings. :) Perfect for coffee, too! :)

What's more, Argellanas are not as elusive as Ginger Snaps*. They are sold in plastic jars, at the bread section of Shopwise. (I found them at the bottom shelf of the rack nearest Gardenia and the Shopwise bakery.)

I planned on having them served with coffee to guests, but I liked them so much I got greedy and kept them to myself. :P

If the Argellanas are any indication, there's lots more sinful goodies to be found in the Pastelera Mallorca (in Scout Fuentebella, Quezon City). Punta tayo? :P

One of my friends actually went on a hunt for Ginger Snaps after reading my post. She scoured three supermarkets -- Shopwise, South and SaveMore, but found none. She said, "Kainis, I was looking forward to make kit-kit like a mouse while having tea!" Di bale, Jeng, try the Argellanas muna. :)

Apr 1, 2006

Sinigang na Ulo

It miraculously rained on Thursday; like God was saying, "Fret not, I'm still in charge here," as a reply to my incessant "Ang lamiiig naman dito sa Pilipinas!"

Anyhow, to celebrate that little rain and the unexpected reprieve from the summer heat, I decided to make broth that night. Nothing's heartier than soup when it's a rainy night.

Also, since the soup is hearty, we have a reason to skip rice. (Yehey!) Also, since Mike and I made a quick stopover at his suki at the palengke in Pacita and he bought a truckload of fish again, including the whole head of a maya-maya, I made Sinigang na Ulo.

I really don't think you need the recipe, but if you do, here it is. :)

Sinigang na Ulo
(Fish Head Sour Soup)

What's In It?
1 big head of Maya-maya (Snapper), about 1kg, cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 large native tomatoes, quartered
2 bundles kangkong (swamp cabbage), washed, leaves separated from stalks
1 large radish, peeled and sliced
juice from 5-7 pieces calamansi (Philippine lemon)
3-5 tablespoons patis (fish sauce); or to taste
1 liter water or rice washing

Kitchen Conjugations
In a large pot, boil the water/rice washing with the quartered onions and tomatoes. When the water gets to a rolling boil, add in the fish head and the radish and allow to boil until the radish is half-cooked (semi-translucent). Pour in patis and calamansi juice and boil until the radish is cooked. Check seasonings. Add in kangkong, allow to boil for 30 seconds (or to crisp-tenderness) then remove pot from heat.

1. Use the water from the second time of washing rice grains if you opt to use rice washing. The soup gets more flavorful (malinamnam).

2. You can use tamarind instead of calamansi, but for fish soups I always use calamansi to remove the fishy-ness (lansa).

3. You can also use Knorr Sinigang sa Calamansi. If you opt to, make sure to pour in the mix long before you add the fish and other ingredients, to make sure that you cook the artificial ingredients in the mix long enough without overcooking the fish and/or veggies.