Category Archives: mammals

barbeque days: rack of lamb

today the heatwave broke, and though it is a huge relief, we did enjoy many grilled meals outdoors. we don’t have central airconditioning (not very practical for a 117 year old house, in the Northeast U.S., where it’s really warm, maybe 2 weeks a year?) so we have window units here and there. even so, boiling water for our corn on the cob and potatoes for salad, raised the indoor temps to the 90’s! wooh. so we cooked out doors.
one of my favorites to grill is Frenched rack of lamb. ooh, the very thought of it right now is making my tummy growl.
i was able to recruit #2son to try a rib–yehey, he liked it! now there’s three of us in the lamb-chop-chomping team!

i just marinated it in olive oil, soy, Maggi seasoning, lemon zest, crushed garlic, rosemary leaves and peppercorns. (individual lamb chops would work too, just watch carefully so they don’t scorch too quickly.) rub the mixture really well on to the meat, and grill for about 3 to 4 minutes each side. transfer to a serving dish and cover with foil, then let it rest at least 5 minutes. serve with a drizzle of lemon juice.

i recruited my daughter with grilled lamb shoulder chops.

caramelized pork belly

Thai style pork belly
the urge to have this really rich and powerfully flavoured meat was so intense! (could it be the snowy freezy weather?) that i quick-thawed my reserve pork belly from the freezer by submerging it in cold water, making sure to replenish the water constantly. then i did a quick search for the recipe here at baby rambutan. guess what!
i couldn’t find it.
turns out i have never saved the recipe, and a quick look at one source revealed that the instructions there were so vague that i can’t remember how i ever cooked it. forgetfulness is such an awful curse! *not to mention foodsites that give very blurry directions. grrr.
so i thought, i’d better record it here, now, so that the next time the big craving hits, i have a ready recipe.

“Thai-style” caramelized pork belly, great with garlic-fried rice and pickled vegetables, perfect for snow-bound blustery blizzardy days:

caramelize 1/3 cup sugar then remove from the heat and pour in 1/2 cup fish sauce and 3 cups water. (careful! the sugar will seize up and sizzle and spatter.) return to medium heat then stir until dissolved. let cool until lukewarm.
preheat oven to 350°F.
place pork belly in baking dish. rub with freshly cracked black peppercorns, scatter sliced shallots and crushed cloves of garlic (the amount depends on your taste buds), and pour the fish-sauce syrup on top. cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for about 1 & 1/2 hours or depending on how big the pieces of pork are. check for doneness by pricking with a fork.

beef pares-pares

the real name is beef pares, but i redubbed it after my youngest child’s favorite card game. this dish is just perfect for the long-dreaded/long-awaited (depends on where you’re born i think) wintry weather. me, i just dislike driving in it–it doesn’t help when the morning jolt of caffeine is accompanied by dire news of a 9-car pile-up nearby due to the black ice!
popular after i’d already left Manila, beef pares is something i’ve heard about just from bloggering, and couldn’t wait to try. since i have no point of reference i can only recommend it based on my kids’ reaction to it: yeah, mom, we love it!
beef pares, garlic fried rice, watercress in beef broth
ideal for the cheapchewy cuts of beef–tendons/ligaments welcome!–just make sure to skim off the nasty scum and bloody bits off the broth while it’s just starting to simmer. pressure cookers might work well too but i simmered the beef shanks until almost fork tender, removed the bones and threw them back into the broth, then proceeded with the rest of the recipe. with garlic fried rice and snipped watercress added to the soup it was a complete meal to fortify us on a winter night.
(recipe adapted from here and there on the blogdom, and i will post it soonest.)

never can say goodbye

no no no no i
never can say goodbye
–ms. gloria gaynor

days are getting shorter, mornings are getting colder. i haven’t used my electric fan at all this week. how come i can’t have my long hot summer anymore?
beef satay sticks
beef satay sticks for the last cookout before school starts.

yessirree these sticks have only this one photo to speak for them–they disappeared right off the grill, and my boys made me promise to make more (in a bigger batch, enough to satisfy their man-appetites daw!) i’m just hoping that next hurricane holds off and doesn’t make landfall before my cookout this Labor Day.
recipe here–> Continue reading

tri tip (bis)tek

my kids really love fried potatoes.
and they will eat any dish that accompanies it. :comedy:
i had made a big batch of deep-fried sliced yukon gold potatoes to be the star side dish of the lovely tri tip steak i had finally located and was just about to serve them, all artfully arranged on the edges of the platter, when crash! boom! bang! i dropped my nice Rosenthal platter! :censored: :censored: :censored: ! i don’t know what happened but broken jagged ceramic bits=unsalvageable potatoes.
thankfully no injuries were incurred but i did send husband out to buy them some french fries. :frenchfries thank you sweetheart :glasses-slip: this special bistek is not the same without them bad fried potatoes.
this is a sample from the other cookbook i bought from the going-out-of-business bookstore sale.
bistek is easy and tasty home cooking that can be dressed and fancied up–this time with tri tip sirloin, which is kind of hard to find in my neck of the woods.
now. i’ve been pondering why i picked up these two cookbooks.
sometimes when it’s so warm and breezy and humid all at once, like it is now here in my Boston ‘burb… i fool myself into thinking i’m back in Manila.
so i could pin the purchase down to homesickness.
but also, these two cookbooks highlight Filipino cooking in such a lovely way that i’d like to test the recipes i’ve learned to cook with just tasting, smelling, feeling, instead of with precise measurements and methods.
maybe then i can get those unfamiliar yet curious to taste Pinoy food to cook it for themselves, at home, with these cookbooks. :grandma:
Filipino Style bistek, from Authentic recipes from the Philippines, Reynaldo G. Alejandro, recipe follows—-> Continue reading

beef in red wine sauce, and a classic dark chocolate layer cake

this is New England, the husband always reminds me. no matter what the calendar says, nor how the crocuses are forcing their way out of the frozen soil, it hasn’t felt very much like springtime yet.
so instead of munching on crispy greens and light meals, we’re still chowing down on hot hearty stews and saucy entrees.
the gentleman chef
this wonderful large coffee table size cookbook by Jacques Pepin is my current food bible–and no i am not being compensated, haha, i am doing this out of pure admiration and of my own “free” will. in “Chez Jacques” he has simplified some classic recipes for us amateurs so that the once-intimidating boeuf Bourguignon which i’ve been longing to make all winter, is now accessible and easy to put together on a cold dreary Sunday for supper.
beef in red wine sauce, Jacques Pepin's
and in keeping with the theme of seeking cozy comfort in rich dark food…a new Classic dark chocolate layer cake recipe from “a Passion for baking”, by Marcy Goldman:
…iced with mocha whipped cream.
forgotten cake March 2011
recipe for cake follows——> Continue reading

happ’ly apple-y: pork chops and applesauce

we made it to the last hour of the last day of apple-picking season,
and brought home a half bushel of apples.

a lovely crisp fall day, munching on crunchv juicy Spencers and tart purplish Empires…
IMG_4793apples apples apples
and how do we like them apples?
with pork chops!?
sure they go very well with pork chops, battered and pan fried and nestled on a bed of spiced applesauce.
a whole new way to sweet-and-sour.

old mother, pock-marked too, cooked tofu

yeah you got that right…old mothers need to eat (or drink) lots of tofu, soy, soy-based products.
here’s one from the book*: pock-marked mother’s tofu “ma po dou fu”….quite easy to make, kids love, and you feel like you’re healing yourself. or something like that.
pock-marked mother's tofu
ground pork, firm tofu cubes, and black beans sauteed with ginger and scallions and sweet rice wine and sprinkled with ground Szechuan pepper…
not much to look at, but really scrumptious over hot steamed rice; for a healthier version use ground turkey or chicken.
*Savoring China, edited by Jacqui Passmore, Williams-Sonoma.

pork binagoongan

i had so many memorable treats and meals in Manila and Tagaytay, Cavite…so many that i’m quite overwhelmed with how to describe them here.
i’ll sift through the photos some more…

in all the “cocooning” we did as a family i was not able to spend much time with old friends and new blogmates, regrettably. i will just have to daydream of a return visit, with my kids and husband, under happier circumstances.

now, back in my habitat once more, i am seeking comfort and solace by looking at the photos and videos taken of our “family reunion”… and by cooking pork binagoongan(–pork belly stewed in fermented shrimp paste, vinegar and sugar). i have a stash of pickled green mangoes, that’s why.
pork binagoongan
my sister cooked this dish for me when we were in LA, and she in turn got the recipe from a sympathetic friend. there are probably hundreds of versions out there, but i liked her recipe because it wasn’t too salty. it also comes with a warning: will make you eat too much rice.
(you don’t necessarily have to serve with pickled green mangoes of course. i think pickled hot peppers or pepperoncini, or cucumber salad, would be groovy too.)

“arduous but delicious” as my Auntie would say (when she shared the family bunos recipe)–the recipe involves some advanced prepping.

other porky-salty-spicy combinations…
Chinese binagoongan
pork kim chee

“sizzling hot!”

spicy pork with coconut and chilies
the dish has contentious origins. is it an invention from a Manila restaurant, or an original dish from the Bicol region?
i first heard about it from dorm-mates and work colleagues at the Refugee Center in the bundoks of Bataan–but i never did get a chance to try.
the kids wanted Popeye’s fried chicken but i had a hankering for something different, something spicy, so i dug up several recipes from the web and checked the pantry for what i needed…a couple of fatty pork chops, coconut milk, ground turmeric (in place of fresh), bagoong alamang (fermented shrimp paste), and mounds of sliced fresh green chilies. i don’t dare call it “Bicol Express,” never having tasted the real thing myself. i’ll just say it’s pork with coconut milk, turmeric, bagoong and chili peppers.
it was truly zesty, and made me want to gulp it down with lots of hot jasmine rice and ice cold beer…