Friday, October 31, 2008

Pork Teriyaki Stew & Roasted Zucchini with Balsamic Vinegar

Against all Halloween odds, tonight our celebration doesn’t involve pumpkin, candies or any other spooky-cutey-halloweensy food. We’re going to a Chinese HOT POT joint! Awwww!!!

I stopped by a costume shop yesterday night…and boy! It was a total chaos! All kinds of slutty nun, dirty school girl, naughty nurse, sexy policeman, chubby skeleton, and kinky emperor wannabes were so close to groping each other while trying to grab anything (and anyone) in sight. There were at least 10 languages being shouted to and from every direction and there was almost no more red devil horns head gear by the time I elbowed my way in.

After dodging flailing bloody arms, scary masks, kinky costumes, and neon colored wigs, I got my horns…and the food devil was born…

I was sooo close to wearing the free cut-out mask from yesterday

This dish below has nothing to do with Halloween, but the food devil just loves teriyaki sauce. It is her poison of choice.

Pork Teriyaki Stew & Roasted Zucchini with Balsamic Vinegar

Pork Teriyaki Stew
- 1 lb pork ribs (I had some with soft bone)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
-1 cm ginger, crushed
- teriyaki sauce, pepper, olive oil, hot water
Saute garlic, ginger and onion in hot oil, add ribs, add teriyaki sauce, add hot water, stew for 2-3 hours until the meat’s tender. If you have a pressure cooker...grrrr...I am green with envy!

Roasted Zucchini with Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 zucchini, peeled, sliced into 1 cm thick slices
- 4 cloves of garlic
- balsamic vinegar
- salt, pepper, olive oil
Preheat oven to 200C, arrange zucchini in a tray, scatter garlic, rub some oil, add balsamic vinegar, season, roast until zucchini pieces are a bit charred.

Now, ready or I come!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Apple, Cinnamon & Raisin Oatmeal Muffins – My Frugal Halloween

Halloween is near! Yay! Ehm, I love any excuse to celebrate anything, even if it involves spooky stuff. As always, I had lots of plans for this year’s Halloween…and naturally, none of it gets materialized.

Halloween Costume
What did I have in mind?
Something that reflects me or what I wish to be. So, something cute, girly, cheeky, mischievous, sexy, kinky, food-related, and the spookiness should only happen when exposed to culinary failures, or lack of food/flavor/wit/brain/chocolates, i.e. something like this:

*My illustration, colored by my talented baby sista*
That would be my ideal costumed self: an upgraded version of me, i.e. minus 20 lbs, after numerous sessions of liposuction, major face and full body plastic surgeries, and countless hair extensions, in a super cute, sexy, and kinky cook costume

What will I end up with?
But…due to rarity of such costume, lack of time, dedication and effort to find it, and global economic crisis….I almost decided to go with this good stuff I found in HK Magazine (my HK Bible):

It’s creative, user friendly, one size fits all, flattering for all face and body shapes, and most of all, it is absolutely FREE!

Let’s see if I will really wear it tomorrow (fingers crossed)

Halloween Treats
What did I have in mind?
Loads of things related to pumpkins…such as pumpkin + white chocolate/cinnamon cake/pie/pudding/muffin, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin casserole, pumpkin stir fry, pumpkin sashimi…you name it!

What did I end up with?
However…due to lack of time….I ended up with something horrific:
Apple, Cinnamon & Raisin Oatmeal Muffins
Why horrific? It’s too healthy for my taste, it pretty much scared the shite outta me.

(yields 6 muffins)
Dry Ingredients
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup quick cooking oatmeal
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp sugar
- cinnamon powder (up to you, but I use loadsssss)
Wet Ingredients
- ½ cup high calcium milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
- 1 egg- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup apple (diced into small cubes)
- a handful of raisins

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the middle. Mix wet ingredients except diced apple and raisins, pour into dry ingredients, mix roughly. Fold diced apple and raisins. Pour mixture into muffin tray lined with paper cups until almost full, bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I never thought something so healthy could be so tasty :p

I think I could get away with coming to tomorrow’s office gathering as myself, and simply scare off people by eating all the crappy party treats.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicken & White Peach Curry – Food Bloopers

Have you ever had any embarrassing moments related to food?

Although I am generally pretty obnoxious…and won’t get embarrassed so easily…(ya ha!)…but there was a moment which caught me off guard. It was a beautiful day, but I was probably feeling down, that's why I fancied a couple of (one is never enough ^_^) good sandwiches for lunch (what a splurrrrge! They are super pricey), with a hearty soup and a cup of nice coffee to polish everything off. So I dragged my lazy ass off my work chair and marched to Pret-A-Manger
to get my fancy treats. I had no idea how to pronounce Pret-A-Manger correctly, I used to pronounce it as “prey-a-man-jer”…until my sis, who learnt a bit of French in high school, told me that it should be “pre-a-mong-cher” (with French curly tongue). These days, I simply call it “Pretend-A-Manager”, to which my corporate pals could relate better (I get “HUH?” a lot when I tried to say “pre-a-mong-cher”. So...don't bother!)

Anyway...when it was my turn to order…

Staff: (checking out my Double Cheddar and Super Club sandwiches)…anything else?
Me: Ehm, a cup of mocha (for mochachocolata-rita) and a cup of minestrone (I pronounced it as “mind-stroun”) soup, please….
Staff: (straight faced, without blinking an eye, barked my order to the kitchen staff) ONE MINESTRONE! (it was thunderously shouted out as… mi-nə-ˈstrō-nē). One
MINESTRONE (again, mi-nə-ˈstrō-nē), right, mam? (PS. don’t you just hate being called “mam”?)
Me: Errr...yah! (Suddenly feeling very conscious of my surroundings and noticed that all the corporate slaves were shooting me Oh-how-could-you-not-know-how-to-pronounce-the-name- of-such-a-humble-common-little-soup? looks)

The heck with them! The sandwiches, the MINESTRONE soup and the mocha were delicious and I’d be damned if I let some Hong Kong corporate once over ruin my pricey lunch. Hehe…

At home, I had some left-over peaches and wondered what to do with them…(not another sweet treat!) so I made some…
Chicken & White Peach Curry

- ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized chunks (or you can use thigh fillet)
- 2 white peaches, remove pit, peel off skin, cut into bite sized chunks
- 1 zucchini, peel off skin, cut into 1 cm thick slices
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 5 cloves of shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 cm ginger, crushed
- 2 tbsp curry paste (or more)- 1 cup coconut milk
- salt, pepper, sugar, corn starch, olive oil
- chopped fresh coriander and fried shallot to garnish
Marinate chicken pieces in a bit of corn starch, salt, pepper and sugar (salt should be the dominant element). Saute garlic, ginger, and shallot in hot oil until fragrant, add chicken until a bit browned, add zucchini pieces until a bit softened, add coconut milk, bring to boil, add peaches, heat everything through and quickly remove from heat (not to overcook the peaches and turn them into mush), serve with freshly chopped coriander and fried shallot. Perrrrfect with rice!

Let me entertain Hong Kong’s miserable lunch crowd one more time by ordering minestrone again tomorrow…I’ll pronounce it as “meeenn- struuun” this time. HAH!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

I used to have this unexplainable hatred towards strawberry anything.
Strawberry ice cream
Strawberry cheesecake
Strawberry pudding
Strawberry jam
Eugh! Blegh! Welgh!
But I didn’t get it. They are fragrant, nutritious, healthy, refreshing, nice and pretty to look at...but I couldn't bring myself to like them. I guess the chemistry was just not there.
I could eat fresh strawberries...but only and only if they are super sweet, super juicy, super premium quality, which I totally can NOT afford, thus, hardly eat. LOL! (They are normally sold at HKD78/USD10 per itsy bitsy teeny tiny pack). Yes, I am a high maintenance, picky, strawberry non-eater.

So what changed me? Nothing fancy. It’s McDonald’s Strawberry Sundae! LOL. From that cup on, it’s all I want, and I can’t believe I am saying this, but these days, I want it even more than my former favorite, the Chocolate Sundae.

My newfound love for items slathered with strawberry jam opened a whole new window of opportunities, and I went straight back to something I roughly know how to do (i.e. didn’t screw up too often)….muffins ^_^Strawberry Jam & Cream Cheese Muffins

Dry Ingredients
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 6 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
Wet Ingredients
- 3 tbsp strawberry jam
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 6 pieces of 1x1 cm cream cheese cubes
- 6 x ½ tsp strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the middle. Mix all the wet ingredients, pour into dry ingredients, mix roughly, pour 1-2 tbsp batter into greased muffin tray (or lined with paper cups), add 1 cube of cream cheese and ½ tsp strawberry jam, top off with more batter until almost full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

OK, so now I am loving strawberry jam…which is basically sugar ^_^…but who knows…maybe soon I’ll be craving these healthy berries daily? Em…don’t get your hopes up :p

Friday, October 24, 2008

Manila Food Adventure - I Literally Never Went Hungry!

(Written by my guest writer: Suzette Mendoza, plus my comments in italic ^_^)

- Day 3 Breakfast -
Toasted bread, Spanish sardines, eggplant parmigiana, with fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Not a filipino breakfast exactly, but we almost finished the whole loaf! So, that's a good thing.

Suze cooked the eggplant parmigiana, super delish!...and I never thought sardines taste so fan-bloody-tastic on toasts, and the fresh basil from Suze's herb garden just brought everything to a new height! I promised myself to eat less the day before, but before I knew it...there was no more bread in the bag, I ate 3 of these bad boys for breakfast!!!

- Day 3 Lunch - at Robinsons Galleria Mall Food Court)
1. Dinuguan - pork meat cooked in pig's blood (cooked with oregano)

2. Papaitan - Bitter soup due to acid of pork guts and innards

3. Laing - taro leaves and stems cooked in coconut milk

4. Pork BBQ - Rita's favorite

Yes, I always order these bad boys every chance I got ^_^

5. Kwek kwek - boiled quail eggs, dipped in orange batter then deep fried, served in a plastic glass with spicy vinegas, scoop it out with skewer

- Day 3 Snack - at work
1. The dreaded BALUT - which she did not find so dreadful - "aborted" duck eggs
WARNING! A picture of cracked balut below, just in case you can't handle it ^_^


Hmmm actually they didn't look as intimidating as I thought it would don't see something in the shape of a chick at all...whew!

The proper way to eat balut
1. Crack one end of balut
2. Peel the shell slightly
3. Pose for photo taking
4. Sip the balut juice
5. Pose for photo taking
6. Continue peeling and sipping until the cooked yolk and feathered "friend" are revealed
7. Show feathered friend on camera for photo taking
8. Pour some vinegar and suck the friend - feel the feather and small bones in your tongue
9. Pose for photo taking while your mind decides whether to throw up or swallow what's in your mouth
10. Enjoy the yolk, discard the white part (it's called "stone" - as it's a bit hard)
12. Smile as if you enjoyed the experience so as not to offend the culprits who made u try it

I survived the challenge, it wasn't that bad at all...the yolk was rich and creamy, the chick tasted like chicken which has been braised for a long time, and the bones were as small as fish bones..and they are soft. I did it! Are you up for it? ^_^

2. Bibingka - native pancake - flour, butter and egg batter - baked

Traditional way of cooking bibingka
1. Place a piece of banana leaves in a shallow clay pot
2. Put batter in the pot
3. The pot is placed in between burning coals (placed in a clay cookware with heaping coals under it - the pot is then covered with a thin sheet of metal - then heaping coals are also placed on top the metal sheet - the heaping coals on top is contained in a another metal sheet with metal coil handles, which the cook will bring up to check on the batter)
4. The batter is checked now and then - before batter fully forms - slices of cheese and salted eggs are placed on top of the formed cake. Once cooked - the bibingka is brushed with melted butter

I love bibingka! I can't believe I haven't thought of putting salted eggs, cheese and pancakes together! It's like a mini little heaven on a banana leaf!

- Day 3 Dinner - at Tiendesita's
Cheese Ice Cream

I was not hungry, but I couldn't resist this pre-dinner snack! The ice cream was light yet flavorful...and the adorable vendor happily posed for pictures. Look at the ice cream cart, how cute!

Look at the array of yumminess! A normal local dinner would be a bowl of rice and 2 sticks of pork BBQ...what we (three girls) ordered were definitely NOT normal....hehe

1. Clam soup - simple soup of clams cooked on sauteed garlic, onion and ginger - then salt and pepper

Clean, clear and refreshing!

2. Lato salad - green seaweed sacs in vinegar and soy sauce - served with sliced onions and tomatoes, drizzled with lime

This was the only thing I wasn't so fond of...the morsels popped like salmon roe...and they tasted fishy to me...but the locals adore these and you might feel the same way too, maybe it was just me...and my reflex reaction to healthy food hehe

3. Grilled catfish - marinated catfish, then grilled - served with atchara (pickled grated papaya)

The meat was satiny soft, moist and smooth, the skin was tasty and smoky...simply perfection!

4. Steamed oysters - eaten with drizzled lime and vinegar - should not be overcooked so as not to loose its sweet natural taste

I'll start steaming oysters from now on ^_*

5. Bagoong rice - rice mixed with shrimp paste - served with minced mangoes, tomato and onions

The rice was tasty and I never thought mangoes would go nicely with rice. Lotsa things I didn't know, eh?

6. Grilled esau - grilled chicken intestines - well cleaned, boiled then grilled - served coiled in skewers
Smoky and tasty outside...super duper creamy inside...these are addictive!

7. Pork BBQ - Rita's favorite

Noticed that I ordered these again? Hehe I think I could eat 20 sticks in one meal...but I worried I would scare my dining pals

8. Avocade cake, red scarlet cake & Tsokolate

The cakes were a bit dry for my taste...but washed down with this deep, thick, and rich chocolate shot...they were beautiful!

The girls and I were happy to learn that none of us count calories...we live to eat and adventurous. In Hong Kong, I have always been haunted by guilt when I feel hungry every two hours...but during this trip...I ate pretty much every five minutes!!! you guys said, eat now, worry later, right? Hehe, I learn fast!

I we were to coil a tag line for out eat outs, it would be "Oh, we ordered too much!!.....(later on)Oh... really? (PS. all plates were left squeaky clean)"

More of my Manila food adventure:
- A Warm Welcome
- The Mother of All Sore Throats

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Manila Food Adventure - The Mother of All Sore Throats

(Written by Suzette Mendoza, some pictures by Peewee Consul)

- Day 2 Lunch -
Libingan ng mga Bayani (Resting Place for Heroes)

Hotdog sandwich - An ordinary hotdog on a bun with ketchup and mayo, with red iced tea. But, hey! It's not the sandwich that counts this time- it's the view!!! And what a view it was - serene park, with well maintained lawns, well interiored trees and foliage, well aligned white marble crosses in rolling hills, the charming chapel of everlarting flowers in mosaic, the sound of the chime music every half hour, the chirping of the birds, the kiss of the gentle wind, the marble wall memorial with etched names of soldiers, the battle mosaic maps, the feel of the dewed grass underneath my feet, the view of mountains, houses, structures from yonder -

The lone hotdog becomes special with memories of heroes permeating around

- Day 2 Dinner -
Bowling at Megamall

Adobo chicken and pork with garlic rice and fried egg

I loveee how they serve fried eggs with almost anything! Hehe

and oh, the crunchy Chicharon Bulaklak

Pig intestines, boiled in spices, then deep fried til very crunchy- the boiled intestines coil in the shape of flower petals while being fried, thus the name bulaklak (filipino word for flower)

I also called these bad boys "the mother of all sore throats" :p

Its not the food again this time - but the joy, (and shame) of playing a game called bowling

Jessie and Alex feigning romance...the sweet hand holding and gazing into each other's eyes...I was jealous!

We were a bunch of proud beginners.

So what if we broke a nail or two? So what if our right thumb and arm were sore? So what if we were scoring with much help from the bouncing of the ball from the gutter protectors? We still had fun. We had a few strikes and spares now and then, we had the chance to show a few dance steps, we totally reversed the definition of a perfect throw, we totally let our imagination ran wild with the bowling balls and we totally learned that bowling is not for us. (LOL)

But hey, I think we should play again :)