Monthly Archives: May 2005

chicken with lemongrass and purple basil

based on a recipe by Corinne Trang, “Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine.”

you like intensely flavored food? this one’s for you. make sure to use Vietnamese fish sauce, nuoc mam, “made in Vietnam”.

marinate 1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut in to bite-size pieces, in 4 tbsps. fish sauce, 4 tsps. sugar(thoroughly dissolved), 2 tbsps. vegetable oil, 4 large cloves of garlic (well-smashed), 2 stalks of lemongrass (trimmed, ground), at least two hours. reserve marinade.

cut 2 bird or Thai chilis lengthwise and remove seeds. cut diagonally into thin slices. slice 4-6 leaves of purple or thai basil. heat 2 tbsps. vegetable oil in large wok or nonstick saute pan. brown chicken well with sliced chilis and basil. add marinade, freshly ground pepper, and 1/2 cup water, and cover, and let cook at least 30 minutes (add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed). when chicken is tender and well-cooked turn off heat and garnish with more basil leaves. serve hot with jasmine rice.

…summer WILL be here

summer WILL be here…(my new mantra).
one day of sunshine…*sigh* just as i had set up our charcoal grill for Filipino barbecued pork skewers…a hugh grey storm cloud rolled in and ruined it all.
good thing i had this cooling in the rack. it’s very easy to make and almost identical to the peach cake i made last summer. when i bit into it, visions of Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines flashed in my head. strawberry jam, wine, strawberries in baskets…
strawberry cake, fr. Martha Stewart Living, June 2005.

preheat oven to 350F.
butter a ten inch pie plate or quiche dish.
wash, drain, and blot dry, then hull and halve 1 pound of strawberries.
whisk together 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 & 1/2 tsps. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.
cream 6 tbsps. unsalted butter, at room temp., and 1 cup sugar. add 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 cup whole milk. (you may use the mixer for this).
add flour mixture and mix by hand, just until incorporated. pour into pie plate.
arrange strawberries on top and sift 2 tbsps. of fine granulated sugar over.

bake at 350F for ten minutes, then lower heat to 325F and bake an hour or until golden brown and set. let cool in wire rack then cut into slices.

the winners!

i made the same cake from nigella lawson that i “lifted” ahem from emily’s baking beast but this time tried a new icing from the donna hay cookbook that WAS up for grabs in the raffle.
i love it. i think i’m sticking to this recipe for now. use the best quality chocolate–it’s really worth it. i recommend Trader Joe’s Belgian Pound Plus dark chocolate but i’ve heard scharffen berger, valrhona, callebaut, are good. ghirardelli, baker’s
…just read the label for the “minimum cocoa solids” content. mmm-mmm.
truffle icing

15 ozs. couverture chocolate (70% cocoa solids, “dark chocolate”)–learned from chef schatzli
2 cups light cream
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup white (granulated) superfine sugar (caster)

in a sauce pan melt the chocolate and cream over low heat, stirring occasionally until very smooth.
over simmering water in a double boiler, beat egg yolks and sugar until light and lemony.
remove from heat. slowly pour in melted chocolate and beat (i used my hand mixer for this) for about 5 minutes until cooled. refrigerate 30 minutes.
pour half of the mixture between cake layers (that have been baked, cooled, then set in springform pan deep enough to fit the cake and icing.)
put in second layer, pour the rest of the mixture but leave about 1/3 cup for spreading on the sides. let sit in refrigerator 5 hours to set the truffle icing…

and now the winners!!!
before i announce, let me just say that my #2 son so enjoyed drawing the winning names from the magic cookie monster “tambiolo” and i so loved seeing his face light up, that we promise to do this again in the very near future.
the magic “tambiolo”

the donna hay baking book goes to….

congratulations JMom!

and the ken keyes, jr. road map goes to…
[she said she has never won a raffle before, well well well! looks like you just did] annabanana!

please email me your snailymaily addresses so i can send them pronto.
i want everyone to win though, so as a consuelo to everyone else who participated send your address and i will send you something small but special from the bottom of my heart….thank you friends

pinoy style party…girls’ night out!!!

what a night!
despite the nasty nor’easter and all the timezone bloghopping, we were able to pull it off.
my cup (of happiness)*, and the buffet table runneth over with all the delicious enticing dishes (and a very interesting chicken entry from Canada), from all over the blogmap..

thessiree, the early-song-bird arrived first with a handsome babypug whose smile will melt your heart. he carried the bagfull of goodies from the land of tulips and windmills…chef thess prepared honeylicious ribs, vermicelli, fresh lumpia with hazelnut sauce, celiak’s Southern-fried chicken wings, and her signature suplada coffee with a kick (guaranteed to pick you up or knock you out). make sure you visit her new kitchen!
eet smakelijk, thess!

anna banana prepared a most festive table full of Korean pica pica so beautiful to look at, and suspiciously healthy too…i don’t have too many chances to have Korean food, and anna takes us on a wonderful culinary tour…now i have yooboo chobap, sanjok, sujungkwa, sikhye, and toppoki to try, and venture beyond bibimbop and kimchi (hers is homemade!!!). thank you annabanana, i must have nutritious food once in a while.

from ting-aling‘s newly renovated kitchen came the catch of the day, large lobsters two styles… may i have extra helpings of the lobsters in coconut milk? (had to dig out our baby bibs and break out the paper towels)…essential and perfect finger food, finger-licking good.

from the land of BMW and VW, Gewurtztraminer and Beck’s,cheH our fantasy party planner brought a luscious seafood paella, bloggerburgers, a wine cellar full of spirits, ticklish entertainers–check out their coconuts…ahem!…she even solved the problem of party favors…you get to pick goodies! we have to distract the husbands and boyfriends who insisted on crashing this girls’ night out…

i was worried that she wouldn’t arrive, but chef schatzli was able to break out of an impasse with Norse trolls and brought me her promised trolls’ and Greek gods’ treasures–parmesan tuiles and goat cheese tart, sure to transport us to Viking heaven, ja!

our only entry so far from Inang Bayan, the Philippines, our pilgrim, Karen brought the pilgrim’s fish balls & buchi and to showcase such skewered fantastic food that made us remember the itinerant hawker and street food of our youth, i rented a little fishball cart with a gas burner and the three requisite dips…thank you Karen, i feel reassured now that we have a recipe for these little snacks. the buko (young coconut) juice is just the perfect refreshing accompaniment! a basketfull of sweet mangoes too (thess will share, yes thess?).
my nearest neighbor in the Northeast, stefoodie, who made sure her children were well-fed before coming over, brought my favorite “pulutan” of all time, and my children’s favorite cake, sisig and tiramisu …thank you for making time for us stef! and now you can indulge your cheese cravings because…

chefceliaKtraveled to Spain from the UK and she must have soaked up all the ambience and flavors because she brought her cheesy nachos, pinchitos, and sangria (i think i’m stealing that word pinchitos it’s so cute celiaK! )…beware the sangria folks, it’s a fruity and dangerous drink…

it led us to the surprises of the evening when atinna flashed her red and flaming flamenco skirt (along with some very scrumptiously unique Japanese tidbits of nishime, edamame and taramo, and assorted Japanese snacks) and castanets. after the twirling and stomping and clapping…well our Filipino festive DNA broke free, and we tossed her roses and Bravos! and Encores! thank you my dear… it was heart-stopping and electrifying. another beloved friend from Germany beng of aromatic blend broke out in an itik-itik, the most glamorous version we’ve ever seen (remember you have to sing/dance if you don’t bring a dish!) and then…

the lights dimmed and my make shift stage curtain drew to a close, where the sultry and elusive cacofonix presented her signature manok sa dilim (chicken in the dark) and even better, serenaded us with her jazzy yet silky renditions of two classic party songs. it was a career-defining moment, there was stunned silence, and then a standing whooping ovation. two award-winning performances, by two beauteous and sparring long-time friends….applause, more roses, more refreshments passed around and we spotted scanns …their other long-time friend and now ours too…with her cases of vintage classic coke and a huge cake for even more dessert*…singing my daughter’s favorite song, “reflection”, christina aguilera style…”who is the girl i see…?” thank you daday, i’m so thrilled you’re here. (you can tell me about cacof and atinna later when they’ve gone home)…

so the eating and the singing and dancing so integral to the Filipino concept of a party…wait! at last, my neighbor from the South, the one and only JMom has brought us her delectable
spinach-stuffed mushrooms sshhh! JMom i think this is all mine now…ooops, i’ve just been caught trying to hide the platter, sorry…okay pass it around. whew! i was so worried you weren’t coming JMom, thank you for rushing over, i doubly appreciate it.

and now the winner of the talent contest….

muffy doing her impression of Madonna
heehee, just kidding.

see, i hope i haven’t left anyone out and late comers are still welcome. everyone please enjoy, i’ve so missed the Filipino-style parties full of food, song, and laughter. you know, the good old “ati-atihan” spirit where we all laugh out loud and long and sway to the beat of the music?

the essence and style of a Pinoy party…it can never be too much, and too much is not enough. i think we soaked some of it up from the Chinese , because my husband’s family serves food this way too. but then again, we share the party spirit with the Spanish and its former colonies too don’t we…

let’s do this again. soon. please?

*p.s. parang sumabog na pinyata…i got “found out” and was showered with love. thank you for all the birthday greetings but this party is all about you, my dear new found friends. if only we could do this for real. thank you thank you thank you…


maraming maraming salamat sa lahat nang dumating nang maaga, at ang daming bitbit pati inumin at entertainment 😉 it is terribly endearing…
i hope i haven’t intimidated everyone else by my demands er requests…ok you don’t have to sing or perform if you have no entry or recipe…although the liquids are all set to lubricate our vocal bravura and unleash all inhibitions (sa kanta lang ha, pa wholesome kuno!)

yes it is tonight! don’t forget the raffle, girls. accepting your entries up to today…then check back for the hang overs este…the round up. thank you all for being such warm and wonderful friends [akin lahat ng tira ha:) ] you’ve really added so much excitement to my blogworld [tulungan niyo akong magligpit]
i hope we will do this again and again [para makapuslit ako sa housework]…

* * * * * * * *
scroll down, you’ll see the raffle items: please specify if you’d like to enter both raffles, just the baking book, just the ken keyes book, or none. i will have a magic tambiolo (jackpot device that mixes up all the names and my little son’s hand will pick the winners) to mix up all the names and the winner will receive the book in as quick a manner as i can manage (sorry…i can’t guarantee speed as i am a hardworking mommy–in my dreams! heehee).
the “donna hay” book is new, albeit from the salvage store so it’s been marked by the store not moi. the ken keyes jr. book is brand new from amazon, just a little self-help book i’ve never read before but i might take a peek at it while waiting for the raffle date. not guaranteed to give you lifelong happiness–that’s up to the winner–but just my way of giving you all a “peace, man” sign. groovy.
fire up those recipes, vocal cords, dancing legs….we’re gonna parteyyyy.


when we were kids my mom attended what they called “hen parties”: girls’ get togethers, no husbands, kids included only if absolutely necessary (breastfeeding moms?) and remembering the photos she brought home, i thought she looked positively happy and..well, girly.
cacofonix and atinna started the party idea, and now i hereby announce, our very own…
a Blogging GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT!!! in the spirit of Is My Blog Burning?
bring your favorite finger or party food, hors d’oeuvres, canape, pica pica… you don’t have to make it, you can bring store-bought (a picture would be a treat). also! a must! the beverage you prefer for your “pulutan” este finger food.
everyone welcome, girls and people who like girls or wanna be girls or girls-at-heart, i’ll dust off my old karaoke machine (start warming up those pipes!).
if you show up without food then you must sing. post your song.

i’m announcing early so you can make plans for baby sitting. if absolutely necessary, i’ve hired a child-minder but you may want to make alternate plans ;P.
to sweeten the deal, participants’ names or nom de blogs will be included in a raffle(unless you don’t want to, just specify) for a brand new cookbook and a Ken Keyes, Jr. book about Happiness .
the coup de grace….sleeping bags and futons provided for those who cannot go home…
and need to sleep it off :)

please submit your party food by May 25, Wednesday. post your entry–recipe, photo, song, dance–video ha, heehee…email me your link,, and i’ll organize them all into a fun buffet table in time for memorial day weekend i hope and pray..tell everybody!

girls’ night out: appetizers

i know i know…i’m always posting recipes that are not politically correct any more. can’t help it. i do want to eat healthy, but why are the most delicious luscious foods so shockingly bad for our bodies?
so, the cholesterolic carbolicious red meat inner innards all lend themselves to being eaten in *sigh* tiny bite size portions, perfect eating with oxidant rich red wine (good for you right?)…i like to think the champagne bubbles and beer fizz have got to have health benefits too–because those are my preferred poisons.
so here’s to the girls who need the iron, from the duck livers (for absorbing calcium–or is it the other way around?–help, manangK! where are you? we miss you!, for avoiding osteoporosis),
and the occasional animal fat from the pork intestine (is that good for anything???). heehee….

duck liver parfait…one of the first things i made by myself as an excuse to raid my dad’s liquor cabinet

saute 2 thinly sliced shallots in 2 tbsp. of melted butter until soft and translucent. scoop out shallots into a food processor. put 3/4 lb. duck (or chicken)livers in the butter, and saute until firm and slightly browned but still pink in the center.
scoop out into the food processor. let cool slightly and add 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp. Courvoisier, salt and freshly ground pepper (and ground cloves if you like them). blend 4-5 minutes until smooth. pass through a strainer into bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours. serve on mini “Paris” toasts with sliced cornichons or pickled onions.


boil pork intestines in enough water to cover. drain and discard water after vigorous boiling.
re-boil with 2 tbsps. rock salt, black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 tsps. dried thyme, until fork tender. scoop out and spread out on a rack and let dry preferably in refrigerator.
using a long thin seafood fork scrape off the white greasy lining and stuff with long thin slivers of chile or mild sweet peppers.
deep fry in vegetable oil. let drain on paper towels, slice on the diagonal and serve immediately with a garlic-coconut vinegar-bird pepper(labuyo) dip…
chicharong bituka…my wild invention, based on a “pica-pica” i had from “Penang” restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown, which reminds me of my ma’s chicharong bulaklak

lambanog…dug out from my “wine cellar”–dungeon–the label fell off as i washed the dust away, vintage 1999 from a Lucban roadside market (?)


nostalgic party food

my mom had a few dependable always-there party dishes. she’d order these rainbow bread loaves, literally multicolored neons of pink, green, blue, yellow, then we’d grate the canned Kraft cheese and slice the jarred pimiento and mix them all up for pinwheel canapes. she’d also serve chicken-potato salad and my sister and i were assigned the task of peeling and dicing the hot boiled potatoes…
this version might not pass my ma’s standards but i made it in the memory of those family parties when cousins and her godchildren and friend’s kids would come and we’d have lots of little games in the driveway…ay! to be a child again…

i cut my boiled peeled red potatoes bigger and flake my boiled chicken leg meat chunkier than ma did. she also used boiled carrots instead of raw. i add dijon mustard and these other ingredients, which you may add on to as you wish: sliced red onions, hellman’s mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, diced celery, diced or grated carrots, a splash of rice vinegar, salt and pepper.

“jambonettes de volaille au persille… “

boned stuffed leg of chicken with blue cheese
no no i still don’t speak French.
but it was a cold, grey, rainy saturday. again.

we needed to do a lot of yard and back garden work but it just kept on raining.
so i thought i’d experiment with a recipe i noticed from madeleine kamman’s “when French women cook”…i don’t know why, it was time consuming and tedious work. i was very intrigued and wanted to taste it. the result was thrilling. i can’t claim that it is authentic French because i didn’t have the veal stock (which had to be homemade!) and committed the ultimate sacrilege of using ….aaargh…canned beef broth. but it was so tasty the children AND husband ate it. certainly a nice change from the usual. we all agreed, next time we’ll skip the blue cheese or substitute a milder one. perhaps feta?

debone the chicken legs with very sharp knife and poultry shears

stuffing w/pistachio, mushrooms, bread crumbs, egg yolks, blue cheese, salt and pepper

in stitches

“little hams”


…even better the next day

the recipe is here. Continue reading

IMBB #15: “has my blog jelled yet?”

this is my entry for the Is My Blog Burning? event hosted by elise: “has my blog jelled yet?”
i used agar-agar powder in place of powdered gelatin (inspired by santos’ entry for the IMBB orange event) because agar-agar or kanten in Japan and gulaman as we call it in the Philippines, seems healthier (being derived from seaweed). this is what my sister and i used, in its other form of dried sticks (in white, red or green), when we made our sweet cold treats in the hot dry months. just remember that it only takes 1 tsp. of agar agar powder to gel 1 & 1/4 cups of liquid and that after being dissolved in hot liquid it cools down and works very quickly.
mango pudding is standard fare on the dessert cart at most dimsum places. every single one i’ve tasted didn’t taste much like mango, so i decided to try and give it a go using a puree of canned mangoes in syrup and garnishing with slices of fresh Champagne mangoes from Mexico and the the fruit that’s prickly spiky on the outside yet delectable on the inside, rrrrrambutan….
i get to spotlight rambutan fruit in a recipe!
the june 2005 issue of bon appetit features it ignobly as “freaky fruit”. why not exotic? unusual? odd?

finally i saw it here in this part of the world, and it was expensive! but i had to have the kids take a taste. only my daughter was brave enough but she loved it, describing it as milder than lychee

IMBB# 15

mango and rambutan gulaman
2 tsps. agar agar powder
1 cup water
1 can mango in syrup, drained, syrup reserved
2/3 cup mango syrup from can
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 can rambutan in syrup, drained, sliced
slices of fresh mango
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
(cubes of pandan flavored nata de coco, optional)

puree drained mango slices in blender or food processor.
stir agar agar powder in water over medium heat until dissolved, stirring occasionally. add mango puree, syrup and sugar, and stir until smooth and sugar is dissolved.
remove from heat and add heavy cream and sliced rambutan.
pour into a glass loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. let set in refrigerator about 30 minutes to a couple of hours. (alternatively, pour mixture into ramekins or small juice glasses for individual servings.)

unmold onto a plate. slice and dice into cubes and serve in little bowls. garnish with pandan flavored nata de coco, whipped cream, and slices of fresh mango.

agar agar powder is sold in little plastic packets in the dried goods aisle of most Asian groceries.
nata de coco from the Philippines or Thailand, rambutan in syrup, and canned mangoes are all also readily available from Asian groceries.
(posting early. our PC is throwing tantrums…)

the round-up is here!

Sugar High Friday #8: “pucker up with citrus!”

orange calamansi tart

my good friend alerted me on wednesday to the SHF#8 event being hosted by the Breadbox…last day today!…and i immediately went on a search for calamansi, our native citrus fruit from the Philippines. had to have it! have to spotlight it!
i couldn’t find any, not even frozen packets–only had 4 left, each with 1 tbsp. of precious juice–but i did have some more thawed frozen juice with syrup. it would have to do.

calamansi is everywhere in the Philippines, and we use them for everything that requires a citrus zing. they are green like limes but tiny, even smaller than key limes so it is laborious to squeeze for juice. the flavor is more subtle than lemon, more like lemon with a spritz of orange, but only just. it is quite unique. of course here where i am it is like gold. in fact, that’s the brand of frozen packets i use: Manila Gold. i’ll gladly break my piggy bank each time i see it in the grocery.
substitute lemon if you must…

the recipe for the tart is from donna hay’s “Modern Classics 2” and the caramelized orange topping is from madeleine kamman’s “When French Women Cook.”

first prepare the crust:
into the bowl of a food processor measure 2 cups flour, 3 tbsps. sugar, and a pinch of salt. process 5 seconds to combine. drop in 5 ozs. cold butter (cut into little squares) and process until it looks like fine meal. through the feed tube add 2-3 tbsps. ice cold water and process until just until it forms a ball of dough. do not overmix. (alternatively, cut in butter with knife or pastry blender and mix in water by hand).
form doughball into a flat thick disk, and wrap in plastic/cling wrap. refrigerate 30 minutes.
preheat oven to 350F. roll out pastry, in between sheets of cling wrap, into 14-inch round and transfer into 10-in tart pan with removable bottom. line with parchment or wax paper and pie weights and bake 10 minutes. remove pie weights and paper and bake 10 minutes more or until golden brown.

make the filling as the crust cools.
over a double boiler, over medium heat, in a heat proof bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup calamansi or lemon juice and 2 tsps. finely grated orange zest until sugar is dissolved. keep whisking and add 3/4 cup light (single or pouring) cream and 3 eggs. mix continuously over simmering water, for five minutes. pour into the pie crust over a strainer.
bake for 25 minutes (350F) until set. cool completely.

optional topping:
cut 2 oranges very thinly using a sharp chef’s knife. remove pith and seeds if any. in a frying pan pour water up to 1/3 inch deep and add 2 tbsps. white sugar (and optional 2 tbsps. of Grand Marnier or Cognac. allow sugar to melt over medium high heat, and add the orange slices. caramelize, watching closely so they don’t scorch. let cool in butter-lined parchment or wax paper.
melt 1/2 cup orange marmalade and strain.
when cool, arrange caramelized orange slices over the tart decoratively. brush with melted marmalade.
remove the tart ring and transfer to a serving platter. use a sharp serrated knife to slice through….pucker up and enjoy…