Monday, January 31, 2011

Bruschetta and Salad Greens with Grilled Shimps

I'm not yet over my Julie and Julia obsession.  One of my problems is when I see or read about food, I can't wait to cook it myself.  In one of the scenes in the movie, Julie cooked Bruschetta.  So, after I had my late lunch, I  researched online again.  I even went to Fullybooked, Rockwell to check out the cook books but I finally got the recipe I like from the net.  I just used the ingredients I have at home.


5 slices of baguette
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. Extra Virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400F.  Combine extra virgin olive oil and garlic.  Spread on the sliced baguette.  Toast in the oven until crisp and light brown.

2 tomatoes, chopped
1 pc. shallots or red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 T. Extra Virgin olive oil
1 T. grated parmesan cheese
flat leaf parsley, chopped (I didn't have Basil, recipe said any herb at hand)
rock salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and put on top of the toasted baguette.

I saw the FB picture of my friend Pinky, she ate Mango Prawn salad last week and I wanted to make something similar.  I went to Rustans and there were no fresh mangoes.  I couldn't wait anymore, so,  I just bought Gourmet's Mango Vinaigrette.


Otherwise, the recipe for the Mango dressing only calls for pureed mangoes, honey, mustard, vinegar and olive oil.

Salad Greens with Grilled Shrimps drizzled with Gourmet's Mango Vinaigrette

50 grams mixed lettuce leaves
red pepper, sliced
green pepper, sliced
red onion, cut into rings
2 T. Mango vinaigrette
6 pcs. grilled shrimps

Grilled Shrimps

Peel and devein the shrimps.  Sprinkle rock salt.

Heat a non-stick skillet, add a teaspoon or two of Extra Virgin olive oil.  "Grill" the shrimps briefly until they change in color.

I loved the salad so much!  The combination of the peppers and the onions together with the grilled shrimps was perfect.  Hahaha as long as you don't plan to kiss someone afterwards.

Sole Meuniere

I was watching Julie and Julia with Mona the other night because  I'm scheduled to do a Boeuf Bourguignon experiment with my friend Marianne, very soon.  I wanted to be excited and be in the French Cooking mode. 

The first food Julia ate in Paris was Sole Meuniere.  I saw it served swimming in golden butter and as she took her first taste of the fish, I could already imagine her pleasure and couldn't wait to wake up to buy Sole.

I researched the net for several recipes and chose the simplest and what seemed to be the most "authentic" recipe out there.  Sometimes, people would put their twist to a certain dish and it loses its integrity.

Sole Meuniere

1 pc. Sole (200 grams), cleaned and skinned
1/4 C. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
2 T. butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
flat parsley leaves, chopped

Wash and dry the sole very well.

Combine flour, salt and white pepper.  Coat the fish with the mixture.

Using a non stick frying pan, melt butter and fry the fish, about 4 minutes on each side.

Transfer the fish onto a plate.  Sprinkle parsley leaves on top.

Pour lemon juice in the pan where the fish was fried.  Then drizzle the fish with the lemon butter.  Serve with boiled potatoes, string beans and lemon wedges.

I thought the plain boiled potatoes and string beans would taste so bland but in contrast to the richness of the fish, it didn't matter, they were a perfect complement to the buttery Sole even though I just used a small amount of butter.

Wriggly often goes up on his couch, yes, he owns that couch and would watch me while I eat  lol  very disturbing but he couldn't see if he is sitting on the floor, hence the height adjustment of his vista.

See how easy it was to cook French food?!?!?   Of course, let's not count calories here.  I was reading the Reader's Digest on How to Lose Weight and Tip number 26 says : Eat only when you hear your stomach growling.

I was waiting all day to feel hungry! As soon as I felt it, I started cooking!  Hahaha I think I am the only person who waits to get hungry so I can eat... as in... Ready! Get set! GO!!!!!   I am a hopeless case when it comes to losing weight but I never give up!  I fail all the time but I just keep going on. 

I have a teeny bit of a problem though.... I feel I still want to eat something.  I'm not hungry anymore but I'm not yet full.  Maybe this is what it should be?  Perhaps if I made French Onion Soup and salad before eating the Sole Meuniere, I would feel "just right"?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Pancake House" Menu

Tonight was supposed to be Taco Night with Mona, I was inspired by  Lei's FB post when she had  Chillin' Mexican and Margarita.  I invited a few of my friends to join me for dinner.  What was supposed to be  Mexican dinner became a "Pancake House" menu. Tacos, salad, spaghetti, fried chicken and fresh mango shake.

Pinky brought 2 orders of Roca Salad from Cyma.  I'm glad that we are salad eaters now.  We are aiming for a healthier lifestyle.

Dra. Cristina,  brought Fried Chicken ... ummm  not so healthy because the chicken pieces were deep fried but still YUM!  Always welcome.

Mona made Flautas.  It was  the sister of Jing, Tricia,  who taught us how to make Flautas.  I was researching the net last night and told Mona to add corn kernels and roasted jalapeno peppers instead of raw jalapeno. 

Our experiment turned out really good!  While waiting for Dra. Cristina, Pinky, Mona and I were already enjoying the flautas, then there were only 5 pieces left.  I told them Cristina isn't fond of spicy food, so we were confident that the last few pieces would be ours!!!  But we were wrong.  She also loved it!!!

Chile Cheese Flautas with Corn

1 bar Eden cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
half a can of corn kernels
15 pcs. jalapeno peppers, broiled, peeled, deseeded and chopped
Big lumpia wrapper cut into quarters

Combine grated cheese, chopped jalapeno and corn kernel in a bowl.  Fill the lumpia wrapper with the mixture.  Deep fry.  Serve with garlic dip.

Garlic dip

1 sachet lady's Choice Mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
chili sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

I prepared Tacos with fresh Tomato Cilantro Salsa  and my favorite kind of spaghetti with the disgustingly sweet meat sauce ...  the only kind of spaghetti I love.

Mona also made Tunonitos... they are mini turon.  I asked her to put 3 pieces on each saucer and I put a scoop of vanilla ice cream  and drizzled chocolate syrup over it. 

We thought we couldn't eat anymore because we were stuffed but we all managed to polish off the dessert.

We even ate my Chocolate chip cookies while talking about our classmates who were not there, especially Jodie  hahahaha. 

We didn't notice that the time flew so fast, when we looked at our watches it was 1:30 am already!  We've set another date and hopefully, next time, more classmates could join us for a fun night of food and reminiscing about the past.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rainbow's Chef's Galley

Rainbow is a friend and she recently opened her restaurant called Chef's Galley along C. Benitez St. in Quezon City after graduating with a Gold medal from Gene Gonzales' Culinary School.  I have been to her Cafe a few times already and today, I was able to take photos of the food.  Usually, as soon as it gets to our table, the food disappears immediately.

I had lunch with my friends Marianne, Catherine and Michelle.  Each one of us were craving for something made by Rainbow.

My "Rainbow"  craving was the pizza.  I liked it very  much because the tomato sauce base was sweet and the crust so thin!!!  And the size just right.  I ordered the Ham with 3 Cheeses.

Catherine's Rainbow craving was the Summer Salad.

Marianne has been dreaming about the dark chocolate/coffee ganache!

It was Michelle's first time so we ordered the other specialties.

Rainbow Salad

Pumpkin Soup

Eggplant Parmigiana

Sun Dried Tomato Pizza

Meatballs Spaghetti

Truffle oil pasta

Bread pudding

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese

We enjoyed our lunch in the very relaxing cafe.  Rainbow and her husband are great sailors, hence the theme of the cafe has something to do with it.


It has been Rainbow's dream for a long time to become a professional chef and to open her own restaurant.   Now... the dream became a reality because of Rainbow's hard work... dedication ... attention to details... passion for cooking and the desire to please everybody in the best way she can.  Hat's off to you, Chef !

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boneless Crispy Pata

Yes! Finally .... Crispy Pata craving ... satisfied.  I've searched for days in the net where to eat the best crispy pata in Manila but I did not find it.  I know the one from Candelaria, Quezon is very good.  But what can I do if I can't find one I like ????  I decided to make my own!!!!! 

Boneless Crispy Pata

1 kg. Pata - front leg not hind leg, deboned, rolled and tied with a twine (ask the butcher to debone)


1 T. rock salt
4 C. cooking oil

Boil the pata until the scum rises to the top.  Discard water and rinse the pata.  Cover with water, add the salt and let the water boil.  Lower the heat and boil for an hour and a half or if using pressure cooker, 45 minutes only.

Drain and let air dry for 3 hours.

Remove the twine and wrap the pata in plastic.  Freeze.

Heat 4 cups of oil in a deep pot with sturdy cover.  Lower the FROZEN pata slowly into the hot oil.  Be careful the oil will rise to the top and it will splatter, worst case scenario, oil will overflow.  I usually turn off the heat at this point.  Cover immediately.

Turn back heat on over low setting.  Fry for 15 minutes then turn up the heat for about 5 minutes.

Turn off heat again and slowly turn over the pata, cover and continue frying over high heat until the skin is blistered and crisp.

Remove cover - last 5 minutes of frying.  At this point, oil will not splatter anymore.

Dipping sauce

soy sauce
brown sugar
knorr seasoning
chili pepper
black pepper

MMMMmmmm  if you could just hear me eat the skin of the Crispy Pata!!!

Maybe I should add sounds to this blog.  The skin was really crisp and easy to bite unlike some Crispy Pata I have eaten, Yes, the skin was crisp but the it was hard to bite.  Because ... they did not tenderize the meat well.

I cooked Ginataang Sitaw with Shrimps, a perfect partner for the sinful pata.

It would be nice to boil the pata, then just keep in the freezer.  When there are surprise guests, just fry it and in less than 30 minutes, VOILA!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tempura ... again ... and again ... and again???

When I get a craving, I will not stop until I eat the one that I like.  My really favorite at the moment is the Tempura from Nagisa Coffee Shop in Boracay.  But since I can't eat it yet till March, I have been eating different kinds of tempura from all over Metro Manila for a month now.

While I was exercising at the gym today, I was already imagining what I would have for lunch.  I think I am the only person thinking about food while working out???  I've been wanting to go to Kikufuji in Pasong Tamo for several days now but there was always a reason why I couldn't.  The place is no great shakes but it is a "comfort place" for me.  When my mom was sick for several months in Makati Med, it was our "canteen", so for a while I couldn't stand the place because of the sad memories.

I ordered the Mixed Tempura lunch set, it came with Miso soup, rice, appetizer, salad, iced coffee and I chose Uni as my sashimi choice.  I love uni!  I miss Celine because she is my uni partner.

I remember one time in Bangkok, Tita Portia and I ate at a Japanese restaurant in Paragon.... we ordered Uni and she asked the Japanese serving girl: Is it fresh?!?!?!  The reply was yes.  True enough it was served on a shell and the color was very light and creamy.  Tita Portia said to only eat the light colored ones because the dark colored uni is not as fresh.   We enjoyed it so much but when we got the bill.... it cost 2,000 Baht!!!  For a 1/4 C serving of "Very Fresh" Uni!!!  hahahaha  Delicious,  unforgettable and expensive.

Sometimes I would read food blogs where to eat the best Tempura... one said to try the one from Shokuji in Salcedo Village, Makati. Hmmm... it came with soup and rice but didn't like the batter because it was a bit on the heavy side.

 In Glorietta, I ordered the Tempura Soba from Sakura.  I liked their soup base because it was not bland.

In my obsession, I even ate a Tokyo Tokyo and Zaifu.  The tempura in Kimpura is one of my faves too... especially the Shitake Mushroom.

I also tried the Tempura at Ortigas Home Depot, Aling Tonya.  Again the batter was too heavy and the sauce too sweet.  I like my sauce sweet but not because sugar was used but mirin instead.

When I really can't get my Tempura fix,  I cook my own version.  But most of the time I'm too lazy because it is such hard work and I'm just so wilted from frying.

So, until I can eat in Boracay again (5 more weeks).... I will have to make do with what Manila has to offer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Healthy, Healthy and NOT Healthy.

This post was inspired by my friend, Dr. Tricia's post in Facebook ... she said, she is looking forward to a healthier lifestyle.  I was able to buy nice lettuce leaves in Rustan's, sometimes they are out of stock but was lucky to get today.

On the wall near the water cooler at the gym, there is a board with some healthy tips on it.  One tip says that you should have at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day.  Of course, it doesn't apply to me because I have a custom made food plan prescribed by the doctor and dietician.  Which I don't follow by the way... I feel I gain more lbs. when I do so I'm just winging  it.

My salad tonight is somewhat similar to Italianni's.....

Green lettuce leaves, red grapes, chopped apples, cubed mango and Creamy Poppyseed dressing.

I have been craving for something sweet all day long so I decided to indulge in a tall glass of Mango-Papaya Shake.  It is healthy for most but not for me because of the sugar syrup.

Mango Papaya Shake

simple sugar (boil 1/4 C white sugar in 1/4 C water until it is dissolved, let cool)
1/2 mango
2 slices papaya
1 c crushed ice
1/2 C water

Blend mango and papaya with the sugar syrup, then add the ice and water.  Continue blending until smooth.

That was the healthy part of the dinner ... On to the next part ... which is NOT healthy.  I could have done without the Pork Tonkatsu ... but I already prepared it earlier so decided to cook it for dinner.  I did not eat rice anymore, though and... just had 1 piece of pork chop.


250 grams pork chop, skinless = 2 pcs.
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. MSG (NOT optional for me)
1/4 t. iodized fine salt
2 T. flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C Japanese Breadcrumbs
Bulldog tonkatsu sauce

Season the pork chops with salt, pepper and msg and let if stand for 30 minutes.  Roll in flour, then dip in egg then coat with Japanese breadcrumbs.  Refrigerate for an hour before frying.

* Using kitchen scissors, cut slits along the fat to prevent from curling.
* When chops are half cooked, pour about 1/4 C of water into the frying pan, making sure the sides of the pan are high or else the oil will over flow.  Cover and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes.  Remove cover and cook over high fire until golden brown.  This will insure the pork will be tender and juicy and the outside crisp.

Good Luck Tricia!  I know you can do it.  Hahahaha  I think you and I shouldn't eat together for a while, then you will succeed!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lunch for Paz and Gina

Paz and Gina are my grade school classmates.  I  haven't seen them in 24 years! Thanks to Facebook we all got in touch with each other.  We have been exchanging emails  for months and I promised them I will let them taste my cooking when they visit the Philippines.  Both are based now in the US.  I organized two mini reunions for them.  Evening get together at Rainbow's Chef Galley Cafe, C. Benitez, QC and lunch here in my house.

When some of our classmates learned there was a lunch reunion, they also joined us since they couldn't make it in the evening.  They brought food and we all had fun.

I just prepared  "Killing Me Softly" bagoong with pork fat chicharon bits and garlic

Kare Kare

Mayette's Old fashioned Adobo.

Bubbles Barretto was the first one to arrive and she brought Mango Torte from Dulcelin.  Sorry, I wasn't able to take a pic because I put it in the freezer and was too busy eating when they started slicing the torte.

Tricia and Jodie brought Pancit Palabok from Red Ribbon

I asked Jodie to buy ice from 7eleven.  Thanks Jodie!  Hehehe  Tricia said I should have asked her because there is a 7eleven store beside her clinic.

Serla brought Tuyo Salad... it was interesting and refreshing!  It tasted like Mango salsa with tuyo flakes and brown rice.

Catherine brought Banana Choc Chip Cake

 Soooo Yum!!!  I have yet to try it with butter, according to Mona, whose cholesterol is over the top, said I should heat the Banana cake slices and spread fresh butter on it.  Just added it on my Things to Do list.

Then I received a text message saying: I will bring pork barbecue and rellenong bangus.  I wanted to text back and ask: Who is this, please?  But then... the person might get offended and not bring the food anymore!  Mona said just to wait for the person with the barbecue and bangus then add her to my contact list.  I dropped my phone last week and Samsung replaced the motherboard.  Now I know better, I saved the numbers in my Sim.

June Pearl arrived and LO and Behold! Pork Barbecue and Rellenong Bangus.   I looked at Mona and we secretly grinned at each other  hahahah.

It was so wonderful to be with  childhood friends again.  We were exchanging stories and reminiscing about our past.... and so sorry ... we talked about the people who were not there!!!  hahahaha

I wonder why is it we haven't seen each in almost 24 years but the moment we all met, it was as though last time we were together was only yesterday!