Monthly Archives: January 2006

Lasang Pinoy 6: pulutan!

fpr Lasang Pinoy 6, this time around hosted by ting-aling of world class cuiscene, the theme is pulutan,
literally “pickings”, from the verb “pulot” to pick up. or food traditionally served with alcoholic beverages or cocktails.

“Pulutan is a kind of food that is served as accompaniment to a drink. It comes in different kinds like meat, fish, nuts, chips. It’s prepared in different ways…raw, fried, steamed. Basically, it is anything that makes drinking enjoyable…. ”

husband tells me of his Peace Corps experience “bonding” with the men of the barangay with a roast pig head and rounds of Manila beer.
others might pick barbecued or salty meat or seafood.
for me i associate these with the innards of animals, at least in the down-to-earth drinking circles i used to hang out in. they are usually cheap and aplenty.
nothing defines sinfulness or falling off the wagon of dieting graces as much as a bite of pork intestines.
once (maybe twice! no more) a year.
chitterlings boiled then dipped in frank’s red hot sauce, as described in the latest Saveur. stuffed with long hot green chili peppers then fried. then dipped in garlic vinegar.
and then this classic Pinoy beer food “pulutan” of chicharong bulaklak, literally flowery pork intestines. i wish i knew why they are called thus, i wish i knew what part of the piggy they are from, but i am satisfied just to have them

i have had this in the freezer, like stocks and bonds for investment.
cashing them in now for this special LP6. i had to call my ma and ask her how to make these.

she said, boil them till tender and air dry then deep fry.
boiled them in a lot of sea salt, peppercorns, a thin slice of ginger, bay leaves, and dried thyme, until tender.
i was surprised that they were still all in one big ruffly piece, i somehow thought they’d be in little pieces already.

so they got dried in a rack over a paper lined cookie sheet, over night.

then deep fried in a heavy deep casserole with a tight fitting lid (i secured the lid with a heavy mortar to prevent a big oil splatter).

my second entry is my dad’s favorite pulutan, when he was still allowed to eat exotic meats.

tokwa’t tenga’t baboy… bean curd, ear and pork meat.
it is fried bean curd with boiled-till-tender-pork ears and pork belly, dressed up in soy, vinegar, sugar, shallots and crushed garlic, with shredded green papaya.

whatever they are to eat, with whichever drink doesn’t seem to matter as much as the camaraderie or occasion for celebration. it can be the humblest of ingredients paired with the noblest of wines or spirits. the point is to partake from one table and to pass the dish around (and not drink on an empty stomach i think).


Friday was crowded, nay! packed! at the Asian grocery, but it was festive-crowded, fun-packed. i kept sneaking glances at what shoppers had in their carts: lobsters, whole fish, great big hunks of pork,mushrooms, bamboo shoots. i wanted to interview them and ask what they’re cooking.
but i found these on the ice, and got back into focus on my own shopping:

sugpo or prawns is what we call jumbo giant hulky shrimps. in Europe i noticed the word prawns is used for any size of shrimp…please correct me if this is a mistake. i kind of like the idea of putting them in a different category for they are truly special indeed.
they were huge! heads on! i’d never seen them that big. not in this neck of the woods. (the 10-inch chopstick is for scale).
i broiled them on skewers very simply, just salt and kept a close eye on the flame.

they were delicious, sweet, juicy. i wanted to cut some banana leaves and spread them out on the table under a mango tree and put mounds of fresh hot cooked rice and dig in with my hands… wait! wrong timezone! sigh.

IMBB #22: use your noodle(s)!

“i love noodles.”
–noodle king Daddy. guest blogger Mr. babyrambutan?
for the second anniversary of the IMBB blog festival started by Alberto of il forno…the theme is noodles.
coincidentally, it being a Sunday AND the start of the Chinese New Year festivities…husband is the chef.
i think he’s highly qualified to take over.

is the host this time and…
This time around it’s noodles, pure and simple. Or fancy and complicated. It’s up to you. You can make them from scratch or use dried ones. Egg noodles, whole wheat, wheat free, gluten free, rice noodles, spinach noodles, you name it–it’s all good.

daddy’s beef and pepper noodles

1 lb. beef flank, sliced thinly, marinated in 1 tsp.sugar, 1 sauce, 1tbsp. oystersauce, 1 tbsp. black bean sauce, for at least 30 minutes.

rinse and drain a pack of fresh cooked Hong Kong style noodles (thin egg noodles) .
heat noodles in water enough to cover in skillet up to boil. drain and discard the water. set noodles aside.

heat 1 tbsp. oil, fry noodles en masse, till brown, and flip. brown the other side.
sprinkle salt. cover with foil and keep warm.
set aside.

1 medium onion, quartered
2 green peppers, sliced

stir fry the beef in 1 tbsp. oil. remove from wok and set aside. saute onions and peppers. return beef to wok, add 1 cup chicken broth, heat up to a low boil and add 1 tsp. cornstarch dispersed in 1 tbsp. water.
top the noodles with the beef onion and pepper mixture, and toss.

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sugar high friday: sugarlow, sugarhigh!

it seemed like a mission impossible, for this sugar-packed cream-laden egg-rich blogger. and blog.

Your task, therefore, for this month’s Sugar High Friday, is to make a delicious, mouthwatering dessert whilst being a lot more frugal than usual with the fat and the sugar. In fact, try not to use processed sugar at all. I’m not going to make any strict rules, I’ll leave it to each individual’s imagination.

well you know. it can’t be all penance and abstinence. it is after all Chinese New Year! we must greet this Year of the Dog with lavish and rich food.
when i’ve been sinful and indulgent and over-imbibed, i turn to fruit (especially somewhat sour fruit to take the edge off). i’ve also been wanting to post this fruit compote (or fruit cup as my children call it) to summon up summer visions. winter lasts an unbearable long time here so why not, right?

Sam of Becks and Posh is kindly hosting this ever fun Sugar High Friday, so called Sugar Low, as redemption from all the rich, greasy, fatty food of the past holidays.
so here’s our (kids love this!) sugar low fruit compote (strawberries, kiwis, pineapple and orange segments)

….and mine and husband’s sugar high, champagne er cava zabaglione(adults only champagne tastes!).
Continue reading

uh oh… a betcha didn’t know kind of tag….

the lovely iska of beijing has tagged me for 10 random facts. at the risk of putting everyone to sleep….here are the betcha-didn’t-know-sort-of-weird-boring-facts about me. ( this has to be rated E for everyone so sorry no juicy secrets spilled here…you’ll have to sniff around and look for it somewhere else).

1. i was actively recruited by Sr. Emma of my school…to join the novitiate. i ran away screaming each time eeeeeeekk!
(i heard Sr. Emma herself left though). this convent school was so tiny there were only 40 of us in the graduating class for that year.
2. for the first maybe two decades of my long life…i wished i’d been born male. (that was way before i had my babies…i wouldn’t have it any other way! even if i were reborn!)
3. i have small feet…for such a big boned broad shouldered female.
i got the broad shoulders from swimming.
4. i would like to be a girly girly but i look very boyboy! huhu. i’m even “more handsome” than my two brothers!
5. i have been in two very awful car accidents…one in which i totaled my aunt’s Fiat Strada, and the other with my precious #1son in the minivan. i’ve been a nervous wreck of a driver since the second one.
6. i love to sing, but have never done karaoke. ever! i would like to be a nightclub singer a la Billie Holiday in my dreams but can only practise alone lest i make my family members physically ill.
7. i almost died at age 15 from…eating! ( contaminated sago’t gulaman-tapioca pearls, jelly in banana flavored syrupy drink-while vacationing with best friend C and her family, who brought me to a provincial hospital, where i was injected with penicillin and given aspirin…both of which i’m allergic to). i still love sago’t gulaman
8. i learned to dance by watching “Soul Train.”
9. i adore baby cologne and have tried them all: Johnson’s, mustela, Nenuco, Bulgari, Mennen, Huggies liquid powder….am currently using Johnson’s baby lotion original scent to get my fix. my only other favorite grown up scent is Paris by YSL.
10. i was called the “rolling stone” by my lola (as in a rolling stone gathers no moss) but am really more the black sheep of the family…

this is the one i’d like to have written!! i got this from thess, who got it from annabanana, who got it from ajay….

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Stella!

  1. Louisa May Alcott, author of ‘Little Stella’, hated Stella and only wrote the book at her publisher’s request!
  2. New Zealand was the first place to allow Stella to vote.
  3. The Stella-fighting market in the Philippines is huge – several thousand Stella-fights take place there every day.
  4. Stella can sleep for three and a half years.
  5. India tested its first nuclear Stella in 1974!
  6. Stella will often rub up against people to lay her scent and mark her territory.
  7. If a snake is born with two heads, the heads will fight over who gets Stella.
  8. There is actually no danger in swimming right after you eat Stella, though it may feel uncomfortable.
  9. Baby swans are called Stella.
  10. Stella is physically incapable of sticking her tongue out!
I am interested in – do tell me about

i tag everyone who wants to be tagged….

confit this confit that: bistro mussels

i’ve given myself this challenge and i feel like i really have to live up to… myself?
the Thomas Keller book on his bistro “Bouchon” requires making stocks and confits before one can proceed to the actual recipes. at least those that i want to try first. here’s the first attempt.

garlic confit
45 cloves of garlic, peeled (and counted by my cute little sous chef, #2son)
2 cups canola oil, approximately

cut off and discard stem ends of garlic cloves. put in a saucepan with a tight lid and pour enough canola oil to cover all the cloves completely. set over very low flame (the chef said to use a flame diffuser but i just used the lowest BTU burner of my stove top.
do not let it come up to a simmer, but just enough to see little tiny bubbles that do not break through to the surface, and let it sit until cloves are tender enough to pierce with a fork.

i made this,

because i wanted to eat this…

mussels with mustard and saffron…”moules au safran et a la moutarde
(adapted from “Bouchon,” to serve two.)
6 tbsps. unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
12 cloves of garlic confit
1/2 tsps. freshly ground white peppercorns
thyme sprigs or dried thyme
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 cup dijon mustard
1 cup dry white wine
4 pinches of saffron threads
2 lbs. fresh live mussels, i used Prince Edward Island farm-raised
minched Italian parsley
freshly ground black pepper

melt butter over low heat. add shallots, garlic, pepper, thyme, salt. stir fry for a few minutes until fragrant, simmering gently. add the white wine and mustard, bring up to a slow boil. add the saffron and cover, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes.

rinse the and scrub the mussels, debearding if necessary.
bring up the reserved mustard saffron sauce to a simmer over high heat, add the mussels and cover, turning down the heat to medium. cook until mussels are open, around 3-5 minutes, then add the parsley and grind black peppercorns over them.

serve with baguettes (we used gently warmed up Vietnamese bread…crusty loaves available at Asian grocers).

so! that’s why i had to confit the garlic first…well worth the extra effort. the sauce was deeply flavorful, tangy and perfect with the mussels and great for dipping the bread in.

chocolate pithiviers

i wish i knew how to pronounce them!

today was a snowstorm day for my little kindergartner and we decided we’d bake…too cold to go out, too icy to go for a drive. we thought we’d give his big brother and big sister a treat after school.

i got really interested in these, from Saveur’s Best 100 issue…an excerpt from Simon Hopkinson’s book (a revived cookbook from 1994 which even bumped off Harry Potter for a little while from the best seller list of the UK).
i read the recipe over and over and i just had to try it, thinking it might taste like chocolate filled croissants with its easy-fied flaky pastry (which i’ve NEVER attempted before, it scares me so!, but which i remember first reading about thru my childhood best friend C’s pastry book, decades ago….)

for the pastry:

whisk together 2 cups flour and a pinch of salt. cut 8ozs. (2 sticks) of cold unsalted butter into tiny little cubes (keep it cold!) and blend in to the flour gently. do not use pastry blender. mix juice of half a lemon with 1/2 cup ice water, then pour with flour-butter mixture. mix in until it dough forms a ball, then turn into a cold surface (like a marble board), lightly floured and lined with plastic wrap.

roll out into a 4″ by 7″ rectangle, then fold one third of dough in towards the center, fold in the other third then pat down into a rectangle. chill for ten minutes, then return to original position, turn it 90 degrees, then roll out into a rectangle once more. fold in again and pat down and rest in the refrigerator another 10 minutes. repeat this 3 more times. then let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

for the creme patissiere:

1 cup milk and 1 vanilla bean, split down lengthwise
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup superfine sugar

whisk egg yolks with flour and sugar.
scald the milk and vanilla bean, gently bring up to a boil.
pour in hot milk and vanilla mixture gently to egg yolk mixture, whisk thoroughly then return mixture to heat up until thickened. remove vanilla bean. chill in refrigerator.

chocolate mixture:
8 tbsps. butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs
1 cup ground (toasted, cooled) almonds
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 tbsp. dark rum

cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs. add almonds, cocoa and rum and beat until well blended.

add to creme patissiere, with 1 cup chopped dark chocolate. chill well.
i used the preciously rare Green & Black’s from my sweet UK Connection… it is a British chef’s concoction after all.

to bake the pithiviers:
preheat oven to 400F.

roll out pastry to 1/8 inch thickness into a rectangle. cut out four 4″-square pieces and four 6″-square pieces.

on the 4 inch square piece, place one scoop of chocolate cream (using a big ice cream scoop).

brush with beaten egg then top with the 6 inch square, pressing down firmly to get rid of any air bubbles.
crimp with a fork.

cut with a 4 inch cookie cutter (i used a hollowed out can of Palm corned beef, thoroughly washed in the dishwasher!)

brush on more beaten egg and sift powdered sugar over.

bake 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. let cool in racks. makes 4 large pithiviers.

the filling is delectably chocolatey rich and dark…the recipe warns that more filling is made than can be used for the tricky dough…it is quite a flaky buttery dough but if you’re short on time and patience prepared packaged puff pastry dough will do very well. i’m just glad that finally i attempted to make one on my own…wishing my friend could taste it too….this one’s for you Cheechai!

fried oyster and pork hot pot (more sandpot cooking)

i found this recipe in a Korean food website, during the quest for kochujang dipping worthy dishes… but i have modified it so much that it has taken on a whole new identity. the original is here.
this is my take on it. i used ultra thin pork sliced as for sukiyaki, instead of beef, and added some dashi to the broth, and fresh shiitake mushrooms for the veggie mix. it was delicious though and i’m quite happy with my version because….the whole family, husby and kids, ate it! yehey! fry the oysters like this and you’re all set for hot pot heaven. garnish with thinly sliced scallions and trimmed watercress.
i prevented another sandpot disaster by being very patient and using a flame diffuser to protect the pot.

marinated pork topped with blanched onions, carrots, daikon radish, and sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms,

topped with seasoned broth, brought up to a boil,

and garnished with watercress, scallions and deep fried oysters.

served the broth in bowls, and topped hot rice with the pork and vegetables.

kaki fry:
drain and rinse the oysters in a bowl filled with salted cold water.
pat dry with paper towels.
prepare these bowls: flour seasoned with salt and pepper, beaten whole eggs, and panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs if you can’t find panko).

dredge in the flour, dip in the eggs, then roll in the bread crumbs. let dry in wire racks at least 15 minutes, then deep fry in hot canola oil deep enough to float for about 3 minutes total.
drain excess oil and set over paper towels to drain some more.

a treasure

in my dream life i am a horseback riding vintner señora in Napa Valley, hobnobbing with the rich and famous foodies… in my real (equally eventful, may i say) life…i go do my must-do’s and if i’m lucky..
i find this book all tattered and torn… and still i was going to buy it, it was at a fraction of its publication price and it was a steal. then i found a better copy in another part of the shelf of my favorite salvage store….
i can only dream of going to dinner at this restaurant and i have read of the staggering price tag of a full course dinner there so what’s the next best thing? the recipes of course! bigger than an encyclopedia volume and 341 pages! gorgeous photographs, and they look easy enough to do for a wannabe like me. haaay. only a fellow foodie will understand what i’m so smiley about! i’m gushing….

sizzling steak and home fries

what i truly wanted to cook was something shellfish…like king crab legs or lobsters.
i have my regular patrons to think about. they’re not really into shellfish.
so, pork chops? fried chicken?
hhmmmm. the other night we caught a glimpse of Alton Brown cooking filet mignons in a brandy reduction sauce.
that gave me the idea of getting something beefy.
my weekly foray into the Asian grocery yielded a pack (first time i’ve seen in the case!) of “shell steaks” at $4.99 a pound so i thought i’d try them in this sizzling steak recipe from Asian Cooking by Deh-ta Hsiung and Sallie morris.
this is supposedly a famous item from the Coliseum Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which i’ve made many times. and can’t believe i haven’t posted yet.

a marinade mixture and a sauce mixture, and in the end they are combined to make the final sauce. i served it with home fries of red potatoes browned in a cast iron skillet with butter and olive oil, salt and pepper, and finished in a hot oven for about a half hour at 425F. crispy outside, tender and mushy inside. recipe for the steak follows. Continue reading